Book relives the legend of MSHoF’s Dobie Holden

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By Chuck Abadie

              POPLARVILLE – In reading “The Spirit of the Pearl: The Life, Legend and Legacy of T.D. ‘Dobie’ Holden,” one finds that it is possible for a football coach to win the respect of his players and lead them to eight state championships and one national championship without compromising faith and family.
            An excerpt: “Dobie Holden knew that the winning spirit went far beyond the athletic field to the field of life, and that success in the former could help promote success in the latter. He would say, ‘One of the greatest satisfactions I have in life is to see the level of success I can help promote in others’.”
            Holden, a 1970 inductee into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, was more than just a legendary football coach at Pearl River Junior College (1948-66), as well as coaching stops in Picayune and Pascagoula.
            Who better to tell the story than Holden’s daughter, Dr. Carole Lund, who spent her childhood on the Pearl River Junior College’s campus and was included in many of her father’s football related activities? Her co-author is Dr. Thomas Malone, one of Holden’s former athletes who took what he learned from Holden and would go on to serve as executive vice president at Milliken & Company Inc.
            Malone’s portion of the book focuses on Holden’s moral code and the lessons and inspirations others drew from him to become successful.
            An excerpt by Malone: “In my business career, the lessons and principles I learned from (Coach Holden) are so profound I have long believed they need to be a part of any study on leadership. They are timeless, they are rock solid, and they have enriched my career and helped me reach beyond my highest expectations.”
            Lund’s portion of the book centers on Holden’s early years, beginning with his birth in Picayune in 1905. His father owned the only meat market in town and Holden grew up working there, Lund said. In those days, many of the boys worked in the family business instead of attending school.
In 1922, the principal of the Picayune school started a football program to entice the boys back to school. Holden was a member of the first team and in four years, the football team became state champions. He went on to play football at Louisiana State University for four years.
            After graduating college, Holden coached the LSU freshman football team from 1931 to 1932. In 1933, he returned to Picayune and coached the high school football team on two occasions, chalking up successful tenures both times. His career continued as head football coach for Pascagoula High (1944-47) for four years.
            Then it was on to Pearl River Junior College in 1948 where his success continued.
            Coach Holden died in 1986 at the age of 80. But memories of his success are still fresh in many of his former players’ minds. Thus came the idea for the book.  
“People still tell me stories and Dad’s been gone for 30 years,” Lund said. “We are beginning to lose some of those stories, along with those who lived it.”

This book captures the full flavor of the man, the philosophies that work in life, and the philosophies that work on the football field. I commend it to people who want to succeed at either – or both.
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         • The book is now available for purchase. The authors will be hosting a series of book signings. One of those will be Saturday, Aug. 29, from 1-3 p.m. at Apple’s in downtown Poplarville. Another is Tuesday, Sept. 8, from 5-7 p.m. at Main Street Books in downtown Hattiesburg.
• The book can also be purchased ($29.95) at the Pearl River Community College’s bookstore.

• Visit www.spiritofthepearl.wordpress.com to read excerpts and for up-to-date information follow on Facebook and Twitter at Dobie Holden.

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