Retired ECU Athletic Director Terry Holland speaks to fans following a ceremony in which the Olympic Sports Complex on campus was named in his honor. (Photos by Jay Clark)

University names athletic venue for Terry Holland

Nov. 21, 2014

By Doug Boyd
ECU News Services

Terry Holland, who led the East Carolina University athletics department during one of the Pirates’ most successful periods, was honored by the school today as it named one of its sports venues after him.

The Terry Holland Olympic Sports Complex is home to the 1,000-seat ECU Softball Stadium, the 1,000-seat Johnson Soccer Stadium, the eight-lane Bate Track Facility and a 20,000-square-foot administrative building. The $25 million site on Charles Boulevard was completed in 2011.

Under sunny but cool skies, current and former ECU officials talked about the confident hand the Clinton native and former college basketball coach brought during an unsteady time.

“You can say it any way you want to say it: Terry Holland is an ECU icon,” said Robert Lucas, former chair of the ECU board of trustees. “He brought instant credibility to ECU. He rescued ECU athletics.”

Holland served as ECU athletic director from 2004 to 2013. He arrived at a time when the Pirate football team had won three games in two seasons. But that – and the fortunes of other ECU athletic programs and facilities – quickly changed.
Ann Holland gives her husband Terry a hug during the event recognizing his contributions to the university.

During his tenure, the gridiron Pirates won Conference USA football titles in 2008 and 2009 and made six bowl appearances. The men’s basketball team won the CollegeInsiders.com Postseason Tournament in 2013.

In addition, Holland led efforts that resulted in a 7,000-seat expansion of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, completed in 2010.

Though finances were tight, Holland also found a way to build facilities for softball, track and other “Olympic” sports that matched what the football and baseball teams had.

“Terry had this project on go, pushed through, and we have one of the most outstanding Olympic sports venues thanks to his hard work,” said Robert Brinkley, chair of the ECU board of trustees.

Holland credited a “team effort” for his accomplishments in Greenville, not only in terms of facilities but also success in sports and in the classroom.

“If you have the right motivation, you’d be surprised at what you can accomplish,” he said.

During Holland’s administration, East Carolina earned regular season and tournament championships or qualified for NCAA post-season appearances in baseball, women's basketball, men's and women's golf, women's soccer, softball, women's swimming, and men's and women's track.

In the classroom, a total of 973 Pirate student-athletes were selected to the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll, and 213 have been the recipient of the league's top academic medal since 2008 alone. During the 2009-2010 year, nine ECU sports netted a perfect Academic Progress Rate score of 1,000.
ECU Board of Trustees chairman Robert Brinkley presents remarks at the Nov. 21 event honoring Terry Holland.

In addition, Pirate Club membership soared past 17,000, and fundraising scholarship coffers climbed above $6.4 million for the first time.
Plans for the $17 million Smith-Williams Center, a basketball practice facility, also began under Holland's guidance.

In 2012, Holland’s tireless efforts in conference realignment were rewarded when the Pirates were extended a football-only membership invitation to the Big East Conference. Four months later, ECU accepted an all-sports offer in the league, which was renamed the American Athletic Conference.

Women’s sports at ECU achieved “fully funded” status during Holland’s leadership, meaning the 10 women’s teams were able to offer the maximum number of scholarships allowed by the NCAA.

Jeff Compher, ECU’s current athletics director, said Holland’s accomplishments and national goals for ECU are what lured him to the job as his successor.

“Those expectations are exactly what attracted me to ECU,” Compher said. “We are undaunted thanks to you, Terry.”

Holland has served as athletics director emeritus since Compher was hired in 2013.

Holland earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Davidson College in 1964 and three letters as a member of the Wildcats' varsity basketball program. He began his coaching career at Davidson as an assistant coach in 1964 and was soon promoted to the top position five years later, where he earned three Southern Conference Coach-of-the-Year selections.

He went to the University of Virginia in 1974 as head men's basketball coach, and over the next 16 seasons became the most successful coach in Cavalier history, with a record of 326-173. He led the Cavaliers to an Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship in 1976, Final Four appearances in 1981 and 1984 and a National Invitation Tournament title in 1980 while earning two ACC Coach-of-the-Year awards.

In 1990, he returned to Davidson to become its athletic director, but five years later he was back in Charlottesville to take on similar duties at Virginia. In 1999, the Charlotte Observer named him one of the 50 most influential figures in ACC basketball history.

In all, Holland completed his coaching career with a total of 418 wins in 21 seasons, an average of 19.8 wins a year. His NCAA Tournament record of 15-10 stands among the top 20 in history for coaches who have appeared in 10 or more postseason games.

He remained active in basketball circles after his coaching career as a member of the powerful NCAA Basketball Committee, chairing the panel in 1997. He served on the Senior National Team Committee of USA Basketball from 1992 through 1996 and chaired the organization's Collegiate Committee.

Holland, 72, and his wife, Ann, are the parents of two daughters, Kate and Ann-Michael, and the grandparents of two boys and one girl – Holland, Harrison and Eliza-Grey.

ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard, right, congratulates Holland at the recognition ceremony.