“As BYU player, I’d try to get to film early because he’d be there early. We’d just talk. Sometimes, he would talk about the gospel. I wasn’t a member of the LDS faith, but he knew I was rubbing against it and he just had a gentle way of being a great example.
“Dick was slowing down a ton lately. He was prepared. One of the things that was sweet to me is he had a great love affair with his wife and when she passed, he started to go downhill fast. We’d talk and he couldn’t remember things. It wasn’t Alzheimer’s, he just couldn’t remember and it frustrated him. We’d talk and he knew the end was near and he wanted to be reunited with Dayleen.”
This interview moment, a unique situation I stole with a surprise request, felt it had run its course. I had intruded on Holmoe, a very busy man.
Holmoe had just lost another coach. A protégé of the late Bill Walsh, who hired him at Stanford and for whom Holmoe had played for in the NFL, passed in July 2007. Whittingham, Holmoe's defensive coordinator while at BYU, died in October 2003 at age 64.
“I haven’t lost a lot of my coaches, but for someone like me, those guys are more than coaches. They are older guys who when you see them, you are happy for them because they’ve lived such incredible lives.
“I’m going to lose more of them; I know that. They are getting older and they’ll soon be gone.
“This isn’t easy.”
No, it never is and never will be.
Dick Harmon, Deseret News sports columnist, can be found on Twitter as Harmonwrites and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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