Born in Odessa, Texas, on August 17, 1948, golf coach James Michael "Mike" Holder attended high school in Ardmore, Oklahoma, where he lettered in golf for three years and earned conference medalist honors in 1966. In 1968 he captured the Oklahoma Amateur Championship. He attended Oklahoma State University, lettering three years in golf and earning a degree in marketing (1970) and a master's degree (1973). Holder captured the Big Eight Conference individual medalist title in 1970 and was named third-team All-American in 1969 and 1970 and honorable-mention All-American in 1968.
In 1973 Holder succeeded Labron Harris, Sr., as OSU head golf coach. During the first twenty-eight years of his tenure Holder coached Oklahoma State teams to eight national championships and twenty-four conference team titles in the Big Eight and Big Twelve Conferences. With twenty-one Big Eight conference team titles in golf, Holder finished second to basketball's Phog Allen of Kansas (twenty-four) in total Big Eight titles. In his first twenty-eight seasons Holder coached 101 All-American selections, twenty conference individual titlists, and five National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) individual champions. During fifty-five seasons under Harris and Holder Oklahoma State qualified for every NCAA championship (1947-2001) and also made the cut at every NCAA championship both NCAA records. During Holder's tenure OSU has produced two Ben Hogan Award winners, two Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year winners, and five Fred Haskins Player of the Year winners. In the early 1990s Holder raised funds from private donors to build Karsten Creek Golf Course, west of Stillwater, as the home course for the OSU golf teams. Karsten Creek was named best new public course in the nation by Golf Digest magazine.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Del Lemon, The Story of Golf in Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2001). Oklahoma State University Golf Media Guide (Stillwater: Oklahoma State University, 1993-1994, 1997-1998).
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