Holmes back home

HB Independent

Roger Holmes is back in Baron blue.

More than that, he has returned home.

Holmes will now roam the sideline of a court where he once starred as a player, as he accepted the boys' basketball coaching position May 7 at his alma mater, Fountain Valley High.

The 50-year-old replaces Chris Gray.

In February, Holmes — the dean of Sunset League coaches — had announced that he was stepping down as coach of the boys' basketball team at Marina. He had been with the Vikings since 1994. While leading that program, his teams won three league championships and made several deep runs into the CIF playoffs, including a title-game appearance in 2004.

"It feels great being back at Fountain Valley High School," Holmes said. "I still know a number of people here and they have been very helpful. All of the coaches from the other sports have shown their support and have gone out of their way to offer any support they can."

Holmes said he learned of the Fountain Valley opening through an old teammate.

"Chris (Gray) stepped down sometime around spring break," he said. "The Fountain Valley coaching job had come open four times while I was at Marina and I always thought that it would be fun to coach at my alma mater. I never seriously looked into it until this time."

Holmes said in February that his key decision to step down as Marina coach was to spend more time with his family. He wanted to be able to watch his son, Brendan, currently a senior at Marina, play next year at Dominican University of California in San Rafael, and be part of daughter Kayla's high school activities next fall when she enters Marina.

"Dominican's conference schedule (has) changed to a Thursday/Saturday format, making it possible for me to coach and be able to see Brendan's games," he explained. "That was one of the biggest factors in me deciding to look into this (Fountain Valley job). I was not, however, looking at any other job opening this year.

"I am sure I would have been involved in basketball coaching in some form over the next four years, and I certainly was not done with coaching for good."

Holmes, a 1978 graduate of Fountain Valley, was an All-Sunset League, All-CIF and 1978 All-American Honorable Mention forward for Coach Dave Brown. He still holds the school's single-season scoring record and never played in a losing Sunset League game in four years.

Brown enjoyed plenty of success at Fountain Valley during his 20 years (1969-89) at the school. After Fountain Valley, he went on to coach at Laguna Hills, retired in 2002 and for the past four years, has been the athletic director and boys' basketball coach at Horizon Christian School in Oregon, a school located 60 miles east of Portland.

In March, Brown guided the school, which he said is just in its third year playing basketball, to the Oregon 3A state title.

"As having the heart of a Baron and still considering myself a Fountain Valley guy through-and-through, I'm thrilled that Roger is back at Fountain Valley," Brown said Monday from his Oregon home. "I couldn't be happier and his being back there is a just a great fit. He had quite a career there. He played on Fountain Valley teams that won the Sunset League title three years in a row. He was probably the best all-around player that I've coached. He could play anywhere, point, post, wing...you name it.

"It's great to see him take the reins of the program. He will be a great leader and I think he will get the program up again. I sent him an e-mail that said, 'The best of the Barons is returning.'"

Fountain Valley is Holmes' third head coaching job. Prior to Marina, he coached at Santa Margarita from 1988-1992.

While at Marina, his 2006-07 Vikings set both the prep state and national single-season records for three-point baskets (437). His 2007-08 squad set a record for three-pointers (29) in a game, breaking the old record (28) the Vikings had set the year before.

"Dr. (Paul) Morrow, the administration and the staff at Marina have always supported our program with great enthusiasm and it was a memorable 16 years there," Holmes said. "I informed them the first week of January that I was stepping down and it was two months after I had left Marina that the Fountain Valley position came up. They let me know that they support me, even though I will be at a rival school now. It will be a little strange playing against Marina, that's for sure, but I wish them great success.

"My wife (Debbie) is a Fountain Valley alum and is all for it. Brendan thinks that it would be fun for me to head back to Fountain Valley and Kayla will be a cheerleader at Marina and is ready to cheer against the Barons. It will be a hectic, but very fun, next four years."

Holmes inherits a Fountain Valley team that went 10-14 overall last year and 2-8 in the Sunset League.

He met his returning players for the first time May 12 and said he has been "working with them since."

"Right now, my short term goals are to get the players to buy into how I run a program," he said. "Players have to become accountable for everything that they do in the classroom, away from school and on the court. Their attention to detail has to be solid. We cannot move forward without complete and total player commitment.

"There is a good blend of seniors and underclassmen. We are getting to know the players and assessing how their talents will fit into the system that we run, which is very different from what they are used to."

Joining Holmes on his staff is Eric Edmunds (FVHS, Class of 1998), who coached for five years with Holmes at Marina, and Andy Meyer who was on Holmes' Marina staff for 11 years.

His new adventure is underway.

"Fountain Valley was such a great experience for me as a student-athlete that I felt this was a perfect time for me to go home," he said.

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