Several years ago, I wrote a two-part article on a “storied tradition” in local Daviess County High School Basketball lore. The articles were about a power-house team in the 1960s and ‘70s which compiled very impressive records. Year after year the Jameson Huskies regularly won district finals, and they went to the “Final Four” in the state tournament several times. The small town of Jameson, which is less than 20 miles from Lake Viking, was like the “Mouse that Roared.” They were a dynasty of sorts, and known far and wide, for many years, for their prowess on the basketball court.
During those years, there was one family that had their fingerprints all over that successful program – the Holleys. Most recently: Larry Holley. Larry’s father served as both superintendent and basketball coach at Jameson and was responsible for the building of the town’s high school gymnasium. Larry’s mother was high school principal. “Mom changed the grades to make me the valedictorian,” Larry once joked. Local legend even has it that Larry had a cousin that once scored 102 points in a girls high school basketball game. This was way back, when girls basketball rules required a jump ball after every basket scored.
Larry Holley was a star player on the great Huskie basketball teams. As a first-team “all-state” selection in high school basketball, he went on to play in college basketball at William Jewell where he also lettered in cross country running. As a William Jewell athlete, Larry lettered four times in both sports, was team captain in each sport and William Jewell “Athlete of the Year” in 1967.
As it turned out Larry was just getting started in making his mark in college basketball. He went on to become head basketball coach for the William Jewell Cardinals and recently completed his 39th season in that capacity. All totaled, including head coaching positions at Central Methodist (at Fayette, Missouri) and the Northwest Missouri University in Maryville, Larry has coached men’s college basketball for 49 years!
In 2018, Larry won the Kansas City Sports Commission “Coach of the Year” award. This was his 15th “Coach of the Year” recognition. During his coaching career at Jewell, he has guided his Cardinal teams to 20-win seasons 25 times!
Is it any wonder, therefore, that Larry Holley is number one all time in victories among Missouri four-year college coaches? Not only that, in January, 2018, he became just the 10th person in men’s college basketball history to achieve 900 career victories!
Check out the list of the other coaches who have achieved 900 wins: “Coach K,” Mike Krzyzewski of Duke with 1016 victories, Jim Boeheim of Syracuse with 916 victories. (Coaching legends Dean Smith of North Carolina had 879 wins and Adolph Rupp of Kentucky had 876.)
It would seem that Coach Larry Holley is in very good company. Impressive achievements for a young man from the tiny town of Jameson. CONGRATULATIONS COACH!
— by Troy Lesan