STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
While some saw tennis as just a sport, David Holder viewed it as an opportunity to improve lives.
He did that through his work with the Roddick Youth Tennis Foundation, helping countless young players in the Highland Lakes pursue their dreams.
Holder died at his Horseshoe Bay home on July 21, 2019, after a battle with cancer. He celebrated his 75th birthday July 4.
“He was always cracking jokes and creating opportunities for people,” said local musician John Arthur Martinez, who sat on an advisory board with Holder working toward the creation of the Roddick Tennis Center at Quarry Parks in Granite Shoals.
“He loved tennis so much and what it did for him and Michael (Holder’s son),” said Nancy Herrington, a longtime friend and another advisory board member. “He wanted those opportunities out there for kids if the kid would take advantage of them.”
Holder fell in love with tennis as a child growing up in Asheville, North Carolina. He was a good enough player to travel to tournaments and was even invited to play at the US Open and Wimbledon in the UK. The sport opened up the world to him.
As an adult, Holder worked for automotive dealerships and consulting companies before founding Consultants Advertising Retail Sales Inc. in 1988. He and his company were recognized for taking automotive dealerships to a greater level of profitability through marketing, sales, and sales management training.
When Holder retired 10 years ago, he began what might have been his greatest contribution to the sport and the Highland Lakes community.
He helped raise money so the Roddick Youth Tennis Foundation could build courts in Horseshoe Bay and Granite Shoals. The courts in Granite Shoals became the Roddick Tennis Center, which opened in 2015.
Holder also created the Roddick Tennis Series in 2012 with several friends, including Herrington and her late husband, Charlie.
Roddick Tennis Series players competed in tournaments across the state, earning points based off finishes at each event. The top male and female youth point winners were awarded a free week of instruction at the Roddick Foundation tennis center in San Antonio.
Holder truly believed tennis could changes kids’ lives.
“He did anything he could do to make (tennis) available for kids,” Herrington said.
Holder put together the advisory board for the Roddick Tennis Center then spearheaded fundraisers, such as the annual Vegas by the River.
The center began with two QuickStart Tennis Courts, sized for children to learn the basics of the game.
Once the smaller courts were built, Holder helped establish an after-school tennis program for students at Highland Lakes Elementary School in Granite Shoals. United States Professional Tennis Association pro Jeff Savage signed on to teach, and the two took their mission on the road to other elementary schools.
Savage would teach students the basics, and Holder would donate the equipment. They kept that up until Savage took a teaching and coaching job with Marble Falls High School.
“All those kids … wouldn’t have played that sport if it hadn’t been for those teachers and those kid courts being built, that’s a big thing,” Martinez said. “If it hadn’t been for Dave Holder, that wouldn’t have happened.”
While introducing tennis to kids was Holder’s passion, he was always willing to help someone reach their dreams, whatever they may be.
Martinez, a singer-songwriter and recording artist, recalled how Holder impacted his musical career.
He met Holder through the Herringtons in the early 2000s. Martinez had just finished competing on the TV show “Nashville Star,” finishing second ahead of country star Miranda Lambert. Martinez and Holder bonded through their shared interest in radio, TV, and tennis. Through Holder’s connections with the Andy Roddick Foundation, Martinez landed the opening musical spot for the foundation’s annual fundraiser — headlined by Sir Elton John.
Former Granite Shoals Mayor Frank Reilly struck up a friendship with Holder through their work on the tennis center. One of Reilly’s favorite memories of Holder happened away from the Highland Lakes several years ago. The two traveled to a tournament site for the Roddick Tennis Series. As the weekend wrapped up, a group of young players approached Holder and thanked him for the new rackets and other equipment they received through the foundation’s tennis program.
“That’s what this is all about,” Reilly said. “Dave is a treasured friend, and I’ll miss him.”
Holder is survived by his wife, Holly; son, Michael; and sister Laura Morrow. He was preceded in death by his parents, William E. Holder and Rebecca J. Worthen Holder; brothers, Gerald Holder, Larry Holder, and Donald Holder; and sister Rebecca LeBrun.
Herrington said Holder expressed a desire to have his ashes spread near a tennis court. Instead of a formal memorial service, a tennis match will be played in his honor with date to be announced. Those wishing to do so may also make monetary donations to:
Dave Holder Memorial Tennis Fund
c/o City of Granite Shoals
2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road
Granite Shoals, TX 78654