Bobby Pope

Holder had a hall of fame career

Terry Holder was your typical do-it-all athlete at Cochran High School back in the early 1960s. He played football in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring, and he excelled in all three. On the gridiron, he was a four-year starter for the Royals at fullback. On the hardwood, he was a starting guard, and during his senior season, Cochran won the GHSA Class A championship. And on the diamond, he pitched and was the team’s starting shortstop.

Holder was a good enough athlete to earn a baseball scholarship to Brewton-Parker and from there went to play baseball at Austin Peay in Clarksville, Tennessee. Following his college days, he began a career in coaching and teaching, starting at Putnam County, where he spent three years as an assistant under Al Reaves. Holder then moved to Perry for one season with Bob Morrow before getting his first football head coaching at Wilkinson County.

Holder left Wilkinson County after just one season in 1974 to become a football assistant coach and baseball head coach at Evans near Augusta, and he stayed there 22 years, producing one of the most feared baseball programs in Georgia. During those two-plus decades at Evans, he coached teams that won five state titles. In addition, he had one state runner-up team and was in the semifinals or quarterfinals on numerous other occasions. During the 1989 and 1990 seasons, his Evans team had a 61-game winning streak.

In 1996, Holder left Evans to take over the athletics program at Greenbrier, a new school in Columbia County. He was the athletics director and the head coach of the football and baseball programs, and just like at Evans, he had immediate success at his new location. In baseball, his teams won Class AAA championships in 1997 (the first year in the existence of the school), 1998 and 1999, giving him eight titles combined between Evans and Greenbrier in a 12-year period.

Even though he had never been a football head coach other than the one season he spent at Wilkinson County, he produced winners in that sport, as well. His 1996 team was 7-4, his 1997 team 9-2 and his 1998 team went 8-3. In the 19-year football history at Greenbrier, the team has had just five winning records, and Holder coached three of those.

He retired following the 1999 school year before returning to the dugout at Thomson in 2005, During his time at Thomson, he led the team to the state tournament twice and produced its first region title in baseball in 40 years when it won the Region 4-AAA championship in 2009. Holder officially retired after that season.

In his entire head coaching career, Holder had just one team that had a losing record, and that was the year at Wilkinson County when the football team went 3-6-1. As a baseball head coach, his teams won 597 games, and as a football head coach, he had a 27-15-l record.

Holder is extremely well-regarded in the coaching profession and has a national reputation. He was the winning coach for the South team at the U.S. Junior Olympic Trials in St. Louis in 1996. He was named Georgia high school coach of the year six times and received national coach of the year recognition twice.

Holder is a member of three halls of fame; the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association, the Georgia Dugout Club and Brewton-Parker. I am sure the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame will be next for the ultra successful coach.

Today, he and his wife Brenda live at Clark Hill Lake in Lincolnton.

Contact Bobby Pope at bobbypope428@gmail.com

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