A little late to the party but it needs to be written about. Everyone knows that in the college sports world, football is king and basketball is about a lap behind in second place. About seven laps behind basketball is where college baseball finds itself in a distant third. But every now and then, baseball will draw some attention to itself by doing something incredible.
This is one of those cases.
Oklahoma State announced the hiring of Josh Holliday as its new baseball coach on Friday. It would seem that the only people who were not pleased with this hire are those who wanted ORU's skipper, Rob Walton, instead. The only criticism of Holliday is that he is a hitter's coach and thus, pitching isn't his strong suit. Coach Walton, on the other hand, is regarded as one of the best pitching coaches in the nation and thus, baseball purists flock to his model for success much like old school football fans do for tough defenses and hard nosed running games.
Naturally, you have fans on both sides that make compelling arguments about which style better fits today's college game. Both coaches are among the best recruiters in the nation and both carry impressive resumes as well so it isn't as if either of those factors could determine which would be the better hire. Sure, Walton has head coaching experience where Holliday doesn't, but Holliday has youth on his side which players can identify with.
Damn, if only OSU didn't have to decide between the coaches and could hire both! Oh wait. That's exactly what they did.
I'm sorry. I need to repeat that just so that I can believe it myself.
OSU now has one of the best hitting coaches and the best pitching coaches in the nation on their staff and they both recruit talent like Justin Blackmon takes shots of tequila (too soon?).
Pardon my sudden outrageous sense of optimism but I believe OSU just went from a middle of the pack big 12 survivor to an every year championship contender with thoughts of Omaha in their sights nearly every year.
Am I getting way ahead of myself? Perhaps. But I sincerely believe this is one of the greatest coaching pairings put together in any college sport in the last decade and I cannot wait to see how quickly the results translate onto the diamond. Just think, whatever worries fans may have had with Holliday's inexperience as a head coach are easily extinguished by the fact that Walton is in the dugout with him every step of the way. Any doubts that recruiting would eventually be negatively affected by Walton's age should be shrugged off knowing that the program has one of the brightest up and coming stars in Holliday as the head coach. Any worry that not enough emphasis is being put on either pitching or hitting is easily swept away with the knowledge that OSU has two coaches that are among the best in the business at their respective strength.
Can you blame me for my sudden giddy fanboy excitement?
And props go to everyone for making this all happen.
Mike Holder gets a lot of credit for putting this all together. For letting bygones be bygones and reaching out to two guys with so much history with OSU baseball.
And again, tons of credit to both Coach Holliday and Coach Walton who put their pride aside in a profession that makes it hard to do so. They both absolutely love OSU and decided that together they could bring back a program that has such a rich history and strong tradition.
Oh, and by the way, if anyone thinks that this won't excite a lot of the old boosters that remember the Gary Ward days, you better think again. I wouldn't be surprised to hear about new facilities and a newly renovated ballpark in the very close future because of these hires. Stay tuned for more info on that as I find it.
Again, we all know football is king and baseball is a distant third. But news like this certainly gets me pumped to make it out to Allie P. and hopefully it does the same for others.