Former Evans High School standout Buddy Holder is the new head football coach at Effingham County.
Yes, that Effingham County.
Back in 1987, Holder, the oldest son of legendary Columbia County coach Terry Holder, was a starting lineman for the Knights’ unbeaten team, which played at Effingham County in the state quarterfinals. Evans won 12-10, but was forced to forfeit after a protest from Effingham.
During the game, officials discovered that Evans quarterback Craig Cassedy had an audio receiver in his helmet to get plays relayed from the sidelines. Evans was assessed a 15-yard penalty and a loss of down. A few days later, the Georgia High School Association ruled the game a forfeit and gave the win to Effingham County.
The case got national coverage and ended Evans’ season. At the time, there was so much animosity on both sides that no one could even consider that a former Knight would work in Effingham County, much less earn the top post. Holder has done just that.
In addition to being a solid offensive lineman on the gridiron, Holder was an excellent catcher and clutch hitter for the Evans baseball team. He was the starter behind the plate for the school’s first two state title teams in 1988 and 1989. Holder would go on to play college baseball at Georgia Southern after his stellar prep career.
I had the good fortune being a friend and teammate of Holder’s back then. I can say without hesitation that Holder was born to coach. Back in high school, Holder was mature beyond his years and was sort of like an extra coach on the field. Players respected Buddy back then for how he went about his business. He worked as hard as he possibly could and got the most out of his talent.
Holder has been an assistant coach and strength and conditioning coach at Effingham County for several years, but now he takes over the top post. I know that 25 years have gone by since the infamous “headphone incident,” but I have to admit I was surprised when I got the news of Holder’s promotion. All I can say is I am glad Effingham County forgot about the past, because if not, they would have missed out on a coach who will work as hard as anyone. He will run their Effingham program the right way.
Thanks to a classy move by Effingham County, it is rewarded with a class act as its new head football coach.
The Columbia Area Youth Football Association (CAYFA) will hold a combine next weekend for players ages 6-14. If you missed out on early registration, there is still time to sign your child up for spring football. The organization started seven years ago and has grown by leaps and bounds. In the first season, there were only five teams in the league; now there are five different age groups and approximately 500 players participating.
For interested players the first combine is set for Saturday, Jan. 26 at Augusta Christian School. The combine gives coaches a chance to evaluate the players before the CAYFA draft. There will be a second combine in February.