Harold Holt
From the Legends gym to the Leaders gym, pictured here, Harold Holt coached wrestling in Pelican Rapids for 39 years—42 altogether in his career.

It’s hard to imagine Pelican Rapids wrestling without a Harold Holt, who is retiring after this school year as teacher-coach. 

For nearly 50 years, Holt has been on, at or near the wrestling mats—as a student wrestler in the late 1960s and early 70s, and coaching at his hometown school for 40 years. 

Actually, Holt isn’t likely to vanish from the wrestling scene, anyway. 

“I’m sure I’ll find something to do on a volunteer basis,” said Holt, who submitted his formal resignation last week. “I won’t be running away from the program,” he chuckled.”

The Pelican Rapids School Board received his official notice at the April 19 meeting. 

“I have been a Viking for most of my life,” wrote Holt in the letter announcing his retirement. “I couldn’t be more grateful to have had the opportunity to have taught and coached in Pelican Rapids for 39 years. The relationships made with my players, managers and assistance coaches mean the most to me. I am truly blessed to have coached so many remarkable athletics and it has been a great honor.”

Holt is one of only three head coaches over the entire span of the Pelican Rapids wrestling program. Bob King established the program in 1959-60. As a student, Holt wrestled for King from 1972-74. Taking over as head coach through the 1970’s was Virgil Kollar. Holt returned to his hometown in 1982, after teaching and coaching in Belle Plaine, Browns Valley and Underwood. He retired on a good note, as he just notched his 300th win early in the 2021 season. 

In his letter, Holt also thanked past and present school administrators for their support, including Mr. Klein, Mr. Bredel and Mr. Siegle; and current administrators Mr. Korf and Mr. Nelson for all their support.

“I have had a great coaching career here. From Little League Baseball with Ed Richardson as my assistant coach and Brain Korf as a player. Ki Ghodes as track coach with her many conference and section titles, Virg Kollar and David Haugen with their many section title football games,” wrote Holt. “Most of all, all the moments in wrestling. I have had so many great assistants that have helped me shape the wrestling program in Pelican Rapids.” 

“Teaching in Pelican Rapids has been a real joy. I have taught every grade except eleventh grade and I have enjoyed them all. It is fitting that my last year in Pelican Rapids teaching is the same as when I started in the fall of 1982 with seventh and tenth graders.”

“…Thank you for the memories,” concluded Holt.