Biography: HOLDER, Donald J.

HOLDER, Donald J.

Inducted: 1994 Born: September 29, 1928, Jersey City, NJ

Wright states that Don Holder’s coach at Florida State U., Hartley Price, a 1959 original Gymnastics Hall of Fame Honoree, said of Don, “He became very, very good and was consistent at everything he did.  Don Holder brought honor to his alma mater in gymnastic venues around the world.”  Best of all, he passed on his training and personal ethic to many young men and women he coached during his career.  His across the board contributions were many and helped the USA in immeasurable ways to move toward the world power it has become.

Olympic Games: Team member, Team-7th, Helsinki, Finland, (1952). World Championships: A team was chosen and Don was the number one USA team member; however, no team was sent since the AAU administration didn’t believe the USA team was as strong as it needed to be, (1954). Pan American Games: Gold-Team, Silver- R, V, PH, IC (Indian Clubs); International Competition: FSU vs. world champion Swedish Olympic Team, Gold-Team & Don was the top FSU scorer; FSU vs. Cuba, Gold-Team & AA, Havana, Cuba, (1956). National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA): Gold-Team-FSU, (1952); Don was a team leader and later Team Captain, (1955-’56); Gold-R, (1953). National AAU Championships: Gold-Team, FSU team member, (1953) Note: Don’s expertise exceeded by far other Indian club competitors’ skills; therefore, his extreme skill is thought by many to probably have been a contributing factor to the elimination of the event nationally. Education: B.S., FSU, (1956); M.S., FSU, (1957). Judge: Don judged local and state events in the Miami area and men and women at the annual Sarasota Christmas Clinic, (1960-‘75). Coach: Holder coached male and female gymnastics at Miami Jackson HS, (1958-’63) & Miami Coral Park HS, (1964-’79). Personal: Don points to his high school and college teammate Pat Signorelli as the most significant element of his successes. Signorelli introduced him to the sport, took him to the Old Swiss Turners to be coached by numerous former Olympians including Frank Haubold, Artie Pitt, Al Jochim and Frank Cumiskey.  Pat also steered him to FSU and his first coaching position.  They remain close friends after 60+ years. Honors: All American Gymnastic Team, (1953); State of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame, (1981); Florida State University Athletic Hall of Fame, (1982). Family: m. Connie Smith, (55 years as of this writing). Born October 30, 1930, Jersey City, NJ. Three children.

Sources: Jerry Wright, author of Gymnastics Who’s Who, 2005, Holder’s personal resume, personal interviews with commentary and formatting by Larry Banner, Web Manager.