Oklahoma State’s baseball staff, already stacked with head coaching quality, now features some fresh big league appeal.
Matt Holliday, a Major League Baseball star as recently as 2017, joins his brother Josh’s staff as an assistant coach. Matt’s duties will be offensive development and outfield play, two areas in which he thrived.
A former MLB All-Star, Matt played 15 big league seasons during runs with the Colorado Rockies, St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland A’s and New York Yankees. During his career, which spanned 2004-18, he was a seven-time All-Star.
“Matt loves the game of baseball and has a passion for helping young men pursue their dreams both on the field and in life,” Josh said in announcing the hire Thursday. “We are so excited to have him join our coaching staff.”
Along with Josh, assistants Rob Walton and Marty Lees have also served as NCAA Division I head coaches. The addition of Matt, who once was committed to play football and baseball at OSU, before signing out of high school with the Rockies, offers a recent connection to the big leagues that should resonate with young players and recruits.
“With Rob, Marty and Matt, we have a coaching team established that will work together to recruit and develop players at the highest level,” Josh said.
“Matt’s expertise in hitting and outfield play will fit perfectly within our staff. Our players will have the opportunity to learn from one of the finest offensive players in baseball history. Matt is a teacher, and his ability to articulate the movements and mindset of the swing is exceptional.”
Holliday played in 1,903 games during his career and recorded a .299 batting average with 316 home runs, 468 doubles and 1,220 RBIs. He was a four-time Silver Slugger Award winner and helped lead the Cardinals to the 2011 World Series title.
“I’m excited to join the baseball staff at Oklahoma State, and I’m looking forward to the chance to help young men reach their potential in all areas of their lives,” Matt said. “Coaching alongside my brother and the staff he has put together makes me eager to be a part of it. Thanks to [athletic director Mike] Holder and my big brother for giving me this opportunity.”
Matt broke into the big leagues in 2004 with Colorado and finished fifth in National League Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .290 with 14 homers and 57 RBIs in 121 games.
Over his first five MLB seasons, all with Colorado, Holliday was a three-time National League All-Star, earning that honor from 2006-08.
Holliday enjoyed his best season in 2007 when he finished second in the National League MVP voting and led the Rockies to their first-ever World Series appearance. He led the NL with a .340 batting average and also topped the league in hits (216), RBIs (137), total bases (386) and doubles (50) while ranking fourth with 36 homers.
During the ’07 National League Championship Series against Arizona, Holliday hit .333 with a pair of homers and four RBIs and was named the NLCS MVP.
After a brief stint with Oakland in 2009, Holliday was traded to St. Louis and spent eight seasons with the Cardinals, leading the club to six postseason appearances, including two World Series.
Holliday spent 2017 with the Yankees before returning to Colorado late in the 2018 season and helping the Rockies earn a berth in the playoffs.
“Matt is an ideal teammate who understands how to balance hard work with fun and has a great compassion and concern for others,” said Lance Berkman, former MLB All-Star and teammate of Holliday’s in St. Louis. “His calm, steady demeanor and knowledge of the game will be a tremendous asset for OSU. He is able to communicate hitting like few can and, more importantly, is someone that will have a far reaching positive impact on the players off the field.
“In short, if I had a son, I’d want him to be around Matt as much as possible.”
Matt and his wife, Leslee, have four children — Jackson, Gracyn, Ethan and Reed. The family has a home in Stillwater.