On Thanksgiving Day, Bishop Miege head coach Jon Holmes decided it was time to dress up as a different coach: Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh. So Holmes waltzed into practice that day, donning the signature ball cap, tucked-in shirt and khaki pants Harbaugh has made famous.
In an effort to keep the mood light two days before Miege played for its third-straight state title, Holmes had implored his whole coaching staff to portray famous coaches. There was a Vince Lombardi there, a Mike Tomlin, a Pete Carroll.
The day ended with a raucous seven-on-seven game between groups of linemen, and the week ended with Bishop Miege’s third Kansas Class 4A-DI championship in as many years.
The balance between having fun and maintaining sky-high expectations has been the hallmark of the Miege program under Holmes — The Star’s All-Metro coach of the year.
“We’re going to win through hard work — that’s what the kids have seen and that’s how we coach,” Holmes said. “But you’ve got to have fun doing it. We’re loose and laid back, and that’s the way it’s got to be with the expectations these guys have.”
The Stags bulldozed through their season, and won their four postseason games by an average of 47.75 points each. The season’s success came after an opening-week loss to Blue Valley, and a close win against Blue Valley North that was a turning point, according to Holmes.
After that close call (a 24-6 win), Holmes cut down practice time and tried to inspire a looser environment the rest of the season. It worked, and he became the first coach in Bishop Miege history to lead the school to three straight titles.
“We want to keep winning, and that’s one thing that drives me,” Holmes said. “I played football here, and it’s the only place I’ve ever worked. I want to give the school its best football team every single year.”