SPORTS: Kenny Holmes, Vero Beach will miss you

I learned that Kenny Holmes was taking a job at New Mexico State University as a defensive line coach on Tuesday.  Was I happy for him?  Of course, but I’m sad to see him leave . . . and for so many reasons.

There are a handful of men in Indian River County, some sports-related and some not, who are for-real pillars of the community.  Kenny was well on his way to being one of them.

He never drew a salary as defensive coordinator at Vero Beach High School, was involved in the Exchange Club locally, and tried his hand at politics for the first time last year.  He did all of this on top of running a business.

Most people don’t know this, but he donated all of the equipment in the VBHS weight room years back.  He bought it all from the Mets when they decided to re-tool their gym in New York years back.

Most people also don’t know about the special relationship he has with Billy Livings.  To this day, Kenny still talks about Livings with great reverence.

“He started coming to my little league games when I was in junior high, and I couldn’t believe it,” said Holmes.  “I was in awe when he came up to shake my hand the first game.  I mean, Coach Livings was coming to see me.”

To be sure, Livings feels exactly the same way about Kenny.  I told him Kenny was running for County Commission when I saw him last May, he looked me dead in the eyes, and replied, “If Kenny Holmes was running for president I would vote for him.”

Kenny will remain a Vero Beach resident, so he won’t be leaving for good.  The college football season requires a much bigger time commitment than high school does, though.  He’ll be leaving for Las Cruces for spring practices in a few weeks, come back for a few months, and then leave in August until the end of the football season.

We’ll miss Kenny around town.  He is such solid role model for the kids and his easygoing demeanor makes him good company for adults.  Him and I would start talking about football and time would just evaporate.  He’s the kind of guy who isn’t afraid to speak his mind (in his own way), but he always thinks before he speaks.  Kenny is classy like that.

I’ll miss my friend Kenny Holmes, but I wish him well on his new adventure.  The 1-11 Aggies need his help possibly more than our town does.  New Mexico State will come to value his patience, commitment, and intelligence just as we do here in Indian River County.

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