CARBONDALE — Lynn Holder may be the only athlete in SIU history to not only finish his own athletic career as the school’s all-time leading scorer, but coach another one.
Holder, who competed on the Salukis’ football and basketball teams from 1931-35 and coached for more than 30 years, scored 678 points in four years.
He later coached forward Seymour Bryson, who, when he graduated in 1959, was the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,529 points.
However, even with 175 victories, Holder was remembered as much more than that Saturday, when some of his former players were introduced at halftime of SIU’s game against Miami-Ohio.
“He was more than a coach. He was also a very good human being,” Bryson said. “Was very fair with his players. Whatever he told you he was going to do, he did.”
Holder, a member of SIU’s Hall of Fame as a player and golf coach, set the scoring record for the school that was then known as Southern Illinois Teachers College. Bryson, still the program’s all-time leading rebounder with 1,244 in 100 games between 1955-59, is currently ninth on the all-time scorers’ list.
Charlie “Chico” Vaughn, who scored 2,088 points between 1959-62, has since taken over the top spot.
In addition to coaching the men’s basketball team, Holder started the school’s men’s golf program in 1946 and coached for 30 years. His 1964 team won the national championship. His squad finished second the following season, but Holder was also known as another pioneer.
During his 12-year stretch as basketball coach from 1946-58, he helped bring SIU’s first black player, Hall of Famer Harvey Welch, to Carbondale from Centralia.
“Without him, I don’t know if I would have gone to college,” said Welch, who scored 756 points in 69 games from 1951-54. “He made promises to my mother that I would never be denied playing based on being a black person, and I was not. He told my mother that he would see that I had sufficient clothes to go to school. He did that.”
Holder also did his best to keep segregation away from his team on the road. Bryson said he never stayed in a separate hotel than the rest of his team.
“He made certain. He always had to do some pre-planning to make sure that didn’t happen,” Bryson said. “If we went to Owensboro, Ky., or Cape (Girardeau), or somewhere like Clarksville, Tenn., there was segregation at that time, but coach Holder always made certain that we were never exposed to that kind of behavior.”
And by treating Bryson and Welch like equals, when not everybody did, they thrived after college. Bryson, a Quincy native, has three degrees from SIU. Welch, a 4.0 student, became a colonel in the military.
“Lynn got me involved. He helped me become a colonel in the Air Force, helped me become the dean of students, the vice chancellor of student affairs,” Welch said. “At one time, everything but the classroom and the maintenance guys reported to me at this institution. Everybody. And I think we helped a lot of kids, all kinds of kids, get an education, and once you get it, it’s your obligation to give back. And I think I got that from Lynn.”
On Twitter: @Todd_Hefferman