Coach David Holmquist honored for record 800 wins

Biola dubbed Saturday “Dave Holmquist Day” as a celebration of the basketball coach’s stunning career achievement.

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Mike Villa

Coach Holmquist receives a plaque and basketball signed by current and past Biola players at a ceremony celebrating his 800 career wins as a coach, a feat matched by only 15 other college coaches. |Mike Villa/THE CHIMES

A Biola men’s basketball victory over Cal Baptist University Saturday night was the perfect way to end a day dedicated to celebrating the success of head coach David Holmquist. Fans stayed after the game for a special celebration honoring Holmquist for his record-making 800 career wins.

Sports history was made on Wednesday, Dec. 29th when the Eagles beat the University of Fraser Valley making Holmquist just the 16th men’s basketball coach to ever achieve 800 wins.

A Biola alum, Holmquist is in the middle of his 31st year coaching at Biola and 34th year coaching college basketball. In his time at Biola, Holmquist has averaged 25 wins per season and was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 2002. After having never reached a national playoff tournament before Holmquist, Biola has now been to 17 such tournaments and has even reached the finals. Under Holmquist’s coaching, the Eagles have made the playoffs every season.

Career recognition

Holmquist was named NAIA Coach of the Year in 1982 when he led the Eagles to their best record ever of 39-1. He has been named GSAC Coach of the Year three times and NAIA District III Coach of the Year four times. Since Biola joined GSAC in 1994, they have accrued a 181-105 record and won the conference championship once.

“The magnitude of 800 wins is almost impossible to comprehend,” commented Azusa Pacific University men’s basketball coach Justin Leslie. “Once you begin to approach such a milestone it speaks more to a coach’s character and integrity than anything else.”

Holmquist says he doesn’t evaluate his career just in terms of wins and losses. “You want to win as a coach, but it isn’t enough,” he said. Instead, he considers the relationships he’s formed and memories made over the years as his favorite part of the journey he has taken.

“Some of my best friends are players that I coached when I was younger,” he said.

Leading up to this point

Holmquist has been the longest tenured coach in GSAC, a fact which partially explains his stunning achievement. But that is not the only factor. “To be that good for that long is truly special,” Leslie said.

After playing for Biola and graduating in 1974, Holmquist began his career coaching Fresno Pacific College at the young age of 24 only to earn a 36-43 record before leaving for the vacant coaching job at Biola. His first four teams played mediocre seasons before he reached dominance in the 1979-1980 season. This opened up a run of four straight trips to the NAIA National Tournament including a trip to the finals.

Holmquist now sits among a near immortal group of coaches who have also won 800 games.
Legends such as 1,028 game winner Harry Statham, NCAA coaching greats Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Calhoun, and Bobby Knight partially make up the list of only 16 coaches to ever reach the 800 win plateau.

A legacy to be shared

Holmquist believes his historic achievement will impact the recruiting process and benefit the future of Biola’s program. But he also acknowledged that recruiting is a task done by the players themselves. Holmquist says he looks for players who demonstrate character – “good guys” and “solid teammates.” The record speaks to his success in putting together winning teams who take their witness as seriously as the game when they courageously take the ball to the court.

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