The Alumni Times - N.C. A&T State University Alumni Newsletter

Aggie Star’s Work on the Field and in the Classroom
Put Him in the NFL

Brad Holmes has a job many sports fans can only dream of – traveling around the country watching college football games.

As director of college scouting for the St. Louis Rams, he sees as many as 14 games per season. In between, there’s lots of film to watch. But that’s only part of the job description.

There are parts of scouting that actually do resemble a job – collecting background on players, writing reports, meetings with others in the organization. And traveling.

Holmes says that when he was scouting Brian Quick, a standout receiver at Appalachian State and now with the Cardinals, “I must have been up there 30 times that season.”

There’s a huge amount of preparation as well. For scouts, that’s a matter of studying and learning the game and the players in a deeper way than even a devoted fan could.

Holmes’s preparation began as an all-conference defensive tackle at his high school in Florida and then playing for A&T.

“I have a lot of Aggies in my family,” he says. That includes his sister, mother and dad, Mel. Mel was an Aggie football player, too. He made it to the pros as a player with Pittsburgh Steelers.

Even if seems like Holmes was destined to be an Aggie, it wasn’t settled in his mind until he came up from Tampa to visit the campus.

“I liked the campus. I liked the tradition, the atmosphere,” he says. He also liked Coach Bill Hayes’s football program, which was producing both wins and NFL draft picks.

In 1999, Holmes was a starting tackle on an Aggie team that won the MEAC championship but received no great respect from the NCAA playoff committee. A&T was seeded last and were sent off to Nashville to play top-seeded Tennessee State.

The Aggies proved themselves with a victory and moved on to play No. 2-ranked Youngstown State. That team was coached by Jim Tressel, who later won a Division I national championship at Ohio State.

“They beat us pretty good up there,” Holmes recalls. Even that’s a good memory, though, one buoyed by teammates who “were so passionate and played so hard.”

“It was a great experience,” he says.

Team captain, four-year letterman, member of a championship team. That’s pretty good college football experience, but what actually got Holmes into the NFL was what he did in the classroom. He was a public relations major and spent his rookie season in the pros as a PR intern. It was a good place to start, but Holmes wanted something else.

“I knew I wanted to go into scouting after I stopped playing,” he says.

He struck up a friendship with Wilbert Montgomery, two-time All Pro running back and then a Rams coach.

“Wilbert and I had a bond,” Holmes says. They talked often. “One day he said, ‘Why aren’t you scouting?’”

Montgomery helped the PR intern become a scouting intern. Having been a PR major, Holmes knew how to write clearly and persuasively, a vital skill when success depends not only on evaluating players but also on being able to communicate your impressions to decision-makers in the front office who haven’t seen what you have.

Holmes became an area scout, concentrating on a specific region, and now he’s risen to director of college scouting. It’s more responsibility, but it hasn’t changed his work very much.

“I only know one way – hit the road, see as many games as you can,” he says. “I always want to be on the road.”

Now in his 12th year with the Rams, Holmes finds the reality of scouting is both hard work and great rewards.

“It’s definitely great doing what you love to do, what you have a passion for.”

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