By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech head baseball coach Justin Holmes found the perfect fit for the team's opening at volunteer assistant coach, hiring Garrett Walters in the role for the 2018-19 season.
"Garrett comes to us with a lot of experience at the Division I level," Holmes explained. "He brings a lot of energy and expertise in areas that we need that expertise in. I am really excited about that. He is valuable and a really hard worker. I really enjoy being around him and having him in our program. We're just happy to have him."
"Knowing [assistant coach] Mitch [Wright] prior to this, really helped me in getting my foot in the door and just seeing what Coach Holmes is about," Walters said of applying for the position. "Like I told Coach Holmes, I watched his press conference when he got the job. His enthusiasm and passion for not only baseball, but also just this program really drove me to want to be here, and I made that known. I spoke with him about it and it's just a good fit. Walking in here, everything is blue collar and these guys just get after it. They want to be here. They want to work for the guys next to them and I wanted to be a part of that."
Walters joins the Golden Eagle staff after serving as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Alabama during the 2017 and 2018 seasons under two different coaching staffs, including, most recently, head coach Brad Bohannon. He also worked as a coach for the East Coast Sox, a 15u travel team competing in WWBA tournaments.
While at Alabama, he handled equipment needs and oversaw the student manager program. He also assisted with batting practice, infield work and any extra skill work as needed. Additionally, he had a hand in running prospect camps, showcases and travel tournaments that were held at the Alabama facilities.
A former collegiate backstop at both the University of Louisiana at Monroe and Calhoun Community College, Walters will primarily work with the Golden Eagle catchers while also aiding with all field maintenance and day-to-day operations.
"We are going to put him to good use, having him do a lot of work with our catchers and work closely with our pitchers," Holmes explained of Walters' duties. "It makes sense that their catching coach and the guy that runs with those guys would not be separate but a part of the pitching staff, during the game. Obviously, by knowing and understanding what is going on, the catcher can have a great impact."
"I've been blessed with opportunities like playing at Louisiana Monroe and seeing a Division I program that didn't have all of the resources and making things work with what you have," Walters explained. "And then getting to go to Alabama for two years and working there and seeing a place that has the resources. You get a bunch of different perspectives as what to use, how to use it, the mind set on the field of different caliber athletes on the field. So, I feel like I bring in a lot of perspective as well as work ethic. Whatever they ask me to do, I'm going to grind and try to do it the best I can."
Walters earned his bachelor's degree in business, with a concentration in marketing, from ULM in July of 2016. In May of 2018, he added a master's in sports business management from the University of Alabama to his resume.
"I have constructed a staff that I think is full of people that are good at a lot of different things," Holmes said. "We all have our strengths and we, in some cases, have weaknesses, or maybe it is a strength but somebody has a slightly greater strength in that department. Really, if you are saying that you want to create something and build something, you cannot let your egos get in the way. That is my job to make sure that we get the most out of everybody and we filled our staff with guys that can do everything and they have expertise in many different areas at all times. I feel like the person that is in charge of whatever it is they are doing are going to have a great handle on it. Inevitably when nobody has a handle on it, I feel like we can put our heads together and problem solve that way too. I like the way it has come together and the different personalities, but at the same time a lot of motivated individuals aiming in one direction."