Joe Holladay, one of college basketball’s most widely respected coaches, is retiring after 20 years and 594 wins as a member of Roy Williams’ staffs at the University of North Carolina and University of Kansas. Holladay recently finished his fourth season as Director of Basketball Operations after a 16-year stint as assistant coach.
Former Vanderbilt assistant coach Brad Frederick, who played for the Tar Heels from 1996-99, is Carolina’s new Director of Basketball Operations.
Holladay, 65, came to Chapel Hill in April 2003 and was part of the Tar Heel staff for 10 seasons, during which time UNC won two NCAA championships, played in three Final Fours, won six Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championships and two ACC Tournament titles. The Tar Heels amassed an overall record of 282-78 over the last 10 years, finishing in the Top 10 in the final AP poll seven times.
“I am ecstatic for Joe and know that I have been extremely fortunate to have him as part of our staff for these 20 years,” says Williams. “He is one of the best coaches and finest human beings I have ever been around. He was a security blanket for me in good times and bad. I knew I could always count on seeing his smile no matter the situation. It will be a huge challenge for us to replace all that Joe did for our program and the University. Kansas, UNC and all the players and coaches at both universities are so fortunate that he was part of their lives for so long. I will miss him tremendously both professionally and personally, although I know he is looking forward to watching the Tar Heels for many years to come.”
Holladay worked closely with the Tar Heel big men, including national players of the year Tyler Hansbrough and Sean May. Eighteen of Holladay’s players were selected in the first round of the NBA Draft and he helped recruit future first-round picks Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Tyler Zeller and Kendall Marshall. He worked with 29 first-team academic all-conference honorees in the last 16 years.
Kansas went 312-71, won six conference regular-season championships and three Big 12 Tournament titles, and played in two Final Fours during his tenure in Lawrence.
“These last 20 years have been a remarkable journey with Coach Williams,” says Holladay. “He’s the best college basketball coach in America, not just in terms of winning games but the first-class way in which he runs a program. It’s been such an honor to work with him. I appreciate the opportunity he gave a high school coach from Jenks, Okla.; it’s been a fantastic 20 years. I could not have worked for a better person on or off the court. Coach has meant so much to my family and me.
“It’s hard to put into words how much I have enjoyed the young men and their families who have played for us. I have also enjoyed working with the other assistant coaches, the basketball office staff, University administration and the staff at the Smith Center.
“I am looking forward to spending more time with my kids, grandkids and wife, Roi, who has been such an important part of my career the last 44 years. I’ll also be following the Tar Heels and the young men we have coached.
“I also want to thank everyone in Chapel Hill and throughout the UNC community who have made Roi and I so welcome. We love living here and will continue to make Chapel Hill our home.”
Williams hired Holladay at Kansas prior to the 1993-94 season after 23 years as a high school coach, teacher and administrator. A 1969 graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Holladay was a standout guard and team captain for the Sooners.
He went to Kansas after working 13 years as head coach and eight years as athletics director at Jenks (Okla.) High School. In 1998 Holladay was inducted into the Oklahoma High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and in 2002 he was inducted into the Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Frederick joined the UNC varsity as a sophomore in Dean Smith’s final season as head coach and also played two years under head coach Bill Guthridge. The Tar Heels went 86-21 in those three seasons. He played in 70 games and was part of UNC teams that won the 1997 and 1998 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament titles and NCAA East Regionals and reached two Final Fours.