Dec 142012

“The search might not begin for two years. It might begin tomorrow.”

Terry Holland

On finding his replacement

By Nathan Summers

Friday, December 14, 2012

According to Terry Holland, the greatest highlights of his career are yet to happen.

Long before he became the face of East Carolina University athletics, or even before he had ever won a game as Virginia’s basketball coach, Holland learned to live by his father’s notion that you will never make a living on your press clippings.

The eight-year ECU Director of Athletics reiterated that story and that sentiment to media members on Thursday, one day after the university announced Holland would transition into the role of AD emeritus when a long-term successor can be found.

That process could take a couple of years, Holland said, but he explained that he and ECU Chancellor Dr. Steve Ballard began talking earlier this year about a natural timeline for both to find their long-term replacements.

“We’re both reaching that age when we need to start thinking about things like that, and we want to make sure that what we’re doing currently as well as in the future doesn’t impact the university negatively,” said Holland, whose name will adorn ECU’s new four-venue Olympic sports complex. “That’s when I came up with the idea, why don’t we look at the AD emeritus concept, which is essentially something that I used at the University of Virginia.”

In short, Holland is in no hurry to get out of town and claims he has no plans to retire completely.

He said with the new plan now in place, the future AD search — which he will not be a part of — can happen in a stress-free environment.

“The search might not begin for two years. It might begin tomorrow,” he said.

Although his early tenure at ECU was chiefly characterized by big coaching hires, the latter stage has been more concrete. Holland was the driving force behind a massive stadium and field overhaul that in recent years has grown from artists’ renderings to architecture that has redefined the face of the entire university.

The physical reconstruction, which Holland himself names as the signature of his career at ECU to date, is part of a vision he discussed at his initial Greenville news conference in 2004.

“We got way behind,” Holland said, referring to the state of the facilities upon his arrival at ECU. “My first trip to Central Florida was a real shocker, walking around their campus and seeing what they had done with their gym and their stadium and the practice facility for the football team. To see what they did with the buildup around the sports complex was absolutely incredible.”

A lot has changed since that tour at UCF, but Holland still has a working list of must-dos around ECU’s own flourishing athletic complex.

Foremost among the items on that list, Holland said, is a new swimming pool. Still, even Holland admits what has been accomplished already at ECU is special.

“I think we’re better off than we’ve been in a long time,” Holland said. “At the same time, there’s a lot left to be accomplished. It’s a very competitive environment that we’re in today.

“This is one of the best jobs in the country. All you have to do is coach the Pirate nation a little bit, point them in the right direction and get out of their way.”

Never one to spend the afternoon talking about himself, Holland also restated his case on conference expansion, noting that he is still committed to getting ECU’s non-football sports into a conference that best suits them for the future.

Two weeks ago, Holland and ECU announced the Pirate football team is headed to the Big East beginning in 2014, also part of a long and often tedious process for Holland and the ECU administration. Despite the prevailing opinion that the Big East is a shell of its former self, Holland said the move was well thought out, even in the face of the news that some of the league’s basketball members want to leave.

“We were very concerned about our teammates, who was going to be with us on this journey, whatever it may be and wherever we’re going, and that’s what we started looking for,” Holland said. “We said the Big East has the best teammates for us right now, so let’s take a shot at that and go build on it. We don’t want something given to us.”


Contact Nathan Summers at or 252-329-9595.

via The Daily Reflector.


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