The crowd for the Rich game was probably Leo’s largest of the year for a home game as dozens of Coach Holmes’ former players and other alums turned out to congratulate him and say thanks for 30-plus years of distinguished service to Leo.
A poster recounting his career highlights, a football autographed by this year’s team and gift cards to some of his favorite restaurants were among the gifts Coach Holmes received. He was honored at a reception at Leo following the game.
Over three-plus decades as an athlete,coach, classroom teacher and school administrator, no one has done more to embody the spirit of Leo High School than Mike Holmes ’76.
Coach was the Leo Alumni Association Man of the Year in 2018 and the Leo Lions Legacy Award recipient in 2020.
His most enduring legacy may be the dozens of Leo athletes who earned college scholarships while playing for him. Inspired by his example, many of them followed Coach Holmes into the coaching profession.
Among his other accomplishments:
• Coach is one of the most decorated athletes in Leo history: All-American in football, All-State in baseball
• He was a double Lawless Award winner as Catholic League Player of the Year and Coach of the Year
• He has coached four additional Lawless Award winners, including son Aamir Holmes in 2016
• Under Coach Holmes the Lions have made multiple IHSA and Chicago Prep Bowl playoff appearances, including a state semifinal berth in 2013
• Dozens of Leo student-athletes earned college scholarships while playing for Coach, and five went on to play pro football