A servant is one who is devoted to a cause or a group of people. For the last 49 years Lee Holladay has been a servant of the game of football in the state of Alabama…devoted to his players, coaches, communities and the game itself
He was born April 6, 1937 in Selma, Al. He graduated from Orrville High School where he lettered four years in football, baseball, and basketball. He attended Livingston State Teachers College on a football scholarship and although seriously injured in an automobile accident before his junior year, stayed with football and became a starter his senior year. He graduated in 1959 with a degree in history. He started his coaching career in 1961 at Louisville High School. His journey would take him to 17 different schools…….some public, some private….almost all small schools where a coach could know his players, his parents, his community. Lee had some of his greatest success at 1A Excel High School where he stayed for one 12 year stretch from 1970-1981. From 1972-1975 he had four 10 win seasons in a row. He made the playoffs three of those four years in the days where only 8 teams made the playoffs in each of 4 classes. And the one team that didn’t make the playoffs went undefeated 10-0. His 1977 team gave up only 55 points on the way to an 8-2 record. His overall record as a head coach stands at 235 wins-180 losses and 9 ties.
Lee Holladay has been an ambassador for what is right about this game. One of his former players from the 1970’s David Hutcherson put it this way,…”Coach was one you could talk to at anytime, about almost anything. As different challenges came along, both on and off the field, he always had an ear. Coach had a way of helping you make decisions without telling you what to do. In all of his wisdom he would also remind you that there is life outside of sports. I believe that the disciplines that help develop my character back then still influence me today.” Lee Holladay also coached Joe Nettles (Joe is about 90 so I’m not sure how old that makes Lee). Joe has been a coach since the 1960’s and credits Lee Holladay for being a strong presence in his life. “Coach has never been too busy to check and see how I was doing when things were not going well for me. He always calls and has an encouraging word for me and anyone else who needs one. Everywhere I go and mention his name, someone has something good to say about him.”
Lee has been coach of the year, coached in both the AHSAA All Star game as well as the AISA All Star game. A man of strong faith, a Sunday school teacher. He and his wife of 49 years Betty have three children. His daughter Deborah has been a teacher, his oldest son Trey coached for 18 years and is now principal at Oxford High School. His youngest son John is the head coach at Walker High School in Jasper. In his later years Lee showed his love for family and the game. He went to Smiths Station with Trey in 2002 and became his junior high coach. In the spring of 2005 he saw that Coach Harry Crum at Keith High school (near his home) was short on coaching help, he volunteered to help him. BY 2008 he was helping full time as defensive coordinator. Coach Crum said, “ Even with limited mobility due to a chronic medical condition, he has gone out of his way to help me in any way possible. He is truly an Alabama icon and I really believe that Keith High school and I are better off for having known Coach Lee Holladay.” We believe that many, many people are better off for having known the servant attitude of Lee Holladay. The Alabama Football Coaches association is proud to bestow its Lifetime Achievement award upon Coach Lee Holladay.