Southeastern alum and assistant baseball coach Roland Fanning has traded his storm shoes for spurs.
Fanning has been tabbed to be the Volunteer Assistant and Camp Coordinator for Oklahoma State University’s baseball team. He is part of the team’s new coaching strata being selected by incoming Cowboy Baseball Coach Josh Holliday.
He agreed to a question-and-answer session with the Democrat to mark this well-earned transition from Southeastern to OSU:
What can you tell us about Coach Mike Metheny and the impact he and the other staff at Southeastern have had on your coaching style and career?
First of all I can’t put into words how indebted I am to Coach Metheny, and what he means to me and my family. The hardest thing about this whole process was actually sitting down with Coach and telling him I was going to head to Stillwater. I wasn’t looking to leave Southeastern, this kind of just happened. He was very supportive during the whole process, giving me advice and understanding the opportunity that I have. The only reason I have this chance to go and coach at Oklahoma State is because he gave me my start. I owe a lot to Coach Metheny for everything he and his family have done for me over the past eight years. Everyone knows how accomplished Coach Metheny is on the field but I have really gotten to know Coach off the field. Six years ago he gave me my first shot at coaching college baseball when I really had nowhere else to go. Not only did he teach me about the game of baseball but he mentored me about life lessons. He turned me loose and let me go out and recruit all over Oklahoma and North Texas. He would always tell people he had to pull my leash back and keep me in his Southeast Quadrant!
You’ve been at Southeastern quite awhile. Who else has played a role in your experience as a Savage Storm player and coach?
There are so many people that have impacted me at Southeastern I wouldn’t know who to start with. The people and the relationships with the people that work throughout campus is what makes it so hard to leave Southeastern. The relationships I have with people at Southeastern I will have for a lifetime. I really need to thank President Larry Minks and his wife Joanne for allowing me to work at Southeastern for the past 5 years, along with Keith and Teenie Baxter. They have been very involved and hands on with our baseball program since they have been on campus and, as people can see, they have helped make big improvements for our baseball program.
What elements do you plan to bring to OSU baseball? What is in your coaching style which caught their eye?
I feel like I will bring a lot of energy and passion to any coaching staff that I am on. Being able to work with student-athletes is something I really enjoy doing. It’s not every day you get to do what you love for a living.
What is to be your exact role and title at OSU baseball?
My title will be the Volunteer Assistant/Camp Coordinator; I will coach the outfielders, assist Coach Josh Holliday and Coach Marty Lees with hitting and defense, and be in the first base coaches box during games. I am really excited about my position with this staff and team at Oklahoma State. I look forward to the challenges ahead as we try to put this program back on top where it belongs.
How long were you on the coaching staff at Southeastern and in what capacity?
I was at Southeastern for a total of eight years: Three as a player in 2004-2006, and five as an assistant from 2008-2012. I was hands on in every facet of our program. Coach Metheny allowed me to do things I never thought he would. He trusted in me to go out and recruit the best student-athletes to bring into his program and coach at the highest level in NCAA Division 2 baseball.
What are some of the most memorable moments from your Storm coaching experience?
My most memorable moment, no question, is winning the Lone Star Conference Championship in 2011, the last year we were in the conference. We played a 14 inning extra inning ball-game against Cameron University in Abilene, Texas. I witnessed the gutsiest pitching performance by Heath Wyatt (now with the St. Louis Cardinals organization) as he pitched 13 innings and Eric Walker had the game winning base hit that scored Justin Miller (now with the San Diego Padres organization) to secure the LSC championship. There is nothing more enjoying than watching a group of guys dog pile after winning any championship!
Any chance your ties to Southeastern baseball will make a future exhibition game possible between OSU and the Savage Storm? We would love to see the Cowboys play here on our improved field soon!
You know, I am not the guy who makes those decisions about where we play. You don’t see Division 2 schools playing Division 1 schools anymore because of the RPI that is involved scheduling. But if you check the record books Southeastern has played some Division 1 schools when we were NAIA and even though we got beat some, we also beat OU twice!
You will be in Stillwater by the time Southeastern plays ball on the improved field in 2013. But we understand you still wish to show some appreciation for this project?
I would like to thank the City of Durant for all of the help with the field project. Even though I will not be there to be a part of the first season on the new surface, as a former player and coach I am very excited to see the improvements that have been done to the Ballpark in Durant. It is just another reason why Southeastern and the City of Durant is a special place to many people, just like me and former alums across the country.