STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma State has hired Rob Walton as its pitching coach, Cowboy head coach Josh Holliday announced Monday.
The 49-year old Walton spent the last 14 years at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa and was the Golden Eagles’ head coach for the past nine. He was a four-year letterwinner as a pitcher at OSU from 1983-86.
“This is a really special opportunity for me and my family,” Walton said. “My wife and I went to school there, and it’s a chance to come back to our alma mater and help Coach Holliday get the program going in the right direction. Hopefully we can bring it back to prominence.
“I’ve known Josh (Holliday) for a long time. He has a passion for OSU baseball and so do I, and so we’re going to team up and do the best job that we can do to put the program back where it needs to be.”
In his nine seasons at the helm of ORU, Walton compiled a 365-167 (.686) record and was named the Summit League Coach of the Year five times. Under his direction, the Golden Eagles were an NCAA Tournament team each year and produced five seasons with 40 or more wins, including a 50-win campaign in 2004.
In his 14 seasons in Tulsa, Walton helped ORU produce 16 All-Americans, 14 conference player or co-players of the year and 12 conference pitchers of the year. Additionally, the Golden Eagles had 45 players selected in the Major League Baseball Draft over that span.
In four seasons as a pitcher at OSU, Walton compiled a 20-3 record and 3.74 ERA in 54 appearances. In 204.2 career innings, he collected 147 strikeouts and tossed 10 complete games.
As a senior, Walton led the Cowboys in wins and was 13-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 19 appearances. He also tossed nine complete games, the fourth most in a single season in OSU history.
“We’re really excited to bring someone of Rob’s caliber to the program. He possesses the talents and character traits that identify our mission to develop and groom our players in an environment where teaching, discipline, passion, the ability to develop a person in all phases of their life, on the field and off, are the focus, as is the commitment to building a championship team,” Holliday said.
“When this opportunity to bring Rob into our program presented itself, and after sitting and talking with him and his family and sensing the true passion for Oklahoma State, his unique and well-known talents in the game and his desire to team up and pour himself into the kids and help us become great, it was just a tremendous fit."
During Walton’s tenure, ORU continued its record streak of conference championships, which reached 15 in 2012. With Walton as head coach, the Golden Eagles made nine NCAA Regional appearances and reached a Super Regional in 2006.
“Pitching and defense are the keys to winning at any level,” Walton said. “We want to be able to put together a pitching staff that is in the top 10 in the country year in and year out. We have to recruit really good athletes who have an opportunity to get better and get our pitching staff among the best in the country. If we can, that will give us an opportunity to win every game that we play.”
Following his OSU playing career, Walton was drafted by Baltimore in the 25th round of the 1986 Major League Baseball Draft and spent four seasons in the Orioles organization.
After his stint as a player, Walton spent time as an area supervisor for the Cleveland Indians before joining the coaching ranks at Oral Roberts.
In addition to his success at ORU, Walton served as the head coach of the 2008 USA Baseball National Team and led the club to the FISU Gold Medal. He also served as an assistant on the 2005 and 2011 USA Baseball teams.
Walton was a three-sport star at Rutherford (N.J.) High School, earning All-State honors in baseball, basketball and soccer. He was a sixth-round draft pick of the Texas Rangers in 1992.