GIFFORD — Former Vero Beach High School defensive coordinator Kenny Holmes has taken an assistant coaching position with New Mexico State University.
“This is a really great opportunity for me to coach at the next level,” said Holmes. “Coach Walker wants me to come in and specialize in coaching the kids on pass rush technique, and I can’t tell you how excited I am. Rushing the passer was what I did best (as a player).”
Holmes, who was a defensive end for the Tennessee Titans and the New York Giants in the NFL for a total of seven years, will be a defensive line coach for the Aggies.
New Mexico State went 1-11 last season, with their only win coming against Wyoming. Their lack of ability to put pressure on the quarterback was evident in its 72-0 loss to Oregon, its 52-7 loss against Texas Tech, its 56-14 loss to Utah, its 40-7 loss to BYU, and its 66-17 loss to TCU – all pass-heavy teams who run the spread offense. Holmes, 37, tallied 38.5 sacks in the NFL, and was a former first-round draft pick of the Titans after starring at University of Miami. The Gifford native led Vero Beach High School to the state semi-finals his senior year in 1991, when the first-team all-stater totaled 17 sacks and three defensive touchdowns.
New Mexico State University Head Coach DeWayne Walker was a defensive backs coach for the Giants while Holmes played for the team, and the two crossed paths again in 2004 when Walker was coaching for the Redskins and Holmes was exploring free agency.
“Over the years, Coach Walker and I have remained friends and kept in touch,” said Holmes. “He’s going to let me come to the program and do what I do best.”
Vero Beach will remain Holmes’ permanent address, as he will stay in Las Cruces, N.M., during football season only. He did not comment on his political future, but keeping a Vero Beach address is a strong indicator that Holmes has not given up on obtaining political office in the future.
His son, standout VBHS linebacker Dion Holmes, will not follow him to Las Cruces to play football at this time. While Holmes hasn’t ruled out the possibility of his son joining the Aggies in the future, he said Dion is undecided on where he will play football next year.
Both Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University want Holmes to join the team as a preferred walk-on, meaning that Holmes would have a chance to earn an athletic scholarship as early as this season if the coaching staff at either school chooses to award him one.
Two of his former defensive teammates, Lars Koht and Cody Horstman, are attending FIU in the fall on football scholarships.