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Jimmie Holder hired as boys' varsity basketball coach
Jimmie Holder, the 2018-19 assistant boys’ varsity basketball coach at Trigg County High School, has been hired as Ballard Memorial’s new head boys’ coach. He also will serve as a special education teacher at Ballard County Middle School.

Holder’s coaching experience spans from elementary school to small colleges, with a host of professional mentors. The Benton, Ky., native was a student assistant coach and player under Murray State University’s Mick Cronin (now at UCLA), and assistant to Murray High School varsity girls’ coach Wyatt Foust during the year that school won the girls’ All A state tournament (2017-18 season). 

“We are excited for Coach Holder to join the Bomber program,” said Ballard Superintendent Casey Allen. “His experiences as a player and a coach will serve him well in working with our student-athletes and preparing them for success, on and off the court.”

Holder graduated from Murray State with a bachelor’s degree in health and PE, but without a teaching certificate, since he just knew he wanted to coach college-level basketball. It was during his tenure as a coach and recruiter at Kaskaskia and Wabash colleges that he said he realized he wanted something else. He met his wife of soon-to-be six years, Cari.

“I fell in love, and I knew I wanted a family,” he said. Holder said that college coaching is a 24-hour-a-day job, between long recruiting visits and standing in as surrogate parent to many of the players. He said he didn’t think he could be the kind of husband and father he wanted to be, if he was going to be the kind of college coach he wanted to be.

He spent five years with the Peel and Holland Insurance agency, working as an organizer and coordinator for numerous corporate wellness programs. Holder said he knew that to coach in high school, he’d have to become certified to teach, and credited Murray High School Principal Teresa Speed as helping him earn his alternate certification. Holder will earn his master’s degree in special education from Murray State in May.

He explained that at his first players’ meeting, he wanted them to understand that he’d be coaching them hard, but that it came from a place of love. “I want to get to know them on and off the floor,” he said. He added that it was his goal to have transparency with players and parents. 

He said it was Murray’s Foust that helped him understand that coaching kids was bigger than basketball. “I want our athletes to understand, it’s always bigger than basketball,” Holder said. “I want them to be men of great character,” he said. “Young men who will be great husbands, great fathers, be involved in their community.

“If we do the right things, the wins will follow,” he said. “We’re going to become family.”

Holder also thanked former Marshall County High School Coach Gus Gillespie, now at Marion, Ill., for giving him his start in high school coaching and opening the door to collegiate coaching. He also had a shout-out for Payton Croft, former head coach at Trigg County, for helping him in his coaching and teaching career. Croft was just hired at head boys’ varsity coach by Ballard district rival Mayfield – an ironic nugget not lost on Holder. He laughed and said, “Yeah, I have the feeling we’re going to be seeing a lot of one another.” 

Holder and his wife, Cari, have two sons: Sullivan, 3, and Dawson, 9 months.

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