Clarksville, TN – This coming Friday, June 30th, will see the career of long-time Austin Peay State University coach and administrator Cheryl Holt come full circle, as she is set to retire after 35-plus years of service to the university.
Holt, who first came to Austin Peay to earn her master’s degree in the early 1970’s after graduating from The Ohio State University, returned to the school in 1982 to become the head volleyball and tennis coach after serving at both the University of Mississippi and the University of Miami as volleyball coach.
It turned out though, she would have her hand in more than just those two sports early-on, also serving one year as an assistant for the women’s basketball program as well as starting the school’s softball program and serving as its head coach for its first two seasons.
But it was her 23-year run as the school’s volleyball coach where she left her largest coaching legacy.
Over that span, Holt won 364 matches, including winning the 1991 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament title – the first non-Kentucky based school to win the tournament title in conference history up to that point — and the 1992 OVC regular-season championship.
Her teams also qualified for the OVC tournament 20 times in her 23 years at the helm – including the final 19 seasons as head coach – and the 28 wins earned during the 1992 season still stands as the most victories in a single season by an APSU volleyball team.
That marked the second time a Holt coached volleyball team set the school standard, with her 1980 team at Miami still holding the school record for wins in a single season with 49 victories.
Along the way, she also helped to produced three APSU Hall of Fame selections, two OVC Players of the Year, one OVC Tournament MVP, 10 All-OVC First-Team selections, 10 All-OVC 2nd-Team selections, 12 All-OVC Honorable Mentions, seven All-OVC Newcomer picks and two All-OVC Freshmen Team choices.
Academically, her teams produced one OVC Scholar Athlete Award winner, six OVC Academic Medal of Honor selections, one CoSIDA Academic All-America pick, one CoSIDA First-Team All-District and two CoSIDA 2nd-Team All-District as well as earning OVC Coach of the Year honors four times.
Overall, Holt finished her volleyball coaching career with 516 career wins, which was at the time ranking her in the top 30 among active coaches in victories at the NCAA Division I level.
After stepping down from her coaching duties, she continued her leadership on the administrative side of the athletics department full time, being the departments senior woman administrator before also being named assistant athletics director in 2003 and then elevated to associate athletics director in 2015.
For her service, Holt has also received some of the highest honors the university and athletic department can bestow, with the former Lady Govs Softball Field being named Cheryl Holt Field in April of 2011 and the following year was indicted into the APSU Athletic Department Hall of Fame.
Holt maybe ending this chapter of her service to the university and the athletics department this week, but her legacy – both as a coach and administrator – will stand among the best all-time in Governors history.