Oklahoma State, 2004
Game is first of two meetings between regional rivals this season
K-State hands OSU 3-2 loss
Fish and Saxon provide RBIs in eighth inning of comeback win
Rea homers twice, Hursh gets fourth win of season
Three-game series opens Friday at 7 p.m.
Josh Holliday returned home to take over the Oklahoma State baseball program when he was named the 15th head coach in program history on June 8, 2012.
The Oklahoma State alumnus and native of Stillwater had served the previous three seasons as an assistant coach at Vanderbilt and established himself as one of the nation's top assistant coaches over the last decade.
"I'm very honored and very humbled to be given an opportunity to come back to OSU and return to a place that has meant so much to me and my family over the past 30-plus years," Holliday said. "I'm excited about the unique opportunity to build a future with a program that celebrates and recognizes its proud history, embraces the current players and works towards a future that everyone will be proud of and unite behind.
"Our goal is going to be to approach every day with a tremendous amount of pride and discipline in becoming the best we can be in every facet of our lives, as coaches, as players and anyone involved with our kids. We're going to work to win each day, and over the course of time we're going to work to win a national championship. We're going to do that together and do it in a way that enhances our players' lives academically, socially and athletically. I hope that plan of attack and approach is going to train our players with an approach that will stay with them the rest of their lives."
Holliday's hire has paid huge and immediate dividends in just two years as he has led the OSU program back to national prominence.
Since taking over the reins, Holliday has guided the Cowboys to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, the program's first-ever regular season Big 12 Conference championship and its third NCAA Super Regional berth. During Holliday's two-year tenure, the Cowboys have won more games (89) than any other Big 12 team, and the total ranks 11th nationally during that period.
Holliday made an immediate impact in his first season at the helm, leading the Cowboys to a 41-19 record and the finals of the NCAA Louisville Regional.
OSU's 41 wins in 2013 was its most since 2008, and the Cowboys' second-place finish in the Big 12 Conference was also its best in five years.
Under Holliday's direction, the Cowboys won five of their eight Big 12 series, including four in a row to end the season.
Among the other highlights in year one of the Holliday era were:
OSU was nationally ranked for the final 13 weeks of the season. The Cowboys climbed to as high as No. 12 and finished the season with a high ranking of 19th.
The Cowboys had 18 come-from-behind wins.
OSU had 11 players garner All-Big 12 accolades, its most since 2008.
The OSU pitching staff recorded its lowest ERA since 1973, while the Cowboys led the Big 12 in doubles and walks and ranked second in batting average, slugging percentage, home runs and on-base percentage.
OSU's second season under Holliday was even better, and he became the first-ever Cowboy skipper to be named the Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year.
In 2014, the Cowboys went 48-18, marking the most wins for the program since 1994. OSU captured the Big 12 regular season crown with an 18-6 mark, then went on to win the NCAA Stillwater Regional championship and advance to the NCAA Stillwater Super Regional, its first Super Regional appearance since 2007.
OSU was ranked in the national polls throughout the 2014 campaign and finished the year ranked 10th in each of the final national polls, its first top 10 final ranking since 1999.
The 2014 season also saw the Cowboys:
Record 28 come-from-behind wins
Win their final seven Big 12 Conference series
Turn in a 12-game winning streak, its longest since 2008
Host an NCAA Regional at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium for the first time since 2008
Rank in the top 10 nationally in five categories, including home runs, walks, sacrifice bunts and winning percentage.
Further adding to the accolades, 2014 also saw a pair of Cowboys -- Brendan McCurry and Zach Fish -- earn All-America honors. Fish was named the Big 12 Player of the Year and was one of 11 Cowboys to garner All-Big 12 accolades, which included a school-record six first-team honorees.
Holliday is the first former OSU player to serve as the program's head coach. A four-year letterwinner for the Cowboys from 1996-99, Holliday was a starter on Cowboy teams that made four NCAA Tournament appearances and reached the College World Series in 1996 and 1999.
For 11 years, Holliday served as an assistant coach at some of the nation's top baseball programs. He started his coaching career at OSU before serving on the staffs at North Carolina State, Georgia Tech, Arizona State and Vanderbilt. He coached on seven NCAA Tournament teams and three of those advanced to the College World Series (Georgia Tech in 2006, Arizona State in 2009 and Vanderbilt in 2011).
"We are obviously very excited to welcome Josh back home to Stillwater and Oklahoma State," OSU Vice President for Athletic Programs Mike Holder said. "He has seen Cowboy Baseball from just about every angle possible. He grew up at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium and was a terrific student-athlete at Stillwater High School. At OSU, he was an all-conference player and an Academic All-American and is a former staff member. He will bring the enthusiasm, energy, and a competitive fire that comes with being 35 years of age.
"He has built a strong national reputation over the years, and I expect him to be on the job as soon as the press conference is completed."
A four-year letterwinner who played in 256 games, which ranks second all time at OSU, Holliday compiled a career .311 batting average to go along with 53 home runs, 62 doubles and 237 RBIs. He was inducted into the OSU Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.
Holliday's name is prominent throughout the OSU record book. He is OSU's all-time leader in base on balls with 225 and also ranks in the top five on the Cowboys' career lists in games, at bats, runs, hits, doubles, total bases, RBIs and hit by pitches. He also ranks seventh all-time in homers.
Holliday was a three-time All-Big 12 performer, earning first-team honors in 1998 (at catcher) and 1999 (at third base). He was a second-team selection as a utility player in 1997 and was named the Big Eight Conference Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American in 1996.
Also a standout in the classroom at OSU, Holliday was a first-team academic all-conference honoree in each of his four seasons, earning that distinction in both the Big Eight (1996) and Big 12 (1997-99) Conferences. He was named an Academic All-American and the OSU Male Student-Athlete of the Year in 1999.
Holliday was selected in the 1999 Major League Baseball Draft by Toronto in the ninth round and spent two years in the Blue Jays organization. Following his professional baseball career, Holliday returned to Stillwater and joined the OSU coaching staff, where he served as an assistant for three seasons. He was a student assistant in 2001 before joining the full-time staff the following year.
In 2004, Holliday joined the coaching staff at North Carolina State and helped that team reach an NCAA Regional.
Following that stint, he moved to Georgia Tech and in his first season was part of the Yellow Jackets' ACC regular season and tournament championships. During that 2005 season, Georgia Tech ranked in the top five nationally in batting average and runs per game. The following year, the Yellow Jackets reached the College World Series.
In 2008, Holliday was on the staff at Arizona State and helped bring in the top recruiting class in the nation, which helped the Sun Devils reach the 2009 College World Series.
Following two years in Tempe, Holliday joined Tim Corbin's staff at Vanderbilt and in three seasons as an assistant and the program's recruiting coordinator, Holliday was a part of three NCAA Tournament teams, including the Commodores' 2011 College World Series team.
Holliday once again proved his skill as a recruiter at Vandy as he landed the 12th-ranked incoming class in his first season and signed the top-ranked class in 2011 by bringing in 13 new players.
A prep standout on both the baseball diamond and gridiron at Stillwater High School, Holliday was drafted in the 14th round of the 1995 Major League Baseball Draft by Minnesota. He was the USA Today Gatorade Player of the Year in Oklahoma and a Mizuno/Collegiate Baseball High School All-American. He was also co-valedictorian of his graduating class.
Holliday is the son of Tom Holliday, who served as OSU's assistant coach from 1978-1996, and was the program's head coach from 1997-2003, and is now the associate head coach at North Carolina State. Holliday's younger brother, Matt, is an All-Star outfielder with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Holliday is married to the former Jenny Moore, and the couple has two children, Olivia and Brady.