Former ECHS coach passes
By By Chandler Myers
Legends are never born, they make themselves and push their way into history in some form or fashion.
Former Escambia County High School football coach Arvel Holmes is one of these legends and will be remembered as one of the greatest coaches to pass through Atmore.
Holmes passed away Monday night in Gadsden at the age of 87.
His career at ECHS began in 1952, running until 1961, when he left to take a job with Savannah High School in Georgia.
Adolph “Doc” Sutton, a former ECHS player, played under Holmes from 1952-53 and said the coach was one of the greatest men he knew on and off the gridiron.
When Holmes arrived at the ECHS campus in ‘52 the team was coming off a rare losing season and was looking for a way to turn it around.
Sutton said that Holmes had an eye for the game and could teach almost anyone to play.
He added that when Holmes arrived he brought a new offense and style of coaching no one in Atmore had ever seen.
The two seasons that Sutton played under Holmes, the Blue Devils’ record showed an amazing 16 wins, two losses and two ties.
Sutton said that Holmes gave the city of Atmore what they wanted from him with winning seasons.
He added that this was a time when football was truly supported.
Holmes left Atmore and the state of Alabama in 1961 to take the job in Savannah.
In Holmes’ 10 seasons at Atmore he compiled a record of 67 wins, 24 losses and nine ties. As a head coach in Alabama he left with a record of 90 wins, 29 losses and 11 ties.
He also had three undefeated seasons while coaching ECHS.
Sutton said Holmes cared deeply about his players and that players always kept in contact with him.
After taking the job in Savannah, Holmes coached 22 seasons in Georgia.
He spent 12 years with Savannah High School and then had stints with Rabun County High School and Towns County High School. His career in Georgia saw him record 124 wins, 87 losses and 18 wins.
Sutton said at the time of his death, Holmes was residing with his younger sister in Gadsden.
To send flowers or condolences contact the Crestwood Funeral Home at 256-492-5544.
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