Football legend: Daughter honors father in debut novel

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Coach Dobie Holden is a football legend in Pearl River County.  Photo submitted.

Coach Dobie Holden is a football legend in Pearl River County.
Photo submitted.

When people in Pearl River County hear the name Coach Dobie Holden, they probably remember him as both the iconic football player and coach who was not only a member of the first football team in Picayune but also for his achievements during his tenure as the head coach football coach at Pearl River Junior College. As the head coach, Holden led the team to eight state championships.
Now, his memory will live on beyond the boundaries of the county in his daughter’s debut novel, “The Spirit of the Pearl: The Life, Legend and Legacy of T.D. ‘Dobie’ Holden.”
Dr. Carole Lund spent her childhood on the Pearl River Junior College’s campus and was included in many of her father’s football related activities.
“I always wondered what was being talked about on the bench and in the locker room,” Lund said. “It’s been a wonderful journey learning the inside story.”
Lund’s book is divided into two parts. The first centers on Holden’s early years, beginning with his birth in Picayune in 1905. His father owned the only meat market in town and Holden grew up working there, Lund said. In those days, many of the boys worked in the family business instead of attending school.
However, in 1922, the principal of the Picayune school decided to start a football program to entice the boys back to school.
Holden was a member of the first team and in four years, the football team became state champions.
“In 1925, my dad scored the highest number of points in the state of Mississippi,” Lund said. “He received a scholarship to Louisiana State University, where he played football for the next four years.”
After graduating college, Holden coached the football team from 1931 to 1932. In 1933, he returned to Picayune and coached the high school football team until 1942.
“They called them the 10 golden years,” Lund said. “The team was named Gulf Coast Regional champions four times and were invited to play in the Toy Bowl in New Orleans. The team was fabulously successful.”
Holden spent time coaching in Pascagoula before returning to Pearl River County in 1948 to coach at Pearl River Junior College.
“He became the winningest football coach in the junior college system,” Lund said. “The team won the national championship in 1961.”
The second part of her book focuses on Holden’s moral code and the lessons and inspirations others drew from him to become successful. It was co-authored by one of Holden’s former athletes, Dr. Thomas Malone.
“Dr. Malone credits dad as being his mentor and model for life,” Lund said. “We interviewed more than 50 football players and coaches and drew on their stories to decipher the keys of his code.”
Lund said she never considered writing about her father until later in life when she returned to Pearl River County for a visit.
“People still tell me stories and dad’s been gone for 30 years,” Lund said. “We are beginning to lose some of those stories, along with those who lived it.”
Lund is no stranger to research. She earned a Ph.D. in nursing research from the University Texas at Austin and taught nursing in the master’s degree program at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.
Lund is now retired and said writing her first book was a wonderful learning experience.
“My research skills were very helpful,” Lund said. “This book not only tells my dad’s history, but the history and spirit of this area at the time. Even if you’ve never picked up a football, the lessons learned are extremely helpful. It will be very inspirational for young students and athletes who want to aspire to do well and can tap into the wisdom of a proven winner.”
Lund said her father would be shocked to know she had written his story, because she wasn’t a football enthusiast. To her, he was just dad.
“He was bigger than life and the most accessible father anyone could ask for,” Lund said. “We went with him to locker rooms, sporting goods stores and coach conventions. There was always plenty of action around. Coaches and football players would visit and watch football movies with him.”
Lund’s book will be available for purchase by August of this year. She will be hosting book signings in Pearl River County after the book’s release, which will be available for purchase online and at local businesses including MeLinda’s Fine Gifts and More and the Pearl River Community College’s bookstore.
Visit to read excerpts and for up-to-date information follow on Facebook and Twitter at Dobie Holden. Lund welcomes comments and stories from people who knew her father.

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