FOUR QUESTIONS: A CONVERSATION WITH… RALPH HOLLOWAY
Ralph Holloway has compiled an impressive slate as a high school coach as well as an administrator. Holloway grew up in South Carolina and then attended Elizabeth City State University, graduating in 1975, and later earned a master’s from East Carolina. He had an outstanding teaching and coaching career, including stints at Burlington Cummings and Kinston, and went on to be an athletic director at West Carteret and principal at East Carteret. He is a former president of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association and is currently a member of the North Carolina Athletic Directors Hall of Fame.
What are the biggest changes you saw in high school athletics during your career?
There were quite a few changes in the 36 years that I was either a coach, athletic director or administrator, but here are a few that I remember most. Neutral sites for playoffs and championships, I remember traveling to Shelby for the 1988 3-A Football Championship game. I believe that was the last year that football championship games were played on the school site.
The changes in sportsmanship have been significant. Sports medicine is another area where we have seen some tremendous growth. Required parent meetings I feel have improved the relationship with parents and the school and the coaches.
You were a part of some outstanding teams as a coach in both football and track. What do you believe to be the keys to championship success from your experience?
The number one key in my mind is the relationship between the coaches and the student athletes. The student athletes need to feel that the coaches have their best interest at heart, and if they do then the task of getting them to buy into the game plan will be so much easier. The support from the administration, school staff and community is big as well. They need to provide quality facilities, equipment and support for the teams. Having leadership from the upper classmen on the team was something we relied on a great deal.
You had a key role with the NCHSAA with its 100th anniversary celebration and were involved in many facets of that year’s worth of activities. How would you describe that experience?
That was a tremendous experience for me to be involved with the 100th anniversary celebration. I remember when Commissioner Whitfield approached me about being involved, I was a little hesitant. I had just retired and didn’t have any experience with that type of planning. I’m very happy I said yes. It was wonderful working closely with Karen DeHart on the planning and the activities. The entire NCHSAA staff was great in helping to pull it all together. There were so many people involved with making it a year to remember. We received so many positive comments from so many people that were included in the activities throughout the year.
Recently it was announced that you had received another significant honor, and that is your upcoming induction into the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame. What was your reaction when you learned of that honor?
I was absolutely thrilled to hear that I was selected for this honor. It is a great feeling to be recognized for the accomplishments achieved throughout your career. My second thoughts were, there are so many people from Kinston to Burlington to Morehead City to Beaufort that have helped me along the way. I’ve been very fortunate to have a very supportive family and to coach and work with so many outstanding people during my career.