Long overdue: Carl Hollis to be inducted into Troy Sports Hall of Fame

Published 1:06 pm Friday, March 31, 2023

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Carl Hollis is synonymous with basketball in the City of Troy, having been a star player for Troy University and then coaching at Charles Henderson High School for nearly three decades. Now, Hollis will be enshrined in the Troy University Sports Hall of Fame.

Hollis played basketball for Troy and went down as one of the school’s best players in its history. He ended his Trojan career as Troy’s all-time leading scorer and to this day ranks fifth all-time in scoring with 1,747 points. He was the 1975 Gulf South Conference Player of the Year and was a three-time All-Conference athlete along with being a two-time All-American.

“What I remember most is the teams we played against and the accomplishments we were able to achieve during that time and the guys I played with and the coaches that coached me,” Hollis said of his time playing at Troy. “The spectators, my professors and even the president of the university, were so great. Our professors hardly ever missed a game and sometimes we would have sellout crowds. I’ve never forgotten that.”

Hollis left Troy University as the school’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder. (Submitted photo)

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The 1977 Trojan squad won the Gulf South Conference Championship and along with ending his Troy career as the school’s all-time leading scorer, he also was the all-time leader in rebounds and field goals made. In fact, his 789 career field goals made still ranks first in school history, to this day.

“I felt great about it,” Hollis said of finding out he was going into the Troy Sports Hall of Fame. “I wasn’t really expecting it, so it was surprising to me. I felt blessed and I had some flashbacks of my college days. It felt good.”

Following his playing days, Hollis decided to join law enforcement after college and said that becoming a coach wasn’t even on his mind.

“At first, I didn’t really want any part of education after I did my student teaching,” Hollis recalled. “I chose to go into law enforcement and then Dr. Johnny Vaughn became superintendent (at Troy City schools) and they recruited me to come in and take over the alternative school and become an assistant coach for football and basketball.

“Athletics, especially basketball, was always my thing. So, I prayed about it and decided to go for it and stayed a lot longer than I anticipated. When I took the job, I told him I would probably do three years and that would be it and ended up coaching for 17 years as an assistant coach and 21 years as a head coach.”

After serving as a longtime assistant coach at Charles Henderson in the 1980s and 1990s, he took over as head coach in 1996 and lifted his quad up to the Area Championship in his second season at the helm and a spot in the Final Four in his third year. During his 21-year career as a head coach, Hollis’ teams won 11 area crowns, made it to the Final Four twice and appeared in the Elite 8 three times.

After coaching at CHHS for so long, he also served as a part-time assistant for Pike Liberal Arts for some time and he still lives in Troy and is a part of the community he’s served for so long. His legacy at CHHS continues to live on through current head coach Tim Fayson, as well.

“I coached (Fayson) in high school, as an assistant coach when he was on varsity and was his B-Team coach,” Hollis remembered. “He went off to college and played at Troy and I needed an assistant coach. I hired Tim to be our B-Team coach, and assistant (varsity) coach, and he worked for me for 10 or so years.”

Fayson credited Hollis for his coaching career.

Charles Henderson coach Tim Fayson coached under Carl Hollis for years. (Photo by Dan Smith)

“He means everything to me, honestly,” Fayson flatly said. “If it wasn’t for Coach Hollis I wouldn’t be in this position and I wouldn’t be coaching really. Just the interest he took not only in me, but all of his players, means so much.

“Not only in basketball but in life in general, he meant so much. He helped us to think positive, stay out of trouble and, for me, he’s the one that pushed me to play basketball. He put me on a course in the right direction.”

Hollis said he’s very proud of the coach that Fayson has become.

“I feel great about (the success). I’m just glad he was able to bring the program back up to what it deserves to be,” Hollis said. “Being a home grown Charles Henderson graduate, his heart is in what he does and he loves the game. He waited on that opportunity. He was a great assistant coach for me and he’s always been a great guy. Great things are happening for him now. I’m proud of what Tim has been able to accomplish.”

When asked about Hollis being inducted into Troy’s Hall of Fame, Fayson’s response was to the point.

“It’s about time, honestly,” Fayson said. “It’s long overdue. When you look at his career at Troy, his numbers, he should have been in there. Not only that but when you look at everything he’s done for the city, being a member of the police department, helping so many kids in Troy and being active in the community, he’s very deserving.”

Hollis will be inducted into Troy’s Hall of Fame at a banquet at Trojan Arena on April 15 following the annual T-Day spring football game.

“I’m very excited and I feel prideful and thankful and grateful,” Hollis said. “It could have been anyone but I was chosen at this particular time, but I think it could have been anyone. I’m sure there are plenty of other athletes that have come through and done great things that deserve it, too.

“It’s an honor to know that while you’re playing basketball at the university that all of your labor is not in vein. What you accomplish isn’t just you, though. It’s done with the Lord. It’s a joy, it brings me joy and I think my family is very excited bout it. It’s one of those things that we are very grateful for and don’t take lightly.”

Hollis will be joined by longtime Troy supporter Mike Amos, football player Sherrill Busby, basketball and baseball player Rhodney Donaldson, golf coach Chris Force, softball player and coach Barbara Sherwood and baseball player and coach Mark Smartt in this year’s Hall of Fame class. Tickets for the Hall of Fame banquet at Trojan Area on April 15 can be purchased online, at https://tinyurl.com/2yvxd4w5.