By Ron Balicki
If frontrunner Mike Holder is chosen to fill the open athletics director job at Oklahoma State University, it would mark the end of an era in college golf.
Holder would end his 32-year reign as the Cowboys’ men’s coach – a legendary career in which he has led OSU to eight national titles. Oklahoma State has had only two men’s golf coaches in its storied history – Labron Harris Sr. (1947-73) and Holder, who took over on July 1, 1973.
“If I get the job, Mike McGraw will move from being the head coach of the women’s team to head coach of the men’s team,” Holder said. “Alan Bratton will remain as assistant coach for both teams, as will Scott Davies, and we’ll begin a search for a new women’s head coach. If I don’t get the job, everything will remain the same and I’ll go back to what I’m doing.”
According to a report in The Oklahoman, sources said Oklahoma State president David Schmidly will recommend Holder, 57, as the school’s next AD. Schmidly said a 15-member search committee had made a unanimous recommendation that he planned to present no later than Sept. 16 to the school’s Board of Regents.
“Obviously I’m very interested in the job,” Holder said. “That’s why I put in my application. I’ve been involved at Oklahoma State pretty much my entire adult life and certainly feel I’m qualified.”
John Clerico, chairman of the 15-member search committee, would not say whom the group recommended, but he did say Holder stacked up well against other applicants.
“From the very beginning, Mike Holder was a strong candidate, measured against anyone you want to measure him against,” Clerico told The Oklahoman.
A 1970 graduate of Oklahoma State, where he was a three-time All-American and Big Eight Conference medalist, Holder has become a national icon in the sport. In addition to the eight team titles, he also has produced five individual national champions and is one of five coaches all-time, regardless of sport, to capture national championships in four different decades.
Only 14 times since 1984 has a men’s golfer been named a first-team All-American as a player and an academic All-American in the same season, and nine of those players were from Oklahoma State.
Holder, who earned his master’s degree from OSU in 1973, is a member of the NCAA Golf Committee and is director of golf at Karsten Creek Golf Club, which serves as home base for the Oklahoma State men’s and women’s teams. Holder raised the funds to build Karsten Creek, a Tom Fazio design that opened in 1994 and is ranked 30th on Golfweek’s America’s Best list of 100 Best Modern Courses.