August 8, 2012


Nine Innings with Josh Holliday

By Phil Stanton Co-Founder


Josh Holliday was hired in June to become head coach at Oklahoma State, the first alumnus to lead the program. He played for the Cowboys from 1996-99, helping OSU reach the College World Series in 1996 and 1999.


Holliday, 35, has been an assistant coach for the past 11 years at schools such as OSU, NC State, Georgia Tech, Arizona State and Vanderbilt. He was an assistant for the past three seasons with the Commodores. He has worked with three College World Series squads: Georgia Tech in 2006, Arizona State in 2009 and Vanderbilt in 2011.


His father, Tom, was an assistant at OSU from 1978-96 and head coach from 1997-2003. He is now associate head coach at NC State. Holliday’s younger brother, Matt, is an outfielder with the St. Louis Cardinals.


Former Oral Roberts head coach Rob Walton has joined the staff as pitching coach, while long-time Oregon State assistant Marty Lees has joined the Cowboys as well.


Holliday recently took time to answer our questions.

First Inning – How does it feel to be a head coach at the age of 35? Is your youth an advantage in some ways?
I haven't really thought about my age. We really haven't had time to think since we got hired. Our entire staff has been working to catch up and prepare for the upcoming year. My youth has certainly benefited in terms of energy. It takes a lot of hours and energy to build a program that meets our vision. Everyone here is driven by the idea of reaching our goals.

Second Inning – Describe the feeling of becoming head coach at your alma mater.
There is no way to describe what this feels like. It's kind of like finding a prize possession that you lost for a while and now that you have it back, the whole world feels right again. That is about the best way I can describe it, to be able to wear these colors and share the love of our school and program with others is such an amazing deal. Our entire staff feels the same way. It's that feeling that drives you each day to protect and build this program.

Third Inning – What do you remember most from your playing days with the Cowboys?
I remember the people, the teammates, the relationships, the moments, the friendships. The life lessons I took with me have been the foundation for my beliefs in baseball and life. The past 10 years have given me a chance to go learn from other wonderful coaches, players, and universities so that we can bring back something new to what has been great in the past.

Fourth Inning – How familiar are you with the current teams in the Big 12?
I'm somewhat familiar with the current teams, but our staff will certainly become more educated on the other teams as we progress towards that point in the year. We have tremendous respect for the other programs. There are some big-time coaches and players in this league, so it will be a challenge. Before we worry about the other teams, we have to take care of our own house. That will be the biggest and most important challenge of them all.

Fifth Inning – How valuable is it to have an experienced staff with you at OSU?
Our staff is tremendous. We are lucky to have quality men, men of character, guys who have served the game for years who really care about kids and believe in development in phases. I could not have gotten better people to lead our kids. Rob and Marty are both fantastic teachers of the game and will serve as great role models and mentors. We have a total of 12 trips to Omaha on our coaching staff. That experience, along with the unique personal qualities that each guy possesses, is of tremendous value to our program.

Sixth Inning – How influential has your father been in your career?
My dad has been very influential on my entire life, my mom as well. My parents showed my brother and I what it means to raise a family, to invest in the development of others, and what it means to be loyal to a school. I could not ask for a better upbringing or education as a young man than the one I received from my parents. I hope to raise a family and offer my children the same lifestyle my parents offered us. If we do, life will be a success because my parents put Matt and I both in position to chase our dreams and live our lives to the fullest.

Seventh Inning – What did you learn most from Tim Corbin the past three years at Vanderbilt?
Tim Corbin is a special person. He's more than a coach; he's a mentor, a friend, a source of wisdom and ideas to motivate and maximize the modern student-athlete. I can't even begin to list the things I learned at Vanderbilt, Corbs and the entire staff at Vanderbilt are like family to us. I will always be grateful for three amazing years in Nashville. Those are without question some of the greatest moments and friends that we have experienced in life.

Eighth Inning – What was it like being a part of Vanderbilt's first trip to the College World Series?
That group of kids that took us to Omaha at Vanderbilt are everything that college baseball is about. They were totally united, they loved each other, they were exceptional on and off the field. They gave us as coaches a chance to see what it is like to have everything come together. They won everything that year except a National Championship. They were so special, and to see Vanderbilt go to Omaha and be a member of that was so rewarding.

Ninth Inning - How different was your experience at the College World Series as an assistant coach vs. as a player?

Omaha is Omaha. To be there and have a chance to compete with the best for a National Championship is what drives this journey-both as a player and a coach. Now it's time to go to work and go win one! Go COWBOYS!


(photo courtesy of OSU Media Relations Office)