TIPP CITY — In the end, the opportunity to watch his son play in high school was one Tippecanoe girls basketball coach Andy Holderman couldn’t let pass him by.
“Ultimately, my son is going to be a freshman this year. And I’ve missed enough stuff with him with basketball,” Holderman said.
Holderman, the latest in a long line of successful coaches in the Red Devils girls basketball program, stepped down after five seasons as head coach. The Tipp City Board of Education accepted his resignation during its June 22 meeting, bidding farewell to a coach that guided the Devils to four straight division title and never saw his team fail to reach the district final in the postseason.
For Holderman, though, seeing his son AJ play was simply too important.
“Basically, it was a family decision,” Holderman said. “There were other factors involved, too, but I think this was the best thing for my family. He wanted me to be there for him, and I wanted to be there for him. I’ve got four years left with him and then he’s off to college. So obviously family is the most important thing.”
During his time with the Red Devils, Holderman was 110-24, an .821 winning percentage, including a 21-5 record in 2019-20. After finishing second in the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division in his first season with the team in 2015-16, Tippecanoe went on the win three straight Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division championships and then won the inaugural Miami Valley League Miami Division championship last winter.
Holderman’s Devils also continued the program’s seven-year streak of district final appearances, reaching that level all five of his seasons. During Holderman’s first three seasons, the team also reached the regional tournament — including a pair of regional final appearances — to finish off a streak of four straight regional tournament appearances.
“We had some girls that bought into the system,” Holderman said.
For Holderman, though, one of the bigger indicators of his success was the Devils’ opponents’ perception of the team.
“I think one of my biggest accomplishments — yeah, getting to the district final all five years — but I feel that bringing respect back to the basketball program was a big thing,” Holderman said. “Before I took over, I was talking to some people, and people were offering up videos to every opponent of Tipp because of the shellackings, I guess, that they were taking. I’m not all about going out and trying to beat teams by 40, at least intending to do that. That doesn’t do us a whole lot of good.
“I thought, in the five years I was there, I gained the respect of my colleagues, the fact that we could have put a hurting on some people but chose to get some other people some playing time. Obviously, there’s other coaches that don’t have same theory, but I’m a firm believer in that. There’s no reason to set out to embarrass anybody.”
Tippecanoe is accepting applicants for the vacated head coaching position until July 3 — and Holderman knows that the Devils’ cupboard is anything but bare.
“Whoever takes over here is inheriting a good team,” Holderman said. “It’s not like we just unloaded this year and don’t have anything coming back. Tipp’s got some height back and experience back, and I expect them to continue to roll on. I just felt that this was the best decision for my family and me personally.”