Insights and Observations
Read Henry Hinton's
feature story on veteran Hollywood actress and ECU alum
Beth Grant in
Thursday, September 9, 2004
By Henry Hinton
Milestone day punctuates bold
Talk of the Town:
Replay yesterday's show with Henry Hinton and guest
host Suzanne Sartelle, featuring Hinton's interview
with incoming East Carolina athletics director Terry
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• PAT DYE: Short on Tenure, Long on Impact
• INSIDE PIRATE FOOTBALL
• Recruit Profiles
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• 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
Biggest hire in East Carolina history? We’ve heard that
this week. Most credible person Dr. Steve Ballard could have brought in as
Athletics Director? Heard that too.
Maybe Ballard’s hiring of Virginia basketball coaching
legend Terry Holland is simply a consensus slam dunk.
Perhaps former ECU coach and Holland’s close friend
Dave Odom summed it up best of all.
“Simply put, it is a perfect fit” said Odom, now the
head coach at South Carolina in a Tuesday interview on Talk 1070. “You
couldn’t find a better person in a better position at this time in his life
and at this time in the history of the university.”
At age 62, if there is any question about Holland’s
energy level and desire for day to day involvement in a job as large as the
one he has just accepted, it should be put to rest by Odom’s pronouncement
that “I have not seen Terry this excited since we (UVa) went to the final
four in ’83.”
Odom undoubtedly played a significant role in brokering
a deal between ECU and his ex-boss, Holland, who had just completed his role
as the major fundraiser for the new basketball arena in Charlottesville.
Ballard formally announced Holland's hiring at a
Wednesday morning press conference in the Murphy Center which included a
large gathering of Pirate fans.
The moment seemed to be one of great significance in
Pirate history as Ballard, who looked like a proud father, stepped to the
microphone to introduce Holland. The ECU chancellor thanked Nick Floyd for
his work as the interim department head and again made mention of the fact
that Floyd had also earned a new five-year contract in the new arrangement
as senior associate director of athletics.
In a classy move, Ballard mentioned that former ECU
baseball coach Keith LeClair had been involved in the decision and thanked
LeClair for his counsel and assistance.
Then, in a telling and self-deprecating moment before
bringing Holland to the mike, Ballard also joked about the rumored jump
start just before his arrival in Greenville when he reportedly offered the
job to Oklahoma athletic administrator Rick Hart.
“I’d like to thank (Board of Trustees Chairman) Jim
Talton for not talking about my decision making in May,” joked Ballard, a
surprising reference to the Hart affair. After that, however, the moment
belonged to Holland.
The huge crowd had come to meet a legend and hear how
he would get ECU athletics back on track. In a manner that only strong
leaders with small egos and great confidence are able to exact, Holland
turned the tables on the Pirate faithful.
The new AD did not talk about his past or his game plan
for ‘fixing’ this place. Instead, he congratulated ECU and apologized to the
folks in attendance for not knowing — in spite of his relatively close
proximity over the years — more about what had been going on at this great
Holland talked about the accomplishments of ECU's past.
He spoke of his great admiration for the people he had met, including
Ballard and Floyd. And he assured the crowd that East Carolina did not need
a rebuilding job.
One could almost believe Holland when spoke of the
recent past in Greenville, choosing his words carefully and gently stating
that ECU has just gotten a little “distracted.”
“When you get distracted this is a competitive
business,” Holland said. “When you’re distracted and lose your focus that is
when things can start to go wrong.”
It is the proverbial ‘clean slate,’ is it not? New
chancellor. New AD. New attitude. It is the stuff of which motivational
books and management seminars are made.
For Pirate basketball coach Bill Herrion, one has to
imagine there are many benefits to Holland joining the ECU team. Certainly
Holland’s connections and national reputation can help Herrion as he
continues to try and attract good basketball talent to Greenville.
Holland can certainly be a benefit in trying to
schedule some big name schools to play the Pirates. Odom joked that Holland
might be able to get his Gamecocks to Minges Coliseum.
Perhaps the largest benefit to Herrion, who continues
to try and build a winning basketball tradition at ECU against some huge
odds, is that Holland has the ability to recognize a good coach when he sees
As ECU continues to struggle to become competitive in
Conference USA, a guy like Terry Holland will know ‘if’ Herrion is doing the
right things on and off the floor to get better. That is an advantage most
basketball coaches do not have.
Terry Holland is already a proven fundraiser, having
helped UVa just complete a $130 million capital campaign for its new
He did not let the moment of his hiring go by without
at least one fundraising quote. “Our problems are the same everyone else
has,” said Holland about ECU. “No matter what your budget is, you need
another 5 million dollars right now to be competitive.”
The coming days will likely not be as bright or as much
fun as Wednesday for the new Pirate AD. For now, however, Holland is being
looked upon as the proverbial savior of a program — even if he believed it
when he said, in his opening press conference, “this place doesn’t need
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