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Hollander helps Eagles soar

O'Fallon Christian coach Terry Hollander

O’Fallon Christian coach Terry Hollander

Eight years after leaving St. Charles West and after spending seven years at Lindenwood University as an assistant basketball coach, Hall of Fame coach Terry Hollander has returned to his coaching roots and loves every bit of it.

Hollander now coaches at O’Fallon Christian and under his leadership, the Eagles have soared to an 11-9 start and a respectable third place showing in the Archdiocesan Athletic Conference heading into the final week of the regular season.

“We have played really well the last month or so,” Hollander said. “At Christmas, we were 3-4 and had 17 days off and after the Christmas Tournament, we won eight of our last 11 and have played really well. Things are going in the right direction.”

Perhaps the most pivotal game in that stretch was a 61-53 victory at St. Charles West that brought a flood of mixed emotions as it was Hollander’s first visit back to the school where he spent 30 years on the bench and had some of the finest moments of his career.

Add coaching and winning a game against nephew and current St. Charles West coach Pat Steinhoff to that and Hollander definitely had a lot of conflicting emotions on what ended up being a very special evening.

“There were aspects of it that were difficult, what with the relationship with the school and relatives there and the whole night,” said Hollander, who coached more than 300 games at West. “It was the first time I ever coached from the visitors’ side there, but once they throw the ball up and the game starts, your focus is all on the game.”

6-foot-5 junior forward Zach Harding and 5-10 junior guard Zac Niemeyer led the way for the Eagles, averaging 13 points and 11 points.

Hollander has thoroughly enjoyed being back on the high school level coaching this winter.

“The relationships you develop with your players are great,” Hollander said. “In college, you have a great relationship with the players but it’s a different kind of relationship because you‘re not calling the shots [as an assistant] and determining playing time. In high school, there is a lot more emphasis on teaching fundamentals and that’s a step-by-step process.”

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