When the phone rang late last year at his home in Lincolnton, Ga., the retiree simply picked it up, never guessing it was destiny calling.
Terry Holder had answered his calling to become a coach so many years ago, and it was now pay-back time. On the other end of the line was a representative from the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association, bearing news that Holder was being considered as an inductee for the GACA Hall of Fame.
"I didn't even know they had something like this until they called me and told me I was nominated," Holder said. "It was certainly a surprise and an honor."
Considering the numbers Holder posted in his career as a high school baseball coach at Putnam County, Evans and Greenbrier, the rest of the selection process may have been a mere formality.
Holder is among the six newest members of the GACA Hall of Fame. The group will be honored this weekend during an induction ceremony at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center in Dalton.
"The Hall of Fame is a way to honor coaches who have made a real contribution to athletics and to their communities," said Ray Broadaway, GACA executive director. "Terry Holder is certainly one of those who have made a contribution to our state."
Former Greenbrier baseball coach Terry Holder coached for 30 years.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The Hall is in its third year of existence, and Holder is one of just 16 coaches to be inducted. During 28 years as a head baseball coach, including 21 seasons at Evans and three at Greenbrier, Holder compiled a career record of 527-138-1.
The Cochran, Ga. native made his mark in Columbia County. Holder led Evans to five state titles, and then moved over to Greenbrier and capped his career by coaching the Wolfpack to threestraight state championships from 1997-99.
In a 12-year span, Holder's teams captured eight state titles. His Evans team had a 61-game winning streak from 1988-90.
Those numbers still amaze Ricky Beale. Although the current Evans baseball coach played for Holder during the state-record win streak and was part of two title teams with the Knights, Beale is just now beginning to put Holder's achievements into perspective.
"Coaches dream of winning one state title," Beale said. "When you sit down and think of what he accomplished, it's amazing."
Holder attributes his coaching success to the hard work his players put in at practice. But preparation was just part of the winning equation.
"He was a great motivator, always doing things to make you better as a ballplayer and as a person," Beale recalled. "Coach Holder made you believe you could do anything. You just knew he was going to put you in a position to win."
Holder will go into the Hall as a member of the Wolfpack. In 1997, Holder led Greenbrier to become the first prep team in Georgia to win a state title in its inaugural season. The Pack tacked on successive titles in Holder's final two campaigns.
"A lot of the success we had was while we were at Evans, but as much as I love both places, it was appropriate to go in as Greenbrier, since that was the last school I was at," Holder explained.
A plaque bearing Holder's image will be unveiled at Saturday's induction ceremony. The plaque details career achievements, but if Holder had his way, the fine print would include hundreds of names - the people and players who made it all possible.
"I've been the luckiest guy in the world," Holder said. "Anytime you have success, it's not just one person, it's because of a lot of people."
Many have coached high school baseball teams in Georgia, but few compare to Holder. That's according to Ed Williams, Holder's long-time assistant and successor at Greenbrier.
"I guess the only coach you could put up there with him would be Bobby Howard over in Columbus, and that's pretty good company, those two," Williams said. "It's unbelievable what Coach Holder has done for high school baseball - not only in Columbia County, but the state of Georgia. This honor is well deserved."
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