Tennis community mourns death of Carmel High School coach Brad Holmes


By Mark Ambrogi

Brad Holmes
Brad Holmes

The Indianapolis-area tennis community is mourning the loss of Charles Bradley “Brad” Holmes.

Holmes, 56, died of a heart attack while teaching a Team Tennis class at the North Central High School tennis courts.  Brian Holmes, 51, took some solace in that his brother died doing what he loved.

“Brad was as fit as a fiddle,” Brian said. “He had an aortic dissection, which is a small leakage in your aorta and hard to detect. He collapsed and that was it.”

Holmes joined the Carmel High School tennis coaching staff in 2015-16, serving as girls freshman coach this spring. He also assisted with the varsity team.

“He had an amazing influence upon our program in a short time with his positivity and generosity,” CHS tennis coach Spencer Fields said. “He wanted us to believe in ourselves and have a great attitude.  He embodied this every day.”

A memorial service is set for 3 to 8 p.m. June 2 at Black Iris Estate, 5801 116th St., Carmel. A service will be held at 10 a.m. June 3 at Northview Christian Church, 12900 Hazel Dell Parkway, Carmel.

“Brad took to tennis as a sense of community at a young age,” Brian said. “He got so much joy and confidence out of that he wanted to pass it on to others to make that same positive experience for everybody. He was a teacher by nature. He really like the tutelage part and focusing it on the positive.”

Holmes had previously coached at Park Tudor, Heritage Christian, Noblesville, North Central and Northview Middle School.

Holmes was a tennis pro/personal trainer at Indianapolis Racquet Club for more than 30 years. He had a 37-year affiliation with the Washington Township tennis program.

“He was definitely a happy-go-lucky guy,” tennis pro Rick Witsken said. “We met at Starbucks a couple of weeks ago and talked how we could create harmony in the Indianapolis tennis community.”

Holmes and Brian, who lives in Geist, both played tennis at North Central High School. Both attended Ball State and were active alumni of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.

Holmes and his son Ben, 17, have traveled to 49 of the 50 states. The 50th visit was going to be after Ben graduated from North Central in 2017. Brian said the trip will be made and Ben will scatter his father’s ashes there.

Holmes also is survived by his ex-wife Jennifer (Zatorski) Holmes, sister-in-law Diane (Liotti) Holmes, niece Ashley, 23, nephews Hunter, 18, and Hayden, 13.

In lieu of flowers, a charitable trust has been established through PNC Bank (donations may be made at any location) to fund annual tennis scholarships in Holmes’ memory.