By ISU Sports Information
NORMAL – The Illinois State baseball program has found its new leader, as ISU Director of Athletics Larry Lyons has announced the hiring of former big leaguer and Purdue pitching coach Steve Holm as the Redbirds’ new head coach.
“Our goal was to find the best person to lead our baseball program back to the top of the Missouri Valley Conference and to compete for postseason opportunities. In addition, we were looking for the best person to continue our high level of academic success and personal development of the young men in our program. Steve brings all of that and many more intangibles,” Lyons said. “We feel Steve’s background as an All-American shortstop, a professional catcher and collegiate pitching coach gives him the ability to make our team immediately better in every facet of the game. His success in helping programs improve in relatively short periods of time is impressive, and we are very excited Steve and his family have chosen to join the Redbird family.”
Holm was an integral part of the staff that helped the Boilermakers improve by 28 wins over a two-year period and become a NCAA Regional participant in 2018.
“I am extremely excited to be the new head coach at Illinois State University,” Holm said. “I’d like to thank Dr. Larry Dietz, Larry Lyons, and Peyton Deterding for trusting me to lead the program and the 35 young men within it. There are a lot of people who have helped me get to this point, including both Reggie Christiansen and Mark Wasikowski. I am forever grateful to both of them for the opportunity they gave me as an assistant coach. Most importantly I’d like to thank each and every one of my players who have played for me. I promised my wife when she moved to California that I’d get her back close to her Midwest roots and without the efforts of those players this never would have been possible.”
In Holm’s first season at Purdue in 2017, Learnard (NCBWA Second Team All-American) and Gareth Stroh (Third Team All-Big Ten) both garnered postseason honors while helping lead the Boilermakers to a 19-win improvement.
Holm joined the Sacramento State coaching staff for the 2013 season and was promoted to associate head coach the following year. He helped the Hornets win 40 games and a pair of Western Athletic Conference titles in 2014. Under Holm’s guidance, the Hornets’ team ERA dropped from 5.25 in 2012 to 3.63 during his first season and remained below 4.00 for three straight years. The 2014 team posted victories against Oregon State, Arizona State, Texas A&M and Fresno State on its way to a program-record 40 wins and its first NCAA Regional appearance.
The Sacramento native was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1997 MLB First-Year Player Draft after his senior season at McClatchy High School, but passed on that opportunity to start his collegiate career at American River Junior College. After two seasons, Holm made his way to Oral Roberts and became an All-American at shortstop, winning Mid-Continent Conference Player and Newcomer of the Year honors in 2000 after batting a school-record .437. He was then drafted by the Giants in 2001 and made the transition to catcher in pro ball, where he played in over 700 games during his 12 pro seasons. He was part of the Giants’ 2008 opening-day roster and also played in the big leagues in 2009 (Giants) and 2011 (Twins).
Holm graduated in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in recreation administration and was later inducted into the ORU Hall of Fame in 2014. In the fall of 2016, he was part of McClatchy High School’s Hall of Fame class along with former teammate and longtime big leaguer Nick Johnson as well as their coach Brian Loforte.