Legendary Ky. high school football coach Mike Holcomb retires

Holcomb won three KHSAA state titles and more than 300 games
Legendary Ky. high school football coach Mike Holcomb retires
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 1:57 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - Legendary high school football coach Mike Holcomb is retiring after a spectacular career. The Madison Central head coach made it official Wednesday afternoon in Richmond.

Holcomb, a Nelson County native, began his 35-year run as a head coach at Breathitt County in 1983 replacing another gridiron coaching icon, Dudley Hilton. Holcomb turned a basketball-crazed community in Jackson into a palace of pigskin prowess winning three Class 2A state titles, enjoying a 42-game winning streak, and turning Breathitt County into a quarterback factory. The1995 Class 2A crown was the first state title in any sport in Breathitt County history.

After the 2012 season, Holcomb left for Letcher Central and went a pedestrian 17-17 in three seasons before returning to Breathitt County to help assist one of his state championship-winning QBs of the 1990′s, Kyle Moore.

In 2021, Holcomb was hired at Madison Central to turn around the fortunes of the Indians and he did just that in record time. Holcomb inherited a program which had won just two games in the previous two seasons. In his debut season with the Richmond Tribe, Holcomb went 9-4 and captured a 6A region crown and came within a whisker of upsetting St. X in the state semifinals.

On August 19th of this year, Madison Central rallied to stun LCA 38-34 on the last play of the game. That victory gave Holcomb his 300th win becoming the 13th coach in Kentucky high school football history to achieve such an honor.

Prior to the 1995 season, Holcomb reinvented his coaching style by switching from a run-heavy offense to a pass-happy arsenal which revolutionized the state. His gamble paid off as Breathitt County showed the Commonwealth passing the football 40-50 times a game wasn’t trade-marked by Tim Couch at Leslie County. Quarterbacks like Waylon Chapman, Kyle Moore, Allen Sperry, Justin Haddix, and Jacob Hundley either won state titles, or shattered passing records or led the Bobcats to undefeated regular seasons. Jackson became a factory of quarterbacks as revered as the coal hidden in the surrounding mountains.

No doubt, Holcomb’s willingness to throw the football led to his greatest successes and to a Hall of Fame career.

Madison Central Defensive Coordinator William Blair will be the new head coach of the Indians.

Mike Holcomb resume’

*35 years as Head Coach at Breathitt County (1983-2012), Letcher Central (2013-15), Madison Central (2021-22)

*Career record of 308-122 *4-time state finalist (1995, 1996, 2002, 2008) *3 KHSAA Class 2A titles (1995, 1996, 2002)

*42-game winning streak (August 26, 1995 - November 21, 1997)

*9 undefeated regular seasons (1989, 1995-97, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2011-12)

*8 Region titles (1995-96, 1998, 2002, 2007-09, 2021)

*Won 1st game: August 20, 1983 (27-19 vs. Newport)

*Won 100th game: September 13, 1996 (49-6 vs. Powell Co.)

*Won 200th game: October 28, 2005 (50-20 vs. Knott Central)

*Won 300th game: August 19, 2022 (38-34 vs. LCA) *Won 307th (and final) game: November 11, 2022 (45-42 vs. Dunbar)

*1997 Head Coach - Kentucky All Stars