College Sports in the Carolinas
Don't miss Al Myatt's
profile of new ECU Chancellor Steven Ballard in the 2004
from the East
Friday, September 10, 2004
By Al Myatt
Five-year plan begs
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PAT DYE: Short on Tenure, Long on Impact
INSIDE PIRATE FOOTBALL
Tracking the Classes
NCHSAA & ECU: Smooth Sailing Again
HIGH HOPES FOR HOOPS
New Leader Takes Charge
SCOTT COWEN: Busting Down the Door
KEITH LECLAIR on ECU's Field of Dreams
BETH GRANT: Actress Still a Pirate
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
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?
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
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?
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?
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