June 11, 2012
Real coup: Holliday hires Walton
Josh Holliday and Oral Roberts' head coach Rob Walton were two of the leading candidates to replace Frank Anderson at the helm of Oklahoma State's storied baseball program. In fact, the pair were likely the two finalists for the job. Holliday was named as the new Cowboy skipper on Friday afternoon, but he and athletic director Mike Holder had a card left to play.
On Monday morning, Holliday named Walton - a former Cowboy pitcher - as the pitching coach on his new staff at Oklahoma State.
"We're really excited to bring someone of Rob's caliber to the program. He possesses the talents and character traits that identify our mission to develop and groom our players in an environment where teaching, discipline, passion, the ability to develop a person in all phases of their life, on the field and off, are the focus, as is the commitment to building a championship team," Holliday said. "When this opportunity to bring Rob into our program presented itself, and after sitting and talking with him and his family and sensing the true passion for Oklahoma State, his unique and well-known talents in the game and his desire to team up and pour himself into the kids and help us become great, it was just a tremendous fit.
"His history is of great value," added Holliday. "He will be as good a mentor and teacher of pitching that any young athlete could hope to find. His reputation and credibility amongst the baseball community in the state of Oklahoma and across the country will enhance our recruiting efforts tremendously. He's a winner, he's a Cowboy, and he's got a tremendous amount of energy to get started and be a part of what we're doing. It's an exciting example of the type of person we're going to attract, and this is all about our players having the benefit of an outstanding mind and loyal OSU person that will make our program better instantaneously."
In his nine-year stint as ORU's head coach, Walton led the Golden Eagles to an NCAA Regional each year and reached a Super Regional in 2006. He also continued ORU's streak of conference championships, which reached 15 in 2012.
"Pitching and defense are the keys to winning at any level," Walton said. "We want to be able to put together a pitching staff that is in the top 10 in the country year in and year out. We have to recruit really good athletes who have an opportunity to get better and get our pitching staff among the best in the country. If we can, that will give us an opportunity to win every game that we play."
Walton played at OSU under Gary Ward and pitching coach Tom Holliday, Josh Holliday's father. In four seasons as a pitcher at OSU, Walton compiled a 20-3 record and 3.74 ERA in 54 appearances. In 204.2 career innings, he collected 147 strikeouts and tossed 10 complete games.
It was that connection with the school and Holliday family that prompted Walton to step away from head coaching duties to become Holliday's first assistant.
"This is a really special opportunity for me and my family," Walton said. "My wife and I went to school there, and it's a chance to come back to our alma mater and help Coach Holliday get the program going in the right direction. Hopefully we can bring it back to prominence.
"I've known Josh (Holliday) for a long time. He has a passion for OSU baseball and so do I, and so we're going to team up and do the best job that we can do to put the program back where it needs to be."
...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now for a FREE Trial