Legendary Coach Jack Holley ’63 Dies
Jack Holley ’63 won 412 high school football games in North Carolina—more than any other coach. A legend in the southeastern part of the state, he mentored hundreds of students and coaches over a 44-year coaching career.
Jack died May 20 at the age of 74 at home in Teachey, N.C., after being hospitalized two months at Duke Medical Center. Funeral services will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, May 24, at the Thell B. Overman Field at Legion Stadium in Wallace, N.C. Burial will follow at Rockfish Cemetery.
His coaching career began as a student football assistant at Guilford under head coach Herb Appenzeller. He had played fullback two seasons for the Quakers, interrupted by two years in the military, and switched to the offensive line upon return.
“You always knew he was going to be a winner,” Herb recalled in an interview with the Star News of Wilmington. “He had the ability to run the right offense and he was just tenacious in all he did.
“I knew he was going to be a great success because he had all the determination to succeed. He also was kind of a mentor for a lot of young players and he also was always true to his principles and beliefs.”
In addition to football, Jack was a letter winner in baseball and basketball at Guilford. He received the Undergraduate Athletic Award in 1961 and was inducted to the Guilford College Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1978.
Jack won 80 percent of his games as a high school football coach at five different schools, compiling an all-time record of 412-96-9. His public-school football teams made many state playoff appearances, including finals. In 2008, he won a state independent school championship with Harrells Christian Academy. He also coached boys basketball successfully.
He was inducted to the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and was honored with Appreciation Days by the towns of Tabor City and Wallace and Rose Hill.