Farewells are never fun, but it's something that has to happen in the collegiate coaching business. There's no way around it.
Roland Fanning, who joined the Oklahoma State baseball program as a Volunteer Assistant Coach in August of 2012, has accepted a higher position at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock.
Fanning's title at UALR will be the Assistant Baseball Coach/ Recruiting Coordinator.
"Leaving was bitter sweet, but It's awesome to have a full-time job at a great university like the University of Arkansas Little-Rock but it's hard to leave Oklahoma State," Fanning said "There are people in this community that my wife and I have gotten to know and love over the past two years and we will miss dearly."
As a Volunteer Coach, there are only a limited amount of opportunities and certain stipulations that coaches must stay within. For example, they are not allowed to leave campus and visit with coaches and recruits.
Having the ability to get back on the road and make his presence felt within the recruiting community is something that Fanning said he's looking forward to.
"That is something I really missed doing and and now I get to get back on the road and recruit and see coaches, which is something I haven't been able to do the last couple of years" he said.
Head Coach of UALR, Chris Curry, reiterated that notion by stating a few traits of Roland's that made him stand out as opposed to other candidates.
"He (Roland) has knowledge and experience coaching at a high-level and we're excited about the way he's going to lead us in recruiting to get players and families excited about coming to UALR," Curry said in a text message.
Despite Fanning leaving, he gives credit where credit is due and says that in just two seasons under Coach Josh Holliday he's acquired a tremendous amount of knowledge that he will not only take with him to UALR, but down the road in his career as well.
"I can't even begin to explain the impact Coach Holliday has had on me over the last two years; to watch him come to work everyday and pour every bit of energy he has into a program that he loves is something I've never seen someone do before," Fanning said. "You see it in the way the team plays for him every time they put on that uniform. Not only is he a phenomenal coach but he is even a better person."
If you were able to make it to a game at Allie P. Reynolds within the last two seasons, it's hard not to miss Fanning, despite his smaller stature. His runs to first base in-between innings, fist bumping players after they've reached first-base, and energetic go-get-it attitude are just a few of the things Coach Holliday and the OSU baseball community will miss.
Holliday, is not angry nor upset, but happy about a colleague progressing with his career:
"I'm excited for Roland and his family, we will miss he and his wife (Beverly) and their new baby, Emery. He was an important part of our program and brought to our staff many unique talents. It's a good thing to see a young coach get an opportunity to take what he has learned and go plug into a new staff and help coach Curry build the UALR program--he will do a great job."
A native of Coalgate, Okla., Fanning spent five seasons as an assistant coach and assistant marketing director at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
Below is a statement that Roland shared with us about moving on:
"I know how fortunate I have been to be around three quality baseball guys like Josh, Rob, and Marty.The last two years have been some of the best years of my life. During my time here at Oklahoma State I got married to my wife Beverly, welcomed our first child Emery Jo into the world, and was part of two great teams. I would like to thank Coach Holliday and his wife Jenny for giving me opportunity to come be part of this great program. I would also like to thank the Stillwater community for being so great to my little family the past two years. Like I said earlier, the people of Oklahoma State and the community of Stillwater are what make this place so special. Thank you for two great years!"