With a degree in physical education from Purdue University in hand, Holly Young moved to Baton Rouge in 1979 to be closer to the man she loved and hoped to marry, Glen Randow. Sister Joan Laplace, SJA’s principal at the time, hired the young teacher to teach physical education and coach the cross country and track and field teams.
Holly happily accepted the offer of employment but wondered how, as a volleyball and basketball coach and former player, she would coach two sports she knew little about.
Luckily, the Randows’ across-the-street neighbor knew a little about the two sports to which she’d been assigned. Pete Boudreaux was the cross country and track and field coach at Catholic High School. Holly spent many an evening in Pete and Pat Boudreaux’s kitchen, throwing plates like a discus, jumping chairs like a hurdler and picking Coach Boudreaux’s brain for practice plans, competition strategies and secrets to his success.
Holly would coach cross country and track and field from 1979 until 1987, missing the 1982 track season with a health issue. Her cross country teams brought home state championship trophies in 1983 and 1985 and were state runners-up in 1980 and 1986.
In 1988, Holly left SJA to devote full-time attention to the silkscreen business she and Glen started. She went to work at LSU in its Short Courses and Conferences division, then made her way back into the education field, teaching physical education at Our Lady of Mercy.
In 1991, Principal Sister Judith Brun called Holly to gauge her interest in returning to SJA. An incoming freshman wanted to play golf, but the school didn’t have a golf program. “Would you be willing to come back and establish a golf team?” was Sister Judith’s question. Holly readily accepted and worked with incoming freshman Jennifer Abernathy to field SJA’s first golf team. Jennifer went on to play collegiate golf at LSU.
For the next 21 years, Holly would lead SJA’s golf program and teach physical education. Her teams enjoyed tremendous success, winning three state championships (2000, 2007 and 2008) and finishing as state runners-up four times (2004, 2005, 2006 and 2009). Among her most memorable stretches was 2007-2009, when her teams won two titles and finished second once. Her assistant coach was Gretchen Balhoff ’05, a four-year letter winner who started out as a freshman golfer having never picked up a club.
Holly retired from coaching in 2011 to care for her ailing mother. She continues to teach physical education at SJA and stays busy with the silkscreen business.
“I never felt the pressure to win,” Holly says of her coaching career. “My goal was for the girls to work hard, improve and have fun. It is most important to enjoy the sport and let the wins take care of themselves.”