Holmoe great for BYU

Tom Holmoe came to BYU as a football player, and then in 1983 was drafted in the fourth round of the NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He had a seven-year career, winning Super Bowls in ‘84, ‘88 and ‘89. Since then, Holmoe has gone on to do many great things in the realm of college sports, and at BYU those accomplishments continue to ring out in Super Bowl fashion both on and off the field.

Tom Holmoe has accomplished many great things, but if someone just met him, they would never know that and he would quickly come across as "one of the guys." A down-to-earth, fun-loving and approachable father and husband, Holmoe is serious and determined but is not arrogant and is without guile. Indeed, he is a rare breed these days, preferring to deflect any and all credit for the fruition of many of his accomplishments as BYU's athletic director.

"I just play a role in this thing here at BYU and there are other people that play bigger roles," Holmoe said with a smile. "I've got a lot of people around me and I'm just fortunate that I have a job where I love to come to work!"

Holmoe has been responsible for hiring BYU football head coach Bronco Mendenhall, the most successful BYU football coach through his first six years with a .727 career winning percentage. That also places him among the active Division I coaches with the highest winning percentages. Mendenhall has further established BYU as a football powerhouse while further promoting it as a unique institution with conviction and boldness.

Holmoe also hired BYU men's basketball head coach Dave Rose, who recruited and coached last season's all-everything and national player of the year Jimmer Fredette. Coach Rose just took his team to the Sweet 16, further than any Cougar team had gone in the NCAA Tournament in 30 years, all while putting BYU's standards to the forefront in the process.

"I am not in this alone," said Holmoe. "There were great resources here. Our resources are our facilities and BYUtv, the broadcasting building being one. Our resources have been our great coach LaVell Edwards. Then you have Bronco, Dave Rose and [BYU women's soccer coach] Jennifer Rockwood."

Sure, there were some quality resources that laid the foundation for much of today's success, such as the Student Athlete Building, the Indoor Practice Facility, LaVell Edwards Stadium and BYUtv, but one can't be so sure those coaches came to BYU for those reasons.

It was Tom Holmoe that helped broker a deal that allowed BYU to dock its ship in the harbor of ESPN – otherwise known as the "Worldwide leader in Sports" – that will showcase those facilities, outstanding coaches and players he gives credit to.

"We have great coaches in our program that have laid great foundations, so that's a great resource," Holmoe said. "You have great athletes that have paved the way. You have Ty [Detmer], Steve Young and Jim McMahon and on and on. Now you have the current gatekeepers of the program right now. That's a huge resource. You have great administration through the years that have been great."

Sure, the success of BYU athletics may have hinged upon the performances of past players and coaches, but it was Tom Holmoe that hired the current great coaches that recruited the current great players. Yes, some paved the way in the past, but Holmoe compartmentalized what BYU has to offer and, as an athletic director, took it to new heights.

On July 12, BYU showcased its state of the art broadcast building housing all the latest gadgets and goodies to produce top of the line productions in all forms of media. One could say it's the crown jewel of Holmoe's legacy at BYU. Well, everyone but Holmoe himself would say that.

"Well, I'm here with President Samuelson that I've worked with," said Holmoe. "I'll tell you right now, this doesn't happen without President Samuelson, and then when you go from President Samuelson right on up the road here [to Salt Lake City] we have a lot of resources from our church.

"Really, I'm in charge of the athletic department. You know, I would be crazy to say, 'Hey, look at me.' I just have a part of this."

Okay, we get the hint. So in reflection, Holmoe's more tangible accomplishments range from Super Bowl rings with the 49ers, to coaching at Stanford under Bill Walsh and helping the Cardinal to a Pac-10 co-championship. He then returned to the 49ers under head coach George Seifert, coaching the defensive backs and working with superstars such as Deion Sanders, Eric Davis and Merton Hanks. He also won his fourth Super Bowl ring in 1994.

"When I was playing for the 49ers, I wasn't a star player," Holmoe said while smiling. "I was a role player and learned that you can win a lot of games as long as you're not concerned about who's going to take the credit."

So could his days of playing in the NFL be the hidden source of his humble disposition and habit of self-deflection? How could playing in the NFL and winning Super Bowls be a source for modesty?

"Joe Montana got a lot of credit," he said. "Steve Young got a lot of credit and we won a lot of games, but we have the same rings. We got the same money; the bonuses when you win a Super Bowl, it's all the same and there are people that are happy with that. Some people on some teams are jealous of who's getting what and has what title. I understood that I was just a role player."

By the time Tom Holmoe is done, this self-proclaimed role player will be loved and adored by many BYU fans and alumni around the country for a long time. He will always be remembered by many as one who was not just a role player, but as a standard and role model for BYU athletics and athletic directors for years to come.

"I think the people that come to BYU come here for a reason," Holmoe said. "I think people like coming to a place that's warm, fun, friendly, spirited and feel good about what they're doing. Most of our kids here at BYU are goal-oriented. They have the desire to make themselves better in their lives. I love that.

"I love the spirit that exists here on this campus. We have a spirit here and what we're trying to do is share it, and I don't know if it's as much proselytizing as it is a responsibility and a stewardship to share the good things in life with everyone."

With all that Holmoe has helped to accomplish at BYU, the goal of sharing the many great things that BYU has to offer to the world will soon become a world-wide reality. Thank you, Tom Holmoe.

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