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New baseball coach sparks team spirit amid COVID-19 crisis


   Sports coaches often try to foster an atmosphere of team building and working together to help their teams have a better season. At HR, Neil Holden, varsity baseball head coach, is taking that idea one step further. He is working to support his team members in all aspects of life, whether it’s on or off of the field. 

   Holden dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player when he was a young boy. “That never worked out,” Holden said. “So when I was still in college at CSU, I was able to turn my love of sports–baseball in particular–into a career by coaching in the summers.”

   He decided to change his major to physical education with an emphasis in coaching. Holden worked as a pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Colorado Christian University before taking a head coaching job in Texas. He moved back to Colorado and worked at CCU, but not in the job that he wanted.

   “That position–the one I returned to at CCU–didn’t involve coaching, and it drove me crazy,” Holden said. This unhappiness caused him to apply for the coaching position at HR.

   He started preparing his team for their spring season in the fall. “We started off by working a systematic, progressive, baseball-focused strength and conditioning program back in early October,” said Holden. “So that included explosive and rotational movements, as well as some cardio.”

   The team started hitting in December and began a throwing program in January. Holden also had some players undergo leadership training. 

   When creating goals for the season, Holden thinks that his players’ goals are much more important than his own. “I want our guys to have a burning desire to do what it takes to improve and be productive on the field,” said Holden. “I want them to be leaders on and off the field: making good decisions, holding each other accountable, serving and encouraging each other.”

   Chase Olivier, senior and varsity baseball player, admires Holden’s mentoring skills. “He continually demonstrates how to be a good person, not just in the baseball diamond, but in day to day life,” said Olivier.

   Holden’s dedication to every aspect of the players’ lives was a welcomed change for Joe Milone, senior and varsity baseball player. “He’s different than many other coaches because he truly, wholeheartedly cares about his players,” said Milone. “He cares about our grades and academics and how our lives at home are going.”

   Due to COVID-19, all spring sports have been suspended until April 18th, which means that the baseball team cannot practice together until that date. “None of us have a voice in this, and none of us have a choice,” said Holden. “It will all hopefully be in the rearview mirror before long, and in the meantime, we can only do what we can do within the boundaries placed on us.”

Maddie Browning, Staff Reporter

Neil Holden is the new varsity baseball coach. “What I like about Holden as a coach is that he understands what improvements the team needs to make,” said Joe Milone, senior and varsity baseball player. Photo courtesy of Neil Holden




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New baseball coach sparks team spirit amid COVID-19 crisis