Frank Holmes first came to Delran as a teacher in 1994.
Since then, his appreciation and love for both the local community and Delran High School has only continued to grow. That’s why he threw his hat into the ring to replace head football coach Garrett Lucas, after the latter announced he would take the head coach job at nearby Rancocas Valley at the end of last season.
Holmes has felt closely connected to Delran football for nearly 30 years.
“I’ve taught here and been a member of this community since 1994,” Holmes said. “My son is a graduate of Delran High School and went through the football program … Delran football is a way of life for me at this point.
“Delran is home and Delran is family, so it’s an honor to get this opportunity,” he added.
Holmes was an assistant coach with the program from 1994 to 2008, largely working with the offensive line, before becoming the head coach at nearby Holy Cross in 2009. After a decade there, Holmes rejoined the Bears’ coaching staff as an offensive coordinator under Lucas, where he has been for the last three seasons.
Holmes has since professed no desire to seek a coaching job outside of Delran. He received calls following his decade-long stint at Holy Cross, but refused to take a coaching job outside of Delran, and was under the impression that Lucas, a close friend of his, might possibly stay at Delran for a long period of time.
Therefore, Holmes was content to serve as the program’s offensive coordinator and remain at Delran until it was time to call it quits on his coaching career.
“This is the only head-coaching job I would’ve ever considered at this point in my career,” he said. “This became home to me and my family. I think I knew deep down when I came back that this is where I wanted to finish my coaching career, right here in Delran. I came back after 10 amazing years at Holy Cross and it felt good to do so.
“I can say that I plan for this to be my last coaching stop right here.”
Holmes now takes over a program that’s gone a combined 15-6 over the past three years since he rejoined the program. Those three seasons include two division championships, with Delran winning the West Jersey Football League Colonial Division last year and the Patriot Division in 2020.
Leading the program in his elevated role excites Holmes as the summer nears.
“What drew me to it the most was because the kids we have in our program are amazing,” Holmes said. “My wife asked me a fair question before I accepted, about if I really wanted to get that involved, since next season will be my 31st season in high school football as a coach. But these kids love everything about the training and the challenges that football presents them, they’ve absolutely bought in.
“They’ve a pleasure to be around every day, and I didn’t feel like I could walk out on these kids by not going for the position,” he added.
Looking ahead to what the upcoming 2022-’23 season might have in store, the Bears incoming head coach said the program has been fortunate to have several outstanding players in recent years who helped continue a winning tradition, one Holmes looks forward to continuing next season.
“We’ve been very fortunate to graduate some very good football players the past few seasons, and the reward for that is quite a challenging schedule next season, probably the most challenging football schedule that Delran High School has ever seen in close to (its) 50-year existence,” Holmes said.
“We’re excited to take care of everything that we can this summer in preparation of playing some really good teams next fall.”