To Jeff Holloway, there always seemed to be seniors at Union High School. So as he considered the possibility of leaving his job as boys basketball coach of the Rockets, he always ended up staying. Inevitably, he wanted to be in Modoc one more year to see that particular group through to graduation.
Holloway eventually realized each year would bring such a class, and Tuesday night his next move was officially announced. Holloway will serve as the boys basketball coach at Central, his alma mater.
He was approved at a school board work session at the Anthony Administration Building in which Central announced its winter head coaches for next year.
Holloway, who serves as athletic director and boys basketball coach at Union, has always lived in Muncie while working in Modoc, his connection with his hometown remaining strong.
“This is home,” Holloway said. “Again, I graduated here. And then I just care so much about this town and this school, that I had to do it.”
He was one of two winter appointees who were present at Tuesday’s session, and among four total coaches appointed. Lisa Blalock was re-appointed as Central’s girls basketball coach and was also in attendance. Mark Scott was announced as Central’s wrestling coach, and Steve Spradlin was appointed as boys and girls swimming coach. Both Scott and Spradlin had been serving as the head coach in their sport at Central.
No gymnastics coach was announced, as further study is planned regarding the sport’s future. Muncie Community Schools Superintendent Tim Heller spoke Tuesday about the sport’s high costs and low participation numbers, and further discussion is planned.
Holloway, who graduated from Central in 1994, said he plans to serve as a teacher in some capacity at Central, though the exact subject has yet to be determined. He went 57-72 in six years as the Rockets’ head coach. His first two teams went 4-36, with his next four teams going 53-36. He won two sectional titles during his tenure with the Rockets.
“It’s going to be a lot of work,” Holloway said. “But that’s the fun part of it. And then again, first thing is establishing and building relationships. I’ve got to build relationships and that takes time. Those guys get to know me and I get to know them. But again, that’s the fun part of it. And again, this is a unique situation. This town, I grew up in, but it’s all coming together. So I think it’s special, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
In weaving through the candidate pool, which she said included eight total interviewees, Central athletic director Suzanne Crump said certain personality traits made Holloway stand out.
“He really cares about kids in general,” Crump said. “Not just about basketball, but our students. And just like he said, building those relationships with kids. And I think that’s something that you want out of all your coaches, especially a coach that’s in a high-profile position that he’s in. It’s not just about the kids on his team, but it’s the total package and he’s going to care about all of our kids in the building.”
Matt Fine coached Central for the past 10 seasons, going 158-80 and winning six sectional titles. Fine applied for the head coaching position after it re-opened, but eventually elected to withdraw from the process.
Jeff Howard coached Southside for its final two seasons, going 9-32 with the Rebels. Howard said he interviewed for the consolidated position, but also said he would be willing to take on another role in the program if not offered the position of head coach.