Positive Coaching Alliance is proud to announce our 2020 Double-Goal Coach® National Coach of the Year and winner of the $10,000 Taube Family Prize in Recognition of Excellence in Coaching, DeVon Holmes, from the Cindy Platt Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County.
Holmes came to coaching after a college football career at Brevard College in North Carolina where the team often volunteered at the Boys & Girls Club. He grew up in Conyers, Georgia, 20 minutes east of Atlanta, where he was a standout football player on the Heritage High School football team. He received his Bachelor's Degree from Brevard in 2014 majoring in Political Science & Education with a minor in Business & Organizational Leadership.
After football had ended his senior year, and looking for something to do to fill his time, he joined the Boys & Girls Club as a Program Specialist, never expecting to stay beyond college. However, he quickly found his niche in the gym, leading Triple Play, and encouraging kids to get active. When he arrived, the club had no sports program, however, DeVon worked with the Operations Director to identify the needs within the club, find out what the kids wanted, and then worked to form relationships with partner organizations to ensure the club’s teams would be welcome since they aren’t a traditional little league or rec team.
His involvement in bringing sports opportunities to the club was built in part on his knowledge of what a positive experience sports had been for him all those years prior. His nominator shared that, “During his tenure at our club, our sports program grew from one baseball team to over 10 teams across many sports thanks in large part to DeVon’s constant desire to provide opportunities”. Holmes said, “My vision wasn’t to create a sports program starting off but then I saw kids latching onto it, I realized we had something.” The club uses a program they call Triple Play where kids are introduced to many different sports so they can find one that interests them and everyone finds something they are good at and where they can find success.
"Boys & Girls Clubs of America is thrilled to learn that DeVon Holmes, an employee, and coach with the Cindy Platt Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County, has been selected as Positive Coaching Alliance’s National Coach of the Year. DeVon leads by example for all youth sports coaches, making sure kids and teens are learning competencies and gaining confidence while having fun playing sports. Community heroes don’t always get recognized; we are proud Positive Coaching Alliance is highlighting him and his work at the Club. We thank DeVon for the time and energy he gives to the youth in his community and to the Boys & Girls Club."
- Heather Campbell, Senior Director, Youth Development Programs, Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Also the administrator of a national mentoring program at the club and a mentor himself, Holmes was described as calm, quiet, and a man of few words. Jamie Atkinson, his direct supervisor at the club and the person who nominated him for the award shared that, “The great thing about this is that when he does speak, EVERY member in the room makes sure that they are listening with intent ears. This also means that DeVon chooses his words very carefully, as he believes that no spoken word should ever be wasted.” Holmes takes the time to get to know the kids and their families personally so that he can best provide support to each member individually based on their needs.
When PCA talks about a Double-Goal Coach, we highlight coaches who fill players' emotional tanks, allow mistakes as part of the learning process, and honor the game. Coach Holmes was described as just that. Atkinson described how he actually expects mistakes during practices encouraging kids to try new things, especially plays that might scare them or be intimidating. When there is an error made, Holmes never yells or belittles a player, instead, he takes the time to talk quietly to the player one-on-one and encourages him with the positives before assisting with the item needing improvement. Holmes also makes it a priority to respect the game even when the other team isn’t doing the same. In one particular game where the other team was yelling at the refs, using foul language and parents were getting involved with negative commentary, Holmes used it as a teaching moment for his team. He encouraged his players to shake the other teams’ hands after the game and then took his team aside to address what had happened and why they would never behave this way. He reminded them of the standards in place at the club and how they would handle conflict with integrity and class.
"We are proud to recognize DeVon Holmes with the National Coach of the Year Award for his tremendous impact on the youth of his community. Now, more than ever, we need coaches who help educate, mentor and positively impact youth and Holmes is doing his part to ensure that sports helps bring people together. It is coaches like DeVon who help youth succeed in and out of sports, creating better athletes and better people."
- Chris Moore, PCA Chief Executive Officer
The impact DeVon has made on the club can not be understated. Best described by another co-worker who provided a reference for Holmes’ nomination,” [he] believes that in order to be successful one must work hard, persevere in the face of challenges, and never stop learning. DeVon expects a lot of his athletes and is always giving back in return. When new athletic opportunities are presented, [he] always thinks about how this can best help the members and what they can get from the experience. He never considers how much work he will be taking on as a result.” The ultimate team player, Holmes continues to make his athletes, coworkers, and community better! Congratulations from all of us at PCA!
DeVon will win $2,500 and give $7,500 to the Cindy Platt Boys and Girls Club of Transylvania County earmarked for the sports programs at the club!
PCA's National Coach of the Year, the Taube Family Prize in Recognition for Excellence in Coaching, is made possible thanks to the generous support of Taube Philanthropies