AU football welcomes new secondary football coach

Coach Devin Holiday pictured above.

AU Athletics

Coach Devin Holiday pictured above.

Jordann Lopata

Former division 1 football player at the University of Arizona has been hired by head football coach Lee Owens, to serve as a secondary coach.

Devin Holiday, originally from San Diego, California, played as a true freshman at the University of Arizona all four years and then coached at Ohio Wesleyan University. He now comes to Ashland to serve as the safeties coach.

Holiday will also assist with game planning, recruiting, special teams, and possibly kickoff. With a Northeast Ohio recruiting area, his time at Ohio Wesleyan, will help him assist with recruitment as well.

Through his connections at Ohio Wesleyan, he met assistant football coach at Ashland, Dominick Orsini and they became friends. “He went to school with another coach that I coached with so we were buddies. We built our relationship ever since then, kept in touch, and then once the job opened up, Dom reached out and I thought it would be a great situation for me,” Holiday said.

Holiday understands that Ashland football has a good reputation, and that is part of the reason he chose to come here.

The football program at Ashland has won three GLIAC conference titles in the past nine years and despite the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, are looking ahead to a season this spring.

“This is a traditionally good program when it comes to football and stuff like that, so I was very excited about the opportunity and I feel very blessed and fortunate to get the opportunity,” Holiday said.

“I came up here for my interview and loved what I saw. The big thing that stood out to me is the athletic faculty, well really everybody. It seemed like everyone around campus knew who [Dom] was, he was saying hi to everybody, so it was like a family atmosphere and I loved it.”

As far as building a relationship with the team, Holiday is prepared to be there for the players no matter what.

“I kind of let them into my life as they do me as well, and I think that’s the most important thing, building that trust. When you can build that trust with a player, I think that goes a long way with them because you never know what they could be going through off the field,” he said.

Holiday will be able to relate to a lot of his players because he has stood in their shoes before. He reflected on a time in college, when he broke his foot and needed some reassurance from one of his coaches.

“I say that was probably the hardest experience, is getting hurt because I hadn’t been hurt going throughout high school, so that was the most difficult thing. On top of that, however, that experience is what got me into coaching, my defensive backs coach being there for me and building that relationship with me. That is why I take the approach that I take when it comes to coaching as well.”

Holiday is ready to fill the position and get started with building that trusting relationship with the players. He knows that AU football runs like a family, and he is excited to start this new journey.

“I think that it is a great opportunity, and I am thankful for coach Owens and Dom as well, coach Rose. I am thankful for everyone on the staff really, for helping me out with my transition and you know getting here. And I am excited to get started,” Holiday said.