Coaching Legend within 3-wins of 13th All-Time (Tom Larkey) and 9-short of 12th (Jim Matney)
I have never been much about individual accomplishments. It has always been about the team with me.Mike Holcomb, 2019
Most people know him simply as “Coach.” I have known him as “Mike.”
“Coach” is a term of endearment and respect in the commonwealth of Kentucky. I hold him in the utmost regard and respect, it is just the two of us have had a friendly relationship through the years and we are fairly close in age.
He has before asked me to call him “Mike.” When I am speaking to others about him, I (also) call him “Coach.”
Coach Holcomb is a coaching legend. Coach Holcomb is a sure-fire, KHSAA Hall of Fame inductee upon gaining eligibility to be included on its ballot. To those who have been privileged to play for him, he is all of that and so much more.
Coach Holcomb will be mad at me for writing this piece. I may even get a phone call admonishing me about detracting from his team’s big opening win and calling too much attention to him.
He is about the team, and not individual achievements, after all. Coach Holcomb applies the same standard to himself equally to its application to any of his individual players.
However, there are some achievements hard to ignore. Some of these achievements would be things like having a 300-115 career mark at the onset of your 35th year as a head coach, or winning titles in ’95, ’96, and ’02, with a runner up in ’08.
It is hard to gloss over a winning percentage higher than 72% (.72289157). It is difficult to ignore winning close to 9-games a year for approaching 3.5-decades (8.79 wins a year on average).
How about taking a team which had won two games in two years preceding Coach Holcomb’s arrival to a 10-4 mark in Coach’s first season at its helm? How about beating Lexington Christian Academy in the closing moments of a game, last night, for win number 300 against one of the commonwealth’s “power programs,” regardless of classification? How do we just overlook any of that?
Well, the answer is we don’t. Hence the publishing of this article as proof of our reluctance to just move along without homage being properly paid.
I was asked an interesting question, after last season, by a colleague of mine.
His question, How do you suppose Coach Holcomb took a team which had won a combined two games in ’19 and ’20 to within a hiccup of the 6A championship game in only one season?
My answer, He’s Mike Holcomb, that’s how; Holcomb doesn’t go 1-10.
Whether we want to admit it or not, there are coaches in Kentucky whose hiring assures the school system doing the hiring of achieving success. These certain coaches may not win them all, but they will win a lion’s share.
Coach Holcomb is one of those coaches. There are others, perhaps 20-25 or so, but the membership into this coaching fraternity in Kentucky high school football is, shall we say, highly selective.
With the win, Coach Holcomb climbs to 14th in Kentucky history among high school coaches in all-time wins. Coach Holcomb is 3-shy of Tom Larkey at 303 and just 9-shy of the late Jim Matney (309) who we lost way too soon just last year.
We would ask Coach Holcomb about this. We would ask him for a quote to include in this article. We doubt he would take our phone call.
It’s not that he doesn’t want to talk to KPGFootball. It is he wouldn’t want to talk about himself and Coach Holcomb would suspect that would be the reason for our calling, at least the morning after his experiencing such a monumental, career defining, moment.
So this article will be published sans comment from The Legend himself. It will be published because it is newsworthy. It will be published because he deserves it. It will be published because it is the type of story KPGFootball simply can’t ignore.
Sorry, Mike; I will buy Ms. Debbie and you dinner the next time I am in Richmond. Maybe that will make up for this.
This is Coach HB Lyon, reporting for KPGFootball, and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!
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Mike Holcomb, the self deprecating mentor of winning high school football programs, will deflect praise from himself towards his assistant coaches and his players. He always has but the single most important fact remains: he chose his assistants and he directed the development of all of those young men he coached. Without Coach there wouldn’t have been championship teams in 95,96 and 02, or a runner up trophy in 08. He is a modest man who wants to give credit for success to everyone but to the person responsible for success, himself. He deserves all the praise and all the accolades that will be forthcoming.
Thank you, Coach. Thank you for all the joy you have brought to all the young men and women at each stop along the way to 300 wins and for all the joy yet to come!!
Approve whole heartedly