Dallas County football coaching legend dies

Published 9:31 am Monday, March 2, 2020

A high school coaching legend from Orrville died last week.

William Lee “Coach” Holladay died on Feb. 27 in Orrville.  He was 82 years old. Funeral services were held Sunday.

A 55-year coaching veteran, Holladay attended Orrville High School, starring in football, basketball and baseball. Holladay also was head football coach/headmaster at Meadowview Christian School in two different stints: 1989 and 2001. The Trojans went 7-5 in 1989 and 4-6 during the 2001 season. Holladay also was an assistant coach at MCS and Keith High School.

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Holladay also was head coach at Central Christian Academy in 2007, going 1-8. CCA is now Ellwood Christian Academy.

Holladay was friends with Morgan Academy Girls basketball coach Lebo Jones and his father, Lee Jones Sr. Holladay gave Jones Sr. his first coaching job in 1968 and Jones his first coaching job in 1997. “Coach Holladay was a close family friend,” Jones recalled. “He took me hunting many times as a child. He never met a stranger and everybody loved him. Coach Holladay was one of the finest men I ever knew.”

MCS head football and basketball coach and headmaster Bob Taylor also has fond memories of Holladay, who also coached at then-Catherine Academy from 1994-1997. Holladay went 28-18 in four seasons at the Wilcox County school.

“Coach Holladay was a great coach, but an even better man,” Taylor said. “We coached against each other.”

Former Dallas County High School and Morgan Academy softball coach Edward Miller said their sons were baseball teammates.

Holladay graduated from Livingston State Teachers College (now University of West Alabama) and first head coaching job was Louisville in 1962. He was head coach at 11 different schools.

For Holladay his longest coaching stint was 14 seasons at Excel High School, where his squad went 43 regular season games without losing from 1972-76.

Holladay compiled a 222-148-6 record in Alabama for a winning percentage of .600. Overall, he won 239 games overall that includes Florida. The Alabama Football Coaches Association presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.