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Dean: The Bigger Story Behind Weiberg's Hiring At OSU

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Oklahoma State has hired alumnus Chad Weiberg as the school’s new deputy director of athletics. That’s the known, in a situation in Stillwater that has many unknown answers to major questions. Including, how long OSU lifer/former legendary golf coach/current AD, will remain in his current position?  

Related: Weiberg Returns To Oklahoma State As Deputy Director of Athletics

I’ve spent a lot of time the past six weeks researching the story, talking with multiple sources—several with over forty years tied in one way or another to the program -- trying to put the pieces of a puzzle together that appeared complex.

However, it seems in the end that the truly important question comes back to where most high-level decisions are made: Money. Follow the money, stupid.

First, Weiberg seems as safe a lock as a homerun hire as a program could find. Deep Poke blood, impeccable pedigree – including being named the 2014 National Fundraiser of the Year while Associate A.D. at Kansas State – and young enough as a 1994 grad to make an indelible impression. And no small matter, Weiberg comes with a reputation as being able to work with people, the opposite from Holder, who has alienated himself from his coaches, some athletes and fans, along with several influential university personalities. Some of those folks have been determined to see a change at A.D. , gaining steam as the problems continue.

Those seemingly self-inflicted wounds are well-known to many in this state: the disastrous Travis Ford 10-year contract extension; the inability to keep what seemed to be keep his own homerun hire of basketball coach Brad Underwood more than one year; and the stunning discord with the most important person in Stillwater right now: football coach Mike Gundy. Never thought I’d say this but I’ve finally come around to believe Gundy has been so disgusted that he’d leave his Yankee job for greener pastures.

Sources told me specifics about business decisions that were perplexing, if not insulting. Unnecessary money-related decisions that cost insiders appropriate profits.  

To be fair, the 68-year-old Holder has been good to me since we bumped into other at any number of golf tournaments I was covering or playing in. He’s been a loyal trooper and fund-raiser extraordinaire. Even his critics tell stories of the charm he turns on, mostly in fundraising situations. His recruitment of Boone Pickens and single-handedly making the immaculate Karsten Creek become a reality are monumental accomplishments.

Which brings us back to the money issue. OSU knows it can’t humiliate the man who holds the purse strings.  And I’m not talking about the Pickens – the booster of all boosters. I’m talking about 51-year Cowboy vet Mike Holder.

Reportedly, Holder is the executor to the 88-year old Pickens’ estate. We’re talking big money. Millions of dollars OSU wants to make sure it gets.  Curiously,  multiple sources told me they’d heard that Boone might have gone “belly up.” No source could confirm that and I seriously doubt it – some tell me it’s more likely Boone shifted funds from a failing trust OSU is familiar with, to another investment.  

Simply,  if the money is not there, the concern for hurting feelings is not a big deal. If the money is there, which I’d bet on, the movers and shakers running things in Stillwater know they must tread softly.

The hiring of Weiberg as what seems to be A.D.-in-waiting, the first public move has been made.

The next move involves Holder. The big one. Three avenues appear to be in the mix. One, Holder has had enough and retires. Two, Holder is presented with the option of remaining in a fundraising role – which seems to be to as one source told me, “move him aside in a new fancy fundraising role that would be announced as some kind of a promotion but in reality would be just the opposite.”

The third is to part ways, preferably in a professional way, with Holder.  A hall-of-famer who has legions of devoted supporters. And a growing list of people who have been worn slick by self-induced wounds.  

Whether Holder’s reign is over in a week or decade, one prevailing fact will remain. To find the answers, follow the money, stupid.   

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