Coaching Legacy
Beginning in 1947, the Oklahoma State Men's Golf program can be consistently described with one word: success. The Cowboy Golf program has accumulated ten NCAA national championships and 16 runner-up finishes. OSU has made the NCAA Championship field a record 64 times in a row, and has finished lower than fifth on only 14 occasions. OSU players have captured 8 individual national championships, 13 player of the year distinctions, and 160 All-America mentions.
Mike McGraw

In five seasons as the head coach at Oklahoma State, Mike McGraw has undoubtedly left his mark on one of the nation's proudest programs.

In 2010, McGraw narrowly missed leading the Cowboys to their second national title under his direction. OSU's runner-up showing at the NCAA Championship brought to a close a successful campaign that produced five victories. The Cowboys also finished the season as the nation's top-ranked squad for the second consecutive year. Among the squad's wins was a fourth consecutive Big 12 title that saw McGraw named the league's coach of the year for the fourth-straight time.

McGraw also oversaw five medalists and three of his players achieved All-America status.

OSU has now won 21 times overall with McGraw at the helm. Additionally, 23 individual medalists have been crowned under his watch.

The 2008-09 season saw the Cowboys win five times. OSU was impressive in victory, winning four times by double-digit totals. Overall, McGraw's squad won by an average of 16 strokes, including a 14-shot win at the Big 12 Championship and a 22-stroke victory at the NCAA South Central Regional.

Following the conference victory, McGraw was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year, while Morgan Hoffmann was named the league's player and newcomer of the year, making him the fourth consecutive Cowboy to be named the Big 12's top player.

Individually, five different players combined to win seven times led by Hoffmann, who became the third player under McGraw's direction to earn the Phil Mickelson Award as the nation's top freshman. Hoffmann was also one of two players on the squad to reel in first-team All-America honors.

With three victories during the 2007-08 campaign, McGraw added to an already impressive resume by claiming his second-straight Big 12 Coach of the Year honor.

With their first victory coming in the fall at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational, the Cowboys closed with wins in two of their final four events. Following a convincing defense of its title at the Big 12 Championship, McGraw's squad ran its winning streak at The Maxwell to seven consecutive years.

Individually, the Cowboys continued to flourish under McGraw as well with four players earning All-America honors. Highlighting the quartet was first-team selection Rickie Fowler, who also became the first-ever freshman to win the Ben Hogan Award.

In the process, he became the third consecutive Cowboy to be named the Big 12 Player of the Year and the second OSU recipient of the league's newcomer of the year under McGraw.

In 2006-07, he guided the Cowboys to three team titles, including the school's fifth Big 12 crown, and produced his second Big 12 Player of the Year in Pablo Martin. McGraw was also named the Big 12 Coach of the Year after leading the program to its 50th conference championship.

No better script could have been written in McGraw's inaugural season at the helm as he guided the Cowboys to their 10th NCAA title.

After taking command of a talented squad that returned four starters and had won seven tournaments during the 2004-05 season, McGraw began his first year with lofty expectations and did not disappoint. He broke through with his first career victory at the Hall of Fame Invitational before collecting the team title at the Morris Williams Intercollegiate. However, the back-to-back titles were just a precursor to the success that would lie ahead as he guided the squad to three consecutive victories, including the NCAA Championship, to close out his rookie season.

After triumphs at The Maxwell and the NCAA Central Regional, McGraw delivered the school's 10th national title in Sunriver, Ore. at Crosswater Golf Club before being named the Dave Williams Award winner as the national coach of the year.

Just the third head coach in the 60-year history of the storied program, McGraw assumed the position held by former Cowboy head coach Mike Holder, who had manned the post since 1973.

"This job is a big responsibility, because I know how much this program has meant and means to Mike Holder," McGraw said. "I realize what a great job Labron Harris did and Mike built on that. That is why the position has a lot of responsibility, because I have to do the same thing they did. My expectations are to continue their success and try to make the program better."

A native of Ponca City, Okla., McGraw grew up in the shadows of the Cowboy program and has never been far from its reaches.

During his youth, McGraw watched as Holder brought his squad to Ponca City Country Club and spent numerous days on the course as a caddy for former OSU All-American Roger Brown.

"I was raised 40 miles north of here and knew all about the program when I was growing up," McGraw said. "I never dreamed I would be the head coach, so this opportunity means a lot from the standpoint that I have followed the program for more than 35 years and realize its stature."

McGraw was raised in a golf family as his father, Gervis, competed in the 1949 U.S. Open at Medina at the age of 19. His older brother, Tim, was a state champion at Ponca City High School and his twin sister, Patty, who played at OSU, has won nine Oklahoma amateur state titles and currently serves as the head women's golf coach at Central Oklahoma.

Prior to his appointment, he spent the 2004-05 season working as the head coach of the Cowgirl golf squad after a seven-year stint as an assistant with the men's team.

While leading the women's team, McGraw directed the Cowgirls to the 2005 Big 12 title and was named as the conference coach of the year in the process. Under his guidance, the squad produced two first-team All-Americans in Karin Sjodin and Annie Thurman-Young.

During his tenure as an assistant coach for the men's team, the Cowboys won 16 tournament titles, and produced 19 All-Americans. OSU enjoyed marked success at the NCAA Championship with McGraw on staff, winning its ninth national title in 2000 and posting four top-five finishes, including a pair of runner-up finishes.

Among his pupils were Charles Howell and Hunter Mahan, who both earned national player of the year honors, and fellow first-team All-Americans Bo Van Pelt and Anders Hultman.

In 2003, McGraw was named the inaugural recipient of the Jan Strickland Assistant Coach of the Year award, presented by TaylorMade-Adidas Golf, after spending the year in a dual role as assistant coach and tournament director for the NCAA Championship.

The following season, McGraw once again found himself with multiple roles within the OSU golf program, adding the title of assistant women's coach to his list of duties. He helped the Cowgirl squad to a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championship.

McGraw came to Stillwater in 1997 after heading the golf program at Edmond (Okla.) North High School for four seasons. Under his watch, the Huskies captured three state titles. Overall, his squads won 36 out of 46 tournaments entered and were runners-up on seven other occasions.

McGraw served as an assistant coach at Edmond Memorial High School from 1987 until 1993, helping the Bulldogs to six state championships in seven seasons.

The Daily Oklahoman's Coach of the Year in 1994, 1996 and 1997, he served as the President of the Oklahoma Golf Coaches Association in 1994.

During his time in Edmond, he coached a total of seven individual state champions and sent over 20 players on to play at the Division I level.

In addition to his coaching duties, McGraw served as the junior golf director at Kicking Bird Golf Course in Edmond for several years. He also taught in the Edmond Public Schools system from 1990-97.

As a player, McGraw was a three-year letter winner for Central Oklahoma and was named an honorable mention All-American in 1981 after finishing 16th at the NAIA Championship that season. He graduated from UCO with a bachelor's degree in broadcast communications in 1982.

Born April 18, 1960, McGraw and his wife, Pam, were married in October of 1996.
 

Cowboy Golf History
National Championships
Individual Champions
Players of the Year
All-Americans
Conference Championships
Coaching Legacy
 
Mike McGraw
Head Coach, 2005-Present

1 National Championship
4 Big 12 Championships
3 NCAA Regional Championships
16 Team Runner-Up Finishes
2-Time National Coach of the Year
4-Time Big 12 Coach of the Year
 
 
Mike Holder
During his 32-year coaching career, Mike Holder's name became synonymous with success in college golf.

His successes include not only his team's results on the course, but his players' performances in the classroom and beyond. His vision and fund-raising abilities resulted in the creation of Karsten Creek, a magnificent layout in Stillwater that serves as the home to the OSU golf program and was selected as the Best New Public Course in 1994 by Golf Digest magazine.

In 2000, Holder's team claimed the national championship, marking the eighth time his squad carried home that championship trophy. And while top-five national finishes are the norm at Oklahoma State, the accomplishments of his teams didn't stop at the 18th hole.

Since Holder took over the OSU coaching post on July 1, 1973, his teams set standards that were unequalled on the golf course as well as in the classroom.

While he coached more than 110 All-America selections, including 38 first-team choices, and has numerous former players competing on the PGA Tour, overseas and on mini-tours, Holder saw to it that his players excelled in the classroom as well.

During his tenure, OSU produced three Ben Hogan Award winners. Kevin Wentworth earned that honor in 1990, Trip Kuehne claimed the prestigious award in 1995 and Hunter Mahan was named the recipient in 2003.

During his tenure, only 14 times was a player named a first-team athletic All-America and academic All-America in the same season, and nine of those times that player was from Oklahoma State. Holder had 21 Academic All-America selections since the inception of that honor in 1984 as well as countless academic All-Big Eight and Big 12 selections.

The five regulars on his 1994 and 1995 teams all earned All-America honors and Academic All-Big Eight honors during both seasons, giving new definition to the term "student-athlete".

Holder was only the second golf coach in the history of the Cowboy program. Labron Harris coached the team from 1947 to 1973 and won 24 league titles and the 1963 NCAA Championship during his 27 years. Holder won 25 league crowns and eight national championships in his 32 seasons.

Since a fifth-place national finish in his inaugural season, Holder's teams finished lower than fourth at the NCAA Tournament just eight times, including a string of 13 first- or second-place finishes in 14 years from 1975-88. OSU placed first or second at the national tournament in 18 of the 32 seasons under his guidance, and his players won 22 conference individual titles in addition to five NCAA individual crowns.

Over those 32 seasons, Oklahoma State entered 448 tournaments and won 178 titles for a 39.7 winning percentage. OSU also posted 99 runner-up finishes, which means that OSU place first or second in 62 percent of its tournaments.

As a member of the OSU golf team from 1968-70, Holder earned honorable mention All-America honors as a sophomore and third-team status after his junior and senior seasons. In 1970, Holder captured Big Eight medalist honors while leading the Cowboys to the team league title.

After graduating in 1970 with a degree in marketing, Holder earned his MBA in 1973 and then assumed control of the Cowboy golf program.

The well-respected coach was a member of the seven-person NCAA Golf Committee from 1992 to 1998.

Mike Holder was one of five coaches all-time, regardless of sport, to have won national championships in four different decades.

Three times Holder had individual champions in the same year as the NCAA team title: 1978, 1987 and 2000.
 

Mike Holder
Head Coach, 1973-2005

8 National Championships
5 Individual National Champions
25 Conference Championships
18 Top-Two Finishes
26 Top-Five Finishes
 
Labron Harris
"The Father of OSU Golf"

When then-athletics director Henry Iba asked then OSU business professor Labron Harris to coach the first Cowboy golf team back in the 1946-47 season, Iba may or may not have known the significance of that hire.

Harris instantly gave OSU golf credibility, and success was inherent in the program from day one - on and off the course.

Harris' teams won 24 conference titles and one NCAA championship (1963), and his charges posted 20 top-five finishes at the national tournament during his 27 years as the school's head coach. And while those numbers are impressive, the fact that all but four players who played out their eligibility during his time were able to graduate is a tribute to the excellence that made up Oklahoma State golf then and is still a foundation of the school's success today.

Harris, who taught and inspired countless numbers of golfers - not only at OSU but also in Stillwater and across the country - with his approach to golf and life, retired on June 30, 1973 at the mandatory retirement age of 65.

He was largely responsible for the building of Lakeside Golf Course and the Stillwater Country Club, both in Stillwater. He served as the professional at Lakeside teaching the game to anyone who wanted to learn.

Harris was born Nov. 26, 1908, and grew up as one of 14 siblings in Dardanelle, Ark., until the family moved to Wewoka, Okla., when he was eight. He graduated from Wewoka High School in 1927 after playing basketball, baseball, track, tennis and football.

He then went to college at Southwestern in Weatherford, Okla., where he wrestled in the first match he ever saw and played tennis and golf before graduating in 1935. An outstanding tennis player, Harris played his first round of golf in 1930 at the Weatherford Country Club, and he soon became an accomplished golfer, winning 152 tournaments prior to his retirement.

At Oklahoma State he coached 31 All-America selections, as well as 1953 NCAA individual champion Earl Moeller. Among the OSU All-Americans he coached were Ab Justice, Dave Eichelberger, Bob Dickson, Mike Holder, Danny Edwards, Mark Hayes and 1968 NCAA medalist Grier Jones.

His son Labron, Jr. was an outstanding golfer at OSU earning All-America honors twice and also winning the U.S. Amateur in 1962. Harris, Sr. who lived in Sun City, Ariz., after retiring from Oklahoma State, died on August 14, 1995 at the age of 86.

Labron Harris
Head Coach, 1947-73
1 National Championship
2 Individual National Champions
24 Conference Championships
5 Team Runner-Up Finishes
20 Top-Five Finishes

 

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