Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, September 8, 2004
By Brian Bailey
Stars finally in alignment for
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..
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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
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
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
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