BELFAST, Maine — Jan Holmes-Jackson knows she is following a legend as the new field hockey coach at Belfast High School.
That legend is her father, Allen, who guided the Lions to 13 Eastern Maine Class B championships, seven state titles and a 462-162-43 record during his remarkable 40-year career.
The Lions won the EM title this past year but lost to Leavitt of Turner 1-0 in the state Class B final, Allen Holmes’ last game. Belfast had captured the state championship in 2011 with a 2-1 win over York. They had won previous state titles in 2006, 2005, 2004, 1989, 1985 and 1979.
“There will be a lot of pressure. He’ll be very tough to replace. I’ve got big shoes to fill. But I’m very excited about it,” said Holmes-Jackson, who spent the previous 17 seasons competing against her father as the field hockey coach at Camden Hills High School in Rockport.
“We faced him in quite a few Eastern Maine playoff games and I never beat him. We did beat him during the regular season, including a couple of years when we played under the lights on the football field at Belfast. So he told me we weren’t going to play there any more,” she quipped.
She said she will bring the same philosophy as her father to the program.
“I’ll work them hard. I’m fairly tough but I’ll be fair,” said Holmes-Jackson, who led her Windjammer teams to the playoffs every season except this past fall when they went 4-9-1.
She captured her 100th career win on Sept. 20, 2011, and, early in her career, she guided Camden Hills to its first playoff win.
“She’ll be able to carry on the tradition of Belfast field hockey,” said Belfast athletic director Mark Babin. “She did a very good job at Camden Hills and she comes with 17 years of varsity experience. She’s a fitting replacement.”
Babin said he received “four or five applicants” for the job.
Holmes-Jackson played for her father in the midfield and helped the Lions capture the 1989 state championship. She was an All-State selection her senior year (1991).
She will inherit a 14-2-2 team that will graduate seven seniors and return nine players, including seven who will be seniors in the fall.
Holmes-Jackson has taken over the Thursday night feeder program for girls from kindergarten through fifth grade at the Belfast YMCA and she said her father will help out with the youth travel field hockey team for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders this fall.
Holmes-Jackson attended the University of Maine and Beal College in Bangor and is a floral designer for the family business: Holmes Greenhouse and Florist in Belfast.
Holmes-Jackson and her husband, Todd, have two children, eighth-grader Connor and sixth-grader Cassie.
Cassie is a field hockey player and Holmes-Jackson said she is looking forward to coaching her daughter when she gets to high school.
Holmes-Jackson lost her mother, Ruth, who was killed in an auto accident on Dec. 22, 2012. Ruth and Allen Holmes were married for 43 years.