Hometown hero: Dylan Gardner and Josh Holliday's Stillwater roots give them success at OSU

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OSU second baseman Dylan Gardner looks on before the Oklahoma State vs. BYU baseball game on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium in Stillwater.

The dream of playing for one’s hometown team is something few achieve. For two members of the Oklahoma State baseball team, those dreams became a reality.

Those two people were coach Josh Holliday and junior third baseman Dylan Gardner.

“It’s pretty cool,” Josh said. “Not a lot of kids grow up in a town where there is a university. It’s a pretty unique set of circumstances all around.”

Baseball obviously runs deep in the Holliday family. Matt Holliday, Josh’s younger brother, is a seven-time MLB All-Star, and a new member of the OSU baseball staff. Josh’s father, Tom Holliday, was a baseball coach from 1976-2015 for various teams and the head coach for OSU from 1997-2003. Josh and Matt’s uncle, Dave Holliday is a scout for the Atlanta Braves.

With all these influences around him, Josh said growing up around the game gave him a head start to coaching.

“Being around it definitely drew me into it,” Josh said. “All of those things definitely lined up for me to be ahead of the game when it came to having an insight into coaching and to be honest knowing just what I want to do.”

Like Josh, Dylan is a coach’s kid.

Dylan’s father, Gary, was the baseball coach for Stillwater High School for 11 years. He not only coached Dylan throughout his childhood but also Matt and Josh during their high school careers. Gary has meant a lot to Dylan as a father and a baseball coach.

“I was always going to the field after school and spending time with him,” Dylan said. “I can remember when I was really young and we were moving houses a lot. We’d go out in the street and practice picking the baseball and throwing and catching so he’s definitely had the biggest impact on me as a player.”

Dylan wasn’t heavily recruited throughout his high school career. After committing to Hutchinson Community College, Dylan had to step his game up to get bigger offers. He did just that.

After batting for a .373 average, which included six homers, 13 doubles and five triples, Dylan made the Oklahoma All-State team after his senior season.

Dylan then went on to continue his success with his summer team, the Sandlot Sox Baseball Club. After traveling across the country playing great baseball, schools started recruiting Dylan from the Division I level.

Dylan’s high school coach, Jimmy Harris, was right in the middle of it.

“That whole process was really neat,” Harris said. “Tennessee started recruiting him, and NC (North Carolina) State started recruiting him, so that made Oklahoma State have to recruit him.”

Josh said he was impressed with many things about Dylan’s game while recruiting him, but was far more impressed with his character.

“We really felt like his senior year he took off and he blossomed,” Josh said. “It was really easy for us to know that he was the right kid to bring to OSU.”

Harris attested to Dylan’s character. He said that it wasn’t a coincidence that Dylan got his opportunity, rather it was a reward for how hard he had worked over the years.

“Not very many people know the things that he did to prepare himself for that,” Harris said.

Now in his junior season, Dylan looks to become an everyday guy for the Cowboys. In the midst of a position battle for second base, Dylan will continue to be who he has always been.

“I’m gonna go play my game, and at the end of the day if I get thrown in the lineup, great, I’m gonna go ball out,” Dylan said. “But if not, I’m gonna be a good teammate.”