Talk about a dream job.
Rodney Holder, previously a strength coach at Greenbrier High School, took the reins of the top baseball team in the state early last summer.
Midway through the 2006 season, head coach Ed Williams took a promotion to assistant principal at Greenbrier. The job description came with the mandate that he step down as baseball head coach.
Now it's Holder's turn.
Greenbrier, ranked preseason No. 1 in Georgia, will take the diamond for the first time under Holder's leadership today. The Wolfpack will travel to Burke County for a 6 p.m. game.
Even as Williams stepped down at the end of last season, there was little doubt it would be Holder who led the team in 2007.
"He was definitely without a doubt my first thought," Williams said. "I felt like he was the choice. He had always been a part of that Greenbrier family."
In fact, the family goes beyond Greenbrier. Rodney Holder is the son of Terry Holder, the man behind Evans High School's unprecedented baseball successes of the 1980s and '90s, including five state championships. He also won three consecutive state titles at Greenbrier in the late 1990s and has more than 500 career wins.
Williams, who played high school baseball for Terry Holder in the late 1970s and early '80s, continued the legacy with last year's state championship. Rodney Holder, who also played high school ball for his dad, is the next in line to carry on the winning tradition.
"It's definitely a good situation," Holder said while standing near home plate at a Greenbrier practice. "You look at that board back there and see four state championships in 10 years. It's like what Coley Cassedy taught me: If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
The method Holder learned from his father has proved successful at both Evans and Greenbrier, and is now in motion at Thomson High School where Terry Holder is the baseball head coach.
Rodney has served as an assistant coach for his father in the past, but he now has the opportunity to step out of his father's shadow.
"Rodney's his own man now," Williams said. "He's going to bring new ideas and new things into the program that's going to be exciting."
One of those ideas is a ruthless nonregion schedule. Greenbrier will travel to LaGrange, Ga., on the second weekend of the season for a two-day round robin against some of the top baseball programs in the South.
In the same day, the Wolfpack will face Cartersville (25-6 last season) and Russell County, Ala., a program ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today in 2005.
Heritage, a team that reached the Class AAAA state semifinals last season, and Marist, last year's Class AAAA state runner-up, is also on the Wolfpack schedule.
"One of the tricks to the formula is playing the toughest folks you can play," Rodney Holder said. "We're playing some quality programs. When you play good teams like that you learn how to win."
Greenbrier will open the season with three straight road games before playing host to Washington County on March 5.
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