Coach Lionel Hollins
This basketball season, every fan will need to add one must-have accessory to their list: an official Coach Hollins ringtone.
Coach Lionel Hollins’ famous whistle has been immortalized in ringtone format and is available for download via CoachHollins.com (or iTunes), in full-length 30 second and 5-second alert tone versions.
Ward Archer, owner of Memphis record label Archer Records, had the idea last season after observing Hollins whistling throughout several games. “I’ve been a fan of coach Hollins’ coaching style since I first saw him in action,” he said.
“He’s calm, but he’s commanding. He doesn’t shout, but he can whistle with the best of them. I’ve watched players react to his whistle at the other end of a basketball court in a heated playoff game with 18,000 screaming fans.”
Of course, capturing that whistle wasn’t so simple – he had to convince Coach Hollins to lend his pipes to the project.
“One night I was at a game with Boo Mitchell (of the legendary Royal Studios), and I told him about the idea,” Ward said. “He liked it, and that was the encouragement I needed. When Coach happened to walk by later on I stopped him, pitched the idea and gave him my card.”
Though he might not have been convinced then, two months later Coach Hollins showed up at Archer’s Music+Arts Studio, ready to whistle. Ward enlisted Daniel Lynn to engineer/produce the session and Brian Dixon to create graphics, website and assist on the session. The final key piece of the puzzle came from Roy Berry and Rick Steff of Lucero, who composed an arena-style beat to complete the full length 30-second dance track ringtone.
“Coach wasn’t happy with his first recording take in the studio,” Archer remembers. “When he heard the playback, he shook his head and then boom! He let out the biggest whistle of all time. Fortunately, we were able to get it on tape.”
Hollins told the Archer crew during the session that he’s been whistling at players (and referees, as the case may be) since his first assistant coaching gig.
“I don’t yell very loud, so it’s hard for a player to hear me in a loud arena, especially on the other end,” Hollins said. “It’s easier to whistle, and it pierces through the air. It’s a unique sound.”
The end result of the recording session is a set of ringtones and alert tones peppered with Hollins’ whistle and some signature phrases. As Coach would say, “Let’s do what we do.”