Tom Holliday

Some families own a grocery store and that is the family business, others own a garage or auto dealership, but with the Holliday family - baseball is the family business.

Former Uniontown High School football, basketball and baseball player Tom Holliday was the longtime baseball coach at Oklahoma State, the pitching coach at the University of Texas, the associate head coach at North Carolina State and an assistant coach at Auburn. Tom's son Matt Holliday, 37, was an All-Star outfielder with the Colorado Rockies and currently is the designated hitter for the New York Yankees.



Chuck Muncie  

Matt's older brother Josh is the head baseball coach at Oklahoma State and his uncle Dave is a scout for the Atlanta Braves.

Tom, graduated from Uniontown in 1971; he came to the Red Raiders from St. John's High School and played basketball for the Raiders as well as the starting quarterback for the Raiders.

Holliday looked back on his days as a Red Raider.

"I remember the first training camp that I went to in football," Holliday recalled. "I had never played organized football and I witnessed how well structured it was. The emphasis on football was so great at Uniontown at that time that it made me feel like I was going to college. That was the most serious impact feeling that I had in sports. I played basketball with all those guys at Uniontown around town - so it wasnít a big deal in basketball, and probably the second most important thing was when Ross Orndorf told me that that were going to have baseball. They had promised me that they would try to have baseball at Uniontown and that's why I transferred over, and when he told me that they were going to have baseball that was big."

Holliday played all three sports, but baseball was special in his house.

"Baseball was always the favorite thing in my house," he said. "My dad just kind of put up with the other sports, and then when baseball rolled around, that was his thing. We knew that baseball was important when he would come in and have dinner and sit there and stick his ear next to the radio to listen to the Yankee games. We knew baseball was important to him and I think that - that's probably what sold me over on baseball. As you know in Pennsylvania it's hard to make baseball number one because the weather doesn't allow that to happen.î

"Basketball was probably the first thing and then football after I got a taste of it and then baseball took over after I realized that I had a chance maybe do something in the future."

Uniontown had some competitive basketball and baseball teams when Holliday was in school, but football started on a downward slide.

"I probably have to say that in high school I played football with Chuck Muncie and Tom Hull - two guys that played in the NFL. To run around with them and to really be as close a friend with Chuck Muncie as I was and to follow his career while I was playing and when I first started coaching to be able to stay in touch with him was fun.

"The baseball end of it---I still say to this day had we had baseball sooner, that Billy Emmett, Kenny Meadows and some of those guys I played with would have played big time college baseball, and I think Emmett might have played in the big leagues had he been structured and organized and geared in the right direction. Certainly in basketball you know Abe Everhart was a legendary coach in Pennsylvania and the teams I played with, had Jes Hutson not broken his foot we could have won a state championship, but he did break his foot and forced me to play point guard which immediately put us in trouble."

When Holliday graduated from Uniontown he decided to play baseball at Yavapai Junior College in Arizona.

"The taste in my mouth after we had the bad senior year in football was regardless of the opportunities that I had in football and for people to still recruit a quarterback that went without a win - it was nice, but it was too late," Holliday explained. "I made up my mind then I was going to play baseball. In those days the only firm offer I had for baseball was a junior college in Arizona, and I took it and I would never second guess that because it's probably what I needed to grow up and after two years of being away from home and going that far away it made the transition to the University of Miami FL an easy one. My choices were three or four schools after two years at Yavapai - it was either going to be Cal Berkley, UCLA or Miami. I chose Miami because it was East Coast and I went to Miami and really enjoyed it."

A catcher and first baseman, Holliday was on Miami's first College World Series team, finishing second in 1974.

"My junior year was the first time that Miami had gone to the College World Series," Holliday stated. "From that year on Miami became one of those schools that you immediately attached to the College World Series."

In 1975, he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates and spent one year in their minor league system playing in Niagara Falls, N.Y., before electing to become a coach.

"In those days so many people put an emphasis on age," Holliday offered. "I signed at 22 so there was an immediate emphasis on how old I was. I played and I kept thinking I had to hurry up and had I known then what I know now about learning how to relax and playing the game for what it's worth and playing the game at a pace that gives you a chance to be successful, I think I could have been much more successful, but I played the game as a 22 year-old with too much of an emphasis on urgency and I wish I could have undone that because when I got out of the game I had another opportunity to go back into professional baseball and I really didn't want to pitch, which is what people wanted me to do and I made up my mind that I was going to finish my education and start a family. I wish I could have stuck around longer because I saw friends of mine get to the big leagues. You always second-guess that - at the same time I got to play for the Pirates, which fulfilled a lifetime dream."

Holliday would begin his collegiate coaching career the very next season in 1976, serving as an assistant for his alma mater in Coral Gables, Fla. The following season, Holliday went to work at Arizona State as an assistant coach for the Sun Devils in their National Championship season of 1977. Two months after winning the national title at ASU, Holliday joined Gary Ward's staff at Oklahoma State.

He spent the next 26 years at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla., the first 19 as the Cowboys' pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. He was the Cowboys' head coach from 1997-2003. In Holliday's 26 years in Stillwater, Oklahoma State made 11 College World Series appearances, including seven in a row from 1981-87. The Cowboys played in the CWS championship game in 1981, 1987 and 1990. He took Oklahoma State to Omaha as head coach in 1999, finishing the year with a 46-21 record and ranked No. 8 in the country. The Cowboys won 50 games or more eight times while Holliday was on the staff, including 61 victories in 1988 and averaged more than 47 wins per season.

Holliday coached 10 first-team All-Americans and 27 total All-Americans at Stillwater, 92 all-conference performers, seven Freshman All-Americans, two U.S. Olympians and six U.S. National Team members, 52 academic all-conference honorees, and 155 players who went on to careers in professional baseball, including nine who were first-round draft picks.

Holliday spent three years as the pitching coach at the University of Texas. The Longhorns were NCAA runners-up in 2004 in his first year in Austin, then won the national championship in 2005. Collegiate Baseball magazine named him its 2005 National College Pitching Coach of the Year.

Holliday joined the NC State baseball coaching staff on July 7, 2006, as associate head coach and remained there until he moved on to Auburn for one season in 2015.

At NC State, Holliday groomed ace pitcher Carlos Rodon into the No. 3 overall MLB Draft pick in 2014.

While serving as NC State's pitching coach, Holliday coached five All-ACC pitchers and four All-Americans. He had 15 hurlers selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

Holliday's Career Stats at OSU: 1,698-691 record in 38 years as a college assistant and head coach, 17 College World Series appearances with four different schools, and two national championships.

"I think when you get to a point in your career," Tom Holliday observed. "This is one of those things when you just sit around in your chair and you jump up and say you're going to go do this. I don't act on impulse very often, but this is a longtime friend that I've seen work his rear end off for 20 years and in our business of college baseball - getting to the college World Series is a lot of people's goal and it's a dream.î

Holliday returned to his roots when he was inducted into the Oklahoma State Cowboy Baseball Hall of Fame during the OSU First Pitch Banquet in 2016. He is now doing college baseball color commentary on radio and television.

The Holliday's family life revolves around baseball.

"It is the family business," Holliday explained. "We don't have a restaurant that we've passed down; we've just passed baseball down. It is good, it's healthy - baseball's a healthy thing and the ups and downs are good. I keep thinking of Tom Hanks telling those girls in that baseball movie - 'baseball players don't cry.' You've got to see those emotions and our family has been through that."


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