Coach in training

By Staff
Falkville grad plans to coach football after playing days end
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
Coaching football is not for everyone. One coach described the strategy of the game as "high-speed chess."
The challenge of high-speed chess and motivating the players in the game has captured the attention of former Falkville High football player Zack Holmes.
Holmes, now a sophomore at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, is planning for a football coaching career after college.
Keith Wilemon, Falkville High's former head football coach, knew that Holmes might be leaning toward coaching even during his high school days.
"I coached him as a sophomore and junior," Wilemon said. "He would stay after practice and ask a lot of questions about schemes and strategy. I thought even back then that he might be interested in coaching the game."
Holmes, a 5-foot-8 220-pound nose guard at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, graduated from Falkville in 2001 and played one year at Maryville College in Tennessee.
Holmes didn't mesh with the coaching staff at Maryville, or their methods for motivating the players, so he decided to transfer.
"I just didn't like the way the coaching staff handled the players," Holmes said. "There were a lot of negative comments and a 'get in your face' attitude. They didn't really build up the confidence of the
players. It seemed to me that they tore it down. So I decided it would be best for me to play somewhere else."
Given the chance to coach, Holmes says that he plans to his handle players the way Wilemon handled the Blue Devils during his playing days.
"Coach Wilemon was great to play for," Holmes said. "He knew how to encourage you and build you up. He never tore anyone down. He was a positive-attitude coach and I think it's the right way to coach. Just remember-he's the only coach to win a playoff game in Falkville history."
Holmes says that playoff win, a 24-21 victory over Ashville High on the road, during his sophomore year is the highlight of his athletic life so far.
"That was great because no one thought we would win," Holmes said.
"We had 25 players and when Ashville ran onto the field they had over 50 players.
"It looked like a mismatch, but it wasn't. We knew we could win and we did. Coach Wilemon had every single one of the Blue Devils believing we would win the game.
"The next day we made the front page of the Birmingham News sports section. They called it the biggest upset in the entire state."
Holmes, who played on both the offensive and defensive lines at Falkville, was fullback in his lone season at Maryville.
The switch back to the defensive line is just fine with Holmes. He says he would rather give than receive on the field.
"Offensive players seem to get more press," Holmes said. "But defense is challenging. I guess I will miss getting to carry the ball. But, I'd rather hunt people down and deliver the hits than get them."
This coming season will be only the second for Huntingdon football.
Therefore, Holmes knows that his team's goals can't be set too high.
"If we can win five or six of our 10 games, that will be a good season," Holmes said. "We don't have any seniors on the team. It's mostly made up of sophomores, so I think we get better with each season."
Holmes is especially looking forward to this season's final game on the Huntingdon football schedule.
"We travel to play at Maryville College," Holmes said. "I'll get to play against a good friend and former teammate of mine, Nathan Powell. We played at Falkville and Maryville together before I transferred."
Playing at the college level has Holmes thinking he would rather coach at a university instead of at the high school level.
"The Xs and Os of the college game appeal to me," Holmes said. "The strategy of the game is fun and challenging at the same time.
"I hope to get a graduate assistant's job at any college after I graduate. It's not easy to get your foot in the door to college coaching, that's about the only way to do it."
Holmes, a finance and marketing major, hopes he doesn't one day have to fall back on his degree to make a living.
"I would love to be able to be a college assistant coach," Holmes said.
"I can't tell you how much I would enjoy that. Making a living coaching the game I love. Coaching-that would be an awesome job for me."

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