Report: Holder Used Travis Ford’s Record To Negotiate With Underwood

In an article published by NewsOK, Berry Tramel discussed the circumstances that reportedly led to Brad Underwood’s departure from Oklahoma State.

Apparently, as reported earlier, contract negotiations became a bit contentious with Brad Underwood even getting up to leave a meeting between the two sides, according to Tramel’s article.

Oddly, Doug Gottlieb noted on Sunday that Underwood was doing his own negotiating instead of using his agent (Gottlieb also said they share an agent).

Here’s a particularly damning statement made by a source to Tramel.

The source said that Underwood was told by Holder that Ford won more games in his first year than did Underwood and went on to make five NCAA Tournaments. The source said that Underwood was so angry he got up to leave the office at that point, though Holder convinced him to stay.

“I think that was really hurtful,” the source said. “I believe that was the dagger.”

Now maybe this is just the type of hardball Div. I athletic directors play behind closed doors. I’ll admit it. I’m not an expert.

But I seriously doubt that the “loyal and true” crowd who want to believe that OSU is in to win, will take kindly to Mike Holder offending (and effectively running off) his most popular basketball coach in a decade.

Holder also reportedly compared OSU to being on the level of Iowa State, Texas Tech and Kansas State in the Big 12.

Oh, the layers.

For one, Iowa State has not lost to Oklahoma State in years. But let’s not throw all of that on Brad Underwood. The Tech comparison is insulting, though true as it may be. Again, not necessarily Underwood’s fault. The Kansas State (Underwood’s alma mater) may have been perceived as the cheapest of shots.

“He was going to Illinois the moment Holder said that to him,” the source said. “What he was looking for, Holder’s vision for the program, ‘I believe you can get us up to KU and Bill Self and blah-blah,’ and that just wasn’t what he heard.”

And let’s be honest, devaluing a program (which you run) to a coach who is still probably getting some of his mail forwarded is not the best of looks.

As more reports come out, narratives may change. But one thing is certain. It does not benefit anyone involved with a school for its athletic director to spend this much time in the news.

The pressure was already on Mike Holder. This only ratchets it up.

  • David Einstein

    So Underwood got mad at the facts?

    • UrbanCowboy

      Facts are mean.

      • David Einstein

        My knee-jerk reaction was calling for Holder’s head. Now it appears as though he’s running the show the way it should be ran…with facts and accountability. Why waste money on another Ford? That’s not even remotely in our best interest.

        • Saucy Takes

          Another ford…. Dude…

          • David Einstein

            What’s the difference after their first year?

            I’ll tell you one, Ford actually cared about the players. I know that because even after he struggled…that’s the one thing everybody knew about Ford.

          • Saucy Takes

            Look at carrolls and Solomons progression and Jawun. You can’t compare apples to oranges. The big 12 is the strongest it’s been top to bottom in some time. We went from running out shot clocks to scoring at will. You are taking a very small sample size he took a 12-20 team to 20-13. Ford I’m pretty sure took an NIT team to the tourny the next year. If you could t see a difference you blinded

          • Guest

            Jawun is elite no matter who is coaching him. He’s essentially Ford inheriting James Anderson.

            You can point to Ford’s development of Eaton and Marshall Moses in his first year similarly to Carroll and Solomon.

            There are a lot of similarities everywhere. Nate had a ton of very good tweets to be cautiously optimistic with how poor our defense has been all year. Underwood has never coached at a place with 100% of his guys that he recruited. Giving that much money is crazy and Underwood is not a for sure thing.

          • Chris Hall

            I dont think he needed 3 mill yet but i do think he deserved a lil more then 2.2 imo

          • David Einstein

            Agree with this post.

          • David Einstein

            Jawun was fantastic the day he stepped on campus.. It’s not coaching that makes him good. What would Underwood’s record be if Jawun and Phil were injured all year?

          • Saucy Takes

            Nash was good the day he stepped on campus…. He stunk until the end of his junior year. Was supposed to be a one and done

          • Chris Hall

            Nash got better when he moved more inside the arc finally

          • Saucy Takes

            Poor coaching

          • David Einstein

            Yep.

          • StillOriginal

            The difference…Underwood actually had them headed in the right direction.

          • Saucy Takes

            Light bulbs

          • David Einstein

            How do you know we were headed in the right direction? You know the result of Ford based on years, but not Underwood.

          • Saucy Takes

            By the on court performance against a monster big 12

          • David Einstein

            Like a 1-8 record against Kansas, Iowa State, West Virginia and Baylor?

          • Saucy Takes

            Excluding WVU at home we lost those games by an average of less than 7 and only one of those by more than 10. All those teams have more talent than us

          • David Einstein

            Still lost.

          • Saucy Takes

            You are looking at things through a tunnel. Everyone That watched games this year said they could tell the difference in effort competitiveness offensive rythem. So if Gottlieb comes in next year and goes 14-18 should we fire him?

          • Saucy Takes

            Should we consider him worse than ford and underwood

          • KWC

            You don’t fire a coach after one year. That is just a silly question. But 14-18, would be a concern. You would consider him to be worse after one year than those two. In the long run, who knows? Can’t make a ton of judgements off of one year. That is what David and I are saying.

          • Saucy Takes

            Right in the long run it looked like underwood was going to be much better than ford. And the AD mismanaged a relationship. I think money was an excuse and a good excuse to not to have to work for holder

          • KWC

            I wonder how we felt after Fords first year? That was pretty exciting. But our most recent memory of Ford was bad. I think Underwood fit better in the OSU culture, but that does not mean he was going to have much greater on court success. I can’t argue much about Holder. He has done a great job managing building and getting Boones money. However, there are some definite question marks in managing relationships.

          • Saucy Takes

            Holder sold his soul to Boone, that’s why ford was here so long Boone liked Ford.. Ironic because he doesn’t care for gundy someone who actually wins

          • KWC

            There is no doubt about that. Ford was around longer because he was liked by Boone but also due to his large buyout. Holder was not going to pay him 10 million to not coach here. I have never understood why he balks at all things Gundy. Gundy’s only problem has been OU…

          • David Einstein

            I give every coach at OSU the benefit of the doubt. You’ll rarely ever see me on here calling for a coaches job unless they’ve lost control of the program with cheating, etc.

          • Saucy Takes

            But with your logic Gottlieb has to go 24-11 next year and to the sweet 16 to be better than ford. And 21-13 to and a first round win to be better than BU

          • David Einstein

            I was just comparing Underwood/Ford. I won’t have to worry about Doug holding a new contract over our head like Underwood was.

          • Saucy Takes

            That wasn’t the question but the dodge answered it

          • KWC

            I mean if you are going to want 3 million a year… I would start by having a better first year than the person before you.

          • Saucy Takes

            Apples to oranges tougher non conference and conference than fords first year

          • Saucy Takes

            Our strength of schedule was top 10 some top 4-5 by almost every metric

          • KWC

            Non conference was probably tougher, but how much? Ford had Michigan State and Gonzaga his first year. Plus conference schedule was pretty similar in terms of toughness. Big 12 was still tough in those years. Also, Apples and Oranges are both fruit… Not that dissimilar.

          • KWC

            You are not wrong, but in Ford’s first year they went from a bad offensive team under Sean Sutton, to one of the better offensive teams in the nation (plus gave up a ton of points). These are facts, but when thinking of Ford and Underwood most are taking all of Fords years and how we felt at the end to Underwood’s one year.

          • Chris Hall

            Lol well he at least had a winning record against press virginia where he is 2-1 and hey he did go 2-0 againdt ou lol doesnt that mean ne thing when u beat ou twice in one season lol.

          • UrbanCowboy

            Again with the “mean” facts.

          • StillOriginal

            You wasn’t knocking Underwood last week when I was reading your comments. Because he had GIA rocking, of course. That’s what the tenth fastest coach to reach 100 wins can provide. I base the results on their coaching records.

          • David Einstein

            I defended Ford too. I assumed Underwood was someone we were being patient with. That’s why I didn’t bash him. Now that I know what was going on behind the door, it’s obvious he didn’t want to earn his money like I assumed he was.

          • StillOriginal

            What more did you want him to do his first year? GIA had multiple sellouts. Number 1 efficient offense in the country. Won both bedlam games. It’s not his fault Travis Ford recruits weren’t capable of playing defense. Underwood got all he could of out Travis Ford recruits.

          • David Einstein

            It was also empty a lot. A lot of the massive crowds were against teams that traveled well like Kansas and Arkansas. WVU was a huge discount game and Bedlam was on a Saturday night.

          • Saucy Takes

            I went to a lot of games this year a couple during the week crowds were better. And ford had that same luxury. They always had $5 four packs and stuff. Even free admission with can food item

          • David Einstein

            I thought it was similar to when Smart was playing. It wasn’t anything to give this guy Final 4 money though.

          • UrbanCowboy

            YES SIR!!! 1000% Agree.

          • Chris Hall

            Ford brought suckage lol i went to regionals and super in baseball. He wasnt at regionals and we won it. He went to supers and we lost lol

          • David Einstein

            Hahaha. Thanks Ford.

          • Chris Hall

            I know it wasnt him but he was best scapegoat we had for terriblness at that time but its funny that it happened. I let him know that to after we lost and he was stanfing there.

          • David Einstein

            He’s a good dude. He struggled coaching, but he treated players with respect. I’ll take that integrity all day over what Underwood did.

          • Chris Hall

            Oh i def dont like what brad did by ne means. I mean u gave ur pmayers no respect by not talking to them about it and thats what makes me feel like he is paper chasing. But the man really did deserve a lil more then 2.2 but like i said its all our opinions lol

          • David Einstein

            Opinions for sure. We all want the end result anyhow. I enjoy the debates on here. Cheers.

          • Chris Hall

            Hell yea we want wins and get back to sutton days.

          • KWC

            I laugh every time I see people bring up his coaching record. I get winning is hard, but lets not act like he was playing tournment level competition all year long or anything close. OSU was more talented than any team he had SFA, and lost 12 games. Why? Because of actual competition on a weekly basis.

          • StillOriginal

            That’s why he took his SFA team further than Ford took OSU.

          • KWC

            I wasn’t even talking about Ford here. I was talking about Underwoods record being a bit misleading. Also, he took SFA exactly as far as Ford took OSU. Round of 32.

          • StillOriginal

            Underwoods team at SFA weren’t made up of 3 and 4 star recruits but still managed to go 18-0 his first season. Won the Southland Conference. The XII is by far a higher level competition compared to the Southland conference. In another words, the players he had at SFA weren’t the same level of recruits as what Ford had. But still managed to make it the second round. Ford couldn’t of done that.

        • Michael Mitchell

          Completely agree David. Underwood couldn’t hack the truth. Lucky for him Illinois was willing to give him his inflated asking price.

          If he doesn’t immediately produce, that AD will have a “Ford” situation on his hands.

          No thanks. We need someone that’s loyal and can take criticism from a boss without getting butt hurt.

          • StillOriginal

            You also need an AD who appreciates an excellent coach.

          • Saucy Takes

            Yeah I’m not saying underwood is the next bill self, but he was doing things and it was obvious. At least garnish a relationship where a guy respects you. Holder can’t do that with gundy either

          • Michael Mitchell

            I agree. And I’m certainly not a Holder fan but I’m not sure he was unreasonable with his offer of 2.2 million.

          • Chris Hall

            No but i think he should have got a lil more. I think he should have at least got 2.6 or 2.7 and i think he still be here. With that much ur up at decent level with some big 12 coaches. I mean go look at the teams he compared us to and see whzt there coaches are making and sure its more then 2.2

          • Saucy Takes

            I truly believe money was a great excuse for him not to deal with holder in general

        • Sad!

          Another Ford? Another Ford?! Einstein, you have been all in on Brad the entire season. You can’t go back on everything you’ve said the past 5 months about how Underwood was great and the future and then suddenly act like he was just “another Ford”. That doesn’t work. Pathetic.

        • Sad!
        • Sad!
        • Nicholas D.

          Exactly. Illinois: if you wanna take all the risk on an over-hyped, unproven coach who had stroke of beginner’s luck, knock yourself out. Don’t let the door hit ya, Underwood. Right, David?

        • Nicholas D.

          Highly disagree. Illinois is the one who just took candy from the OSU baby.

    • Chris Hall

      The point is were there because of Ford not Brad so dont compare after first season. I truly believe we win more games with shine playing.

      • David Einstein

        Ford inherited a way worse situation in my opinion.

        • StillOriginal

          And left it the same, if not worse.

          • David Einstein

            He left Jawun Evans, Phil Forte, Jeffrey Carroll…

          • StillOriginal

            C’mon David, JC averged no better than 4 and 3 for his career before Underwood.

          • Chris Hall

            I think evans got alot better in passing this year and carroll, solomon and dillard were completely different players under him then ford. They played better under him.

          • Saucy Takes

            At the beginning of the year none of those guys would have started at ISU or KU

          • David Einstein

            Evans would start at both. They would have moved their lineups around to make it happen. You’re severely underrating how good Jawun is.

          • Saucy Takes

            Wrong monte Moris would have started over Jawun. Jawun would start his junior year. FRANK MASON Isn’t going to sit behind Jawun

          • David Einstein

            They would have Evans/Morris and Evans/Mason in the backcourt at the same. At KU, that’s really easy to do in their motion offense.

          • Philo Farnsworth

            You lose all credibility with this statement

          • StillOriginal

            Who are you?

          • Philo Farnsworth

            It’s like underwood saying he should get 3 million cause they only won 12 games. Underwood inherited a much better situation. Why are we still talking about t ford? You guys are so obsessed. Who are you?

        • Chris Hall

          I am not saying brad was right but the difference he made on players was great. Ford didnt do that. Look at what carrol and dillard did after ford left. Just things like that i think he deserved a lil more respect then holder was giving him. I think hrle shoulda got paid a lil more then 2.2 mill. Let him bring in his actual guys and see what happenes. I mean averette was pretty decent and mcgriff i believe will be a very good player. Our next coach has to be a good coach who can get players to progress like brad did. Though we do need coach who can teach def no matter what.

          • David Einstein

            Ford took James Anderson from 13PPG to Big 12 player of the year. Forte and Evans were hurt last year so they made Underwood look brilliant. Carroll is the only player that drastically improved.

          • StillOriginal

            What did he do with his 5 star LeBryan Nash? I guarantee if Nash played for Underwood he would of been drafted to the league by or before his junior year. Travis Ford didn’t maximum LeBryan Nash.

          • David Einstein

            Solomon improved a lot under Brad too. So two players improved, but not like James Anderson did.

          • Chris Hall

            I dont think ford was a good coach because his team did not come around like brads team did.

          • David Einstein

            I don’t get this? They actually performed better. If a Forte and Jawun were healthy last year then we would nkt have been nearly as bad.

          • Chris Hall

            How were they better. They were 2-7 before they lost evans.

          • David Einstein

            That was comparing their first seasons each. I had to correct that statement because it looked like I was comparing last year to this year.

          • Chris Hall

            Got ya

          • David Einstein

            First year team under Ford performed better that is.

  • Saucy Takes

    What a prick… Anyone knows that’s not professional at all. And honestly if you couldn’t tell there was a better brand of basketball and more competitive brand on the court you are delusional. Holder is the reason people are arguing over coaching and salaries to begin with he screwed up with ford and should pay the price. Can him

    • David Einstein

      Football, wrestling and baseball are doing just fine.

      • Saucy Takes

        In Football we have issues with gundy every year… And basketball has been a circus.. The other sports don’t generate revenue

        • Chris Hall

          I think baseball needs a new stadium and i think gundy has done enough to earn a pretty damn good raise but problem is big 12 coaches are gonna leave for pac 12, big ten and sec because of how much money there bringing in off tv deals. So those schools can pay big bucks to football and basketball.

          • Saucy Takes
          • Saucy Takes

            We doing alright.

          • Saucy Takes

            What’s wrong with Allie P? The field looks great, the stadium had more than enough seating? And we just went to Omaha? Baseball doesn’t generate profit why put capital into it.

    • Darryl

      Well Holder did offer double Underwood’s salary. So there is that for Holder. Just was not enough for Underwood.

      • Saucy Takes

        True I agree and I think it’s more than money I think holders attitude was major turnoff for underwood. I also don’t blame underwood for taking 3M over “2.2M” my wife would be pissed if I didn’t take that kind of raise

  • Cowboydroid

    Holder must go. He is cancer to the program.

  • Russell Wright

    #FireHolder #BringDougHome

    • swaggypaw

      don’t doug it

  • StillOriginal

    Even to the smallest of detail matter. Go back and watch the videos that this blog puts out. Which I appreciate, personally. Multiple times last year Jeffrey Carroll missed games because he was “sick”. When in reality, it was his poor eating habits and nutrition. How many games did he miss this year? Underwoods coaching staff provided so much for this team. Another video, they asked Leyton and Jeffrey what their routine was during road games last year. What was their response? Going to hotel and relaxing the night before. What were they doing this year when Underwood took over? They were in the gym…the same night they arrived, getting use to their rims and running team shooting drills. Underwood is a helluva coach.

    • Chris Hall

      Amen agree with u. Ford had one good thing and that was recruiting. As a coach who got most out of people was brad by far. I hate he left but hey maybe we can pull donavan out of okc lol

  • Stuart Anderson

    I imagine Underwood said he needs $2.9 million and Holder came back with why he was having trouble with giving him $2.9 million after one season. Holder also supposedly said to Underwood he will get him to $3 million in several years. Bottom line is Underwood wanted $3 million now instead of having to show he was worth it at OSU. Greed does that to people.

  • Saucy Takes

    We can all agree the reason we are arguing about OSU basketball right now is because of 10 year ford deal regaurdless of underwood situation. So get to the root and get rid of that fraud AD

    • David Einstein

      Agree with that. So why are we bashing the AD for not doing it again?

      • Stephen j

        I think everyone is frustrated because the lesson probably was okay to give him $3 million but just don’t give him a 10 year deal with no buyout. No one was upset with ford salary until like year 5 and we had no alternatives to get out. Just have a better buyout clause.

  • TK_1

    Holder just seems like he’s from a different, older generation where the boss called the shots and didn’t expect to get input or expect anything more than deference from his employees. That’s a bygone era. Relationships with your employees matter. Its time to give someone else a shot in that chair.

    • swaggypaw

      #babyboomermentality

  • Saucy Takes

    What gets me is people say well underwood was about like ford.. That’s a load of crap people are just butt hurt,you could see a difference if you understand the sport. If Gottlieb would have been the coach this year and went 17-15. The follow up would be “It was year one” “right direction” “wait until he gets his guys” “it will take time” and anyone that said man ford out performs Gottlieb would be ripped for it.

  • StillOriginal

    I truly believe Underwood came here for the right reasons. He talked about history, tradition, culture…that is Oklahoma State Basketball. Mike Holder just does not get it when it comes to basketball. Period.

    • Chris Hall

      The problem lol this school used to be kansas in a way up until les abd gundy became coaches. This school used to be basketball, baseball, wrestling and golf school. Now football is relevant now.

  • SingingCowboy

    Key point from Berry’s article is that Underwood felt like Holder did not value the basketball program. Why spend the little time you’ve got on this earth pouring your heart and soul into program at a place where your effort will not receive the appreciation it deserves. Underwood is a good coach. He may very well turn out to be a great coach. The thing is he was aiming for the stars and expects to compete and win at the highest level, and Holder didn’t just tell him he’s not there yet. Holder made him feel like he didn’t share those goals. Nobody wants to hear they’re working at a place where their achievement isn’t appreciated. It’s a bad move by Holder, and the word will spread to other coaches. Oh, and then he said he was blindsided. The guy can’t see his own errors. There’s a fine line between being shrewd and being unappreciative and cheap. Holder came off as the latter, and Underwood went to Illinois.

    • Chris Hall

      Exactly

  • OrangeTuono

    Just another Mike Holder day-late-and-dollar-short cost account strategy.

    Holder has proven he is not capable of taking OSU to the “next level” on the money sports.

  • StillOriginal

    PFB, since Ford and Underwood are no longer here and Forte and Leyton have both graduated, can you ask their opinions on 1) How they would compare playing for Ford vs. Underwood? 2) Who they would rather play for? Since they spent enough time with both and know them better than any of us.

  • mike watkins

    ok st has made a mistake underwood can coach and would have raised the team up in the coming years. he took S.F.A. to new heights with far less talent than he could have brought to ok st this is pure bs to let a guy walk after one year

  • Philo Farnsworth

    Can we just all agree that Underwood sold out his players and turned out to be a con man in search of $… He fooled everyone!!! Underwood made a point of saying “this team won 12 games last year” & was riding that as some big point in why he should be paid 3 mill a season… Nevermind it was without phil or jawun!!! The only thing we now know for sure is when BU stood in the locker room after the Michigan game with JC’s arm around the coach he believed in, underwood said this-
    “I don’t think there’s one coach here who will ever forget anything that’s gone on this year. We had a lot of fun. We had a lot of heartbreak. Young guys, we have a lot of work to do. We’ll be back. For you two seniors, I’m sorry it ended this way, but I’m happy that you were part of a team that I coached. I’m not happy, I’m ecstatic.”
    Knowing the whole time that a few hours later he’d stab all of them in the back… That’s the kind of POS he turned out to be!!!

    • StillOriginal

      Nah, Mike Holder was trying to fool Underwood when he offered him 2.2 mil a year. He wanted league average. Travis Ford averaged 2.4 mil a year. Underwood knows his worth whether you agree or not.

  • OKsailor

    I don’t hear anything in the article to be upset about. Underwood asks for 3mil, Holder comes back with what Ford was paid after his first year with a comparable record. Also compares us to 3 conference schools whose coaches make 2-2.2mil. The 2.2mil offered was double his salary and I’m sure if he wins conference and NCAA tourney games it can go up from there but asking to be the 3rd highest paid coach in the Big 12 after one year is a bit much. Again if he really believed all that crap he said about tradition and the school he should have been able to see that money was coming his way at the place he supposedly wanted to be.

  • OKsailor

    In the article Cox himself said we haven’t beaten Iowa State in years and Hoiberg made 2.2mil and Prohm got hired at 1.5mil.

  • BA

    How do you think Gundy would have felt if Underwood got a $2m raise for going .500 in conference play while his contract status is up in the air? You can’t pay based solely on potential, some has to be based on performance. That why I thought the 2.2 offer was fair.

    • BA

      However I 100% agree that some of the alleged things that holder said during the negotiations were bothersome.

  • Cole Shelton

    Sure, what Holder said was true, but do you really throw that in your new coach’s face? Of course it’s going to piss him off, if you don’t know that, then you don’t know how to relate to people. And that appears to be the problem.

    I think if you had a personable AD that knew how to relate, he could have got Underwood to stay for something less than 3 mil (prob not 2.2).

    I don’t buy Underwood as the bad guy here. The AD’s job is to keep the talent here and part of that is building a strong relationship and he failed at that. You got blindsided? That’s your fault. Even Fran Fraschilla said “I knew negotiations weren’t going well”. How the hell does he know that and the AD doesn’t think there is a problem? How does he not expect that his guy, who everyone is anointing the next great coach, to be recruited by numerous teams?

    This is almost all on Holder. I don’t buy the comparisons between Ford and Underwood being similar. Their history before OSU is way different, and honestly when we hired Ford from UMASS my first thought was “This guy really hasn’t done much”. I didn’t think that about Underwood.

  • Fogle

    That is craziness to think ford is even close to underwood. And to think with a year or two of him actually bringing in his type of players that fit his system. I honestly think underwood will be successful wherever he is no matter the location. MAN CAN COACH! I don’t know what happens behind close doors with Holder, but it honestly seems like he isn’t well liked to say the least. I blame him!

  • OSUgary

    It seems simple to me …

    Mike: what do you want Coach?
    Brad: I want 3m & 5 years
    Mike: Done! You got your 3m
    Mike: I want GIA filled with season ticket sales next yr and Sweet 16 next yr – Elite 8 following yr & Final 4 in yr 3
    ….Go recruit the next Fan 5 and maybe we can be there in 2 yrs? Either way …You can have your 3m for 3 yrs …I’m rootin’ for you all the way and all the ghosts of GIA are right there with me …Btw…I’ll bump your recruiting budget also!
    Get her’ done Brad baby!!
    We will revisit your Contract at end of yr 3..