Justin Holmes enters his third year as an assistant coach on the Mercer University baseball staff. Holmes comes to Mercer from the University of Georgia where he was a volunteer assistant for three seasons. While at Georgia, he was part of the 2008 Bulldog squad that won an SEC Championship and finished second at the College World Series.
Holmes will serve as the new hitting instructor for a Bears offense that in 2010 posted the third-best team batting average in Atlantic Sun history, at .340. Holmes will also coach first base and work with the Mercer infield defense that posted an impressive .961 fielding percentage in 2010.
Year two under Holmes saw the Mercer offense continue to grow into one of the most feared line-ups in all of college baseball. The Bears led the A-Sun Conference in almost every offensive category including batting average (.302), slugging percentage (.462), on-base percentage (.391), runs scored (384), hits (606) and home runs (65). For the season, the Orange and Black finished in the top-25 nationally in home runs (5th), slugging percentage (9th), on-base percentage (18th) and batting average (24th). Holmes was key in the development and maturation of Louisville Slugger All-American first team selection Nick Backlund, A-Sun Conference Freshman of the Year winner Chesny Young and A-Sun All-Conference first team member Derrick Workman.
Holmes’ first season in Macon was one to remember as the Bears put together one of the most dynamic seasons offensively of any team in the nation. Under Holmes’ tutelage, Mercer finished third in the country in home runs (80), fifth in runs per game (7.7), 16th in batting average (.310), 17th in hits (653) and 41st in fielding percentage (.974). Junior Jacob Tanis was named an Atlantic Sun All-Conference while outfielders Joe Winker, Thomas Carroll and Billy Burns were selected to the A-Sun All-Conference second team. Holmes also had three of his players taken in the 2011 MLB Draft including Tanis (13th round, Oakland Athletics), Winker (28th round, Los Angeles Dodgers) and Burns (32nd round, Washington Nationals).
A native of Oviedo, Fla., Holmes spent four years playing professional baseball before returning to Georgia to begin his coaching career. He holds the Bulldog record for best career fielding percentage by a shortstop at .951. He works with the infielders and serves as the first base coach.
Holmes was a three-year starter for the Bulldogs including Co-MVP of the 2004 squad that finished third at the College World Series with a 45-23 record. He earned second team All-SEC honors as a senior captain. He batted a team-best .332 with eight home runs and 56 RBI in leading the Bulldogs to the 2004 SEC title. As a junior, he hit .301-1-16 and ranked second among SEC shortstops with a .971 Fielding Percentage. For his career, Holmes hit .319 with nine home runs, 94 RBI and 34 stolen bases.
Holmes was a 26th round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians in 2004. He played in the Indians organization for two years, spending time in Burlington, N.C. in the Appalachian League, and Eastlake, Ohio for Lake County in the South Atlantic League. Also, he played for the Traverse City (Mich.) Beach Bums of the Frontier League. Holmes was a two-time All-Star selection for the Bums.
Holmes began his collegiate career at the University of South Florida, playing one season with the Bulls before transferring to Georgia in 2002. He is a 2005 graduate of UGA with a degree in Classical Culture.
Holmes is married to the former Elizabeth Newsome of Washington, Ga. She is a 2008 graduate of the UGA veterinary school. She was a member of Georgia’s 2003 and 2004 national championship equestrian teams. They just recently had a son named Rider together who is two months old.