Staying in the family: Michael Holst takes over Tokay Tigers football

Tokay Tigers defensive coordinator Michael Holst talks with players during practice at Stagg High School in Stockton on Wednesday, June 11, 2014. Holst will replace Louis Franklin, left, as the team’s head football coach.

Michael Holst and Louis Franklin are getting the band back together.

Holst, the football coach and athletic director at Tokay High, has resigned to take a teaching and coaching job at Clovis West High, a Clovis Unified school in northern Fresno. He will be joining Franklin, the former Tokay football coach/athletic director who resigned as football coach at South Tahoe High School earlier this year to take a similar position at Clovis West.

Holst announced the move on social media on Monday.

“I’m excited for a new adventure and an opportunity for myself and our family, but it’s also very bittersweet because I grew up here,” Holst said. “I was raised here, and I’ve pretty much been at Tokay the entire time I’ve been back home after graduating college.”

Franklin will be the offensive coordinator at Clovis West, while Holst will coach on defense, mostly working with the safeties, under head coach Eric Brown, a Clovis West and Fresno State graduate who was named the Golden Eagles’ head coach in May. Franklin said he plans to find ways to use Holst’s mind on offense as well.

Franklin was Tokay’s athletic director from 2010, when Jeff Johnston stepped down to become head of the Lodi Educators Association, the union that represents the district’s teachers, until leaving for South Tahoe in 2015. Holst, who was the Tigers’ defensive coordinator, took over as head football coach and athletic director.

“Michael’s done a great job,” Franklin said. “I talked with Jeff Tracy the other day, who coached both of us, and he was tickled pink.”

On the field, Holst and Franklin go way back, with practices sometimes as intense as games.

“We’ve been friends the entire time he’s been in Tahoe, so it’ll be awesome,” Holst said. “I haven’t coached with him in a while, it’ll definitely be fun. We used to have some combative moments on the practice field — in a good way.”

Franklin also has fond memories of the days when his offense and Holst’s defense clashed on the practice field.

“I would say the kids set off our competitiveness, and neither one of us wanted to lose a down in practice,” Franklin said. “That led to some very very great times.”

Off the field, Holst and Franklin will still be part of the same team, teaching special day classes.

Holst said he had already stepped down as athletic director to have more time with his family, with Johnston taking back over. With the Clovis West opportunity coming up, he has now stepped down as football coach and teacher.

“I’ve appreciated my time. It was a difficult decision because everything about the job at Tokay is great — great players, great school staff, Mr. Sandstrom’s the best, great facilities with the new stadium, new locker room,” Holst said. “We’ll miss the people we normally see on Friday nights. I’ve been blessed to coach some of the kids I was able to, they’ve been great. I say kids, but they’re not kids anymore, they’re grown adults, and now you get to see them do some cool stuff.”

As head coach, Holst compiled a 16-39 record with Tokay, going 4-6 in 2016 and 2017 for the highest win totals. The Tigers were 2-3 this spring in the delayed pandemic season. Clovis West was 0-4 in the spring, and 4-8 the year before. South Tahoe was 5-0 this spring.

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