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. 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. “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.”
Holm’s previous coaching stops include Purdue as well as four years with Sacramento State, three of those four as associate head coach. The Hornets’ 2016 MLB draft picks included pitchers Tyler Beardsley and Sam Long as well as catcher Gunner Pollman. Numerous other Sacramento State players developed into MLB draftees after excelling under Holm’s tutelage.
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. He and his wife, Lindsey, were married in the summer of 2013 and are the parents of two daughters, Annika and Hanna.