Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather





Put your ad message in front of 1,000's and 1,000's of Pirate fans. Call 252.637.2944 for flexible options & rates.





Pirate Notebook No. 334
Monday, January 21, 2008

By Denny O'Brien

Holland holds hoops hopes

By Denny O'Brien
All Rights Reserved.

Terry Holland isn’t taking a shortsighted approach to East Carolina’s hoops program.

If so, he would have awarded Mack McCarthy a long-term contract minutes after the Pirates shocked N.C. State in Greenville. Or maybe he purchases Coach Mack a one-way bus ticket following the Pirates’ embarrassing loss to NAIA member Lee University.

Either of those moves would have been ill-advised given the premature timing. The last thing East Carolina needs is a basketball transition that is grounded in emotion.

“For each of our coaching situations, we all have to discipline ourselves to look at the whole picture (at least a full season) prior to making any judgments, either positive or negative,” Holland said. “It is difficult to refrain from reacting to each loss or win.”


With each win, it’s difficult to not be encouraged by the noticeable progress the current players continuously display. On the same token, there are those disheartening losses that stir speculation about McCarthy’s prospects as the long-term solution to ECU’s basketball puzzle.

What isn’t in question is McCarthy’s track record and firm grasp of the sport’s X’s and O’s. His résumé at both Chattanooga and Virginia Commonwealth speaks for itself.

Now whether or not that translates to success at East Carolina is a different question altogether. Bill Herrion was equally successful during his time at Drexel but just couldn’t make it work in Greenville.

The exact protocol Holland will follow in determining the Pirates’ future fate isn’t exactly clear.

Does McCarthy automatically get the job if the Pirates show marked improvement? Or is he simply considered along with a list of capable, energetic candidates who are ambitious enough to pursue the waiting challenge?

What we do know is the idea that ECU can’t play quality basketball is a total myth. Those who witnessed the Joe Dooley era at East Carolina can attest that consistent, competitive roundball can exist in Greenville, and the program can attract a foundation of players gifted enough to perform at higher profile basketball schools.

The latter definitely describes Raphael Edwards, Evaldas Jocys, Jonathan Kerner and Skipp Schaefbauer. Each were prominent performers during the Dooley era who proved that it’s possible to lure players who can thrive both on the floor and in the classroom in a similar competitive climate to the one in which the Pirates currently exist.

That goes without mentioning the fact that ECU’s past recruiting efforts also landed serious interest from Darius Songaila while NBA superstar Ray Allen considered a visit.

Though neither is the type of player East Carolina is likely to land in the near future, both represent the Pirates’ proximity to turning the corner before then-AD Mike Hamrick’s careless decision to end the Dooley era.

There’s no reason to believe ECU can’t approach the same status again.

The good news is the Pirates couldn’t have a more qualified individual overseeing the hiring process. Despite the fact that Holland whiffed on the Stokes hire, there is reason to believe his next attempt will prove more fruitful.

At this stage, Holland has had sufficient time to accurately assess ECU’s hardwood profile and make a hire that diligently addresses the Pirates’ primary needs for the position. Those include the ability to upgrade talent on the recruiting front, charm students and donors, polish hidden gems with solid fundamentals, and design and execute well-devised game plans.

Finding a coach who meets those requirements — be it McCarthy or someone else — is only half the battle. The bigger, perhaps more difficult challenge is making the financial commitment that is required to run a successful program.

Because East Carolina can’t thrive on local recruits alone. Eastern North Carolina and the surrounding regions have received an increased recruiting emphasis in recent years, but there just isn’t enough talent on which the Pirates can rely.

But there is plenty to go around globally, and schools in similar circumstances have pursued foreign players with great success. If Holland lures a dynamic, engaging personality, increased ticket sales and donations that follow would help ease the financial burden.

Whether or not McCarthy is the right guy remains to be seen. The fact that Holland is showing patience should alleviate anyone’s stress over the program’s future.

Send an e-mail message to Denny O'Brien.

Dig into Denny O'Brien's Bonesville archives.

01/21/2008 12:30:46 AM

©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact:; 252-444-1905.