PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Mike Holmes was named last week as the men’s basketball coach at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. He replaces Jim Casciano, who resigned in the spring.
Mike Holmes, who will also serve as the assistant athletic director, comes to northern Maine from Creston, Iowa where he led Southwestern Community College (SWCC) for the past six seasons. In his time at the helm of the Spartan program, Holmes has twice had teams nationally-ranked in the NJCAA top 20. The hallmark of Southwestern basketball during Holmes’ tenure has been tough, tenacious defense and a disciplined, team-oriented style of offensive basketball.
SWCC competed in the ultra-competitive Iowa Community College Athletic Conference (ICCAC), which regularly sports several of the finest junior college teams in the nation. This past season was no different, as the ICCAC had four members in the NJCAA Div. I and II final top 20 poll.
“Our hiring committee was looking for a leader with vision and a technically strong basketball background. Mike was a standout in our search. He has administrative experience, a history of positively impacting his student-athletes and building strong basketball programs,” said Doug Carter, UMPI women’s basketball coach and a member of the coaching search committee. “We are all excited Mike has decided to join the Owl family.”
Previous to his time at Southwestern, Holmes spent two decades coaching high school basketball, twice winning regional statewide coach of the year honors. Holmes began his coaching career climbing the Iowa high school ladder, first coaching at the smallest school level at Class A Allison-Bristol in 1989, later progressing to 2A Spirit Lake and then at 3A Waverly-Shell Rock from 1994-96. In 1996, Holmes was named Northeast Iowa Coach of the Year.
In 2004, Holmes was named Southeast Iowa Coach of the Year as he directed his Ottumwa squad to the program’s first-ever Class 4A Final Four state championship appearance. Before Holmes was appointed as head coach at Ottumwa, the basketball program had averaged five wins a year in the previous decade. Holmes also held the position of dean of students at Ottumwa from 2002-08.
“When you have been in coaching for a long time, you find that certain places distinguish themselves with the people, vision and atmosphere,” Holmes said. “I believe the University of Maine at Presque Isle is such a place and feel blessed to be entrusted with responsibilities in the athletic department and with the men’s basketball program.
“I think it is an exciting time for the program and look forward to being a part of its evolution,” he added.
Holmes graduated from Simpson College in 1989, where he played basketball, and later earned his master’s of education from Iowa State University. He graduated from West Des Moines Valley High School, where his prep teammate was future NBA player Matt Bullard, who went on to help the Houston Rockets win the 1994 championship.
Holmes and his wife Leeanna, an elementary teacher for the past 15 years, are the parents of 2-year-old twins, Greyson and Bronwyn.