Clay Holland named next head coach of Tarleton Cross Country, Track and Field
STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton named Holland clay as the next head coach of its cross country and track and field programs.
Holland brings 14 years of coaching experience to the table, including seven from the NCAA Division I ranks. He spent the past four years as a top assistant coach at Tarleton and also held positions at Texas State (2009-2012) and the University of Texas at Arlington (2012-2014).
“We are thrilled to have Clay (Holland) as the next head coach of our cross country and track and field programs at Tarleton State University,” said the vice president of Intercollegiate Athletics. Lonn Reisman. “We did an elaborate search with very qualified people, but Clay’s qualifications spoke for themselves.
“He brings a high-level Division I mindset to our department after his time at Texas State and UTA, and the success he had with our student-athletes during his tenure as head coach. acting,” Reisman continued. “He is a top coach and I have no doubt that our men’s and women’s programs will enjoy continued success at this level.”
He replaces Pat Ponderwho announced his retirement after a 15-year run as head coach of Tarleton.
“I’m really lucky to be Tarleton’s next cross country and track and field head coach,” Holland said. “It’s a place I really fell in love with four years ago. I never imagined Tarleton State to be the place I call home, but after being here for four seasons, getting to know the athletes, the institution, the leadership, I’m extremely lucky to be here with this program.”
Holland led Tarleton’s athleticism from the NCAA Division II ranks to a Western Athletic Conference game.
Since arriving in Stephenville in 2018, Holland has produced 58 All-Conference athletes and three NCAA Division II All-Americans and has seen 68 of his athletes climb into the program’s all-time record books.
While Holland served as interim head coach, the Texans dazzled in the 2022 indoor season — his first in a head coaching role. Tarleton has seen 11 athletes earn First or Second Team All-WAC accolades and broke 10 school records. Holland trained Justin Raines to the WAC Indoor 60m Championship and WAC Indoor Freshman of the Year honors. Raines and his freshman classmate Rylee Hennig also won bronze medals in the 60m hurdles and high jump under Holland’s tutelage.
He worked directly with Tarleton’s jumpers, sprinters, hurdlers and multi-event athletes while recruiting all event groups during his first three years as an assistant coach.
Dutch athletes were among the most touted and credentialed on campus during Tarleton’s first season in NCAA Division I. During the 2020-21 outdoor campaign, Holland coached a program and school-record 14 athletes to All-WAC honors. Additionally, three of the Dutch athletes were crowned conference champions; Jasmine McQuirter at 100m, Gentrye Munden high jump and Alain Palmer in the long jump.
“If you look at our program and our athletes, they love wearing purple and white,” Holland said. “It really means something to them to represent Tarleton. We’ve found a really good group of athletes who want to be here, who want to be their best, and we’re going to have to keep building on that. We’ll be able to build a program in the future, but it will take time, it will take effort and it will take a lot of work.”
Holland worked as a graduate assistant for a year at Texas State after a four-year run as a student athlete. He was later elevated to assistant coach, where he also served as the program’s recruiting coordinator. Holland has coached combined events, jumps, hurdles and relays, helping 11 athletes earn 11 all-conference recognitions and six to become NCAA National Qualifiers.
He then spent two years at UTA as Director of Athletics Events and Director of Facilities.
He was previously assistant track and field coach at Texas Lutheran University from 2016-2018. Holland has coached 59 all-conference athletes, 13 conference champions, 12 USTFCCCCA All South/Southeast Regional Athletes of the Year, nine NCAA National Qualifiers and five NCAA Division III All-Americans. He was named USTFCCCCA Assistant Coach of the Year in the entire South/Southeast Region during his tenure at Seguin.
A native of Junction, Texas, Holland earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science at the state of Texas.
He and his wife, Whitney, have two children, a daughter, Lakelyn, and a son, Hayes.