Under Rob Hollway, the defense for Windermere Prep has put up some impressive numbers this season.
Jacob Doss needed a home-run hire.
Following the death of Brad Ramsey, Windermere Prep’s former defensive coordinator, in October 2016, and later the departure of Jason Kelly to a Nord Anglia sister school in New York, Doss — the Lakers football head coach and athletics director — needed both a defensive coordinator and someone to lend a hand within the athletics department.
After some thought and some asking around, he realized he already knew just the guy: Rob Hollway, with whom Doss had played college football with at the University of Wyoming. At the time, Hollway was both the athletic director and the head coach at All Saints Academy in Winter Haven.
“As soon as I kind of put two and two together, I literally drove all the way out there and kind of surprised him and said, ‘Listen, I need you next year,’” Doss said. “(Hollway) saw the vision, he’s been here a bunch, and he knows what we’re doing here, and he looked at me by the end of that day and said, ‘I’m on board.’”
Leaving All Saints wasn’t an easy decision for Hollway. After two sub-.500 seasons at the helm, Hollway’s Saints had posted an impressive 7-3 mark in 2016. But the unique opportunity to go to Windermere Prep was enough to push him over the top on his decision.
“I always tell (Doss), ‘Who’s got it better then us over here?’” Hollway said. “It’s a great city, great community, we’ve got support from the administration. ... With the student-athletes we’ve got, it just was too good of an opportunity to say no to.”
Hollway was hired on as the Lakers’ defensive coordinator and associate athletic director, and the results have been tangible.
Windermere Prep (8-0) is allowing just 10.4 points per game this fall and has two shutouts to its credit. The Lakers have forced 17 turnovers on interceptions (eight) and fumbles (nine), including three fumbles returned for touchdowns. The infusion of energy into the unit is, in part, product of what Doss calls a “new school” approach by Hollway.
Hollway said he was impressed with how athletic and speedy the Lakers defenders are, and so he tries to install packages that capitalize upon that.
“I brought over a package that gets a lot of athletes on the field and lets them run,” Hollway said.
Windermere Prep likely will always be known for its offense, first and foremost — but Hollway is fine with that.
“I like that (the defense) flies under the radar a little bit,” Hollway said. “I think the guys keep a little bit of a chip on their shoulder.”