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Published: Tuesday, 2/10/2009

Boys basketball coach with area ties wins 400th victory

BY ZACH SILKA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The road to 400 career coaching wins in high school boys basketball has been a long, winding one for Larry Holden.

And one that almost never got started.

"After I graduated from [Defiance College], one of my college coaches asked me if I was interested in an assistant's job, so I applied but didn't get the job," said Holden, who eventually got his start as an assistant basketball coach at Start High School.

"It made me realize how much I really would enjoy coaching."

Now 34 years after accepting his first head coaching gig at Lake High School, Holden won his 400th game last month as the head coach at Mitchell High School in New Port Richey, Fla.

"Right now it doesn't mean as much to me as I think it will when I retire," said Holden, whose career coaching record now stands at a very respectable 402-206.

"I look at how many really good players I had, how many really good teams I had, [and] a number of great assistant coaches that contributed so much."

After spending four years at Lake, Holden moved to Beavercreek High School outside Dayton, and what followed was a bona fide 20-year coaching career.

"When I retired [from Beavercreek], I never thought I'd get back into teaching and coaching," Holden said. "We moved down to Florida, and I had an opportunity to take a look at a position that came available [at Mitchell]. The interest was still there for me, and I've been here three years now."

Holden graduated from Whitmer High School in 1966, playing basketball and baseball during his time there.

A two-year starter with the Panthers on the hardwood, Holden excelled at point guard, helping lead Whitmer to winning records in his junior and senior seasons.

From there, he went on to attend Defiance College, where he continued on with his basketball and baseball careers.

"I've just always had a love for athletics," said Holden, whose been inducted into the hall of fame at Whitmer and Defiance College as a player, along with the Ohio high school basketball coaches' hall of fame.

"It's more about the kids that played for me, the coaches that coached for me and all the people that supported our program. I think that means more to me than saying I have 400 wins when I look back on my career."

Contact Zach Silka at

zsilka@theblade.com

or 419-724-6110.



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