Randy Holmes’ long association with the Lakewood High School boys basketball program is over.
It ended Monday afternoon when he resigned as the Piners’ head varsity coach. Holmes, who scored more than 1,000 career varsity points for his beloved school and coached Lakewood to numerous titles, announced his decision on his Facebook page Monday.
“Without further a do, all good things must come to an end,” Holmes said. “Today, I made a gut wrenching decision to resign as the head boys basketball coach at my Alma Mater, Lakewood High School. This was without a doubt the toughest decision that I ever had to make. My heart will always be in Lakewood, but after certain obstacles that I had to deal with year in and year out. … I felt the time is now.”
“I personally would like to thank all of my players that I ever coached for helping me grow as a person, mentor, leader and father figure. Also, my parents, who allowed me to teach your prize possessions life lessons and turned boys into young men!! MM, MF, DR ya’ll are the best administrators any person/coach can ask for. Thank you for your unconditional support. That’s all I have to say for NOW! #Coachholmesout”
Tom Stead, who is in his first year as Lakewood’s athletics director, said he received Holmes’ letter of resignation around 2 p.m. Stead said Holmes also sent letters of resignation to the Lakewood Board of Education and the office of the superintendent of schools.
“Randy is a long time, great coach here and a great role model,” Stead said. “And he will always be. Am I surprised at his resignation? Yes. Anytime you lose a great coach, it is tough to digest. People are in shock a little bit. Randy is somebody who has been here for a long time and has kept the program at such a high level. He has done so much for so many kids.”
Stead, who was a successful boys coach at Holmdel and Matawan, said he has no interest in taking over for Holmes.
“No,” Stead said. “I am done. I like my role as the athletics director. I want to try to continue to help to improve the athletics programs.”
Asked Tuesday afternoon when a replacement will be named, Stead said, “I have not given that any thought about a new coach and I am not going to right now. When we get to that bridge, I will be the first to call the media.”
Stead said he enjoyed coaching against Holmes’ teams.
“I coached against him a few times,” Stead said. “He is a great coach. His kids played hard for him. They bought into his philosophy. He has done a lot to keep the kids focused and doing the right thing. When he played, I was not a coach in the Shore Conference, but I know he was a great player. He is a great role model to hundreds of kids.”
Holmes coached the Piners to a 21-7 overall record and the Class B South title in 2015-16. They advanced to the quarterfinals of the Shore Conference Tournament for the fifth time in six years and lost to host Ewing in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II semifinals.
One of the state’s best guards, Holmes brought fans to their feet with his dunks off steals and three-pointers from binoculars range in the Piners’ uniform. He led Lakewood to the Shore Conference Tournament title in 1991, starring for then-coach John Richardson, for whom the Piners’ gym is named. Holmes also sparkled at St. Peter’s College (now St. Peter’s University) before returning to Lakewood to coach under Richardson.
Holmes piloted the Piners to numerous divisional titles, including six straight outright crowns. He coached Lakewood to the 2013 SCT title–its first since 1991. Holmes guided Lakewood to a CJ II championships in 2010 and 2013.
Reaction to the resignation resulted in considerable comment on Facebook.
“Sorry to hear!” said Bill Stein, who was the athletic director when Holmes played at St. Peter’s. “Be well.”
“Good luck Bro!” Jamar Pop Hunter said. “Wishing you continued success…”
“It’s a big loss!!!” Yaniv Waknin said.
“You’ve definitely left your footprints in the sand following John Richardson,” Chris Melvin said. “You will continue to have my support in all your efforts, bro. Of course!!!”
“Proud of you,” Ralph Lester said. “Truly a Hall of Famer.”
“I’m so very proud of you son,” Lessie Hodge said “A job well done. That’s my son. Love you.”
“Job well done, Mr. Holmes,” Allen Ridley said. “Hope as you move on, things keep improving. Go chase your dreams.”
“Damn bro,” Jerome Smart said. “Good luck moving forward.”
“He did Lakewood proud all of those years,” Alicia Casiano Carney said.
“Just read about Randy Holmes at Lakewood,” Lou Monaco said. “Piners have some tough shoes to fill … great coach … loved his kids and community … many blessings and best wishes Coach!”
“When one door closes, another opens,” Stretch Robinson said. “To my friend, brother and fellow coach. Coaching your Alma Mater is the prize job that every person who is getting into coaching would love to do. You took our beloved program to another level and standard. You had some big shoes to fill (Holmes replaced Richardson) and in doing so you created your own. I think I speak for all alumni. Job well done. My prayers are with you bro and may God bless you on your next endeavor.”
“We are all sad that coach Randy Holmes has resigned,” Janice King said, “but we have to look at the bigger picture here. He has looked out for our children for many years, making these boys into men. I will forever appreciate all that you have done for the students of Lakewood. I wish you and your family nothing but the best. Proud to call you my friend.”
“If yall knew the battles this man fought behind the scenes, it makes his resume all the greater,” Thomas Ross Jr. said. “This was a long time coming.”
“I’ve been a part of some and I’m a firm believer of good things happening to good people, so no doubt in my mind that Randy Holmes is a great person and better things are coming for him,” Sean Barksdale said.
“TGIT and thank you Father for this beautiful new day,” Teleea D. Jackson said. “After getting myself together for work reading the Daily Bread, I see that my cousin, Randy Holmes, (Coach) resigned. What? Why? A positive influence to our youth stepping down. I know there’s more to the story. Thank you cousin for giving it your all against the odds. I’m at a loss for words at the moment. Be blessed all.”
“WOW!” Carmelita Merriweather said. “I want to know what happened.”
“Randy Holmes should have been coaching on ESPN a long time ago,” Taurean Fisher said. “Sad to see him go, but excited to see what’s next. P.S. When he decides which job to take, my resume for an opportunity to learn is on the way!!!!!”
“Every good person should have the support you offer,” Denise M. Syers said.
“Randy Holmes,” Stephanie Lampkin said, “I am completely shocked by your resignation but knowing you, it was probably a necessary decision that had to be made. I want to personally thank you for all that you did to help make my son, Anthony Walker Wade, a great player. He learned so much from you as well as many of the Lakewood boys you have successfully coached. Thank you for being a great mentor and father figure to my son and many that came before him and those that followed.
“I pray God has amazing plans for you as you transition from Lakewood. You are blessed and will be missed on the sideline of the big L logo. You filled coach Richardson’s shoes well. Now, it will be almost impossible for someone to fill yours. Continue blessings to you and your family. With much love, admiration and respect, Stephanie, Mom of #22”
Understandably, reactions will continue to fly in as the boys’ basketball scene in the Shore Conference loses an iconic coach on the sidelines. Share your thoughts below with a comment!