Oklahoma State Cowboys and Cowgirls

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The Oklahoma State Cowboys and Cowgirls are the intercollegiate athletic teams that represent Oklahoma State University, located in Stillwater. 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 Chad Weiberg, who replaced the retiring Mike Holder on July 1, 2021.[2] In total, Oklahoma State has 52 NCAA team national titles, which ranks fifth in most NCAA team national championships. These national titles have come in wrestling (34), golf (11), basketball (2), baseball (1), and cross country (4).

Oklahoma State Cowboys and Cowgirls
UniversityOklahoma State University
ConferenceBig 12
NCAADivision I (FBS)
Athletic directorChad Weiberg
LocationStillwater, Oklahoma
Varsity teams16
Football stadiumBoone Pickens Stadium
Basketball arenaGallagher-Iba Arena
Baseball stadiumO'Brate Stadium
MascotPistol Pete / Bullet
Fight songRide 'Em Cowboys
ColorsOrange and black[1]

Athletics history and traditionEdit

Big 12 logo in Oklahoma State's colors.

Prior to 1957, Oklahoma State University was known as Oklahoma A&M. As was common with most land-grant schools, its teams were known for many years as the Aggies, though they were sometimes also called the Tigers.[3] However, in 1923, A&M was looking for a new mascot to replace its pet tiger (the inspiration behind the school colors of orange and black). A group of students saw famed cowboy Frank Eaton leading the Armistice Day parade. He was approached to see if he would be interested in being the model for the new mascot, and he agreed. The caricature acquired the nickname "Pistol Pete."

Only a few decades removed from the cattle drive era, the cowboy was still an important figure in the Southwest. The new mascot had become so popular that by 1924, Charles Saulsberry, sports editor of The Oklahoma Times, began calling A&M's teams the "Cowboys." "Aggies" and "Cowboys" were used interchangeably until A&M was elevated to university status in 1957.[4] In 1958, the "Pistol Pete" caricature was formally adopted as Oklahoma State's mascot, though it had been used unofficially for over three decades before then.

The Waving SongEdit

The "Waving Song" is one of the fight songs for Oklahoma State. At Oklahoma State football games, the song is played by the Cowboy Marching Band during the pregame traditions, following touchdowns, and after victories against the Cowboys' opponents. For other athletic events, the Waving Song is played after Oklahoma State victories as the start of the fight song trilogy. While the song is played, fans wave their right arms in the air; the effect is similar to wheat waving in the wind.[5]

The song's melody is that of "The Streets of New York," a song from the Victor Herbert operetta, The Red Mill. The lyrics used by Oklahoma State were written by H.G. Seldomridge, a professor at what was then Oklahoma A&M who heard the tune on a visit to New York City. It was first sung in 1908 at a follies show at Stillwater's Grand Opera House. Ever since, it has been a tradition to play the song at Oklahoma State athletic events.[6] The only real change over the years has been to replace "OAMC" with "Oklahoma State."

Conference historyEdit

Varsity teamsEdit

Men's sports Women's sports
Baseball Basketball
Basketball Cross country
Cross country Equestrian
Football Golf
Golf Soccer
Tennis Softball
Track and field Tennis
Wrestling Track and field
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor


The 1945 championship basketball team.

Men's basketballEdit

Oklahoma State first took the basketball court in 1908. Under head coach Henry Iba, the team won NCAA championships in 1945 and again in 1946. A&M center Bob Kurland was named the NCAA Tournament MVP during their two championship seasons. Kurland was the first player to win the honor two times. Oklahoma State has a total of six Final Four appearances.

Under Eddie Sutton, the team made two Final Four appearances—in 1995 and in 2004. Sutton's son, Sean Sutton, began coaching the team in 2006 but resigned on March 31, 2008.[7] The team is now coached by Mike Boynton Jr., who was promoted to head coach after Brad Underwood departed to become head coach of the Illinois Fighting Illini.

Women's basketballEdit

Oklahoma State first fielded a women's team during the 1972-1973 season. The team's head coach is currently Jim Littell, who took over after their former head coach Kurt Budke was killed in a plane crash in Arkansas in November 2011, just after the season had started.


The Cowboys won their only national championship in 1959, but have finished runner-up on five other occasions. Oklahoma State won 16 consecutive conference championships under head coach Gary Ward in the Big 8 Conference. During that time, Pete Incaviglia was named Baseball America's Player of the Century, and Robin Ventura was inducted in the inaugural class into the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Overall, Oklahoma State has made 19 College World Series appearances, including seven straight from 1981–1987.

The Cowboys' current head baseball coach is Josh Holliday.


Texas at Oklahoma State University, 2007

The Oklahoma State football program has participated in 28 bowl games overall and have been to 11 straight. There have been 11 conference championships won, one Heisman Trophy winner, two National Football League Hall of Fame members, and 53 All-Americans to the Cowboys' name.

Oklahoma State plays football on Lewis Field, in Boone Pickens Stadium.

The Cowboys all-time record is 566-539-47.

The current head coach is Mike Gundy (94-46 and 6–3 in bowl appearances). During Gundy's playing career, the Cowboys have enjoyed six 9+ win seasons in the past eight seasons. Gundy coached the team to a record 12 win season in 2011, culminating with a Fiesta Bowl victory over Stanford. His accolades consist of the 2010 Big 12 Coach of the Year, 2011 Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year, 2011 Paul "Bear" Bryant National Coach of the Year, and the 2011 American Football Monthly National Coach of the Year.

The 1945 Oklahoma A&M team was retroactively awarded a national title in October 2016 by the American Football Coaches Association. The Aggies finished with a 9-0 record, completing the season with a 33-13 win over St. Mary's College in the Sugar Bowl.[8]

Barry Sanders won the Heisman Trophy in 1988.[9]

Author Steve Budin, whose father was a New York bookie, has recently publicized the claim that the 1954 "Bedlam" game against rival OU was fixed by mobsters in his book Bets, Drugs, and Rock & Roll (ISBN 1-602-39099-1).[10]


Karsten Creek serves as the home course of the Oklahoma State University men's and women's golf teams.[11] The Tom Fazio layout was named Golf Digest's "Best New Public Course" and served as the host site for the NCAA Men's Championship in 2003, 2011, and 2018.[12]

The men's program has qualified for the NCAA Championship 74 times in 75 years[13] – from 1947 to 2022, the only year they did not qualify was 2012.[14] They have won 11 national championships (1963, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1987, 1991, 1995, 2000, 2006, 2018), 9 individual national championships (Earl Moeller in 1953, Grier Jones in 1968, David Edwards in 1978, Scott Verplank in 1986, Brian Watts in 1987, E. J. Pfister in 1988, Charles Howell III in 2000, Jonathan Moore in 2006, Matthew Wolff in 2019), and 56 conference championships.[15]

Numerous Cowboys from the men's team have gone on to success in professional golf on both the PGA and European Tours, including Bob Tway (8 PGA Tour wins, including 1986 PGA Championship), Hunter Mahan (6 PGA Tour wins, including 3 WGC events), Rickie Fowler (5 PGA Tour wins, including 2015 Players Championship, and 2 European Tour wins), Scott Verplank (5 PGA Tour wins), Danny Edwards (5 PGA Tour wins), David Edwards (4 PGA Tour wins), Michael Bradley (4 PGA Tour wins), Mark Hayes (3 PGA Tour wins, including 1977 Players Championship), Charles Howell III (3 PGA Tour wins), Bob Dickson (2 PGA Tour wins), Bo Van Pelt (one win each on PGA Tour and European Tour), Willie Wood (one PGA Tour win), Kevin Tway (one PGA Tour win), Pablo Martín (3 European Tour wins), Matthew Wolff (1 PGA Tour win), Viktor Hovland (2 PGA Tour wins), and Peter Uihlein (1 European Tour win). Additionally, Brian Watts went on to great success on the Japan Golf Tour, earning 12 wins.

The women's program has also had its share of success. Under former coach Ann Pitts, the Cowgirls won 15 conference championships and made 15 appearances at the NCAA Championship. Laura Matthews led the Cowgirls to be Big 12 champions in 2005 and a top-20 finish at the NCAA Championship. Caroline Hedwall won the NCAA Division I individual championship in 2010 under new coach Annie Young.

Conference championships:

  • Men
    • Missouri Valley Conference (9): 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955
    • Big Eight Conference (36): 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996
    • Big 12 Conference (10): 1997, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2019, 2021
  • Women
    • Big Eight Conference (14): 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996
    • Big 12 Conference (10): 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2016, 2021


Cowgirls softball players celebrate a win during the 2011 NCAA Division I softball tournament

Oklahoma State's softball team has appeared in twelve Women's College World Series, in 1977, 1980, 1981, 1982 (AIAW), 1982 (NCAA), 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1998, 2011 and 2019.[16] In 1982, the Cowgirls played in both the last AIAW WCWS and days later the first NCAA WCWS. After having played their way through the 1982 regular season, a conference tournament, NCAA first round, winning an AIAW regional title, a loss in the AIAW WCWS final, the team's marathon season ended with 13-inning and 14-inning one-run losses in the NCAA tournament.


Oklahoma State wrestling's tradition started in 1916 when Edward C. Gallagher, whose name is part of Gallagher-Iba Arena, became head coach. With his expertise in anatomy, he pioneered the sport of wrestling.[17] Gallagher coached the Cowboys until his death in 1940 from pneumonia.[18] During those 24 years, Gallagher had 11 team national titles, 19 undefeated seasons, and a 138-5-4 record.[18]

After Gallagher's death, Art Griffith took over and proceeded to win two straight national championships. Due to World War II, Oklahoma State wrestling was forced off the mat for three years. After the war, Griffith coached for another 11 years and won six more national championships in that time. Due to health reasons, Art Griffith resigned as head coach and Myron Roderick took over. At 23 years old, Roderick became the youngest coach to win a national championship in 1958. Roderick proceeded to win another 5 championships. In 1970, Myron Roderick stepped down to take an executive position with the U.S. Wrestling Federation. Former Stillwater High School coach Tommy Chesbro was hired as head coach and won eight Big Eight titles and one national championship in 15 years. Between 1985 and 1991, Joe Seay, former Cal State coach won five conference titles and two national titles.[18]

In 1993, John Smith became the seventh head coach of Oklahoma State University wrestling. Smith led the Cowboys to a national title in 1995 and four consecutive national titles between 2002–2006.[18]

Notable non-varsity sportsEdit


Founded in 1974, the Oklahoma State University Rugby Football Club plays college rugby in the Division 1 Heart of America conference against several of its traditional Big 8 / Big 12 rivals. The Cowboys are led by head coach Miles Hunter. Oklahoma State also has a women’s rugby team that plays in the Mid-America college rugby conference.


The Oklahoma State University Cheerleaders compete in the National Cheerleaders Association in Division 1A coached by Lindsay Bracken.

They have won 16[19] NCA national team championships and two group stunt national championships in the following divisions:

NCA Large Co-Ed Div. 1A - 2021, 2022

NCA Cheer Division 1A - 1988, 1991, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

NCA All-Girl 1 - 1988, 1990, 1995, 1996

NCA Small Co-Ed 1A - 2012, 2019

NCA Small Co-Ed 1 - 2007

NCA Group Stunts - 2014, 2015


The Oklahoma State University STUNT team competes in Stunt (sport) Division 1A coached by Lindsay Bracken.

They have won 8[19] consecutive national team championships in the following years: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022


NCAA team championshipsEdit

Oklahoma State has won 52 NCAA team national championships.[20]

  • Men's (52)
    • Baseball (1): 1959
    • Basketball (2): 1945, 1946
    • Cross Country (4): 1954, 2009, 2010, 2012
    • Golf (11): 1963, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1987, 1991, 1995, 2000, 2006, 2018
    • Wrestling (34): 1928*, 1929, 1930, 1931*, 1933*, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1946, 1948, 1949, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1971, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
    • Football (1): 1945

(*) Unofficial NCAA team national championships

Other national team championshipsEdit

Listed below are five national team titles in current and emerging NCAA sports that were not bestowed by the NCAA.

  • Men's (1)
    • Football (1): 1945a
  • Women's (5)
    • Equestrian:
      • (Varsity Western) (4): 2003, 2004, 2006, 2013
      • (Dual discipline) (1): 2022

a The AFCA established a "Blue Ribbon Commission" in 2016 to begin retroactively selecting Coaches' Trophy winners from 1922 through 1949.[21] OSU was the only team to apply for any of the 28 years considered.[22]

Below are five national team titles won by Oklahoma State teams at the highest collegiate levels in non-NCAA sports:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Oklahoma State University Athletics Official Athletics Branding Manual (PDF). November 20, 2019. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  2. ^ "Chad Weiberg officially takes over as Oklahoma State's athletic director". ESPN.com. Associated Press. July 1, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  3. ^ "The first bedlam game" by Jeremy Bennett, okie comics magazine, issue #4, p. 4, 2018
  4. ^ "Gameday Traditions". Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  5. ^ *. However, Cowboy faithful are quick to point out that the University of Kansas waves wheat, not Oklahoma State.(See below for origins of the waving song.)The Waving Song Archived November 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine; at OKState.com
  6. ^ Intercollegiate Athletics; Dellinger, Doris; The OSU Centennial – Histories Series; p. 38.
  7. ^ "Sean Sutton resigns under pressure from Oklahoma State - USAToday.com". www.usatoday.com. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  8. ^ Trotter, Jake (October 13, 2016). "Oklahoma State gets 1945 retroactive coaches title". ESPN. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  9. ^ "Heisman Trophy / 1988 - 54th Award". Archived from the original on August 4, 2007. Retrieved August 12, 2007.
  10. ^ Budin, Steve with Schaller, Bob (2007). Bets, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: The Rise and Fall of the World's First Offshore Sports Gambling Empire. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 978-1-60239-099-7.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ "Course Information". Archived from the original on June 23, 2009. Retrieved June 24, 2009.
  12. ^ http://web1.ncaa.org/web_files/stats/spring_champs_records/2003/2003_spring_champs_records.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  13. ^ "Cowboys Rally To Victory At Louisville Regional". May 15, 2019. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  14. ^ "2018–19 Cowboy Golf Media Guide" (PDF). Oklahoma State Cowboys Athletics. pp. 130–131.
  15. ^ "Cowboys Set For Big 12 Championship". April 21, 2013. Archived from the original on December 12, 2013. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  16. ^ Plummer, William; Floyd, Mike C. (2013). A Series Of Their Own: History Of The Women's College World Series. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States: Turnkey Communications Inc. ISBN 978-0-9893007-0-4.
  17. ^ "Distinguished Member: Edward C. Gallagher". National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on August 5, 2006. Retrieved April 5, 2006.
  18. ^ a b c d "Why OSU?". Oklahoma State University athletics. April 5, 2003. Archived from the original on May 1, 2009. Retrieved June 5, 2006.
  19. ^ a b "Spirit".
  20. ^ "NCAA Championships Summary through July 1, 2016" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletics Association. p. 2. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  21. ^ "AFCA Recognizes Oklahoma State as 1945 National Champion". afca.com. American Football Coaches Association. Archived from the original on October 18, 2016. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  22. ^ Tramel, Berry (August 23, 2017). "Why is Oklahoma State on an island with the retroactive titles?". News OK. Retrieved December 4, 2018.

External linksEdit