The all-time winningest college basketball coach in the State of Missouri is hanging up his sneakers and turning in his whistle at the end of the 2018-19 season.

Head William Jewell College Coach, former Cardinal player and Jameson High School alum Larry Holley recently announced that he will retire at the end of the 2019 basketball season. A formal recognition of Holley’s long and successful career will be held during the Cardinals’ final home game on Feb. 23, 2019, at the Mabee Center on the William Jewell campus in Liberty, MO.

Larry Holley retired in 2019 as the all-time winningest college basketball coach in Missouri. Holley owns 830 wins at William Jewell College, 12 conference championships, 25 twenty-win seasons and four 30-win seasons. On Jan. 25, 2018, he picked up his 903rd win to pass legendary Coach Bob Knight and move into ninth place on the men’s college basketball career wins list.

Holley became the head of the William Jewell men’s program in the spring of 1979 after a four-year tenure, two as head coach, at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville. He also coached six seasons at Central Methodist College in Fayette and one year at Harrisburg, MO, High School.

Holley owns 830 wins at WJC, 12 conference championships, 25 twenty-win seasons and four 30-win seasons. On Jan. 25, 2018, he picked up his 903rd win to pass legendary Coach Bob Knight and move into ninth place on the men’s college basketball career wins list.

William Jewell Head Basketball Coach Larry held Cardinal Summer Basketball Camps at Liberty, MO, beginning in 1980. He also started the annual High School Holiday Classic at William Jewell, and helped lead the campaign to start the William Jewell Athletic Hall of Fame.

Holley has three daughters with his late wife, Ann: Lindsay, Lauren and Lacey. His current wife of 10 years is Linda. He is the proud grandfather of Reagan, Evan, Brea and Stevie.

Note: Coach Holley graciously provided comments about growing up in the Jameson community.  We thought it best to let him give his narrative without interruption. Larry graduated from Jameson High School in 1963 after leading his team to third place in Missouri’s Class S division. The Huskies finished 33-1 that season with their only loss coming in the state semifinal against South Iron. Larry, also a small class state indoor champion in the mile, finished his basketball career with 1,758 points in 107 games. That scoring record stood for many years. Frank Wheeler set the current JHS scoring record in 1980 (1,950 points). Larry broke into the starting lineup at William Jewell half way through his freshman season and scored 18 points in his first game as a starter.

About his parents, Lawrence R. and Linda (Pugh) Holley:  My dad (my full name is Lawrence Russell Holley II) was the superintendent of schools, taught some classes (math, general science, physics, etc.), drove his station wagon on a bus route each day (some years), coached basketball (both boys and girls at different times) and directed the senior class play each year. He was a member of the Baptist Church in Jameson and a member of the Lions Club and Masonic Lodge.

My mom was the principal of the school when I attended there and taught classes (at various times social studies, history, speech, English and home economics) and was the school librarian when it became a requirement by the state. She and I were members of the Christian Church in Jameson. She was also a member of the Order of Eastern Star and Rebekah Lodge.

That school and community were their life. My dad was 12th of 14 children and mom was 15th of 16 —lots of aunts, uncles and cousins, mostly from Coffey, where they both graduated from high school. Both my parents taught in one-room country schools and were graduates of what is now called the University of Central Missouri. My father received his master’s degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Values passed down: My dad was big on Patriotism (he gave up his deferment from WWII to enlist in the Navy). He believed in manners and respect for others — “treat other people exactly as you would like to be treated by them.” Truth/honesty – honoring rules – being mindful of your reputation – character – being the best you can be in everything you do!

The complete student: Everyone who wanted to be in the school choir could be (they may be asked to sing very softly). Everyone was expected to be in the school plays (the junior class play sponsored and directed by mom and the senior class play sponsored and directed by my father). Everyone could go on the senior trip (I went on 12 of them before I was a senior). They usually traveled in two or three cars but twice in one car (Jameson had only 3 seniors in 1955 and 1961). My senior trip involved 3,400 miles and nearly two weeks (Hannibal, Springfield, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Columbus, OH; Gettysburg, PA; Washington, DC; Mt. Vernon; Annapolis, MD; New York City; Niagara Falls; Cleveland; Chicago; Des Moines and back to Jameson!

From a family basketball standpoint: My dad and mom both played on high school teams in Coffey. Mom’s older sister, Bobby (Pugh) Baumgardner once scored 102 points in a single game for Coffey, at Lock Springs. Her son, John, was an all-state player on Coffey’s 30-3 team in 1950 which lost to eventual state champion, Ozark. He received a full scholarship to play at the University of Missouri, 1950-54 and was a teammate of future MU coach, Norm Stewart.

My cousin, Darrell Foster, who also played at Coffey, set the single game scoring record (38 points) while playing for Northwest Missouri State University in the ‘40s. His brother, Byron, also played a year at Northwest. My cousin, Tom Premer, was a member of Culver Stockton’s NAIA National Tournament team in the ‘40s. His younger brother, Jim, played a year at Stephen F. Austin University in Texas.

My dad’s best team at Jameson was his 1952 team. I was the “towel boy” for that team. All his players were my heroes, and I had to wear #22 when I got to play in high school because his best player, Eddie Hightree, who played at NWMSU, wore that number.

My dad built a basketball goal and attached it to the front of our garage in Jameson and for a number of years it was the only outdoor basketball goal in town. I always had the ‘keys’ to the gym and utilized many opportunities to ‘get shots up.’

Dad hired Carl “Tom” McDaniel prior to my freshman year because he didn’t want anyone saying I was getting to play because I was the coach’s son. That was a GREAT hire. Coach McDaniel won 260 games in his 11 years as the head coach of the Huskies. He coached teams that placed second (1970), third (1963) and fourth (1964) in the Class S Tournament, and he did that without having more than 25 boys in the upper four grades at Jameson.

Great teammates: Bill Prindle and I were freshmen and Coach McDaniel moved us up from the junior high team to the high school team as starters. I’m sure that could have been a problem but the upperclassmen treated us both with respect even though we were taking playing time away from the juniors and seniors. Wayne Vyrostek and Marvin Landes were two senior starters who helped us in the process. That was the 1959-60 team.

All roads lead ‘home’: I know I didn’t realize how lucky I was to live in a small village growing up in the ‘50s and ‘60s. One of my favorite sayings is “All Roads Lead to Jameson—you just have to know which way to turn!”

Larry Holley, a small class high school state indoor champion in the mile, lettered in track while attending William Jewell College in Liberty, MO.