Date: May 9, 2019
By: Eric Leary
Joining us today one this edition of On The Field with Impact Baseball is the head coach at Southwest Guilford High School, Reid Holmes. Coach Holmes does an excellent job year in and year out with both his players and facility. We know you’ll enjoy all the details and insights he is about to share.
At this point of the 2019 season how would you say it’s going? Based on your pre-season expectations how is your team’s progress towards those goals it may have set?
We are excited to be the Piedmont Triad 3A Conference Champions! We are 18-6 overall and will play for our tournament championship. We set several goals at the beginning of every season and to win the regular season conference championship is certainly one of those and secure the #1 seed from our conference. We strive to improve on a daily basis as the year progresses and that mentality has served us well over the years.
Weather is always an issue for baseball. This season has definitely presented some challenges. How have you adapted to the weather?
You are definitely right about the weather. We talk about controlling what we can and not concerning ourselves with the other things. The weather is certainly out of our hands, so we harp on making sure we maximize our time together no matter the situation. We are fortunate that we have covered batting cages at our field and this allows us to work even when the field is unplayable. We also have the NC Baseball Academy in close proximity to our school and we are able to visit that top notch facility when the weather dictates that we can’t be outside at all. Plus, the gym is used periodically when there are no other options. Our kids have adjusted well to all of the changes!
Who are the the players in your program going on to play at the next level? Also, who on your team deserves to get some attention from those looking for top players?
Tom Grose is signed with UNC Greensboro. He was the conference POY in 2018 but an ACL tear in January abruptly ended his 2019 season. He played SS for us but is versatile enough to play any of the 3 INF positions. Isaiah Hairston is going to play at Guilford College. He’s a big strong 1B, and he leads our team in average, RBI’s and HR’s this year. We have several other players that I believe with continued hard work will have some opportunities down the road – Jr./RHP Jacob Shafer, Jr./LHP Owen Kincaid, Soph./RHP/SS Easton Morgan, Soph./OF Jaxon Rauber, Soph./C Luke Johnson, Fr./Utility Joe Specht, Fr./RHP/3B Hunter Whitten.
How long have you been the head baseball coach at SW Guilford High School? And what other stops or sports have you made on your coaching journey? Additionally, who have been some influences in your coaching development?
I have been the Head Baseball Coach at SWG for 20 years. Prior to becoming the Head Baseball Coach, I was an assistant at SWG for 3 years under both Mike Herndon (Salisbury Head Coach) and Chris Cook. While teaching English at SWG, I have also coached football (5 years) and JV basketball (3 years). I have been the Assistant AD since 2000 as well. I began my coaching career as a baseball assistant for 2 years at Western Guilford in 1995 with Chris Causey as the head coach. I’ve been extremely blessed during my tenure at SWG to have REALLY good assistant coaches. They deserve a lot of the credit for our success over the years.
Who have been some of the most memorable players and teams you’ve had the opportunity to coach? What makes them stand out?
All of the teams that I’ve coached have taken on their own identity and been memorable in their own way. My 1st year at SWG as an assistant in 1997, we were fortunate to win the 2A State Championship versus a very good Cherryville HS team. My 1st year as a head coach in 2000 we were defeated in the Regional Finals by Fuquay Varina. Those 2 seasons stand out due to the fact that those were the 1st seasons as both an assistant and head coach at SWG. However, every team has been enjoyable and rewarding in their own unique way. I’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of really good players who have moved on to play both collegiately and professionally. I’ve always said that good players to an extent make us all look like good coaches. Blake Cross (UNC Wilmington/Atlanta Braves), Jeff Landing (VA Tech/NY Mets), Rhett Ballard (VA Tech/Colorado Rockies), Warren Slack (UNCG/San Diego Padres), Blake Hassebrock (UNCG/Oakland A’s), and Brock Hudgens (UNC Charlotte/Milwaukee Brewers) just to name a few players that have stood out over the years.
Rivalries and competition can sometimes be intense. But good coaches recognize and appreciate an opponent who brings out the best in them. Which teams and coaches in your career have you found to be the most challenging to face?
Rivalries are one of things that make athletics fun! There are so many coaches that I respect and enjoyed competing against throughout the state it’s hard to narrow them down. However, I’ll stay local with a few schools and coaches. The schools over the years that have brought out the best in SW baseball and challenged us to improve in order to compete at a high level are Glenn HS (Dale Ijames/John Fowler), Western Guilford (Chris Causey), Ragsdale (Donnie Maness), and NW Guilford (Sonny Gann). Lots of respect for the teams and coaches mentioned above!
What is your favorite part of practice?
I really enjoy all of our defensive work from fungoes, situational work and communication drills. We pride ourselves on pitching and defense and spend a lot time on these areas.
What is your favorite position or skill to coach? Favorite drill?
I have enjoyed spending time with all of the positions over the years but most recently I’ve found myself spending more time with our infielders. My favorite thing is throwing BP. This has always been something I’ve enjoyed over the years.
What is your favorite uniform and hat look for your program?
White pants, White top, Green hat
- When your team is hitting – coach 3B or dugout? 3B
- When you give signals to hitters – signs or wrist bands? signs
- When your guy hits a HR – high five or fist bump? high five
- When you are in uniform – ankle length pants or high socks? ankle length
- When you reach in your back pocket – stopwatch or no stopwatch? No stopwatch
- When you are marking your field – chalk or painted lines? painted lines
We’d like to thank Coach Holmes for taking a few moments and sharing with us about his career, his views and his program. Best of luck to him and his Cowboys!