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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 3

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 3 27 BY STACY CLARDIE W alt Arnold remembers the moment vividly. He was sitting in his office at Bellarmine College Preparatory, the boarding school in San Jose, Calif., on a day about 40 years ago when a knock got his attention. He looked up to see four fellas near the door, includ- ing a good-looking, well-built, dark-haired eighth-grader. That kid's dad spoke up, and Walt Arnold had a good idea what the elder Nick Holt was going to say. "Hey, Walt, I want to introduce to my son," said Nick Holt V, who'd known Arnold from Cal-Berkeley. "He's go- ing to be coming to Bellarmine as a freshman next year." Arnold didn't quite know then what he was going to get with the younger Nick Holt, but it didn't take long for him to find out. Arnold was Bellarmine's varsity football coach, so he doesn't remember much about Nick as a freshman — other than he already was making an impression as a physical, sound, talented linebacker. But by Holt's soph- omore year, Arnold heard much more. And not all good: Holt was getting in fights during games, sometimes get- ting kicked out. Perhaps it was a reaction to Holt being admittedly homesick early on — he was one of the full- time boarders at the school. When Arnold finally got Holt to himself on varsity, he immediately made Holt a starter and was eager to fine- tune his talents. But in Holt's first varsity game against the Branham Bruins, he got in another fight and, again, got kicked out. "So we had a talk," Arnold said. "I handed him my clipboard and said, 'Hey, if you're not going to be in the game, you might as well help me coach.' And that was the end of that. He straightened up and managed to finish all the rest of his games." Holt did more than just finish. He set the tone for the kind of player, the kind of coach, Tom Campbell Players say they love the passion Nick Holt brings every day, and, though he expects much, he also balances that standard with a willing- ness to teach and an obvious compassion for their personal growth. Return To Roots California bowl trip allowed Holt's homecoming

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