One of most successful coaches in the history of Salem High School is stepping down after 15 years at his alma mater. Stephen Magenbauer, who replaced legendary coach Willis White in 2004, has decided to retire from coaching after capturing a school record five state titles and compiling an overall record of 169-27.
“It is very hard to step down from a job that has meant so much to me and my family,” says Magenbauer. “However, I am very excited for Coach Don Holter to become the next head football coach at Salem High School. I know how hard he will work and how much he loves everything about Salem. He is the right man for the job.”
Holter has been an assistant coach for the Spartans on Magenbauer’s staff, since joining the school division as a special education teacher in 2015. Prior to that, he was a teacher and assistant coach at Franklin County, William Fleming and Lord Botetourt. His appointment was formally approved by the Salem School Board at Tuesday night’s meeting and Holter will assume his new post on July 1.
“I am honored and humbled to be the next head coach football at Salem High School,” says Holter. “I am truly grateful to the City of Salem, the City of Salem School Board, our administration and Coach Magenbauer for the opportunity to lead the Salem Spartans. We will work relentlessly to continue the standard and tradition of excellence here at Salem.”
Magenbauer graduated from Salem High School in 1992 and after head coaching stops at Glenvar at Hidden Valley, he was hired to take over the reins of Southwest Virginia’s premier program at the age of 30. His Salem teams averaged a staggering 11 wins a season during his tenure and from 2014-2017, the Spartans won 53 of the 57 games they played and claimed three state titles in various classifications.
“As a player, I never imagined that I could someday be the head coach of the Spartans,” says Magenbauer. “Any success I have experienced is only because of the fantastic people I have been able to work with over the years. Our assistant coaches, players, administrators and fans have been the driving forces behind our accomplishments. I just happened to be the guy who was fortunate enough to get the job.”
Magenbauer, who is retiring on his own terms, will leave teaching and coaching at the end of this school year to pursue business opportunities outside of education.
“To me, other than being a father and a husband, coaching football at Salem is the most special, unique and important job that I will ever have,” he says. “I am thankful for the opportunity that the administration gave me back in 2004 and the continued support I have received since that time has been truly amazing. I have often said that if a community does not have something to rally around, then it’s just another place to live. Thankfully, in Salem, people rally around sports and Salem High School Football.”
Holter inherits a program that has won nine state titles since 1996, and he completely understands what Salem Football means to the community. He played for Coach White in 1987, graduated from the school in 1988 and he began his coaching career as an assistant at Andrew Lewis Middle School in 2001 as a defensive coordinator under Larry Bradley. In addition, his first high school job was working under revered Salem Offensive Coordinator and line coach Billy Miles at Franklin County.
“Being a football player at Salem High School is a point of honor for those of us who have earned the right to wear that jersey with SALEM written across the chest,” says Holter. “You give all that you have to give for your brothers wearing the jersey, as well as your coaches, your school and your community. The relationships that I made and continue to maintain today run deep because of the commitment, experiences and accomplishments that we shared, and that sense of commitment and duty to do things the right way is something I carried with me my entire life.”
Holter and his wife, Melena, have two adult daughters, who are Salem High School graduates and two grandchildren, one of whom is a second grader at South Salem Elementary.