Was it really a surprise to anyone that Greenbrier did what it did this season?
Given the legendary status he attained as Evans High's longtime baseball coach, probably not. Most figured some of that Holder magic would rub off on the fledgling football program.
It did, despite a never-ending deluge of problems.
With no stadium, practice facility and a season-long bout with growing pains, Holder took a Wolfpack team of 14 juniors, 28 sophomores, 21 freshmen and only five seniors to the Class AAA playoffs and a 7-4 record.
For a man who has coached teams to a state baseball title five times and has won national coach of the year honors in the past, 1996 may have been his best coaching job yet.
"It was a pretty special year," said Holder, The Augusta Chronicle's Georgia Coach of the Year. "We played good, solid football for most of the year. We had a pretty good group of kids who were willing to come together and try to establish a tradition at Greenbrier."
The Wolfpack played their home games at Evans and Lakeside this season, but that was the least of the inconveniences Holder had to deal with as coach and athletic director.
Try bussing your team 45 minutes a day just to get to practice."It was a bit of an inconvenience, but the kids never complained and everyone made the best of the situation," said Holder, whose Wolfpack traveled from the new campus off Washington Road to Patriots Park on the other side of Columbia County for practice each day.
But, as usual, as the season progressed, Holder got the most from his players, and the Wolfpack finished fourth in Region 3-AAA to qualify for the state playoffs. They lost to powerhouse Peach County on the road.
More importantly, Holder has guided the Pack to a most impressive beginning. Something to build upon.
"Everyone here is proud of this team," Holder said. "We're off on the right foot."
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