Joel Holst is entering his 22nd season as Wartburg’s head coach. He has guided the Knights to a remarkable 12-straight Iowa Conference regular season championships, beginning with his second year at the helm and continuing through 2008. The Knights have celebrated 27 total championships on the field during Holst’s 20 year tenure. (15 regular season IIAC championships, 10 IIAC tournament championships and two NCAA regional championships)
He has guided the Knights into the NCAA Division III National Tournament 13 times, and most recently in 2016. His 2000 baseball team won the schools first Regional Championship and went on to compete in the NCAA Division III College World Series to finish the season ranked sixth in the nation. The 2005 team also won a Regional Championship and finished fourth in the College World Series with a final national ranking of fifth.
Holst has also been named the Iowa Conference Coach of the Year 11 times and was named the Four-year College Coach of the Year by the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association six times. He was named Central Region Collegiate Coach of the Year in 2000 and 2005 by the American Baseball Coaches Association. He has posted an overall career record at Wartburg of 641-304-4 and is 355-121 in the Iowa Conference.
Coach Holst has earned the reputation of building successful baseball programs during his coaching career. In all three programs that he has been the head coach, in the previous year before taking over the reins of each program, the school's baseball program had finished in last place in their respective leagues.
Prior to arriving at Wartburg, Coach Holst served as head coach at Loras College for five seasons, where he amassed a 100-80 record and led the Duhawks to national rankings for the first time is school history. He graduated from Coe College in 1985, where he earned First Team All-Conference honors in baseball three straight years and was All-Region his last two years. He was also a three-year starter in football at Coe. In 2011 he was inducted into Coe’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Holst spent four years as head coach at West Delaware High School after graduating from Coe. At West Delaware he was nominated District Coach of the Year three times; won a Wamac Conference title and compiled a record of 100-50. He then earned his master’s degree in education at Northwest Missouri State, while serving as recruiting coordinator and pitching coach for the nationally-ranked NCAA Division II Bearcats for two seasons, before taking his first collegiate head coaching job at Loras in 1990. Holst carried out responsibilities in the football programs at Wartburg, Loras and West Delaware.
Coach Holst and his wife, Debbie, have two boys: McClain and Ripken.