WALLACE, NC (WECT) - High school football coaching legend Jack Holley passed away Monday after a battle with myelofibrosis. He was 74.
The illness, which is a type of chronic leukemia, left Holley weakened and fatigued in the last few weeks.
Holley retired in 2011 as the winningest coach in North Carolina history. His 412-95-9 overall record includes 14 state championship title appearances and one Championship win in 2008 while at Harrells Christian Academy.
His teams at Wallace-Rose Hill appeared in back-to-back title games, losing each by one point to Thomasville.
Holley is credited with changing the game of high school football in North Carolina by utilizing the weight room.
"My teams started lifting weights in 1964, which makes you stronger and faster," Holley said in a 2011 interview with the Sampson Independent. "My teams lifted weights for almost ten years before anyone else did. They were faster and stronger than any other team. They could run and would hit you hard. They were as tough as the highway."
Holley may have learned that work ethic early on playing for such coaches as Leon Broaden, Jap Davis, Buck Hardee, Stuart Maynor and Bill Brooks, all Hall of Famers.
He played on four state championship teams for New Hanover High School in football, basketball and baseball from 1954-57. After graduating from New Hanover High School, Holley attended Guilford College where he played football.
In 1964 Holley began coaching at Tabor City High with later stops coming at Hallsboro, South Columbus, Wallace-Rose Hill and Harrells Christian Academy.
Jack Holley is survived by his wife Judy, daughters Julianne Holley Williams, Jemma Holley Inwalle, son Battle Holley and seven grandchildren.
His funeral is scheduled for Friday, May 24 at 6:00 p.m. at Thell B. Overman Field-Legion Stadium in Wallace. An interment will follow at Rockfish Cemetery.
To read Holley's obituary, click here.
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