By Mike Mattson
Local Sports Journal

It’s official: Mike Holmes has retired as head football coach at Muskegon Catholic Central.

Mike Holmes walks on the field prior to the Crusaders’ Division 8 semifinal football game against Harbor Beach. It would prove to be Holmes’ final game as the Crusaders’ football coach. Photo/Tim Reilly

Holmes made the official announcement Monday night at a sports banquet at the high school. He steps away from a legendary 25-year career that includes six state championships and one runner-up finish.

“It’s time,” an emotional Holmes said via phone late Monday night. “I’m ready to relinquish the reins to somebody else. Hopefully, they will have the success we’ve had over the years.”

Holmes, 59, also will retire from his teaching duties when the school year ends in June. Overall, he has been a coach and teacher at MCC for 37 years.

Holmes sent an email and physical letter about his retirement plans to school administrators on Monday afternoon.

“People kind of knew it was coming and some tried to talk me out of it,” he said. “But there are good parts and bad parts to coaching.”

One of the bad parts is the year-round commitment to football, along with many behind-the-scenes duties like fund-raising.

MCC athletic director Erich Adams said plans to fill the football job will now begin.

Holmes has said he would like to see the job filled from within the program. MCC’s coaching staff includes former standout players and current varsity assistants Steve Czerwon and Scott Fodrocy.

The varsity staff also includes Mike Ribecky, who has been Holmes’ right-hand man. Holmes said the help of Ribecky and all his assistants have been instrumental in the achievements over the past 25 years.

“I think we made a good team together,” Holmes said about Ribecky. “When you can entrust somebody to do things well, it relieves you. He did all the defense and the defensive calls. And he did the offensive line and weight program. “(All coaches) did this together.”

Holmes moved into second place on the area’s list of all-time winningest coaches and sports an impressive 212-75-1 overall record. Only Oakridge’s Jack Schugars (262) has compiled more coaching victories in the Muskegon area.

Holmes led MCC to six state titles (1990, 1991, 1995, 2000, 2006, 2008) and a state runner-up finish in 2001. His teams qualified for the state playoffs 18 times and reached the semifinals 13 times.

MCC got off to an 0-2 start this season, but Holmes’ young team regrouped to finish 9-4 with a spot in the Division 8 state semifinals. Harbor Beach defeated MCC 32-27 en route to the state championship.

Holmes is a graduate of Kalamazoo Hackett and Kalamazoo College, where he played football.

He said there likely will be some travel in his future with two daughters living out of state and his nephew playing football in Florida.

Holmes added that he may get back into coaching in some capacity in the future. But for now, he’s looking forward to his first August away from football in 46 years.

“I don’t know what the timetable is (to fill the job),” Holmes said. “I may coach some place and help out. I will do anything to help out the next group here.”