|VOLUNTEER FEATURE: Larry Holloway’s involvement in Georgia wrestling keeps the sport growing|
By Erin Phipps USA Wrestling
Larry Holloway is an avid wrestling fan and a key volunteer leader in the state of Georgia. But unlike so many wrestling enthusiasts, Holloway never wrestled as a youth and was first introduced to the sport only 10 years ago when his daughter told him she wanted to join her high school wrestling team.
"I said go for it," said Holloway.
Needless to say, he became hooked on wrestling and soon found himself volunteering with young wrestlers to give them the opportunities he didn't have as a youth.
"I was born and raised in Texas. If you wanted to play a sport, you played football. I didn't have the opportunity growing up to participate [in wrestling]," said Holloway.
He does add, however, that now Texas is expanding its wrestling programs.
"Texas has one of the better programs for high school and is really growing," Holloway said. They're doing great things out there."
Today, Holloway is a volunteer leader involved with USA Wrestling, holding several positions. Currently, Holloway serves as the Membership Director for wrestling in the state of Georgia. He also serves as the Treasurer for Team Georgia and is responsible for the team's online registration. Thanks to his work, all of Georgia's tournaments are available online.
"Since I was elected to the board, we have tried to grow our clubs and athletes," said Holloway. "We have developed an online registration for Georgia tournaments. It allows us to cut off our registration at 5 p.m. on Thursday and allows us to have our brackets on Friday."
In fact, his many duties and involvement with the sport could meet the requirement of a "second job."
"On the club level, there are practices and tournaments on Saturday," said Holloway. "At the Team Georgia level, I'm at a tournament every Saturday from October to the end of July, keeping records, books and paying the bills. We put in 20 to 25 hours a week on wrestling."
In his role as a volunteer, Holloway is also actively involved in the Georgia National Team and also serves as a wrestling coach for the Walton Takedown Club in Marietta, Ga., a position he has held for nine years. In addition, he is the Vice President of the booster club for Walton Takedown Club, and does whatever else he can do to promote the sport of wrestling.
"The primary reason [I volunteer], aside from the fact that I absolutely love this sport, is the kids," Holloway said. It's what these young men learn and develop to succeed. It's a lot of work but when you see a young man stand on that podium or win his first medal, it makes everything worth it."
Since Holloway's involvement with Team Georgia Wrestling, there have been definite improvements within the sport on the state level.
"Larry is a tireless volunteer," said Shawn Fields, the State Director for Team Georgia. "The thing I admire most is he loves the kids. He's occupied multiple board position. He's got two boys in high school, and he takes the toughest assignments-the ones on the other side of the state. Anything you ask him to do he'll do. Georgia wrestling benefits just because he's there."
Holloway's involvement with wrestling also extends to coaches' education. In February 2005, Holloway and two other U.S. coaches received special permission to visit Cuba for an international Silver Level Coaches Education Program. While there, Holloway worked with National Greco-Roman Coach Steve Fraser as well as the U.S. Greco-Roman wrestlers, in addition to attending the Granma Cup.
"He has been able to bring that technique [from Cuba] back and works with the National coaching staff to make sure they have the latest and greatest technique," said Fields.
Holloway, a gold level certified coach, also conducts coaches' education classes all over the state of Georgia.
"Under his guidance, our number of bronze level coaches has grown tremendously," said Fields. "Larry has conducted all bronze level classes in the state. Under his tutelage we had three or four silver level coaches."
Although Holloway spends so much of his time helping other wrestlers achieve their goals, the rewards he sees in return are numerous.
"Seeing a young man succeed and grow in the sport," is the biggest benefit Holloway finds of volunteering. "Whenever you see a young man at the beginning and grow through his college career and know you had a little bit to do with [his success], it is the greatest benefit."
Both Holloway and Fields both know the importance of volunteers to the sport of wrestling. Holloway's twin sons both currently wrestle in high school, and it is the tireless involvement and support from volunteers that help keep the sport alive and growing for the youth of Georgia.
"Without volunteers, it would be extremely difficult for this sport to survive," said Holloway.
"I think [volunteers] do it because they love the sport of wrestling, they love the kids, and they love to bring the sport of wrestling to the kids," said Fields.