By Ray Hamill – Head coach Daniel Holmes has built one of the most consistent local sports programs on and off the field in recent years, and now he’s being officially recognized for it.
The Fortuna High boys soccer coach has won the Humboldt-Del Norte League six times in his tenure with the Huskies, but that’s only half of the success story.
Holmes’ teams are known just as much for sending players on to the collegiate level, with several of them playing at College of the Redwoods and Humboldt State in recent years.
And this month, the longtime local soccer coach was honored by the North Coast Section for his achievements with the Huskies, being named NCS Honor Coach for boys soccer, an annual award given out for outstanding accomplishments within the respective programs and communities.
And for Holmes, it all starts with building the right character.
“I think it’s about the classroom, and community service, and that’s the kind of student athlete we’re trying to build,” he said. “And I think people are recognizing that, with our kids going on to play at the next level.”
Holmes, who received the award earlier this month, has certainly enjoyed plenty of success on the field of play.
But it’s clear the coach takes just as much pride in sending his players go on to the next level, and seeing them succeed on the college fields and in the college classrooms.
Holmes has seen seven of his players make that level over the past few seasons, including four who are currently playing at Humboldt State.
For the Fortuna coach, it’s all just a part of the job.
“I think there’s a lot of stuff that goes into being a coach, and it’s nice to be recognized for that,” he said. “It’s nice to see the support from players and the community.”
In addition to their recent dominance locally, Holmes’ teams have also reached a pair of NCS championships in the past three years, winning the Division-I title two years ago.
And he gives credit to his players and the soccer culture in the Fortuna area.
“I think the guys have the same passion I have for the game,” he said. “We’re both super passionate about it, and we’re thankful we get to play.”
The Huskies open the 2018 season at home to Willits on Tuesday, although Holmes is expecting it be a rebuilding year of sorts.
“We’re young. I think we’re in a rebuilding year, and that’s okay,” he said.