TRAVERSE CITY, MI -- Former shortstop for the Traverse City Beach Bums, Justin Holmes, was recently named Head Baseball Coach for Tennessee Tech University. Check out the full story, written by Sparky Newsome, below!

By Sparky Newsome
editor and publisher

Late last month, Justin Holmes accepted the position of head baseball coach for Tennessee Tech University following a phenomenal season which took the Golden Eagles just one win away from the College World Series. Holmes was previously the recruiting coordinator and assistant coach for the team.

"It's a natural fit," TTU Athletic Director Mark Wilson said of his selection of Holmes as the 14th man in program history to lead the Eagles. "Justin is passionate about not only baseball, but also about the student-athletes in our program and their personal, educational, and professional development."

During the past four years since Holmes joined TTU as an assistant coach, the Eagles won 151 games and dominated Ohio Valley Conference play with 83 wins, winning the last two regular season conference titles.

In both 2017 and 2018, the Eagles led the NCAA, all divisions, in home runs, and this year led the nation in multiple other categories including batting average, hits, and runs per game. The team put together an amazing winning streak of 28 games and also broke into the top 25 rolling through the post-season with a stunning upset of Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi.

That made TTU the first Ohio Valley Conference team ever to advance to a super-regional. The Eagles lost that series to the Texas Longhorns in Austin, Texas, 1-2.

Most of the guys on the team were Holmes' recruits. Those who weren't shared the affection and respect. Before the announcement was made, Ethan Roberts, TTU's top reliever and a fourth-round draft pick, tweeted, "Justin Holmes is my candidate for HC at my Alum TTU. The guy changed my life." And after the selection, he added, "Congrats to one of the most passionate and fired up coaches I ever had the opportunity to play for! Coach Holmes will do phenomenal things for this program, university, and community!"

"I am so humbled to have been given the opportunity to lead Tennessee Tech baeball into the future. the foundation that this program stands on is sturdy. Time for the 2019 edition of TTU Baseball to get to work. Invest your time wisely and never forget to dream big things," the new head coach said.

At the press conference, Holmes thanked his wife, the former Lizzie Newsome originally of Washington, Wilson, TTU President phil Oldham, the other assistant coached, and many other for their support.

"I'm so proud of this place. It's my home," he said. "I've seen these guys grow up, and I think that's the part I'm most excited about. I get to continue this journey and this adventure with the guys in this locker room. They're a pleasure to come to work with every day and I'm just excited for that."

Holmes' baseball career began in high school and continued at South Florida briefly before he signed on, during his sophomore year, to play for the University of Georgia Bulldogs and Head Coach David Perno. After leading UGA to the College World Series as a senior, he was drafted by the Cleveland Indians and played minor league baseball for that organization before joining the Frontier League as shortstop for the Traverse City Beach Bums. He was later named an All-Decade shortstop for the Beach Bums after his retirement in 2007.

That retirement had its roots much closer to home.

"I remember needing someone to come in and help us in the summer of 2007 and he was still tinkering around in Independent ball," Coach Perno said. "I had no disrespect for his wanting to chase his dream but I had a great opportunity for him and I really felt like [coaching] was what he was born to do. I knew he would be a great fit. I called him in August and told him this is what you're good at."

That call led to Holmes' move from player to coach. He played his last game at Traverse City late one August evening and by the next afternoon he was on Foley Field in Athens working with the Bulldogs as the new Volunteer Assistant. He stayed there through 2010 and saw the College World Series again, this time as a coach. UGA finished second, behind Fresno state.

Holmes left the Bulldogs to take a position at Mercer University where he saw similar success. In 2014, he reported for duty at Tennessee Tech.

"He was a game-changer for us. He was a game-changer at Mercer. And obviously he has been a game-changer at Tennessee Tech," Perno observed. "I knew what they (TTU) were doing prior to his arrival and it was nothing compared to the last couple of years. He's good, he's a young star, and there's no telling where he's going to go."

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