Deb Holmes
is a pioneer in
women’s athletics at
Lycoming College.
Her many
include serving as
the Warriors’ first
women’s basketball
coach, 34 years
as the women’s
tennis coach
and chair of the
physical education
“I am very
excited to see how
the entire athletic
department has
grown,” says the
retiring Holmes.
“To start women’s
basketball and see
the addition of
several other sports
to the program has been great. And to see
the opportunities that women now have
and to know that I helped get that started
has been rewarding for me to watch
through the years.”
Holmes was the women’s basketball
coach from 1978-85 and led the program
to its first winning season (10-9) in
1981-82. As tennis coach, she compiled
a school-record 137 wins, led the team to
10 straight winning seasons from 1993-
2002 and four regular-season conference
titles (1981, 1997, 1998, 2000). During
her tenure, the Warriors made eight
appearances in the MAC playoffs
and two conference title matches. In
recognition of her outstanding efforts, she
was inducted into Lycoming’s Athletics
Hall of Fame in 2011.
Through the years, she has coached
and mentored countless students. She
says her enjoyment comes from having
the opportunity to meet and work with a
variety of students.
“To see how the students have
changed over the years has been
interesting,” Holmes said. “When I first
started, students were very quiet and
kept to themselves and did whatever you
asked them to do. Now, they are such
individuals. They are more opinionated,
but that’s OK. They are also more
outgoing and share stories of what is
happening in their lives. I have really
enjoyed working with the students and it
feels great knowing I have helped them to
learn some things during their time here.”
Holmes has seen a lot of changes
at the College, but perhaps the most
compelling change has been the growth
of the athletic department.
“Everything has expanded and the
competition has grown and gotten to be
more important,” Holmes said. “There
are more schools in the conference,
which means more travel for the student-
athletes. The faculty and coaches do
a great job of working together so the
students can complete their coursework
while also having the sports experience.
Demands on the students have changed
a lot.”
Although a major lifestyle change
is on the horizon for Holmes, don’t
expect someone who has been involved
in athletics nearly all her life to just
sit around in retirement. She plans to
continue to volunteer at Daniel’s Closet,
a free clothing community outreach
ministry at Williamsport’s Redeemer
Lutheran Church, and at the Lycoming
County Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals.
“I am looking forward to having the
freedom to do some different things,”
Holmes said, “but I’ll always be a fan of
Lycoming sports. That won’t change.”
Instructor of physical education
By Jerry Rashid
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