Holmseth: It was time
This coming November there is going to be a big change in the Blue Earth Area High School gym.
For the first time in 23 years, there will be a new Buccaneer boys basketball team head coach.
Gary Holmseth tendered his letter of resignation to BEA activities director Rob Norman the day after the boys team banquet at the end of the season.
“It was time,” Holmseth says. “After 29 years of coaching, it was time for me to retire, and time for some new, young blood to come in and take over the team.”
Holmseth spent one year as an assistant coach in the Pine Island school system, then five years coaching at BEA before becoming the head coach 23 years ago.
The Buccaneer basketball coach took over the reins from Steve Fernholz who had coached the team for two years.
“Before Steve the coach was Larry Anderson, and I was an assistant under him for three years,” Holmseth says.
That fact contains a little bit of irony.
“Larry was my coach when I was a player at Frost High School,” Holmseth says. “He was one of my mentors and one of the reasons I went into coaching.”
The other reason? Holmseth’s brother, Bruce, who was the head coach at Albany for many years, before retiring five years ago.
“Larry and Bruce both led me into coaching,” Holmseth recalls. “And, I never regretted it. I loved it.”
Holmseth had winning records in 18 of his 23 years as head coach.
But, that is not what he remembers the most.
“It is the kids,” he says. “I can remember the name of every single kid I?coached. I think I could probably tell you what year each one graduated, too.”
Holmseth declined to individually name any of his players that excelled at the sport.
“Every kid that is on a team brings something to the team,” the long-time Buc mentor says. “Some of the kids I remember the most are the ones who did more in practice, and maybe not so much in games.”
Holmseth says some of the most fun years of his coaching career were sometimes when the record was not as good as others.
“We have a really neat community of great kids here,” he says. “Some really good kids walk down our hallways at BEA with parents who are so supportive
He recalls that many players came back to help out the team at practices for a year or two after they had graduated.
The coach says it is the practices he will miss the most.
“Sometimes the kids would hang around after practice and I could experi
ence some quality time with them,” he says. “In the winter months I would be spending more time with them than with my family.”
Well, except for the years that Holmseth was able to coach his two sons, Grant and Riley.
He recalls that coaching his own boys was a great experience.
“But, actually I didn’t treat them differently than the other players,” he says. “I pretty much treated all the players like they were my own kid.”
The Buc coach is not going to totally give up his connection to the students at BEA.
“I am not retiring from teaching,” he says. “So I will still be seeing them in the classroom. It is just different than getting to know them on the basketball court.”
Holmseth says part of his coaching experience was not just having great kids on the team, but some great coaches to work with as well.
“My many years of coaching I?was with a wonderful group of coaches,” he says. “Guys like Steve Fernholz, Randy Kuechenmeister, Ryan Dutton and Doc (Travis) Armstrong. They were terrific to work with.”
Holmseth hopes there will be an energetic person who will come in to coach this winter.
“I hope it is someone with a passion for the kids, a passion for basketball,” he says. “And I hope they stick around for many years. That is one of the things that really helped us having coaching consistency over the years.”
Twenty-three of them, to be exact.
Holmseth admits it will be a different experience for him in November.
“I feel like I have never not coached basketball,” he says. “It will be different not going to the gym every day.”
It will also be different for players and fans of Buccaneer basketball, not seeing Gary Holmseth at the helm of the team for the first time in 23 years.