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Retirement lures Holmes from BHS

Brookhaven girls basketball coach Billy Holmes said he islooking forward to retirement. Holmes resigned Tuesday after fouryears at the helm.

“I think it’s just time,” said Holmes. “I still like to coachbut I’m tired and burned out. It’s a tough job. I’m gettingolder.”

Holmes, 65, guided the Lady Panthers to a 21-16 record thisseason, earning him The DAILY LEADER’s All-Lincoln County GirlsBasketball Coach of the Year honors. His team won the Division 6-4Aregular season and tournament titles. They were runners-up toeventual state champion Wayne County in the South MississippiTournament at Waynesboro.

The Lady Panthers made their first state tournament appearancesince 1997. They were eliminated by Indianola Gentry.

Holmes, a Pike County native, came out of early retirement todirect the BHS basketball team. He was hired by former Brookhavenschool superintendent Dr. Sam Bounds.

“I really appreciate them giving me four years,” said Holmes.”We’ve had some great kids to work with. Hopefully, I’m leaving it(program) in good shape.”

Holmes said BHS principal Susan Chapman and superintendent LeaBarrett provided plenty of support.

“Mrs. Chapman has been very supportive of our program,” saidHolmes. “She has helped us with all aspects of the program. LeaBarrett has supported us, too.”

BHS athletic director Tucker Peavey said Holmes “did a great jobas a girls basketball coach. He brought a lot of knowledge of thatposition. I appreciate the way he handled his business.”

Peavey said there was no set timetable on the hiring of a newcoach.

Holmes loses five seniors to graduation, including threestarting guards in Angel Weston, Blanche Wilson and Portia Dickey.Top returnees are two sophomore post players, 6-2 Nikki Byrd and6-1 Swayze Black.

“The program has a good future,” said Holmes. “It has to beworked and developed. We have some good young kids coming out ofthe ninth grade. Our big kids are developing. They arematuring.”

Byrd was named to the All-State Tournament team after scoring 23points and grabbing 11 rebounds against Gentry.

“Hopefully, I’ve had a positive influence with them, on and offthe court,” said Holmes. “The parents are active and interested intheir kids.”

Before moving to Brookhaven, he coached seven years at Mercer(Ga.) University before retiring. He worked as an assistant coachfor 10 years at the University of New Orleans. He also coached atPearl River Community College. A graduate of Louisiana College,Holmes began his coaching career at Loyd Star in 1964.

Holmes said longtime assistant coach Terri Hall has done a goodjob handling the Ole Brook ninth grade squad. “She has been a goodright hand.”

In 4 years at BHS, Holmes compiled a 68-54 worksheet. His bestmark was the 2003-04 season when the Lady Panthers finished22-13.

Holmes and his wife, Linda, have three grown children and twograndchildren. She is retired from the Federal Bureau ofInvestigation.

Looking ahead, Holmes said he planned to do a lot offishing.