STILLWATER — Tony Holt has spent so much time at Couch Park, he can’t even begin to count the hours.
From his time as Stillwater’s American Legion coach 32 years ago to taking over the Stillwater High School baseball program in 2009, Holt has been one of the most recognizable figures of baseball in Stillwater — joining the likes of the Hollidays and Brett Anderson.
But next spring a new name will be associated with Pioneer baseball as Holt announced his resignation, effective at the end of the Pioneers’ American Legion season.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while,” Holt said. “It’s not a snap decision. It’s been something that I’ve been thinking about pretty consistently for the last year or so. ... There’s a lot of reasons. I wanted to spend a bit more time with my family. We have a lot of family and it seems like there’s always something coming up and I’m not able to go. I love coaching. I’m not burnt out on coaching, but right now I feel like it’s more important to do stuff with the family.”
“It was a surprise,” Stillwater Athletic Director Tucker Barnard said. “I didn’t really have much indication that Tony was thinking about that. He decided that’s what he needed to do and I understand that he’s got a daughter that’s coming up and going to be a really good athlete. He kind of expressed that he wanted to be able to spend more time watching her play ball and going to her games.”
That’s the thing about the Holt family, though. As important as baseball is to everyone — from Holt’s brothers Rex and Ron to his son Alex, a former Stillwater standout and assistant on the Stillwater American Legion team — family has always come first.