Retired W-S Prep athletic director reflects on his career

Retired W-S Prep athletic director reflects on his career
July 06
03:00 2017

Ricky Holt was the athletic director for Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy for 12 years.  He retired in the summer of 2016 but his impact on the school will never be forgotten for years to come. He recently sat down with The Chronicle to recall his time at Prep.

Holt attended Catawba College and graduated with a degree in Physical Education and Health in 1983.  He began his career in the school system in 1985 with West Rowan Middle School.  He taught physical education and coached the track and basketball teams.

Following West Rowan, he had a stint at A.L. Brown High School in Kannapolis, where he established himself as a force coaching football, basketball and track, winning multiple Coach of the Year awards in the South Piedmont Conference in track and basketball. 

His first position in Forsyth County was at Carver High School, where he worked from 1997-2004.  he continued to coach football, basketball and track along with teaching.  While at Carver, the school won state championships in all three sports.

In 2004, he took his talents to the newly opened Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy as the athletic director and physical education teacher.  He said he wanted to go over to Prep because it was a new school and he is the type of person that embraces a challenge.

“When I first started, Prep was new and a lot of people didn’t think it was going to amount to anything,” he said.  “It was a personal challenge for me to get it going.  At first I just thought about all the good things that the school could be and never thought of it as a dead end, as some did.”

“We didn’t have much at the beginning. Even now there isn’t a track over there, yet we were able to win three state championships in track.  We didn’t have top-notch facilities, but we did have good people working there.  It was like a village with everyone working together for the greater good.”

During his time as athletic director, Prep’s athletic teams won eight team championships and two state runner-up finishes in 12 years.  Also during the same time, over 35 individual players across multiple sports won state championships.  Holt and his coaching staffs definitely shocked many schools in the 1A division by the way they were able to compete and win so quickly.

Holt says he attributes the success he had at Prep to the fact he had great coaches working with him, such as Derrick Speas, the former girls track coach.  He said Speas did a phenomenal job turning an average athlete into a great one.  He also said head basketball coach Andre Gould does a great job of developing and meshing talent together to make great teams.

“We all worked together and it wasn’t just one person doing everything,” he continued.  “Another good thing was that we all shared athletes on the different teams, which made us all better.  But we also had some really special players as well that made it easier to coach.”

When he started at Prep, he says all the coaches decided that they were not going to hang any conference championship banners because their goal was to win state championships.  He says setting that standard of excellence came from working with Keith Wilkes and Bruce Harden, who always had their kids focus on state championships.

Holt says his coaching career prepared him for his time as athletic director.  He thinks his ability to coach three different sports and be successful enabled him to lead Prep more effectively.

“Knowing how to do a multitude of things and what takes place in each sport and knowing the type of person you want to lead your programs all comes from coaching,” said Holt.

He says he cannot take much credit for the success that the athletic programs at Prep have been afforded over the years.  He said when you have good people in place, they can make everything happen. 

Holt says throughout his time at Prep, he enjoyed winning the first state championships the most because no one thought they would come that far that quickly.  He says he will miss being at Prep and seeing the kids mature.  He said his career in the school system may not necessarily be over.  He says he will take his time, and if the opportunity is right, he’ll answer the call.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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