New Brockton principal Alonzo Barkley saw a lot to like in Zack Holmes, a special teams’ coordinator at Enterprise this past fall with 14 years of coaching experience at different levels.
Holmes, also a former defensive coordinator at Eufaula and a previous head coach at Sumiton Christian, was hired to become the New Brockton head football coach Thursday night by the Coffee County School Board. He replaces Justin Jones, who left to become head coach at Cordova.
Holmes will meet with Gamecock players today and will be part of a meet-the-coach gathering with the community on Tuesday.
“I was impressed with his enthusiasm and his preparation,” Barkley said. “He has experience at both smaller schools and at bigger such as Eufaula and Enterprise. He has also been a head coach, but also an offensive coordinator, a defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator, so he has done just about everything.
“Zack is community oriented and family oriented and is a disciplinarian as he holds kids to a standard. He is also a good communicator.”
Holmes was equally impressed with New Brockton, which went 34-22 with five playoff teams during Jones’ tenure.
“I am extremely excited about taking over,” Holmes said. “It is a program that has been to the playoffs the last few years, so I am walking into a good situation. Coach Jones had done a good job there.
“I am excited about being a part of the community, excited about the guys who are on the staff after talking to them, but most of all I am excited about the kids. I watched them on tape and they play hard and get after it. We have a lot of young kids coming back, so I am excited about that.”
Holmes becomes the second straight Enterprise assistant coach to take over the program, following Jones. Barkley also spent time at Enterprise as a head basketball coach before going into administration.
“We had a lot of outstanding candidates as I was really delighted about the applicants we had,” Coffee County Superintendent Kevin Killingsworth said. “It was hard for our administrators to pick one, but coach Holmes showed out the most. He is a young coach who has a lot of energy and will have the discipline and organization for the job. He will help grow young men.”
A native of Falkville in north Alabama, Holmes played college football at Division-III Maryville College and at Huntingdon College, the latter under Mike Turk.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in History, he stayed at Huntingdon, coaching under Turk for two seasons.
After Huntingdon, he coached at Brindlee Mountain High School near Guntersville, serving as head boys and girls track coach and offensive coordinator while at the school for four seasons.
He became the defensive coordinator at Sumiton Christian, just west of Cullman, and after two seasons, Holmes was promoted to the head job at Sumiton, a post he held for two seasons (2013-14).
Shortly after that, he became the defensive coordinator at Eufaula, serving in that role for three years before moving to Enterprise this past year.
Holmes said his coaching philosophy is built around three ideals.
“First of all, I believe we have to invest in kids as a person first,” Holmes said. “I believe your character contributes to the decisions you make.
“The second thing is we will focus on academics. If you don’t want to work hard in the classroom then you probably will not want to work on the field. We have to invest in them in academics.
“If you are able to achieve those two, investing them on the football field is the easiest part, but we have to get them to understand that the first two are critical to develop them as football players.”