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Don't miss Al Myatt's profile of new ECU Chancellor Steven Ballard in the 2004 Bonesville Magazine.

View from the East
Friday, September 10, 2004

By Al Myatt

Five-year plan begs questions, answers

 

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• PAT DYE: Short on Tenure, Long on Impact

• INSIDE PIRATE FOOTBALL
• Recruit Profiles
• Rookie Books
• Tracking the Classes
• Florida Pipeline
• NCHSAA & ECU: Smooth Sailing Again

• HIGH HOPES FOR HOOPS

• STEVE BALLARD: New Leader Takes Charge

• SCOTT COWEN: Busting Down the Door

• KEITH LECLAIR on ECU's Field of Dreams

• BETH GRANT: Actress Still a Pirate
 

©2004 Bonesville.net

East Carolina's future got brighter this week with Terry Holland agreeing to a 5-year contract as athletic director, a hire that spoke volumes about the potential effectiveness of the leadership of Steve Ballard.

Chancellor Ballard came aboard a Pirate ship that was listing badly and although he nearly blew a hole in the hull with his initial AD choice of Ricky Hart, the former Arizona shortstop, instead of flinching, managed to attract the highest profile addition in history to the ECU staff.

Holland is respected and connected as practically everyone with an interest in ECU athletics has been made aware the last several days. Holland has coached in Final Fours, been an exemplary AD at Davidson and Virginia, and a prime mover in major facility improvements in football and basketball in Charlottesville.

But what will he do for the Pirates? Five years from now, if he chooses to call it a career, what will be the major accomplishments of Terry Holland's athletics administration at ECU?

As the guys on ESPN occasionally do, it's time to play fact or fiction.

Will Terry fire John Thompson? Fact or fiction?

That would be fiction. Although some football coaches working for ADs who didn't hire them seem to disappear faster than ice cream on a summer day, JT will get it right before Terry has to get out his hatchet.

The 2003 season was a disaster by any reasonable measurement but several factors point out that Thompson is capable of making adjustments that will make the program a winner.

Number one, he has hired an innovative offensive coordinator, Noah Brindise, and gotten out of Brindise's way.

Number two, JT realized he needed to repair recruiting bridges in the region and hired ECU alumnus and former Williamston coach Harold Robinson to get that done, which was a major step in the right direction.

Number three, JT thought he needed more of a Type A personality for a strength and conditioning coach and brought John Grieco aboard.

All three moves indicate JT is capable of effectively evaluating his program's needs and making adjustments that will result in improvement. That's a big part of what head coaches do.

Will Terry get ECU into the Big East? Fact or fiction?

That, too, is fiction under the Big East's current alignment, which appears to be the most potentially unmanageable grouping since the Soviet Union. The Big East, circa 2005, is too big and its membership is too diverse to move forward for a lengthy period without fragmenting.

What's more likely is that the Pirates could be included in a league which will evolve as the Big East splits along football, basketball and/or geographical lines. A factor to watch there is how Bowl Championship Series inclusion evolves. Terry will be on top of that, too.

Wonder how ECU's new AD feels about a playoff system in college football?

Will Bill Herrion measure up in Terry's evaluation of what the leader of a basketball program should be? Fact or fiction?

Fact.

Terry, of course, coached in the ACC and may be a tough measuring stick in that regard. But the Pirates are just a year away from having a realistic competitive situation in Conference USA. ECU could contend for its first winning season since 1996-97 this coming year and should have a much easier time when Louisville, Cincinnati, Marquette, et al, move on to greener pastures.

Note: A Pirate shift to the Big East and this assessment will have to be re-evaluated. Another note: ECU is already an honorary member of the Big Five, based on Herrion's Philadelphia pipeline.

Will there be a smoother and quicker transition the next time ECU goes shopping for an AD? Fact or fiction?

Fact.

By giving Nick Floyd, who has served effectively as interim AD, a 5-year deal concurrent with Holland's, there are indications that the astute and visionary Dr. Ballard has already figured this one out.

Plans are for Terry to bring Nick up to speed on the finer points of fund-raising. Nick already understands how to run the department internally.

In five years, if Terry decides it's time to retire and play shuffleboard, his successor will be groomed and ready in the next office on the third floor of the Ward Sports Medicine Building.

That is, unless, another Division I-A program recognizes Nick's potential and ability and lures him away beforehand.

Will ECU ever be involved in another Friday night fiasco? Fact or fiction?

That's more fiction than "Gone with the Wind." It simply won't happen again with the same disregard for high school athletics on Terry's watch.

Will Terry wear his cap as ECU's AD in Rosenblatt Stadium? Fact or fiction?

Fact.

ECU keeps getting more and more of the pieces in place to continue as a national power in baseball. Omaha is an excellent possibility in the next five years, especially with the new stadium to host potential regional and super regional play.

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02/23/2007 12:46:29 AM
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