High school field hockey

Holmes-Jackson steps down after 17 years with Windjammers

Former BAHS athlete has interest in Lions coaching job vacated by her dad
By Mark Haskell | Nov 28, 2012
Photo by: Mark Haskell Camden Hills coach Jan Holmes-Jackson, right, alongside father and former Belfast field hockey coach Allen Holmes, during a regular-season game this fall. Holmes-Jackson resigned her coaching position two weeks ago after 17 seasons with the Windjammers. She has expressed interest in the job recently vacated by her dad after 40 years at BAHS.

Rockport — For the first time in nearly two decades, there will be a new captain at the helm of the Camden Hills Regional High School Windjammer field hockey ship next fall.

After 17 years of leading both Camden Hills and Camden-Rockport, varsity coach Jan Holmes-Jackson, 39, said she gave her verbal resignation to athletic director Steve Alex two weeks ago.

The news comes as longtime Belfast Area High School field hockey coach Allen Holmes, who is Holmes-Jackson's father, announced his resignation as the Lions' coach Nov. 27. Holmes started the Lion program and coached 40 years at BAHS. Click here for that story.

Holmes-Jackson, a 1992 graduate of BAHS and Swanville resident, said she plans to apply for the vacant Lion field hockey position.

She also played on the Lions' 1989 state Class B championship team under her father's tutelage.

Holmes-Jackson said her decision to step down as Windjammer coach had nothing to do with her father's resignation, but rather with time and travel issues.

"I'm more involved in sports with my kids," she said. "They're both at Troy Howard [Middle School] and it's hard to be commuting 40 minutes each way and not see them and their athletic events. So even before my father made his decision I'd decided it was time for me to get done."

Holmes-Jackson's son, Connor, an eighth-grader, plays soccer, while her daughter, Cassie, 11, a sixth-grader, of course, plays field hocke.

The Windjammers have not qualified for the regional playoffs the past two seasons, through the team has been perennially strong and highly competitive with even the top Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference squads under Holmes-Jackson's tenure, having made the playoffs in 10 of 17 seasons. Camden Hills went 4-9-1 this fall.

Holmes-Jackson has a career coaching mark of 107-127-17.

"I'd been back and forth on it for a while, and it wasn't an easy decision," she said. "I mean, I've been at Camden for a long time. I just knew it was the right [decision] for me."

Alex said he understood Holmes-Jackson's decision.

"We're going to miss Jan," said Alex. "Jan's put a lot of time into the program and she's worked a lot in the offseason with the youth programs along with her and [assistant coach] Kim Nason, and I hope everything works out for her."

Holmes-Jackson said while she hopes to get the varsity job at BAHS, if she does not, she plans to volunteer with the Belfast youth program, which her father will continue to run. Holmes-Jackson has helped with the youth program the past few years since her daughter began playing the sport.

Holmes-Jackson attended both the University of Maine at Orono and Beal College in Bangor over the years before earning her masters in floral design from the University of Maine at Augusta in 2004.

She also works at Holmes Greenhouse in Belfast, her family business, owned by her father and uncle Richard Holmes.

Some of her coaching career highlights include the 1998 Windjammer team that reached the semifinals as the No. 6 seed and took No. 2 Winslow, which went on to win the state title, to the brink of elimination before falling in double-overtime.

"That team just kept getting better and better," said Holmes-Jackson, who added that the Windjammers also beat the Lions under the lights in Belfast that year, which was the first time she had earned a win over her father's team.

"It was on a penalty corner and it was really exciting," she said. "Then the year after that in 1999 we beat him under the lights again. And he said, 'I'm not going to play you under the lights anymore.' And he never would."

One of her most memorable games came in 2006, when her Windjammers — in their only regional final appearance under Holmes-Jackson's tenure — fell to her father's Lions.

Belfast went on to win its third straight state Class B title that year and Holmes-Jackson attended that game in Belfast blue and gold, as she typically does as a BAHS graduate.

"I'd always cheer for them anytime I wasn't playing them, obviously," she said.

Holmes has gotten the better of his daughter in their 30 meetings over the past 17 years with a record of 24-5-1, including 3-0 in the playoffs.

Camden Hills also secured the top seed in Eastern Class B in 2007 before being upset by Waterville in the semifinals, as the Purple Panthers went on to win the state crown.

The final game between father and daughter happened this fall in Rockport, with Belfast rallying for a 3-2 overtime win over Camden Hills.

"That was an exciting game," she said. "I wish we could have won, or tied. We could have used those [Maine Principals' Association Heal] Points. It's weird because our two best games this year were against Leavitt and Belfast, and they were in the state finals."

Spoken like someone who may not be done coaching just yet.

Courier Publications sports staff can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by email at sports@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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