Who was the best coach you ever had?(Bateman, Stanley, Stout, Kirby, Norwood, Kemp, Hollifield, Ashkinazy, Ijames, we’re seeing them)

Posted by Andy Durham on July 12, 2014 at 10:41 am under Amateur, College, High School, Professional | 15 Comments to Read

Who was the best coach you ever had???

Was thinking about this topic last night and it can run deep…..
(We may need to leave this one up here a couple of weeks, to make it hit/leave its mark.)

You can look at high school, college, for some maybe even pro and then you also have to look at the recreation and middle school/junior high school levels….

Which of those coaches did the best job of reaching player/athlete, student and overall person???

Who makes the top of your list and there are probably a number of coaches that ring the bell and are on your list, but who is tops???

For me I look back at all of those coaches from over the years….My youth football coaching staff did a great job back in the day of turning the program around…I wasn’t with them the first year when they went 0-7, but I joined this Guilford Optimist group the second year they had a team and we went 5-3 and had a shot at the playoffs…Carl Holbleman was the head coach and he had a good staff of Dick Lacey, Mike Rook and Mike LeFevere…Holbleman was a good one, but not the best…

I had a very good youth baseball coach in Jerry Carrick with the Guilford College Indians…Team did quite well and had success…In middle school/junior school football I had a coach named Rick Edwards and he might just be the best that I had…Not overbearing or “I’m going to kill you” demanding, but he knew how to get the best out of his players/athletes…Coach Edwards might just be the best on this list, but he wasn’t even the head coach. Mr. Edwards was the assistant and Roger Brooks was the head coach…Coach Brooks was a well-intentioned man/coach, but he did not understand the whole person, like Coach Edwards did….Coach Brooks and Coach Edwards made a good combination and that is something we need to look more at too….The coaching combos and how they made up the blueprint of a program….

In high school football we had a great coaching combo in Doug Henderson and Bill Hollifield….They worked very well together and brought out the best in all of their troops….Doug Henderson has to rank as one of the top coaches in Guilford County high school football history, but he needed that presence of Bill Hollifield to make his program really work correctly…It is like Abbot and Costello, Rowan and Martin, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Peaches and Herb, Sonny and Cher, Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon and on you go….Those coaching tandems/combos are big upon what has been built up, in coaching over the years…

We are looking for the best coach you ever had, but this becomes more than just that, the deeper we get into this….I have Coach Edwards up there near the top, with the combo of Henderson/Hollifield probably winning out if you look at the combo influence…You really got a lot of bang for your buck, with both Henderson and Hollifield coming at you at the same time….

So we study this coaching combo effect a little further and we see that this has been around for years and it still works today…..

You look at the Henderson/Hollifield combo with Henderson the head football coach at Western Guilford and Coach Hollifield in charge of the defense and the lines for the most part…

You can also go back to Ragsdale head coach Dick Kemp who had Rick Larrick as his top assistant in the glory days and the man who is second in command is many times just as important, but in a different way, than the man at the top of your program….Southeast Guilford had the head man/main man in Coach Bill Slayton, but they had the assistant who was also very important, in Tom Hogan….Hogan is a name that very many former Falcons will never forget….You need that one-two punch and many times it is almost like you have two head coaches on hand, but one man has to in the end, “Call the Shots”/be in charge….

Going way back you had Bob Jamieson at Grimsley and he had a coach like Claude Manzi at his side, before Manzi got the head post at Smith….Marion Kirby had Frank Starling at Page as his right-hand man and there are not many Page Pirates, from the glory years, that do not remember the name of Frank Starling…Starling left his mark, much like Kirby…..

You can kind of see how the thread was/gets working….

There have been more cases from over the years, but even today, you can still see this trend in place….

At Dudley, Coach Steven Davis has always been ‘The Boss’, but he has had assistants/coordinators that have made a large impact and have helped him put the blueprint on his program….Coach Antonio Kirkpatrick, before he took over the program at Smith is a prime example and in recent years, Coach Brandon Anderson has been the ‘Doctor of the Defense’….

When Coach Tommy Pursley was at Northeast Guilford for all of those years, he had coach Angel watching over him and that sounds like a pretty good deal with an Angel helping and keeping an eye on what you are doing…I may be wrong, but I had heard that Coach Pursley and Coach Angel had walked side-by-side all the way back to Trinity, when Coach Pursley got the Bulldogs going and maybe even as far back as Western Alamance, when Coach Pursley made the Warriors believe…

You can go on and on with this thread and at Ragsdale, Coach Tommy Norwood has been fortunate to have Coach Derek Anderson with him for most of his time with the Tigers…Coach Anderson has been on the Ragsdale sidelines for many years, with the only breakaway coming when he went to High Point Andrews for a few seasons, as the Red Raiders head coach….

Lots of examples of how this can and has worked from over the years and you can even track this combo success rate to the pros/NFL….

You don’t have to go back far to remember how well the Chicago Bears did, back when they had Mike Ditka as the head coach, with Buddy Ryan as his top assistant, in charge of the Bears’ defense….Joe Gibbs had the combo working when he had Joe Bugel as his man in the trenches…

The only problem you run into here, is often times when the top assistant branches out and hits the head coaching position on his own, it doesn’t always pan out….Did not work well for Buddy Ryan or for Joe Bugel….

This does/did turn out to be a very deep topic and how does it turn out, or work for you?

Who was the ‘Best Coach You Ever Had’??? Was it the one head coach that tops them all, or was it the ‘Combo Coaching Effect’, that carried you over the top?????


  • Pirate said,

    When you talk about Page and Coach Kirby and Coach Starlings, you also have to add Ken Page. Not only was KP a great coach, he was my favorite teacher.

  • Andy Durham said,

    Another good coaching combo that I left out and they weren’t together around here as long as some of the others would be Coach Roscoe at Northern Guilford and his defensive coordinator Brian Thomas, who is now back down in South Carolina…

    They did a pretty darn good job working together in tandem/combo….

  • 77 Hornet said,

    Coach Holifield since he was my defensive football coach and wrestling coach.

  • Gfan said,

    Looking back my best coach would have to be Dale Ijames at Kernersville Middle School. It had to be one of his first years ever teaching or a coach.

    He was tough but taught me more about baseball than I ever learned from anyone since.

    I will never forget the practice when he told us we didn’t have to run if we bunted the longest. I hated running so much that I did not miss a bunt in about 100 pitches no matter where they were. He finally said alright already kid you win.

    We won a lot of games and learned that hard work was required if you wanted to get better at the game.

  • Youth baseball said,

    From a youth baseball perspective you have to go with Alan Ashkinazy and Tony Nusdeo. Demanding and tough yes but best in the business. The collection of players they’ve coached is pretty darn impressive.

  • 42 said,

    Tommy Norwood and Johnny Boykin, Ragsdale football. They prepared me for a lot more than football.

  • Steve said,

    I will also take a Ragadale spin and for my best experience, it came at Ragsdale too.

    In my case I will take Coach Richard Kemp as the best coach that I ever had.

    Coach Kemp and Coach Larrick were a good team and I feel Ragsdale has had some of the best football teams in our area over the past 40 years.

    Ragsdale has a very solid football program and it is due to men like Coach Kemp, Coach Everhart and Coach Norwood over the years, but I will still take Coach Dick Kemp as the best ever.

  • Timothy Wilson said,

    The best coach I ever had was Reggie Davis with the Windsor Rams back in the late 70’S.

  • Andy Durham said,

    Two more coaches that I thought of while I was shooting basketball today up at Jefferson School, were David Price and Everett James….

    Those two were a very good tandem/coaching combo,with Coach Price as the head man and Coach James, as the top assistant or many years in basketball,at Dudley High School…

    I sure many remember those men and what they meant to the Panther Program…

  • Shannon Michael said,

    Pete Stout, Head Football Coach Walter Williams High School 1976-82.

    Always got the most out of his players. Most organized, best prepared. Had he elected to stay at Williams instead of leaving for to coach his alma mater Catawba College, no telling how many state championships he would have won. He had a system at Williams had the support from the community and enough talent to make the most of Coach Stout’s coaching ability.

  • Don Tilley said,

    Jerry Stanley and Bob Bateman as coaches of the Lewsi Center Pee Wee football team. Each of them have over 35 years in the program.

  • Andy Durham said,

    Just thinking too about some of the good coaches that have passed on in recent years….

    Jetson Mills
    Bob Doss
    Mr. David Reader
    Henry Boundurant
    Mr. Edwards at Lewis Center….

    Sometimes the best coaches a kid will ever have will be his recreation coach or even his dad….

    People talk junk about the ‘Daddy Baseball’ business, but for some, the best coaching they ever got was from their dear old dad….

    As you look back on it now, some of those dads were pretty good coaches…

    But we are still leaving out some real good ones and where are they????

    Let’s hear about them…..

  • JC said,

    Mike Harris at the YMCA and with the travel basketball teams.

    Mike was a good man and helped a lot of kids who otherwise would not have had a chance.

    For me Mike Harris would be that coach.

  • Carter williams said,

    Without a doubt the best coach baseball coach in guilford county is tim holleman from eg middle. He’s quite possibly the best coach in guilford county period. What he has added to my game was indescribable

  • Turbo said,

    Hey Pirate, you are exactly right about KP!! You did not make him mad in shop class, he would definitely throw something at you. He was one of my favorites also.