The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

February 15, 2013

Ex-EHS star Holt dead at 53

ENID, Okla. — Former Enid Plainsmen football standout and ex-NFL player John Holt died Wednesday in Tampa, Fla., after battling illness. He was 53.

Holt, after graduating from Enid High School in 1977, went on to become a four-year letter winner at West Texas State (now West Texas A&M) and was selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft in 1981 by Tampa Bay. He played eight years in the NFL with Tampa Bay and Indianapolis.

“He was probably the best, pure football athlete I ever played with,” recalled former Plainsmen teammate Todd Humphrey. “He could have played any position in any sport he wanted.”

Holt also played baseball and basketball for Enid.

Humphrey was a defensive back, and played in the secondary with Holt, who also played halfback at Enid.

 “He was just such a natural,” Humphrey said. “He was just a fantastic guy who had no enemies. Everybody liked him.”

Holt also was one of only a few black players on the Enid team at the time.

“There were no color barriers with him,” Humphrey said. “It didn’t matter. We went fishing together ... it’s a damned shame (his passing).”

Holt — whose older brother Dale was quarterback of the state championship Plainsmen teams of 1964, 1965 and 1966 and went on to play for Kansas — earned all-state honors in his senior year at Enid. During his junior and senior seasons, he rushed for a combined 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.

Holt also is remembered fondly by former Plainsmen head football coach and athletic director Robert Greenhaw, who coached Holt as a sophomore and junior.

“He had a lot of talent,” Greenhaw said. “He could play just about any place you put him. I knew he could play defense. He had a knack for the ball. If you had the ball, he would find you. He wasn’t a big man, but he was tall and lanky and had lots of speed.

“The Holt family are all just special people. All of the Holt kids could play,” Greenhaw said. “It was a real privilege to have the opportunity to coach somebody like him and to work with a young man like that. He wasn’t boastful, just a very good person. It was a joy to be around him. I am sure saddened to hear about him.”

Darrell Herndon, who currently is the head tennis coach at Enid, remembers Holt when he coached him on the junior varsity and later on the varsity.

“Back then the JV team was called the Highlanders,” Herndon said. “Coach Floyd Winfield and I won almost every game that John was involved in. We thought as coaches we were great, but it was no doubt due to John’s ability. I remember him as a great leader on the football team and in school.”

During his collegiate career at West Texas State, Holt was a four-year letter winner who distinguished himself on special teams. He still holds the team record for punt returns in a single season with 27 in 1978 and holds the school’s all-time mark with 66 punts over his four-year career.

While at West Texas State, Holt’s teams claimed the Missouri Valley Conference crown twice. In his senior year, 1980, the Buffs defeated Oklahoma State 20-19.

Coming out of college, Holt was selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft by Tampa Bay, where he played for five seasons before finishing his career in 1988 after a three-year stint with the Indianapolis Colts. Over the course of his NFL career, Holt appeared in 109 games, both as a punt return specialist and cornerback.

He averaged 11.1 yards per punt return in his rookie season at Tampa Bay and 24.9 yards on kick returns. He returned a career-high 16 punts in 1982. He had seven interceptions over the course of his eight-year career, with his best season coming in 1983 when had three interceptions. He ranked seventh in the NFL in 1986 with four fumble recoveries while with the Indianapolis Colts and had an 80-yard interception return that season that was the second-longest in the NFL that year.

Holt finished his NFL career following the 1988 season with the Colts.

Holt is survived by his wife Janet and his son, Kyle Greenhoward. His brother Dale and other family members still reside in Enid.

There will be a memorial service for family and friends at 11 a.m. Monday at Westside Church of God In Christ in Enid.�

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Bob Stoops Sooners, as usual, managing expectations

    High hopes are always attached to Oklahoma and this year is no different with the Sooners entering the 2014 season as a consensus pick to reach the first College Football Playoff.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Mike Gundy Former OSU line coach having impact on Texas staff

    It was quite possibly the biggest coaching coup of the offseason and Oklahoma State was at the wrong end of it – former Cowboy offensive line coach Joe Wickline joining the staff for Charlie Strong's Texas Longhorns.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Charlie Strong Texas’ Strong prefers not talking national title

    Charlie Strong riled up plenty of Texas fans during a statewide spring tour by saying the Longhorns wouldn’t be in the national championship game.
    The new coach toned down his honest assessment in future stops, then said Tuesday in his first appearance at Big 12 media days that he prefers not even talking about championships.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • A new ACC? New ACC settles into era of stability

    Welcome to the new Atlantic Coast Conference.
    It’s where a founding member is out, a fast-rising program is in, Notre Dame is there, too — sort of — and nobody else is leaving.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Devonte Fields TCU’s Fields investigated for alleged assault

    TCU suspended defensive end Devonte Fields on Tuesday pending the results of a police investigation into whether he punched a former girlfriend in the head and threatened her with a gun while shouting, “I should blast you!”

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Minors lose in first round

    Wren Perry and Garrett Scudder combined for a two-hitter as the D-Bats Gallegos of Dallas run-ruled the Enid Minors 8-0 in six innings in the first round of the South Plains Regional Tuesday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

    July 22, 2014

  • Baseballpicture.jpg Majors open regional with Cherry Creek

    The Enid Majors (36-12) enter the Connie Mack South Plains Regional Tournament today at David Allen Memorial Ballpark coming off one of their best seasons in the past few years. Now, the pressure is on as they face Cherry Creek, Colo.,at 8:15 tonight.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Enid Event Center_28_BV.jpg Ballpark to observe Military Appreciation Night

    David Allen Memorial Ballpark hosts Military Appreciation Night tonight during the 6 and 8:15 games of the Connie Mack South Plains Regional Tournament.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff Mullin mug 2012.jpg Rory McIlroy: There's a new tiger in town

    His father introduced him to the game when he was small, putting a golf club in his hand when he was barely past the toddler stage.
    He fell in love with it and worked hard, improving steadily. He became a terrific junior player and quickly improved.
    He was touted as the next big thing and didn’t disappoint.
    Now, at the tender age of 25, he is a multiple major champion.
    Tiger Woods? Yes, once upon a tee time. But now those words are being spoken about Rory McIlroy.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big 12 Media Days.jpg Gundy has big plans for Hill

    The picture became a little clearer Monday of how Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Year Tyreek Hill will be utilized in the Oklahoma State offense.
    And the picture is rather wide.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Click here for NASCAR headlines
Sports Photos


Enid News & Eagle sports photos from the month of February 2014. Enjoy all the ENE photos with full access at http://enidnews.smugmug.com.