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Friday, November 8, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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UW Football

Catching up with Ron Holmes: Ex-Husky expects UW to hit .500

Seattle Times staff reporter

Ron Holmes' new job running a commercial and industrial cleaning business sometimes prevents him from getting to Husky Stadium on game days. He had to miss last week's reunion of the 1982 Rose Bowl team to finish a job on a 250,000-square-foot building.

But like most of the Huskies who were a part of the school's 25-year run of seasons .500 or better, he's watching closely to see that that streak continues.

"There've been a lot of blood, sweat and tears go into that,'' Holmes said. "That didn't come easy by any means. There have been guys on that field many times facing that 6-5 or 5-6 record and they pulled it out of the mud, and I'm expecting these guys to do it. I don't expect any less from them then they expected from me when I played. I expect to see them do it.''

Holmes is able to watch more closely now after moving back to Olympia in 1999 and starting up his cleaning business following an eight-year NFL career after he graduated from UW in 1984.

Holmes, who played at Timberline High School in Lacey, was a three-year starter for the Huskies as a defensive tackle, and left as the school's all-time sack leader and is still No. 2. He was an All-American on the 1984 team that went 11-1 and finished No. 2 in the country after beating Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.

"When you go on a football field and do battle, you have to believe in your leaders, and we always believed in Coach (Don) James and the guys who surrounded them," said. "They put in a game plan that was easy for us to buy into. The nation didn't believe that we could beat Oklahoma, but as a team, the coaches knew that we could. It wasn't that we had a great shot of winning — we were expected to win."

He was drafted in the first round by Tampa Bay and spent four frustrating seasons there before moving on to Denver.

"We drafted Bo Jackson and didn't get him, and had Steve Young and got rid of him,'' Holmes said of his Tampa Bay years. "It was like 'How dumb can we be?' ''

With Denver, Holmes got to play in Super Bowl XXIV, only to lose to San Francisco, 55-10.

"We got blown out, but I've had a ton of other guys ask me what that experience was like," Holmes said. "There's only two teams left standing at the end, and if you get shot down in the final gun fight, it sure beats coming out of the bunker and getting blown up on the first one."

After moving around a bit following his NFL career, Holmes finally decided to come back to the Olympia area, where he lives with his wife and two children.

"People see me on the streets and can't believe I'm here,'' he said. "For the longest time, I would never come back here. It wasn't that I didn't like it. I was always trying to move and keep going. Then one day I said I wanted to plant my roots somewhere. I decided to plant it where it all started and see what happens."

Bob Condotta: bcondotta@seattletimes.com.

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