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June 25, 2016

Trey Cobb

Corey Hassel

Josh Holliday

Omaha, Nebraska

Arizona - 5, Oklahoma State - 1.

THE MODERATOR: Josh, we'll start off once again with an overview, please.

COACH HOLLIDAY: Thank you. Congratulations to Arizona. They took a tough road through the bracket, and compliments to their kids for coming back after losing a ballgame and beating us a couple of times there. It's not an easy thing to do. So hats off to Arizona.

I just really want to celebrate my team. What an amazing accomplishment for us. When you think about, I don't think since 1990 has Oklahoma State played this deep into the College World Series. That's a long time ago. And 26 years; is that right? I'm not great with math. Yeah, 26, right? There you go.

So I think the thing that -- at the end of the year, I don't know how you're prepared to have this press conference or the message, because I didn't anticipate losing, but what an amazing collection of kids to bring us here, to bring our fans here, to bring our alumni together, to make OSU baseball something special that people are rallying around, and to do it in the way we did by taking on great challenges, overcoming adversity, with a gritty, gritty tough bunch of kids, they should be celebrated.

And I'm so grateful they're here. I kind of get grossed out in these press conferences when coaches sit up here and tell you how smart they are, what a great job they've done to get them here. Our kids brought us here. They brought us here. Tommy Hatch brought us here. Corey Hassel brought us here. Trey Cobb and Donovan Walton. I could go down the list. They brought OSU to the College World Series. They did it with unity, they did it with pride, and they just are really special.

And I'm just going to -- the only thing that's going to change is we don't get to go to practice tomorrow or get ready for one more three-game series or share one more meal. But our relationships and what we've accomplished as a group and the impression they've left at our school and, more importantly, for us as a program, as we try to grow into consistently great, these kids took the biggest step and the toughest one. The only one left was to win the whole thing.

I just want to celebrate them, thank them, thank the people who have cared for them in school, in the weight room, academic center, that have fed them, that have given them this chance, given us a chance to be together for this long and play up until the final game.

So other than that, I'm not capable of probably putting a whole lot more together for you, because I need to spend some time with them and to properly thank them. But this is a celebration of a special team and wonderful bunch of kids. And many of you who follow college baseball closely, you didn't give us a shot. And rightfully so. There were times this year we weren't very good. But we finished good. And we finished because of these kids and their hearts. And they showed you down the stretch they were made of the right stuff, as we thought we were early. And it was a journey.

And these guys know now you can get through anything if you've got strong relationships and care for one another. And the way they played the last 20 games showed the true colors of these kids. I'm very proud of them and I'm proud that they're here at the College World Series where we can thank them appropriately and say goodbye to them.

Q. I understand there was an awful lot of hugging going on out there on the field. How do you say goodbye and what was said between you guys out there on the field?
COREY HASSEL: I wasn't saying goodbye but more of, you know, this will be the last time we suit up together. These are all my best friends. And I'm going to look forward to continuing our relationship on past this. This is just baseball. It's just a game. And I was just thanking them for loving me as much as I love them and just having such a great brotherhood. And I was just so proud of every one of those guys, from the freshmen all the way up to the seniors, the way they played.

TREY COBB: Just the brotherhood that we have, it's incredible. And just out there thinking how cool it was that we're not just going to be a team that's going to be a brotherhood forever because we were a team, we have that and then we also have this that's going to bond us forever, not only personally but with the university and with our fans.

We'll always think of this team and the tightness, and it's unbelievable. It's hard not to tear up out there when you're hugging your best friends. But it was a heck of a season. I couldn't ask for anything more.

Q. What did it take for you guys just to get to this point to come on hot like you guys did at the end of the season, and what are you going to remember most from this run and from this Omaha experience?
TREY COBB: A lot of days in a hotel in South Carolina. The pitching was incredible. The hitting was so timely and so clutch. We didn't trail until the two games we lost. And you could feel that.

You'd get up 1-0 and you felt it was 10-0. It was incredible. And just how tight that we've gotten. We were tight all year, obviously. But this last month has been really special.

COREY HASSEL: I just thought that the way that we came together and trusted it, because our last two games in the Big 12 Tournament were obviously disheartening. We never let that affect us.

We knew we played well enough to go somewhere for Regional. And we came together and we got better. And we trusted the process. And it all came together at the right time.

And ultimately I believe that that's all you gotta do is just trust it and have love for one another and never get down. Because you're never out of the fight. And we showed that multiple times. No matter how far we got knocked down, those last two games in the Big 12 Tournament, we came right back.

Ultimately I didn't believe that there was anybody that could beat us. And I believe that today. I believed that yesterday and all through the postseason. And I still believe that.

I felt like we made some mistakes, but I'm just so proud, once again, like I said, of how we responded and how it kept playing no matter what. We all love each other, and I'm so humbled to put on this uniform.

Q. Corey, what did you see from Dalbec just trying to attack him? And did he make any adjustments since Monday? Was there any difference, I guess, that you saw from him? Just kind of contrast what you saw Monday and then today.
COREY HASSEL: I thought he did a really good job of controlling counts. He never got into 3-0 it seemed like. He didn't walk a lot of people. Didn't really need to make a whole lot of adjustments. He could throw any pitch at any time.

There's not really anything that we could pinpoint that he was doing real well. From my at-bats, he worked me in and then out, and then he just kept mixing. He mixed really well. That kid's an unbelievable player. He's a great baseball player and have a lot of respect for him and Arizona. They played very well. But he just went out and made pitches, and I guess that's just how it goes sometimes.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Holliday.

Q. The last time you were here, '99, I guess, as a player, you were sitting where these guys were sitting. I think I was in the press conference. You had some of the same sentiments then that they had today and that you have now. Can you kind of recap the last, I don't know, four years where you've gone from I've gotta get this program back from where you had it before as a player to where it is now?
COACH HOLLIDAY: Well, it starts with the kids. And I think it starts when two or three of them fall in love with Oklahoma State and then it starts with a group, maybe a particular group of recruits, that comes in that starts to get some leadership from those kids.

And I think over the last four years that process of passion for your school, bringing in new people and welcoming them in, having a common belief system about what this is really about, which for us was to be great at everything we did -- school, life, baseball, how we treat people -- and then they look around and they see kids like Corey, four years, Trey Cobb three years, first commitment to our staff when we were hired, Donovan, who in my opinion is one of the most important players at OSU in the last 26 years. Kids that have a love for their program that makes them play proud.

And then it spreads, because now it's not just, well, that's where I go to school and I played at Oklahoma State and that means something and they stayed their senior year because they looked at the opportunity to turn pro and decided this was an experience they weren't willing to turn the page on, and then that cumulative effect of that many people feeling passionate about your team led us here.

And that's something that as you watch it evolve and happen, many of those things occur without you knowing. But it's a collective love for the kids and for playing here and a pride in wearing our uniform. And they recaptured that, and they did it by caring about each other. We as coaches try to show them the way of life and why you go to college to grow, but also educate them on our history, because I think that lets them know it's okay to believe we can go there because we've done it before; we belong there.

But getting here is not easy, and they brought us back. So I give the kids so much credit for their love for their program and for sticking together and for being tough and just overcoming. Like I said, we had some ups and downs this year and at times not a team to pick to be here. Aaron, you picked us, I remember that. But we were that team we were hard to figure out at times. We had our ups and downs, but the kids never quit on what they had invested in. They were so invested they wouldn't stop. I guess that's how we got here; the amount they put in every single day, the bank was too full of care to just let it go. And that's how we got here.

Q. You've been a part of some other programs that have kind of gotten over this hump to Omaha for the first time. First time in a while in some cases. How important is that going forward? Does it make it easier to get back here measurably, do you think, once you've gotten over the hump the first time?
COACH HOLLIDAY: I think it can help in so many ways. The excitement about what you're doing, the interest of other potential players to want to come join you, the building of a fan base, the value, importance, et cetera, excitement about what you do grows.

I think that attracts great energy, and with great energy comes other positive things. I think depending on the age of your team, to get it back into the program's DNA after it's been gone for so long, that's important. It's now in there again, right? So it circulates in the locker room. There are stories that can be told now and the kids can reflect on what it takes.

Yeah, I think all of it has tremendous value. But, again, it literally is like starting over every year. And it is. So, yes, it can help, and it can help in many, many ways. And I think it taught us to get to the end. What we did is we just got in the moment, played each pitch for about 25 straight days. And the kids did a beautiful job of doing it.

And now we'll start back over, you know, and you guys know that. You know how teams turn over. And the teams that make it here consistently, I tip my cap to them. What a remarkable job. I look at what TCU is doing, what a special three years in a row. A lot of turnover. You just say, okay, that's special. That's hard to do. When teams come back year after year, yes, I do think it helps and I think it helps for all the ancillary reasons that help to continue to grow your program.

Q. Second day in a row your starting pitching didn't hold up. Thomas, the best pitcher in the Big 12 and on and on and, and he was so good last week, didn't have it today. What do you think happened?
COACH HOLLIDAY: I think Thomas pitched us here. I think he pitched us all the way here. And we certainly enjoy the ride he took us on. He might have elevated a few balls today. They're a very good offensive team. They're similar to the Texas Tech/TCU offensive squads we saw in our league where when you play them for a three-game series, their lineup is good one through nine. They can run, bunt, hit. They did not miss mistakes. They're a good team. They didn't get here by accident. Those guys can hit.

I'll tell you what, Thomas Hatch, what a remarkable season. Conference Pitcher of the Year. He missed last season due to injury. He bounced back and became an ace and a First-Team All-American and Big 12 Pitcher of the Year. I just can't tell you how proud I am of him and what he did for OSU baseball, because, again, that kid walked in and twirled big-time games at big-time moments that allowed this team to get here.

And, man, I'm proud of him. And wouldn't be here without that kid. And what a great compliment to him for setting such an amazingly high standard that pitching complete game shutouts, what, four, five times this year against some of the best teams in the country, what a remarkable season.

Q. Kind of looking beyond today, what's the next evolutionary step for your program? Is it building the new stadium? Is it keeping the coaching staff together or changing in recruiting at all? What do you look for --
COACH HOLLIDAY: Man. It started with kids when we got here. And it's still with kids. It's just continuing to learn more about how to get the most out of the kids and attracting other special kids to come join us, to help strengthen us.

I think college baseball and coaching is about the building up of kids so they can be their very best and do things you didn't know they could do and they didn't know they could do. And we've been able to see that out of some kids over the last four years. And I think if we can continue to find the right kids and more of them, then the potential of our group is limitless.

And all the nice things that we can do alongside it, as you mentioned, to enhance our program for long-term success is certainly something we want to do. No question.

But we got here by focusing on kids. And I think that's who we are, and we want to continue to find the best ways to train, teach, coach, and develop these kids so that more stories like Thomas Hatch this year, who didn't pitch last year, can keep happening.

And I have unbelievable coaches who, I'll be the first one to sit here and tell you, deserve so much of the credit for the success of the team. And, yes, your coaching staff, it is the heartbeat of that attack on building kids up and taking care of them and building your program. So they're of amazing importance to us.

And I think it's pretty clear across the country that facilities are nice and they help, but I've said this, we focused on the things you can control, and that's what you do in your house and how you take care of each other and look out for one another is something we feel quite passionate about.

That will continue to be how we put these kids together and try to build them. It's a real thrill to see them here. Like I said, I'm just so proud of them for what they did for us. They gave us about four weeks of just an unbelievable ride. Yeah, we'll focus on kids, growing kids, making them better and making our program so strong through them that the other things will take care of themselves.


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