The 1959 Cowboys baseball team entered the season not expected to do much. Only four players left fielder Don Soergel, and pitchers Roy Peterson, Joel Horlen, and Dick Soergel, were on the roster from the previous season. The preseason prospectus for 1959 read, “The baseball outlook for coach Toby Greene’s 16th edition of Cowboy baseball is quite questionable. Despite the return of key members from last year’s pitching staff, it’s hard to consider the Pokes much of a threat with graduation, grades, and the pros robbing the veteran OSU mentor of all but one of his starters.” The team compiled a 17–3 conference record, winning the Big Eight conference title.
OSU opened the 1959 national tournament with a 10–2 victory over Western Michigan behind a Joel Horlen five-hitter. They had to rally for three runs in the seventh in its next game against Penn State and won 8–6 with eleven team hits. In their next game, the Cowboys lost to Arizona by a score of 5–3, as Soergel lost his first career game in twelve decisions. In the losers bracket, the Pokes found themselves down 3–2 in the ninth but scraped across two runs to earn the 4–3 victory. A Fresno State victory over Arizona that night left three teams with one loss each. Arizona won the coin toss and became the odd man out as Oklahoma State and Fresno State met for the chance to play the Wildcats for the national championship. The Cowboys beat the Bulldogs 4–0 to advance to the championship game.
Enrolling at Oklahoma State University, Sanders played for the Oklahoma State Cowboys from 1986 to 1988 and wore the No. 21. During his first two years, he backed up All-American Thurman Thomas. In 1987, he led the nation in yards per kickoff return (31.6), while also rushing for over 600 yards and scoring 8 touchdowns. Thomas moved on to the NFL, and Sanders became the starter for his junior year.
In 1988, in what is considered one of the greatest individual seasons in college football history, Sanders led the nation by averaging 7.6 yards per carrying and over 200 yards per game, including rushing for over 300 yards in four games. Despite his massive workload of 344 carries, Sanders was still used as the team’s punt and kickoff returner, adding another 516 yards on special teams. He set college football season records with 2,628 yards rushing, 3,248 total yards, 234 points, 39 touchdowns, 37 rushing touchdowns, 5 consecutive 200-yard games, scored at least 2 touchdowns in 11 consecutive games, and 9 times he scored at least 3 touchdowns. Sanders also ran for 222 yards and scored 5 touchdowns in his three-quarters of action in the 1988 Holiday Bowl, a game that is not included in the official NCAA season statistics. Sanders learned of his Heisman Trophy win while he was with the team in Tokyo, Japan preparing to face Texas Tech in the Coca-Cola Classic. He chose to leave Oklahoma State before his senior season to enter the NFL draft.
The program’s mascot is a cowboy named Pistol Pete. Oklahoma State participates at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)’s Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) as a member of the Big 12 Conference. The university’s current athletic director is Mike Holder. In total, Oklahoma State has 52 NCAA team national titles, which ranks fourth in most NCAA team national championships. These national titles have come in wrestling (34), golf (11), basketball (2), football (1), baseball (1), and cross country.
College Sports Established
Oklahoma State University
1973 – Present / NCAA Division 1
1915 – 1973 / University Division of the NCAA
1996 – Present / Big 12 Conference
1957 – 1996 / Big Eight Conference
1956 – 1957 / Independent
1927 – 1956 / Missouri Valley Conference
1924 – 1927 / Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association
1914 – 1924 / Southwest Conference
1901 – 1914 / Independent
Cowboys – Around 1923, when Oklahoma A&M College was searching for a new mascot to replace their tiger (which had been copied from Princeton and accounts for the orange and black school colors), a group of students saw Frank Eaton leading Stillwater’s Armistice Day Parade. He was approached to see if he would be interested in being the model for the new mascot, and he agreed. A likeness was drawn and began to be used on sweatshirts, stickers, etc. and a tradition was born. That caricature was the basis for what is used today as the official Oklahoma State University mascot. For thirty-five years, the crusty old cowboy was a living symbol of OSU, representing the colorful past of the area. As such, he would attend OSU athletic events, building dedications, etc., and sign autographs, pose for photographs and reminisce about the American Old West with anyone who would listen.
However, it was not until 1958 that “Pistol Pete” was adopted as the school’s mascot. The familiar caricature of “Pistol Pete” was officially sanctioned in 1984 by Oklahoma State University as a licensed symbol.
Men’s Basketball 2
Women’s Basketball 0