Oklahoma State fired coach Frank Anderson on Tuesday after nine seasons. Anderson led the Cowboys to a 329-208 record (123-113 in the Big 12), including a 32-25 mark this season. The Cowboys made regionals in six of his nine seasons, including last season, but a poor Ratings Percentage Index ranking kept them out of the NCAA tournament this season after a fifth-place finish in the Big 12.
It's worth noting that this season was the first time during Anderson's tenure that the Cowboys enjoyed a full allotment of 11.7 scholarships, according to the Oklahoman, which blamed the repeated scholarship reductions on "administrative mistakes."
"When Frank took this job, no one anticipated that he would have to endure five years of very significant scholarship reductions due to miscalculations by the compliance office," athletic director Mike Holder said in a statement. "This occurred in baseball and several other equivalency sports at OSU. Even though Frank was not responsible for the errors, he accepted his fate with a positive attitude and never used the situations as an excuse. I commend him for his loyal service to OSU and regret that he didn't get nine years with a full allotment of scholarships and a level playing field with the competition."
The Cowboys also must make an investment in their aging stadium in order to keep up with the other powers in the Big 12. Nevertheless, the job should attract no shortage of qualified candidates, because OSU is steeped in winning tradition and should be able to muster plenty of financial resources if the administration wants to increase its commitment.
The Oklahoman offered a number of intriguing names as potential candidates for the job: Vanderbilt assistant Josh Holliday (son of former Oklahoma State coach and current N.C. State coach Tom Holliday); Oral Roberts head coach Rob Walton; Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso; New Mexico State coach Rocky Ward (son of former OSU coaching great Gary Ward, who serves as Rocky's assistant); and former Arizona State coach Pat Murphy.
Those first four names all have OSU ties (Trapasso and Walton both pitched for the Cowboys), and all five deserve strong consideration. Walton might be the favorite; he has led ORU to regionals in each of his nine seasons as head coach and also served as Team USA's head coach in 2008. And his coaching peers have long raved about Walton's ability to develop talent and get the most out of his players.
A couple other names to throw into the mix: New Mexico coach Ray Birmingham, who has led the Lobos to three straight regionals, and Arkansas assistant Todd Butler, one of the region's premier recruiters.
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