Former players, colleagues speak fondly of ESJH’s Louis Holloway Jr.

Published 12:02 am Saturday, August 11, 2018

RESERVE — As Mark Creecy coaches the St. John Legends Track Team, he strives to provide the same caliber of leadership as Louis Holloway Jr., his former high school coach and mentor.

Known as Coach Holloway to his students, “Holly” to his family and “Lou” to his colleagues, Holloway coached generations of East St. John High Wildcats from the 1960s to the early 2000s.

Louis Holloway Jr.

Holloway passed away July 28 at age 75, but his legacy shines bright in St. John the Baptist Parish.

Creecy, Parks and Recreation Director Kerry Watkins and former Georgia Tech football standout Greg Gathers were among those he led in football and track and field.

“He was always available, always hands-on and easy to talk to,” Creecy said. “He always made time and treated everyone the same, no matter the caliber of the athlete. Those are things I try to do with the Legends.”

When Creecy’s ACL injury sidelined him from the football field at Southern University, he was able to fall back on a track and field scholarship. Creecy credits his college selection and eventual career path to Holloway.

Now, he is carrying the torch and guiding a new generation to collegiate athletic scholarships.

Gathers said Holloway was free spirited and kept the energy light with victory dances on the locker room table.

“He always has something positive to say, and that’s what stays with you as you go through the game of life,” Gathers said. “Even when I had my kidney transplants, I learned to stay positive. His spirit was contagious.”

Louis Holloway Jr. is seen surrounded by football players.

Ulysses Frontha coached track and field at Destrehan High School in the 1990s and regularly competed against Holloway’s team.

Frontha said Holloway’s humble nature earned him the nickname “Sweet Lou.”

“Even though we were competitors, we were good friends,” Frontha said. “We had a good working relationship, and he did whatever he could for those kids. He helped so many of them get scholarships. That’s the kind of coach you long to be.”

St. John School Board member Gerald Keller said Holloway always had a smile.

East St. John track and field coach Percy Williams remembers Holloway’s excitement at East St. John’s first place district win in the 1990s.

Williams said Holloway was a “super coach” who enjoyed a collegiate baseball career at Southern University, where he played alongside hall-of-famer Lou Brock.

Holloway, a lifelong resident of Garyville, earned a masters in education from Southern University after graduating from Fifth Ward High School in 1962. After retiring from teaching and coaching at East St. John, Holloway kept busy delivering Council on Aging meals to the elderly every weekday morning.

Victoria Fleming, Holloway’s youngest sister, said she’ll dearly miss seeing her brother drive over the railroad tracks and stop in front of her house each morning to check in on her.

Holloway loved long conversations with people, whether they were “family, strangers, black, white or purple,” Fleming said, adding her brother never wanted anyone to worry about him.

Even when he was diagnosed with lung cancer, he told his loved ones he was fine.

“We never knew if he was angry or sick because he never fussed,” Fleming said. “He would do everything for my sisters and I while growing up, being we were so much younger than him. When we found out he was sick, I told him, ‘It’s our turn to take care of you.’”

Fleming said Holloway was a family man to his wife, Wanda Holloway, son Darren Mitchell Sr. and daughter Zakiya Holloway.

Holloway was a father figure to Charonika Williams and Lemey Ross, and he’s dearly missed by a host of siblings, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.