Allen Holmes said he was surprised when he learned late last summer that he was going to be inducted into the National Field Hockey Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame.
“It was unexpected. I didn’t think anything about that,” said the former Belfast High School coach, who received his honor on Jan. 7 in Naples, Florida.
“I was very pleased. It was pretty remarkable. And I was nominated by [former Nokomis High School coach] Katie Thompson, and we had a great rivalry with her when she was at Nokomis,” said Holmes. “That was a pretty big deal for her to do that for me.”
Holmes, already a member of the Maine Field Hockey Hall of Fame, had a legendary 40-year career before retiring after the 2012 season.
He compiled a record of 432-162-43 and led the Lions to seven state Class B championships and 13 Eastern Maine titles.
He was the first coach of the fledgling program in 1973 and went 0-8-1 in that first season. That was his only losing season.
“I learned some hard lessons that year,” he quipped.
He said the highlight of his career were the practices.
“We tried to make every practice just like a game, and we tried to make every practice better than the one before,” said the 67-year-old former basketball-baseball-football player at Belfast High.
“When we had the girls coming off the field smiling, talking to each other and having been excited to be there, we knew we were in the right place and we were on track,” he said.
“They had a round robin showcase for freshman and sophomores playing on club teams down there, and my granddaughter got to see it. It made it pretty special,” said Holmes.
Even though he is no longer coaching at the high school, Holmes is still involved in the peewee program that he started in the 1970s.
“I’m focusing quite a bit on third-, fourth- and fifth-graders,” said Holmes, who has had the high school field hockey field named after him. “I’ve set up a little league in the coastal area. We play on Saturdays and Sundays.
“I’m coaching the daughters of mothers who used to play for me,” he said. “That circle is pretty special.”
He also still works for the family business, the Holmes Greenhouse and Florist Shop in Belfast.