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Wrestling Success at Oklahoma State by Athletic Director

A breakdown of who was at the helm during OSU’s 34 NCAA wrestling titles.



After my sit-down with OSU Athletic Director Mike Holder a few weeks ago, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the success wrestling at Oklahoma State has had under certain ADs, and here’s what I came up with.

Athletic Director Tenure NCAA Titles
Mike Holder 2005-Current 1
Harry Birdwell 2002-2005 3
Terry Don Phillips 1995-2002 0
Dave Martin(Interim) 1993-1995 1
Jim Garner 1990-1993 0
Myron Roderick 1983-1990 2
Richard Young 1978-1983 0
Floyd Gass 1971-1978 1
Henry Iba 1938-1970 17
Ed Gallagher 1915-1938 9
Total 34

Ed Gallagher was the AD and wrestling coach during most of his tenure at OSU. The NCAA wrestling tournament didn’t become official until 1928, so Gallagher, whose teams won multiple AAU titles early in his career, would have almost certainly won more had the NCAA sanctioned wrestling at the time.

Henry Iba had the longest tenure of any AD at OSU and along with it had the most NCAA titles, as Gallagher won a few more as a coach after stepping down as AD. Iba hired Art Griffith in 1940 and Myron Roderick in 1956. Each won multiple titles with Griffith winning eight and Roderick winning seven.

Following Iba, the pattern moved to either zero, one, two or three titles per athletic director. One of the most significant factors in that change was Dan Gable. Gable came on at Iowa in 1975 and coached the Hawkeyes all the way to 1997, dominating the sport for the period.

Joe Seay, who was hired by Myron Roderick in 1985, pulled OSU out of their longest streak without winning an NCAA title by winning in 1989-90.

After Seay was let go, Jim Gardner hired John Smith, who has since won five NCAA titles. Interestingly, Smith’s titles were spread under various ADs. Smith won one with Dave Martin, three with Harry Birdwell and one in Mike Holder’s first year as the OSU athletic director.

Holder, who as an AD won only one title in his first year, has the longest streak of any athletic director at Oklahoma State to not win an NCAA title in wrestling, which is now at thirteen years. OSU never won an NCAA wrestling title in eight years with Terry Don Phillips at the helm, and Floyd Gass had a seven-year period without a title. Former head coach Myron Roderick didn’t win one in the first six years of his tenure.

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