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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, September 8, 2004
By Brian Bailey

Stars finally in alignment for ECU athletics

Search mission accomplished

East Carolina is expected to announce today that M. Terry Holland will become the university's director of athletics.
ECU chancellor Steve Ballard said that Holland, a former AD at Davidson and Virginia, had emerged in the second stage of the search process conducted by consultant Chuck Neinas..  More from Al Myatt...

Clean-up hitter found

No question, East Carolina needed a home run with its looming athletics director hire. Landing a name like Terry Holland is a towering grand slam...  More from Denny O'Brien...


Bonesville Magazine

• PAT DYE: Short on Tenure, Long on Impact

• Recruit Profiles
• Rookie Books
• Tracking the Classes
• Florida Pipeline
• NCHSAA & ECU: Smooth Sailing Again


• STEVE BALLARD: New Leader Takes Charge

• SCOTT COWEN: Busting Down the Door

• KEITH LECLAIR on ECU's Field of Dreams

• BETH GRANT: Actress Still a Pirate



Twenty years ago, with my career just starting at WNCT-TV 9, I sent a congratulatory note to Virginia basketball coach Terry Holland.

I was raised in Virginia, and grew up as a Cavalier fan. The Cavs had overachieved that year, and had gone all the way to the Final Four without Ralph Sampson.

In my letter, I explained that I was one of the few Virginia fans living in the Tar Heel state. I told Coach Holland that I had begun rooting for the Cavs during their ACC Tournament title run in 1976. I was 14 years old at that time.

I sent the letter, and thought nothing more of it.

A couple of weeks later, Holland sent me a card to thank me for taking the time to send a letter. He explained that he was from Clinton and that he watched WNCT as a child.

I’ve seen Coach Holland through the years at various ACC events and have shared the story with him. But little did I know that our paths would cross again, twenty years down the road in Greenville.

I can’t think of a better choice. A man with integrity, with character, with a winning attitude, set to take over a university desperate to move ahead on the college athletics landscape.

The official introduction will come in a press conference today, but we got a sneak preview of the reaction on the Pirate staff on Tuesday.

“I think he has a high profile,” said Pirate football coach John Thompson. “He is a guy filled with integrity. All of the background that I’ve ever heard, seen or know in terms of anything is that the guy is a quality, quality, person, first. It gives our institution, our athletic department, our players, our students, a tremendous amount of credibility.”

All of a sudden there seems to be a swelling of pride on campus, especially within the athletic staff. Every comment, both on and off the record, was positive about the former Virginia coach and athletic director.

“I think it’s a home run,” said ECU basketball coach Bill Herrion. “I don’t know if you can put a price tag on what it means. You are talking about a person who has a tremendous reputation, not only as a basketball coach, but also as an administrator. I think he is so well known and so well respected. He’s going to pay great dividends for East Carolina.”

I’ll admit, I was somewhat skeptical when Chancellor Steven Ballard talked about an A+ candidate. I wondered if the school was wasting money by hiring a consultant to get the perfect candidate.

But Holland seems to be the perfect fit. He’s a native of Clinton, NC. He is a tireless worker. He’s been a part of a movement at Virginia to get that football program to the next level.

He also lured in one of college basketball’s all-time great players in Ralph Sampson. Sampson’s injuries limited his professional career, but he was truly something special in college.

Herrion jovially daydreamed that Sampson could be part of the package.

“I was hoping maybe he’d bring Ralph,” joked Herrion. “That way we’d have someone in the middle.

“As a college basketball coach," Herrion noted in a more serious tone, "I think the respect that you have for older, more established coaches goes without saying. I’d be foolish not to lean on him a little bit, and pick his brain, coach to coach."

“I’m excited about him coming. I think he’ll be excited about our basketball team. But I also think he knows where we are and where we are going with our basketball team.”

Holland begins his new job at East Carolina on October 1st.

A couple of wins in football might provide a nice house-warming gift for the new athletic director.

Welcome to Greenville, Coach Holland. I’m thrilled that our paths cross once again!

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02/23/2007 01:29:40 AM

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