With his NFL career cut short because of injury, Devonte Holloman said coaching has given him a second life in football.
On Monday, the former South Carolina standout was named head football coach at Beaufort High School. He replaces Mark Clifford, who stepped down last week after 14 seasons.
Holloman spent the past three years on Clifford’s staff, including the last two as defensive coordinator.
“I am just thankful for the opportunity,” Holloman said. “When my playing career ended, I wasn’t sure what to do, but coaching has given me a piece to still have football in my life.”
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At 26 years old, Holloman will be one of the youngest head coaches in South Carolina.
Holloman was a three-year starter at safety and linebacker for the Gamecocks. He was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2013 NFL draft. His best game during his rookie season was an 11-tackle, two-sack performance against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Holloman suffered two neck injuries while with the Cowboys, the second of which forced his early retirement in August 2014.
After his playing career ended, Holloman was a graduate assistant under Steve Spurrier for a year before moving to Beaufort with his wife to be closer to his father in-law, who had cancer.
Holloman said he learned a lot under Clifford about how to deal with kids and the attention to detail. He also said he learned plenty from his high school coaches Tom Knotts and Bobby Carroll.
Holloman played for Knotts, who is now at Dutch Fork, at Charlotte’s Independence High School and finished his high school career playing for Carroll at South Pointe.
“It is hard for me sometimes to separate the player in me with the coach,” Holloman said. “But I know what the players are going through and can relate to them.”
Beaufort went 7-3 this season and lost in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs to Myrtle Beach. Holloman said the team returns several upperclassmen next season and a good group of younger players.
“It is an exciting time,” Holloman said. “I am going to try and do my best coach the kids football and make them into better young men.”
Beaufort principal Bonnie Almond said the high school’s current football staff supported promoting Holloman to head coach.
“Coach Holloman is a natural leader, and he’s already familiar with our school, our football program and our student athletes.” Almond said. “It’s very obvious that the kids respect him.”