Dr. Dave Holmquist is the fifth head coach in four-year college men’s basketball history to earn 1,000 career coaching victories. On Saturday in Irvine his upstart Eagles defeated Concordia University Irvine by a final tally of 73-51 to hand Holmquist number 1,000.
“I just feel very blessed and thankful to have worked at Biola all these years,” said Holmquist. “To be able to have worked for the kind of people I’ve been able to work with the players and the administrators and other faculty. It’s just been a great experience.” Following the win, he has an all-time head coaching record of 1,000-409 (.710). The win comes 45 years, 1 month and 21 days after his first college head coaching victory, which came when he was leader of the Fresno Pacific Vikings for three years in the 1970s.
“Coach Holmquist is the type of leader that sees and brings out the best in others,” said Dr. Bethany Miller, senior director of athletics. “He has done this since 1978 in the lives of countless students and staff members.This historic win mark is a reflection of both his intense competitiveness and coaching prowess as well as his deep relational care for people.It is a gift to work with him and learn from him! We are looking forward to the time when we can celebrate coach Holmquist in person together.” In the late 1970s he came back to his alma mater and has since rattled off 40 incredible seasons with nearly 970 wins while in charge of the Eagles. Getting the win at CUI was meaningful, since this game was played one day before the 23rd anniversary of Holmquist’s 500th win, which happened inside CU Arena back in 1998.
As the game wound into its final minute, coach Holmquist could be spotted as relaxed as can be at his spot on Biola’s physically-distanced team bench. He had his hands behind his head and was able to take some time to soak it all in. It was a welcome relief for Holmquist, as he recalled that 500th win on this floor as a stressful one from start-to-finish before his team walked away with a six-point win.
There was not much to stress about on Saturday night as Biola completed the season sweep of the Concordia Irvine Eagles (4-0) and finished up their COVID-19 shortened regular season with a brilliant 8-3 (8-2 PacWest) record.
“There’s just been so many people that have contributed to my life. So the main thing would be the relationships, the friendships, the memories that go along with that,” said Holmquist. CUI hung in there for a few minutes in the first half, but once Biola used a 13-point run in the middle part of the period to pull out to a 29-17 lead the game was starting to show indications of the eventual win. Three members of Biola’s starting five (Alex Wright, Jesse Elrod, Chris Rossow) hit three-pointers to help Biola build that game-changing run.
Those three, plus Michael Bagatourian, combined for 56 of Biola’s 73 points in this one. Wright was the game’s leading scorer with 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting. Biola shot 57.1 percent from the floor, which was it’s second-best effort of the season. Holmquist’s side was also extremely disciplined on defense, committing only seven personal fouls all night long while forcing 16 Concordia turnovers. The seven fouls was a new season-low and is one of just three times over the past two years the team’s committed a single-digit number of fouls.
The 51 points allowed is also a new season-best. It’s the lowest tally Biola’s allowed to an opponent since it held the Dominican Penguins to 45 last January. This is the fifth time on coach Holmquist’s road to 1,000 that the milestone victory came on the road and sixth time it came against a league/district opponent. Concordia Irvine is the only opponent to be on his “milestone win” list twice. Not only is this win important because of the incredible milestone, but it also puts Biola in a very good position relative to its consideration for the NCAA Regional Championship to be held at Colorado School of Mines in mid-March.
This next week the Eagles will find out exactly where they sit as full regional rankings will be released for the first time. This year’s regional tournament will feature six teams from the PacWest Conference, GNAC and RMAC.
Wright (20), Rossow (16), Bagatourian (12) and Maximo Milovich (11) all finished the game as double-digit scorers. Rossow was an efficient 5-for-8 and added four assists and a pair of steals. Bagatourian soared out of the gates to help Biola stay afloat in the tight first few minutes. He began the game 4-for-4 and scored eight of the Eagles’ first 14 points. He’d finish 6-for-7 and finished the game tied with Alex Wright for the team-lead with seven rebounds. Biola will play a make-up game against Point Loma on Saturday, March 6 at 7 p.m. The game will be hosted at Concordia Irvine, but streamed live at the Biola Athletics YouTube.