Interview With Terry Holland

Terry Holland

Interview Conducted Via E-Mail 10/6/2008

ECU Sports

ECU Sports

Terry Holland, East Carolina University’s Athletic Director and Executive Director to Chancellor Steve Ballard, continues his “Midas Touch” for college athletic programs he has played for, coached, and served as Athletic Director.

He began his basketball player at Davidson College, leading them to a #10 NCAA ranking in 1963-64 as a senior captain under Lefty Driesell.

Once Driesell left to take the Maryland job, Holland became the Head Coach of the Wildcats at just 27 years old.

Holland won 92 games in five years. He received Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors three times.

Photo by Dan Grogan

Photo by Dan Groga

In 1974, he became the University of Virginia’s head basketball coach. He led the program to two Final Fours and one NIT Championship. Most notably, he won a recruiting battle in 1979 to sign highly-touted 7’4″ center Ralph Sampson.

Then Virginia football coach George Welsh said the success of that signing trickled over to the football team. “We couldn’t recruit just on what happened in the football program,” said Welsh, “The notoriety during the Sampson years definitely helped us.” (source: InsideUVA online)

He stepped down in 1990 to take the Athletic Director position at his alma mater, Davidson. He reorganized the blueprint for athletic fundraising and is credited for the modernization of the school’s athletic department.

Holland returned to the University of Virginia as Athletic Director in 1995. He was responsible for fundraising to complete expansion of athletic facilities on campus.

He left his post in 2001 to become Special Assistant to the President of the University of Virginia.

HOLLAND: “The Special Assistant to the President position allowed me to focus on the planning for the John Paul Jones Arena instead of being distracted by the duties as AD. It was a ‘retirement track’ position, but after the arena project became a reality, I realized that I was not ready to retire.”

Holland accepted the East Carolina Athletic Director position in September 2004. One of his first moves was to hire Skip Holtz as Head Football Coach in 2004. This season, Holtz has lead the Pirates to a ranking as high as #14 in the country.

Football has created excitement amongst the student body in all East Carolina sports.

HOLLAND: “Many ECU students have grown up as fans of one ACC basketball team or another, but ECU students and fans have a great deal of pride in their school and there are fewer T-shirts with other schools’ logos than ever.”

He is now focusing his efforts on improving the ECU Men’s Basketball  team, which has only made the NCAA Tournament once since the tournament expanded to 64 teams.

Holland made a notable coaching hire so East Carolina can begin to compete for conference championships.

He named Mack McCarthy acting head coach on Aug. 9, 2007. One year later, Holland signed McCarthy to a contract through 2013.

McCarthy led East Carolina to an 11-19 record in 2007-08, the Pirates’ most wins in four years.

McCarthy is most remembered for guiding the Chattanooga Mocs to five NCAA Tournaments, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 1996-97 as a #14 seed.

Holland did not even place benchmarks for McCarthy of minimum goals when the Pirates when he hired him.

HOLLAND: “Mack understands what it takes to build a program and there are no expectations that I couple place on him that would come close to the expectations he places on himself.”

Holland does have short-term concern about basketball scheduling. When eight conference schools defected to either the Big East, A-10, and Mountain West Conferences in 2005, many preexisting rivalries and nationally-ranked opponents disappeared overnight.

HOLLAND: “Scheduling is still the number one concern as it was in rebuilding our football program. We have to play games that our fans want to see and that our recruits want to play, just as we have done in football. The loss of high-profile C-USA opponents and coaches such as Louisville, Cincinnati, Charlotte and Marquette left a huge hole in our schedule that has been difficult to replace. It will take a while to build similar rivalries with today’s C-USA opponents.”

The new and remaining members also must cope with the success of the Memphis Tigers. Memphis is 45-1 in their last three seasons against C-USA opponents and has won every conference tournament.

Since the conference restructure, the 2006 UAB Blazers are the only team to receive an NCAA Tournament at-large bid.

HOLLAND: “C-USA has been very aggressive in addressing this issue and all C-USA programs have made strong moves to improve their programs. However, Memphis has simply been so good that the gap still exists and is difficult to close.”

To attract basketball recruits in the long-term, Holland is embarking upon an effort to build a practice facility.

HOLLAND: “It is the one thing our program currently lacks. Williams Arena in the Minges Coliseum is a great home court for our teams, but they do need a practice facility.”

Terry Holland Links:

Inside UVA Online 9/3/2004: Holland’s Legacy: Winning With Class

ECU In the News 7/29/2005: Holland Recharting Pirates’ Course

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