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Holmes’ death will be loss felt by all

Just before walking out of the Ironton Middle School Tuesday afternoon, Greg Arden couldn’t resist shouting a barb at Glenn Holmes.

Friday, February 22, 2002

Just before walking out of the Ironton Middle School Tuesday afternoon, Greg Arden couldn’t resist shouting a barb at Glenn Holmes. As always, Holmes, in his characteristic deadpan expression, responded with his own jab.

They grinned at each other and headed home.

But later that day, the 42-year-old Holmes suffered a heart attack and died. It left an entire school feeling empty, dismayed, and sad.

The loss of Glenn Holmes was felt most by those whom he taught each day in the classroom. Those students chose to write heart felt messages on the blackboard in his room.

They filled the entire board and could have filled several more.

"You taught us more than Math. You taught us about life," was one message.

How true that was.

Holmes also handled a lot of discipline problems. Those students only knew him through that gray light. But little did they understand that Glenn Holmes was only trying to make them better students and better people. The students may not believe it, but Holmes was very concerned about all the students, even those who just passed him in the hallway.

And Holmes didn’t just help students. He was always willing to help those around him. They merely had to ask.

Besides his job as a teacher, Glenn Holmes was an assistant high school track coach for Ironton and girls eighth grade basketball coach. Early in his career he was an assistant football coach at Fairland.

Holmes didn’t put up any big numbers as a coach, but he did an excellent job. He was knowledgeable and was a disciplinarian. He wanted the students to represent the school in a classy manner. Nothing angered him more than an ill-mannered player.

Many times discipline is misread as someone being mean. But it is actually the best way for someone to prove how much they care. Making students or athletes do the right thing is a great lesson they need to learn to make it in the real world.

Holmes’ death wasn’t going to have the impact of someone like Dale Earnhardt, at least on the national scene.

But in terms of how he cared for his students and players and how much of an impact he had on those youths because of what he taught them, the impact of Holmes’ death would be hard to measure.

My daughter played seventh grade basketball so I got to see Holmes at work on the court. I knew she would be in good hands for her eighth grade season. Now, all we can do is just clasp our hands and pray.

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.