OSU baseball coach will finish last year of contract

Tuesday, July 2nd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ Oklahoma State University's embattled baseball coach will be allowed to finish the last year of his contract, Athletic Director Harry Birdwell announced Tuesday.

Birdwell, in his second day on the job, made the announcement after a 90-minute meeting between coach Tom Holliday and OSU President James Halligan. Reports of the meeting led to speculation earlier this week that Holliday would be fired.

``I know that there are members of the OSU family on both sides of this issue, thinking it's time for a change and thinking we should honor the contract commitment to coach Holliday,'' Birdwell said.

He said former athletic director Terry Don Phillips made an assessment of Holliday's performance over the last year. Phillips recommended that the coach's contract not be extended, but that the school should honor the remaining year.

``Fairness suggests that 36 hours into a new job, it would be very difficult to make a decision that is harsher than that that was made by my predecessor,'' Birdwell said.

Birdwell said he explained to Holliday that the coach needed to meet certain requirements including team performance, personal conduct and the experience of student athletes.

Birdwell would not comment on Holliday's future after the upcoming year, and did not say whether the coach's contract would be renewed. Birdwell said the coach wasn't being evaluated solely on his win-loss record.

Holliday, appearing tired, spoke briefly and did not answer questions.

``It was probably the greatest exchange of information that I've had in a long, long time,'' Holliday said of his meeting with Birdwell. ``I think I've grown more in the last two hours than I have in five or six years. It's been a very uncomfortable couple of days for both of us.''

Holliday has been head baseball coach at OSU for six years, compiling a 247-127 record.

His teams have missed the NCAA Baseball Tournament in two of the last three years. The 2000 season was the first in 20 years where the Cowboys did not qualify for postseason play.