By TED RADICK
It’s not a retirement, more like a sabbatical.
For now, though, Maryann Holderman is stepping away as Riverdale’s girls basketball coach to play a role that means more to her: Mother.
“My husband, Bob, and I talked about it, and we decided it’s just time right now for me to take a back seat and for me to be ‘mom,’ and go together and follow Sydney,” Holderman said.
Sydney Holderman, a Riverdale senior, will play college basketball at Sienna Heights in Albion, Michigan.
“It’s just for now, it’s not forever,” Maryann Holderman said. “I’m not done for good. It’s just that I’m never going to get these years back, being a mom, and I want to go watch Sydney play. I know if I was coaching, I wouldn’t be able to give it 100 percent.”
Holderman leaves, for now, an impressive resume. In 12 years at Riverdale, she went 204-82. Her Falcons won six league titles in the old North Central Conference, nine sectional titles, four district crowns, a regional and made a state tournament appearance in the 2007-2008 season.
Holderman was 37-50 in four years at Old Fort, her first coaching stop, and 55-33 in four years at Fostoria before coming to Riverdale. Her career record stands at 296-165.
This year’s team finished 15-12 and made it to the Division III regionals.
“Every year has had a special memory,” Holderman said. “I can look back at every single team picture and remember special moments from that particular year. You know, this year I truly felt we were a Cinderella team. We really were not the same team at the end of the year that we were at the beginning, and to see the growth and maturity out of this group was a lot of fun.
“That’s one of the things that made this decision so hard. I saw how much this group played together, and worked and improved. It’s hard to let that go, and you feel like you want to continue with that and see how far they can go.”
Riverdale athletic director Craig Taylor said it was hard to hear the news.
“That’s one of the great things about being athletic director and boys basketball coach here at Riverdale,” Taylor said. “As a coach with her, I’ve learned so many things. I was able to learn from her and, perhaps most importantly, become a good friend with her.
“She’s still going to teach here at Riverdale but, at the same time, it’s kind of a sad day in a way for our school because she’s taken our program to a different level and she’s touched so many young ladies’ lives along the way.”
Taylor has a unique perspective. Yes, he’s a fellow coach and as AD, was Holderman’s boss. He also had a daughter, senior Janessa Taylor, come through Holderman’s program.
“The most important thing is, Maryann cares about the wins and losses and preparing her teams for the games, but more importantly she cares more about what the girls are going to do the rest of their lives,” he said. “Now that Janessa is graduating, Maryann is more concerned about how Janessa is going to do in college and if she’s prepared her to succeed. As a dad, that’s all you can ask for. It’s important to have a person like Maryann caring for your daughter, because sometimes you can’t be the only one.”
That sense of family is what drove Holderman to her decision. At Old Fort, she coached while pregnant with son Lee.
“Trying to be a mom and coach at the same time, I’m so thankful I have a supportive husband and supportive in-laws,” Holderman said. “My mother- and father-in-law basically helped raise our children, and there’s no way I could have done it without them. All the scouting and team camps, it wouldn’t have been possible without them when the kids were young.”
The Holdermans, especially after Sydney was born, became a basketball family.
“Many times, when the kids were little, I put my family on hold because I was going to team camps, and I was doing this or doing that,” Holderman said. “My kids usually came with me and I think they benefitted by being gym rats, but at the same time now I just get to sit back in the stands and just be mom, just be cheering.
“When Lee was a freshman at Riverdale, Syd was playing junior high ball and I was coaching at the same time. So, I’m not exaggerating, we had as a family basketball five or six nights a week between my varsity girls games, Lee’s varsity boys game and Sydney playing junior high ball. For about six years there, it was just crazy. Now, it’s slowing down a bit.
“I’m a mom first. Bob and I had many long discussions about this. These are years as parents that we’re never going to get back.”
Holderman is at peace with her decision, but it was still emotional.
“Memories, there’s so many different ones,” she said. “Every time I see a player, it makes me think of something new. I just feel truly blessed. At Old Fort, I had great players. At Fostoria, I had great players and at Riverdale, I had great players. It just so happened that at Riverdale, I’ve spent more time here and got to know a lot more of the families.
“The Riverdale community has been amazing, and I’m so very proud to have been given the opportunity to have coached for 12 years here.”
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