LOUISBURG -- Mike Holloman won over 500 games and a national championship during his illustrious tenure as a women's basketball coach at Louisburg College.
But he's never encountered an opponent as powerful and world-shattering as COVID-19.
Now LC's Athletic Director, Holloman hopes to guide the Hurricanes back to near-normalcy in August when classes -- and sporting events -- are planned to resume.
"The hope is that we will be playing sports in August,'' Holloman said. "We are trying to move forward right now. We are getting things into place that will keep everyone as safe as possible. We want to be ready when August gets here.''
Like every other college across the United States, LC was forced to cancel is spring sports season after a few weeks due to COVID-19 concerns.
Also, the LC men's basketball team was unable to take part in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament -- an event the Hurricanes had qualified for.
Since then, Holloman and his staff of coaches have been dealing with issues they never thought they would encounter.
Student-athletes were sent home, and some will not be returning. Others will be, including current spring sports sophomores who will have the option of returning to LC for another season of eligibility -- or moving on to the four-year level.
All of LC's coaches have been unable to recruit in person, so recent recruiting has been doing via online platforms.
In Holloman's estimation, that work has been successful as the Hurricanes continue to sign high-profile incoming freshmen.
"It's been a roller-coaster ride,'' Holloman said. "Some days have been more upbeat than others. You just have to take things one day at a time with an eye on getting somewhat back to normal in August.
"I've been impressed with our recruiting despite everything that has happened. All of our sports are on track recruiting-wise. Our football team is in the 80s (enrollment-wise) and our baseball program has gotten a lot of interest.''
Only recently has Louisburg been cleared to resume on-campus recruiting visits, albeit with extreme precaution, including face masks and social distancing.
From a junior college standpoint, one potential benefit is that there will be a roster glut at four-year schools becoming incoming signees, returnees and seniors who will chose to accept another season of eligibility.
That scenario could cause a trickle-down effect that has more student-athletes accepting offers to compete on the junior college level.
"What it is going to do for us is that we are going to have a chance to get a lot of transfers from four-year schools,'' said LC baseball coach Blake Herring. "Those schools are having to deal with incoming freshmen, freshmen coming back, seniors who might choose to return and juniors who aren't going to get drafted.
"There aren't going to be enough spots for everyone. We have been in on (recruiting) a lot of (former four-year) kids, and I don't think that part is over.
"It's going to take some time for these programs to get back to where they can recruit one year at a time. This is going to be a 2-3 process where you have to reload every year. Of course, as a junior college program, we are used to doing that already.''
When and if play resumes in August, Holloman expects a few changes, mainly when it comes to scheduling events against out-of-state schools.
The majority of Louisburg College's Region X opponents are located in South Carolina.
"We really haven't had discussions as a region about what we are going to do,'' Holloman said. "The biggest thing I see is going to be traveling out of state because a lot of the (lockdown) rules vary from state to state. We also might have reduced playing dates, and you might have some situations where the schedule is a game-by-game decision for us.''
Football is usually the most difficult sport to schedule at LC, mainly because there aren't many potential two-year gridiron opponents within driving distance.
Louisburg also plays its share of post-grad, junior varsity and prep school programs, and there is no way of telling how many of those schools will be competing in sports come August.
But the Hurricanes have been successful in their scheduling attempts, so much so that they even have planned a few 'extra' games in case some of them are not played.
Holloman is also hopeful that LC will be able to host its home football games this fall at the new facility being built adjacent to campus at Louisburg High School.
"That would be really nice if that happens,'' Holloman said. "If not, we will be more than happy to play at the old LHS field. Either way, it's our plan to welcome back students and athletics in August.''
Pictured (Above): BACK IN BUSINESS? Louisburg College Athletic Director Mike Holloman hopes that the school will be able to resume classes and sporting events come August. Spring sports were cancelled at LC due to COVID-19 concerns. (Times photo by Geoff Neville)