Braden Holloway ’01 is not content to just be back home. He wants to win, too. In June the Wolfpack hired the five-time All-American, who had been an assistant coach at Virginia Tech, as the head coach of swimming and diving. Holloway returns to NC State, where he won back-to-back ACC titles in 2000 and 2001 in the 100 backstroke. He says “it’s been a little while” since the Wolfpack has seen consistent results, citing only two standouts, Cullen Jones ’06 and Kristin Davies ’09, produced by the program in the last decade. With the swimming and diving season starting up in two weeks — the Red and White Scrimmage is Oct. 7 — we talked with Holloway about his experiences as a student-athlete and his expectations as a coach.
What he envisions for State’s program: The chapter I want to write is resurgence. The chapter I want to create is the one of the dominant program. It starts with getting the right people here. … Recruiting is a battle. …[Recruits] better be ready to work hard. When I recruit, I look for overall character. I don’t necessarily look for how fast they are currently because currently they’re not here. I look at how much they’re going to impact the program.
What makes him a strong recruiter and coach: I think my youth. I’m an energetic guy both on deck and on the phone. …I thrive on the team’s work ethic. I like to create a high-intensity environment.
Best memory as a student-athlete: My junior year [fall of 1999]we went to Carolina. We were supposed to get beat pretty bad, and we beat them. It was just a good feeling to go to their place when we were a huge underdog.
His continued connection to State: I still talk to one of my professors today–Annette Moore [lecturer in the department of parks, recreation and tourism management]. She helped me figure out life at that point where I was. She taught a lot of leadership classes. When I started taking some of her classes, my life just became better. I became faster in the pool. I became a better student.