• Johnathan Williams

One Football, One Family: The Holidays at TCPS

Khi Holiday hugging his little brother, Layth during a Friday night football game. (Courtesy of Shaune Holiday)

Throughout the history of sports, we have seen many families coach each other, play alongside one another as teammates and/or against each other as rivals.

We've seen the Manning family which has produced three legacy talents with Archie, Eli, and Peyton in the NFL. We have seen the Curry family in basketball with Dell, Stephen and Steph achieving great accolades in the NBA. It is not common for sure, but some families in particular just know how to produce talent. The Holiday family fits that mold.

Tupelo Christian Prep head coach Shaune Holiday is currently in his eighth year with the Eagles as he has led his team to three straight playoff appearances in 1A football. He has continued to build up this program after earning a 22-12 coaching record for the Eagles since 2017 and looks to make a deep run in the playoffs as they defeated West Lowndes 35-6 to clinch a spot once again this year.

Coach Holiday’s past goes a little deeper than football itself, though. Last week, I had the opportunity to interview the Holiday family, and he informed me that he was actually the third African American to play baseball at the University of Mississippi. He also has quite the resume. He has 14 years of coaching baseball under his belt, too. In fact, he lead the Tupelo Christian Prep’s baseball team to a state championship in 2016. He was also first team all-state in JUCO baseball in 1993 and was No. 3 in the state of Mississippi in stolen bases in his senior year at Tishomingo County. Not only has Coach Holiday had a lot of success on the diamond and the gridiron, but his two sons, Khi and Layth Holiday, continue to carry on the family legacy.

Coach Holiday’s oldest son, Khi, is currently in his junior year of high school and is the starting quarterback while Layth is currently in his freshman year as a running back. Both brothers have been playing football since they were young.

Even though they both played pee wee football at a young age, they have never been on the same team until now.

“As a father, it is great to go out [on the football field], and my kids can see what I enjoy doing,” Coach Holiday said. “To be a part of their growth as an athlete, I think any father would want that. As a coach, I treat them just like my other players. I tell everybody that I have 36 studs on my team and two of them just so happen to be mine.”

It is no doubt that Coach Holiday has done a great job raising his children and coaching the Eagles on the football field. Khi Holiday has been noticed by many as well as the staff here at SES. Khi managed to accumulate 3,054 yards in the air and gained 37 passing touchdowns along with it this season. He also got the job done running the football, gaining 1,276 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns, which brings him to 56 total scores on the year. He was invited to play in the Polynesian Bowl in Hawaii and the Mississippi Heat 7v7.

If you had told us two years ago that Khi would have this much success as a quarterback, we probably would not have believed you, mostly because he did not start out as one.

“Khi actually started out as a wide receiver his freshman year,” Coach Holiday said. “After his freshman year, we did not have a quarterback, and our staff decided that we were going to put one of our better athletes at quarterback and see what happens.”

It definitely ended up being a great decision. In his sophomore year at Tupelo Christian Prep, he would throw for over 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns and rushed for over 700 yards. It was no doubt that he did not disappoint for the Eagles as the coaching staff knew they had found their next quarterback.

“It really helped me a lot by [changing to the quarterback position] because I like to touch the ball,” Khi Holiday said. “I feel more comfortable playing at that position.”

Khi has really improved as a player on the field, and one of the main reasons why is because of his little brother Layth. Layth, who I mentioned earlier, is only a freshman, and Khi spends a lot of time outside of school practicing on what they love the most: sports.

Khi Holiday (Courtesy of Shaune Holiday)

“Layth has shown that he is a hard worker,” Coach Holiday said. “He shows everyday, and he grinds. Right now he is in a position to get several [experienced] players in front of him, but he is right there with them. Every day in practice, he goes out and does everything the coaches tell him to do, and he challenges the guys in practice, so he is what we want.”

Everybody needs at least a little motivation in their life to overcome obstacles, and Layth has been a huge reason why Khi has shown the capability he has today.

Khi and Layth Holiday (Courtsey of Shaune Holiday)

“My brother and I are real close,” Khi said. “We are always together, and we have each other’s back like no other.”

“It’s fun to play with my brother,” Layth said. “Whenever we get out on the field, we make a connection.”

Follow Johnathan on Twitter at @JWillSES.

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