Tom Holmoe has spent 40% of his life at BYU. For 24 years, Holmoe has studied or worked on the BYU campus with five years as a student athlete, two as a graduate assistant, two as director of athletic development and 15 as athletic director.
The California native first received a letter of recruitment from BYU in 1977 as a junior in high school. Back then, Holmoe had a few friends that were members of the Church. He was excited to show his friends the letter from BYU, but he wasn’t seriously considering BYU at the time.
“I showed some of my LDS friends and said, ‘Hey look I got a letter from BYU,’ and they got all excited saying, ‘Oh you gotta go, you gotta go,’” Holmoe said.
Holmoe suffered an injury during his senior year of high school football, which resulted in a shattered hand. His recruiting outlook changed immediately, and as a result, he started to consider playing for BYU. After his senior season, the young athlete committed to the university and headed to Provo in 1978.
For five years, Holmoe thrived at BYU. He met his wife, Lori, and they were married before his senior season for the Cougars. Holmoe credits his wife as the highlight of his experience at BYU.
Despite the surprise of ending up at BYU, he said he fell in love with the campus, professors and Provo environment.
“Was it what I expected? No, but it was more than I expected,” Holmoe said.
He claims that the experiences that he had in college forced him to think about his future.
“Everyone was always talking about eternal marriage, a career and their future. I had some wonderful friends back home, but they weren’t as future-driven as the people I met here,” Holmoe said.
His time in Provo prepared him for a lot more than a career and family after graduation. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in zoology, Tom Holmoe was drafted to the San Francisco 49ers.
For seven years, the Holmoe family grew while Tom played for the 49ers. He developed emotionally, mentally, physically and even spiritually in San Francisco. Before his final season playing for the 49ers, Holmoe joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He looks back at his time in the NFL with admiration for his family, coaches and teammates.
“I learned to love with the 49ers,” Holmoe said as he explained the relationship he still has with his former teammates. “I think we even rely on each other more now than we did before.”
Upon the end of his football career, Holmoe dove into the next few years coaching football. From BYU to Stanford to the 49ers to the University of California, Berkley, he coached hundreds of players and student-athletes.
Eventually, Holmoe found himself back at BYU. After finishing his senior season in 1982, Holmoe considered BYU home, but he never expected his career path to return him to Provo. Coming back to BYU changed the trajectory of his life.
Holmoe now lives seven minutes from campus. He and his family love being in Provo and working with BYU Athletics. His family is often at sporting events and enjoys attending BYU Athletic events.
“Athletic director is the perfect job for Tom. He genuinely loves everyone, and I think that is why he is so good at what he does,” his wife, Lori Holmoe, said.
Not every day is a good day for BYU Athletics, but Holmoe said he measures its success by the heartbeat of every individual team.
“At all times, there is always something wrong, but there is always something great going on,” Holmoe said. “That’s the way I do it. I try to have my hand on the pulse of the players and the coaches because that’s the heartbeat of it.”