Baseball coach Scott Holder threw College Station a curve when he left for Prosper last month, but the Cougars were lucky enough to already have someone on staff they consider a home-run replacement.

Former College Station assistant baseball coach Chris Litton, who recently had been hired to return as an assistant for football and baseball, has been elevated to head baseball coach to replace Holder, who was hired by Class 6A Prosper to succeed retiring Rick Carpenter.

“It’s kind of odd the way it does work out,” College Station athletic coordinator and football coach Steve Huff said. “When he was coming back, there was no inkling or idea that Scott was leaving at that time.”

Litton, who also was an assistant at Huntington, Troup and Bullard, spent the last three seasons as Livingston’s head coach, but he said his family was looking to return to Aggieland.

“[It] was a no-brainer,” said Litton, who was the pitching coach under Holder for three seasons. “To me, College Station High School, that’s home. I was there when we opened up the school, and I just love the culture and the community and knew that I wanted to come back.”

That became possible when he was hired by College Station and his wife, Kalie, was hired by the Bryan school district as a counselor.

“Chris is one of the hardest working, most focused young men that I’ve ever been around,” Huff said. “I remember interviewing him before we opened up. I wanted to hire him after about the first two or three sentences when I talked to him.”

Huff figured he might not have Litton long again when he hired him this summer.

“I knew he eventually was going to be a head coach,” Huff said. “I just guess it was in the stars.”

The 36-year-old Litton plans on cultivating and adding to the program’s success. “I’m just excited about the opportunity to do so,” he said.

College Station went 26-12 last season, falling to eventual 5A state runner-up Georgetown in the area round of the playoffs. The Cougars went 10-4 in District 19-5A, finishing second to Magnolia West (31-6, 12-2). College Station beat Kingwood Park in a best-of-3 bi-district series by winning the last two games before getting swept by Georgetown.

College Station, which opened in 2012, made the playoffs every season under Holder, who was 188-70 with five district championships as the Cougars’ head coach. Holder, who has a career record of 455-142, led College Station to the 3A state title in 2014 with Litton at his side, beating Argyle 5-2 in the championship game. College Station made the 5A state tournament two years later, falling to San Antonio Alamo Heights 5-2 in the semifinals.

“Scott Holder is a great friend of mine,” Litton said, “and I have nothing but the utmost respect for him as a coach and as a friend. Changewise, I’m not looking to come in here and make a ton of changes. Now obviously systematic stuff, things like that are going to change, but other than that, I mean, the culture’s there. It’s just growing it.”

Litton was starting to see the fruits of a rebuilding job at 4A Livingston, which went 16-13 last season, including 5-5 in 21-4A to finish fourth behind Huffman Hargrave (19-10, 9-1), Splendora (11-11-1, 8-2) and Liberty (21-11, 6-4). Livingston was swept in a best-of-3 bi-district series by Hardin-Jefferson. The Lions went 9-17 overall and 6-10 in district in 2018.

“It was a pretty cool situation,” Litton said. “My family is from East Texas. We’d gotten a little bit further away from them.”

Bellville hired Litton in 2016 as its head coach to replace former A&M Consolidated football coach Roy Kokemoor. Litton said it was a good situation, but Livingston was too good an opportunity to pass up. Three years later, he had another great opportunity, which quickly became even better.

“Chris knows our staff, knows your kids,” Huff said. “He’s just a great fit for our staff. I was very excited to get him back anyway, because of his disposition. But when with Scott leaving, I’m just absolutely really excited for him.”

Huff said Litton is “a heck of a football coach and I’ve been trying to get him back for three years and never could quite get him to come back.”

Litton pitched for two seasons at Paris then finished his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin.

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