Coach Russ Holcomb, defensive coordinator of Hamilton High School, will receive the AHSAA 5A Making a Difference Award at the Championship Coaches Banquet at the Renaissance Montgomery Convention Center July 19.
Coach Holcomb graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2002 and went to work at Hamilton High School that same year. He just completed his 17th year as a teacher and coach at Hamilton. He currently serves as defensive coordinator in football. He was elevated to that position in 2010 and helped Hamilton reach the state finals that year.
Head coach and athletic director Rodney Stidham says while Holcomb is excellent at the X’s and O’s of football, he is means so much more to the students off the field.
“What started out many years ago with him taking boys to colleges to visit and to try out evolved into him helping in other ways that did not always have anything to do with Hamilton High School football,” said Stidham.
Since then, Holcomb, wo still lives just across the state line in Mississippi, has taken over a dozen kids into his home to help them pass summer school, has worked to help others get into college and helped them with transportation to and from school. In addition, he and his wife and son have from time to time taken in kids who were homeless. One of the students failed to graduate on time and the coach helped him study and pass his last class so he could finally get his diploma. The Holcombs were the only “family” at the young man’s private graduation ceremony. For many others he has helped get them food when hungry and to the doctor when sick.
“Coach Holcomb and these kids continue to be like family today,” said Stidham. “And if you are ever at Sargent Stadium on a Friday night, you can usually see several crowded up on the hill waiting for him to come out of the locker room and take the field. For over 15 years he has been the greatest coach I have ever known. What he has done for the kids of Hamilton has permeated throughout the school and town and all are better for having him be a part of both.”
Thanks to the AHSAA for the above article.