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May 17, 2011 - Seth Staskey
Mark Holenka had reservations if he actually wanted to apply to be the head football coach at Shadyside when Ty Fleming stepped down following the 2009 season.
After some coaxing, Holenka applied and got the job. It's been a decision neither he nor Shadyside High School has regretted. Two years later, Holenka has led his alma mater to a state runner-up finish, a regional title and an OVAC title. He added one of the most prestigious individual honors a coach in this valley can have Monday evening when he won the OVAC Coach of the Year award.
Holenka has racked up a laundry list of coaching accolades from a season in which the Tigers were picked to finish just above the .500 mark. His Tigers were good and talented, but thus far, they had nary a college player on the roster. By that, I mean not one member of the Shadyside roster has indicated he's going to play college football. Many teams win on talent alone, Shadyside won with talent and with coaching. The Tigers' staff was tremendous at adjusting and that was evident by the example of how the Orange rallied to beat Bridgeport in the regional final after it fell to the Bulldogs in Week 9.
Holenka is one of the good guys in the business. He's humble and always willing to pass the credit for the Tigers' success to the players and his assistant coaches, calling himself "just a figurehead." You'd expect nothing less from him. He doesn't want to be in the limelight by himself. If there was enough room, Holenka would have brought the entire Tiger football family on the stage with him lastnight to accept the award. Again, it's just the kind of guy he is.
Something tells me that if the current Tigers' coaching staff remains in tact, there won't be many lean years in Shadyside.
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