Longtime coach stepping down

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PENDLETON — As one era ends, a new one begins.

Longtime boys cross country coach Alan Holden announced his retirement June 2, and girls cross country coach Melissa Hagerman was named as his successor and will coach both teams.

Holden coached the Arabians for 35 seasons.

During his time, the Arabians runners were 19-time Madison County champs and 15-time conference champs. Holden was also named conference Coach of the Year 15 times.

Holden’s team’s accomplishments went well beyond local success.

The Arabians hold nine sectional titles and six regional ones.

In addition, 24 teams went on to compete in the semistate, while 40 runners competed in the state final competition. Seven finalists were named All-State, and one Brock Hagerman was the Indiana state champion in 2005.

“It’s difficult for me to retire from coaching after so many seasons,” Holden said. “I will miss it, but it is time.”

Holden said he loved coaching the Arabians.

“I want to thank everyone for giving me the opportunity to accomplish my lifelong dream of coaching.”

Last fall, Holden was inducted into the Eastern Hancock Hall of Fame.

Pendleton Heights Athletic Director Chad Smith said Holden will have a lasting legacy at the school.

“We can count the championships Coach Holden won, but we can’t count how many lives he made a difference in over his time,” Smith said.

Melissa Hagerman

Hagerman has led the girls cross country team for the past 18 seasons.

She is no stranger to success, either. Hagerman’s teams have won six conference titles, eight sectional titles, six regional titles and has taken four teams to the state meet.

Numerous individual Arabians runners have competed as well in the state meet.

Smith said finding Holden’s replacement was easy. “The solution was simple in my mind. With the amount of success Coach Hagerman has had, and the way she runs the girls cross country program, there was not a reason to search any further.”

Hagerman is the assistant principal at Pendleton Elementary.

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