Oklahoma State director of athletics Mike Holder has announced that Mike McGraw will not return as the head coach of the Cowboy golf team.
McGraw became head coach of the prestigious OSU program in the fall of 2005 when Holder left the position to assume his duties as athletic director. McGraw had joined OSU as an assistant coach in 1997 and spent seven seasons with the Cowboys. In 2004-2005, he served as the head coach of the OSU women’s program before moving back to the men’s team to succeed Holder.
McGraw was just the third coach in the history of the OSU men’s program, which has won 10 of the school’s 51 national team championships. His first season as head coach ended with the Cowboys’ most recent national title in 2006. He just missed a second trophy with a runner-up finish in 2010, and his 2010-2011 team won eight tournaments, including a fifth straight Big 12 title.
Most observers feel McGraw would have likely won two more national titles with the dream team of Rickie Fowler, Peter Uihlein, Morgan Hoffmann and Kevin Tway if the college coaches led by Holder’s urging had left the NCAA Championship format stroke play instead of switching to match play in 2009. The Cowboys were top-ranked and favored in both 2009 and 2010 but were upset in the match play portion.
"This was not an easy decision," Holder said. "I could go on forever about what a good man Mike McGraw is, but at the end of the day, I had to do what I felt was in the best interest of the program."
McGraw’s 2012 team became the first OSU golf team in 65 years not to advance to the NCAA Championship. It returned in 2013 but was not a factor, finishing 14th after a strong final round. The Cowboys won one of 14 tournaments in 2012-13, the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate in October.
McGraw lost out on some high profile recruits including Jordan Spieth to Texas and Taylor Moore to Arkansas, but was successful in keeping most of the top Oklahoma players at home. Ian Davis of Edmond had a top-10 finish at the NCAA and he and Talor Gooch of Midwest City have been the Cowboys steadiest players. Davis was an honorable mention All-American in 2013.
It was not immediately known what impact the firing would have on Oklahoma State’s incoming freshman class including Brenden Jelley of Jenks or its verbal commitments for 2014, which include two-time state junior champion Hayden Wood and Edmond North teammates Nick Heinen, two-time Class 6A runnerup.