Players from one Half Moon Bay High School sports team, whose head coach stepped down at the end of the season, know who will be in charge when voluntary summer practices begin.

The players already know the coach well.

Keith Holden, the longtime offensive coordinator, was named as Matt Ballard’s replacement as spring practice was winding down.

Ballard stepped down to take a similar position at Redondo Union High School.

When Ballard made his decision, it created shockwaves beyond the Coastside. Plenty of coaches in the Peninsula Athletic League were sorry to see him go.

It also left open the question of what would happen to the program. So, the hiring of Holden makes a lot of sense.

From the school’s point of view, Holden is perfect for the job since he is an on-campus teacher. In this day and age, when more and more high school coaches are not teachers, Holden is part of a dying breed of teachers who coach.

In the short term, teacher-coaches can walk around the school and find potential athletes. It has happened before at other schools.

Holden can also be quickly updated on the status of students in their academic work. He can also find out if there are some other issues involving a student-athlete.

Not to knock the off-campus coaches, but there are times they may not be aware of a situation involving an athlete until it’s too late. There was an instance several years ago when, moments before a game, a coach was told the star player was suspended from school for a week.

In addition to being an on-campus presence, Holden knows what it means to play football at Half Moon Bay. He and Ballard grew up together, played football together at Half Moon Bay and were hired as teachers there around the same time.

Holden has been coaching at Half Moon Bay for more than 10 years. He knows the ins and outs of Cougar football, the types of players he will have on the team, the assistant coaches and all about the Peninsula Athletic League.

This all seems to suggest the Cougars will remain competitive.

There are still coaching positions to fill at Half Moon Bay with other sports. But with Holden as the head football coach, the football program is in very good hands.

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