Franciscan University of Steubenville Announces New Athletic Director

Mike Holmes to Begin Duties May 1.
Mike Holmes to Begin Duties May 1.

STEUBENVILLE – Vice President of Student Life David Schmiesing today announced Mike Holmes as the new director of Athletics at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Holmes will be the second director of Athletics at Franciscan since the University brought back varsity athletics in 2007.

"Mike brings nearly three decades of athletics experience at the high school and collegiate levels, as well as a strong background in higher education both as a teacher and as an administrator," said Schmiesing. "I look forward to working with Mike as he leads Baron athletics into the future, integrating faith and virtue in all that we do."

Holmes, a Des Moines, Iowa, native, comes to Franciscan University after three years at the University of Maine at Presque Isle where he served as the athletic director and head men's basketball coach since 2014.

"I see endless potential for Baron Athletics," said Holmes. "I was impressed with the leadership and coaches during the interview process, and those interactions secured my belief that Franciscan University of Steubenville can take a prominent national role in demonstrating successful NCAA Division III programs without sacrificing its mission."

While at Maine—Presque Isle, Holmes helped change the landscape of the Athletic Department. He obtained the first NCAA conference affiliation for five sports beginning in the 2016-17 season and championed the inaugural fundraising dinner, featuring 40 auction items and 45 raffle items. While supervising head coaches in 12 varsity sports, Holmes published a new Coaches' Handbook and a Student-Athlete Handbook to better lead his department.

To help advance the department, Holmes secured a $300,000 endowment for athletics while forming a $17,500 partnership with University Credit Union that aided in offsetting the costs of running a sizable athletic department.

In addition to his administrative duties, Holmes served as the head men's basketball coach for the last three seasons. During his tenure, Holmes compiled a 39-35 record for the Owls. This past season, the Owls finished 12-11 after winning three of their last five games.

Prior to joining the Owls, Holmes was the instructor of health and human performance and the head men's basketball coach at Southwestern Community College in Creston, Iowa, for six years. At SWCC, Holmes instructed classes in sport management, care and prevention of athletic injuries, first aid and CPR, personal wellness, and introduction to coaching. 

Holmes brings with him 20-plus years of administrative and coaching experience, including two decades teaching and coaching high school basketball prior to the transition to the collegiate level. Holmes began his coaching career in 1989 and climbed the Iowa high school ladder. In 1994, Holmes was named the Northeast Iowa Coach of the Year.

During his coaching tenure at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa, Holmes also served as the assistant athletic director, his first athletic administrative role, from 1996-2001. From there, he went to Cardinal Ritter High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, as the athletic director and head boy's basketball coach from 2001-2002. There he directed a 20-sport varsity athletic program and created several fundraising initiatives. Holmes' last stop in high school athletics was at Ottumwa High School in Ottumwa, Iowa, where he was the dean of students and head boy's basketball coach from 2002-2008.

Holmes graduated from Simpson College in 1989, where he played basketball, and earned a bachelor of arts in communication. In June of 2000, Holmes earned his master's of education from Iowa State University. 

"A vision always develops once you can see the rhythms of a place, but my early sense is that I feel there are a great deal of similarities between my previous campus at the University of Maine—Presque Isle and Franciscan University of Steubenville," said Holmes. "My goal is to contribute to the culture and campus community and advance athletics step by step through mentoring, good decisions regarding athlete experience and welfare, and prudent financial management. I am delighted to be entrusted with the challenge and mission."

Holmes is set to begin his time at Franciscan University on May 1.