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TV20 Sitdown: UF track and field and U.S. Olympic coach Mike Holloway (Parts One & Two)

Updated: Jul. 15, 2021 at 11:35 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Being able to lead one of the NCAA’s best programs is a thrill and a huge responsibility for any coach. For UF’s Mike Holloway, the success he’s enjoyed with the Gators has led to him being chosen to coach the U.S. men’s Olympic Team this summer in Tokyo. TV20 Gator Insider Steve Russell chats with Holloway about his duties in Japan in parts one and two of a four-segment interview series.

(Steve Russell):

“The coach for the men’s Olympic Track and Field team, the Gator head coach, is with us now, Mike Holloway. Mike thanks for doing this. First of all, congratulations on this honor. Let’s start with that. What does it mean for you to be the coach of this team?”

(Mike Holloway):

“It’s very humbling, an incredible honor. To be honest, I’ve said this both privately and publicly, I never wanted to be the Olympic coach, that was never my goal, I wanted to be the coach of Olympians. When this happened, it was kind of chilling. You’re asked to be in charge or help manage the most powerful track and field team on the planet. So it’s very humbling but a very special thing.”

(Steve Russell):

“No spectators, and you know how it is, athletes love a crowd, and love the adrenaline. Will that make much of a difference?”

(Mike Holloway):

“I’m going to say no, because if you look at the SEC indoor meet this year, and the athletes lost their minds. And I think what we’ve been watching this year, it’s a lot of special performances at the high school level, college level, post collegiate level. I think we’re experiencing a redshirt year for everybody. People got time off to recharge both physically and mentally. I don’t think the fans not being there is going to be a huge difference. People are still going to line up, have their goals of being Olympic champion, Olympic medalist, and they’re going to go out there and get that done.”

(Steve Russell):

“When somebody hears head coach of the Olympic team, what does that entail for you?”

(Mike Holloway):

“It’s more of a political position than anything else, I’m there to make sure paperwork gets turned in and we help the athletes. My job in this is more of a manager, I have my athletes I have to coach but as far as other athletes, my job is to make sure they get all the tools they need to be successful. My job is not to coach someone else’s athlete, or to change their technique. My job is to make sure they do everything their coaches tell them, because some of their coaches are not there. And for the ones whose coaches are there to make sure they have everything they need to get their job done so they can chase their dreams.”

(Steve Russell):

“But you are going to coach some. Tell the folks who you’re going to coach, and in what events.”

(Mike Holloway):

“Grant Holloway in the high hurdles, Eddie Lovett in the high hurdles, Joseph Fahnbulleh in the 200 meters, Taylor Manson in the 4 by 400 meters for the USA, Doneisha Anderson in the 4 by 400 for the Bahamas, Amos Arroyo in the 800 meters, and Raymond Ekevwo maybe, maybe not for Nigeria. I hope I didn’t miss it anybody, if I did, please charge it to my head not my heart.”

(Steve Russell):

“When somebody says the head coach, I know you said it’s political, but what kind of team do you think you’re going to have here?”

(Mike Holloway):

“I mean, I think it’s one of the best teams, if not the best team we’ve put out there since 1968. We’re young, talented, hungry, I expect this to be an incredible Olympic Games on both sides, men’s and women’s side. I think it’s one of the best teams we’ve put together.”

(Steve Russell):

“I know this varies group by group and event to event but from the world standpoint, who are some teams we can watch out for in the competition?”

(Mike Holloway):

“I’m going to give the basic answer, just like at the University of Florida, I’m not concerned. I can’t concern myself with other teams. There are some great athletes obviously the Jamaican women are on fire in the sprints right now. Christian Warholm in the men’s 400 hurdles, there are a lot of people like that out there. But my job is not to worry about them. My job is to make sure the USA has every opportunity we can to be successful to win medals and that’s what I’m going to do is focus on the USA.”

(Steve Russell):

“With all that everybody went through at Florida with COVID and testing and all that. You go to Tokyo and there’s COVID again so these athletes and coaches who have gone through this, not that that’s good but does that help that you’ve gone through this a little bit?”

(Mike Holloway):

“I think it absolutely helps. There are protocols we have to follow here so we’ve gotten used to it. At Olympic Trials we tested every other day, and I think here it will be every day so it’s like the routine we’ve been in before so it won’t be like ‘oh my God, I can’t believe we have to so this again’ and another thing is if you want to make this happen and want to be an Olympian, who want to chase your goals and dreams, do the right thing, follow the rules”

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