SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The late Chatham County Commissioner James Holmes was honored by county officials Thursday as they named the new Field House at Memorial stadium after the man many simply called ‘Coach.’
Holmes, a longtime youth athletics advocate, coached children across the country for years and had a long association with the Frank Callen Boys and Girls Club. He died last August from COVID-19.
When elected as a county commissioner in 2005, he pushed for a new Memorial Stadium
“You were talking $12 to $14 million and he stayed on top of it,” said Chatham County Manager Lee Smith. “Mr. Holmes rode out here every week to make sure we were doing things right.”
County leaders joined the Holmes family to lead the dedication. Savannah Mayor Johnson who was a longtime friend of Mr. Holmes also attended.
“This is the most fitting place to be able to recognize a man who dedicated his life to athletics and to youth,” said Johnson.
In addition to pushing a new stadium, Holmes insisted that state of the art Field House also be built. His wife, Yvonne Holmes said that was to benefit local athletes.
“He always said if you build a facility that’s great the community will come,” she said.
When the name of the James J. Holmes Field House was unveiled, Mrs. Holmes told us “I’m thinking how pleased he would be and that his presence is here with us today.”
Mrs. Holmes says it’s not about how her husband died but how he lived. She hopes when people see his name here that the story of the ‘Coach’ will be told for years to come.
“The story is that if you want something for your community you have to work for it just as he did his entire life,” said Mrs. Holmes. “The story being told is there’s Coach Holmes. Coach Holmes and his legacy will always be a part of this community.”