Mar 082013


Friday, March 8, 2013

It was widely considered a coup when East Carolina University introduced Terry Holland as the school’s new athletic director in September 2004. The former basketball coach and athletic director at the University of Virginia brought an impressive resume to the position and helped lead a remarkable period of growth and success for Pirate sports before last year announcing his intention to depart.

It was announced by East Carolina officials on Wednesday that into those shoes will step Jeff Compher, the director of athletics at Northern Illinois University. With an impressive record of preparing student-athletes to achieve both on and off the field, Compher may prove to be another coup for East Carolina and the Pirate Nation should welcome him warmly.

As East Carolina’s fortunes go, so follow those of Greenville and Pitt County. The university is more than a leading employer in this community. It acts as the very engine powering the local economy, hosts innumerable cultural events each year and is the embodiment of regional pride, which is often played out through intercollegiate athletics.

It is no stretch to say that Holland helped improve that landscape. His leadership saw the construction of several new athletic facilities, including a track and soccer complex, a softball stadium, expansion of the football stadium and construction of a new basketball practice facility. He brought in coaches who won conference championships, including many still in place, and helped the school gain entry to the Big East Conference.

It was evident from his introductory press conference on Wednesday that Compher sees his mission to expand that record in the coming years.

The 53-year-old comes to Greenville after five years at the DeKalb, Ill., school, where the Huskies competed and won conference championships while never shirking a commitment to academic achievement. Previous stops at Western Carolina University, the University of Washington, Vanderbilt University and — yes Pirate partisans — N.C. State give him extensive experience and North Carolina knowledge.

Compher set a mission of making Pirate sports the best in the conference and appeared to recognize the very special relationship that exists between those who wear purple and gold on the field and those who bleed it in the stands. The challenge before Compher will be considerable but Holland ensured that many of the pieces are already in place. The East Carolina faithful will therefore be looking for the new athletic director to pick up where his predecessor left, ushering in a new era for this community.

via The Daily Reflector.


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