Mike McGraw has been fired as Oklahoma State’s men’s golf coach, the school said Friday night in a news release.
“This was not an easy decision,” athletic director Mike Holder said in the release. “I could go on forever about what a good man Mike McGraw is, but at the end of the day, I had to do what I felt was in the best interest of the program.”
Oklahoma State, a perennial national power, placed 14th in the recent NCAA Championship and was No. 12 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings.
“We didn’t play any good,” McGraw told The Oklahoman newspaper. “We didn’t coach any good, either. We had a lot of disappointing tournaments where I thought we underachieved as players and coaches, and you must do better than that and we just didn’t.”
McGraw had coached the Cowboys since fall 2005, replacing Holder. McGraw was hired at the Stillwater school in 1997 as an assistant. He briefly guided the OSU women, in the 2004-05 season, before being promoted to men’s head coach.
In McGraw’s inaugural season, Oklahoma State won the 2006 NCAA title, the school’s 10th national championship in men’s golf. He coached the Cowboys to five consecutive Big 12 Conference crowns and was a five-time Big 12 coach of the year. OSU added an NCAA runner-up finish in 2010.
However, OSU had slipped in recent years, placing sixth in the Big 12 in 2012 and failing to advance to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 65 years.
McGraw was only the third coach in the storied program’s history. Labron Harris started OSU’s golf program in 1947 and, through 1973, won an NCAA championship and 24 conference titles. His successor, Holder, took the program to national prominence, winning eight NCAA titles and 25 conference championships in 32 years.
“I respect what Mike Holder has accomplished here, and I respect Mike Holder’s decision to take the program another direction,” McGraw told The Oklahoman. “If you respect the history and tradition of the program, you must respect that as well.”