Legendary Gustavus football coach and athletic director Lloyd Hollingsworth died Tuesday, August 10 at the St. Peter Community Health Care Center. Hollingsworth was 92 years old.
“Holly” graduated from Gustavus in 1936 and returned to his alma mater in 1942 as head football coach. During his very successful 15-year tenure directing the football program, Holly’s teams compiled a record of 94-33-5. Hollingsworth’s squads won or shared eight Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles including six straight from 1950-55. The Gusties were nationally ranked numerous times during Holly’s era and 13 players earned Little All-America honors. Holly also coached baseball, hockey, tennis, gymnastics and basketball at Gustavus. He was called away to serve in the military twice during his coaching career including a stint in the Navy during WWII and then with the Army during the Korean War.
In 1961, Hollingsworth retired as football coach and assumed the position as athletic director and chair of the physical education department. During his tenure, the department grew from a director with one assistant and one-woman instructor to an eleven-member organization. The academic department offered majors in physical education and health education along with certification programs in men’s and women’s coaching plus athletic training. Wrestling and soccer were added as men’s intercollegiate sports and women’s varsity competition was introduced in six sports. In addition, numerous facility adjustments and innovations were made to accommodate the growth and change. The major changes included converting the fieldhouse from a skating rink to an auditorium-gymnasium, remodeling the 1922 gymnasium into a student union, installing new lights on the football field and developing new intramural and varsity practice fields. Hollingsworth retired as the athletic director in 1975, but continued to teach until 1978.
During his undergraduate days at Gustavus Hollingsworth was a standout athlete collecting 11 letters including three in football (was named All-State center), four in baseball (played left field on the 1935 championship team) and four in gymnastics.
Hollingsworth was also very involved in activities away from the Gustavus campus, serving on the board of First Lutheran Church, the St. Peter City Council and the Nicollet County Historical Society. He was an avid vegetable gardener who shared his produce with friends and neighbors and also taught master gardening courses.
Holly leaves his wife Myrtle of St. Peter, and daughter and son-in-law Kay and Don Walsh of Boston, two grandsons and two great grandsons, all of Boston. His son, Lee preceded him in death in 1975.
Funeral services will be at 10:00 a.m. Friday, August 13 at First Lutheran Church in St. Peter.