Insights and Observations
Monday, June 26, 2006
By Henry Hinton
ECU triumvirate busy
New leaders bring makeover
to public face of ECU
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It seems Skip Holtz has
been in Greenville much more than the year or so he actually has been here.
In just one short year, Holtz has endeared himself to the Pirate fan base
and the community.
This past week, Holtz
participated in the NGA Hooters Golf Event in Greenville. The Touchstone
Energy Open is one of the four major events for the Hooters Tour this year.
While the young pros trying to make it to the PGA tour compete in the actual
tournament Thursday through Sunday at Brook Valley Country Club, there is
ample time for the community and area celebrities to participate with them
earlier in the week.
Taking advantage of some
of the only free days available for golf, Holtz played in the pro-am events
on Tuesday and Wednesday. The affable East Carolina coach also hung around
the course and spent time with some of the young golfers and fans as well as
older ECU fans.
The consensus of those in
attendance was that Holtz genuinely enjoyed himself, and he made quite a
positive impact on them as well.
A month ago, Holtz
participated in a Camp Lejeune golf outing with some of the soldiers injured
in the Iraq and Afghan wars. Holtz said it was a sobering and motivational
experience to play with some of the men who were aided by the use of
artificial limbs and other maladies resulting from their time in battle.
Coach Holtz has an
unusually approachable style. Perhaps watching his father, who has labored
in the public eye since the 1960’s, has been a benefit, but more than that
the younger Holtz seems to genuinely enjoy contact with people. That is a
trait that is hard to find in today’s sports celebrities, considering the
day to day demands on their time.
Since his arrival in
town, Holtz has made every effort to become a factor in different
fund-raising events. The capper was his
involvement and willingness to be the protagonist
in this month’s Drew Steele-Skip Holtz Golf Classic which
raised money for special needs children
in Pitt County.
Director of Athletics
Terry Holland has been equally as generous with his time and talents. Not
only did Holland step forward and offer the department’s support and
facilities as part of that particular event but he has been equally as
helpful in other community efforts.
Holland, an avid jogger,
has participated in area 5K fund-raisers and when asked to be the Honorary
Chairman of the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce’s membership
drive earlier this year, Holland agreed.
”We’re all in this
together,” Holland said, displaying a refreshing attitude toward the
community, which is something that has sadly been missing from ECU officials
in past years.
It is possible to even
take that compliment up one more level at the university. Chancellor Steve
Ballard, too, has taken an active role in community affairs. Just this past
week, Ballard addressed the local chamber board of directors and thanked
them for their help in lobbying the legislature on the university’s behalf.
The Greenville business
community has been more active than ever in approaching key legislators on
issues such as the recent efforts to bring a dental school to ECU and the
successful efforts to fund the new East Carolina Cardiovascular Center.
Ballard has worked very
hard with Greenville Mayor Don Parrott and other city officials on a
public-private partnership which will eventually result in a downtown center
that will house various entities including a hotel and new alumni center.
The new attitude toward
the community will pay dividends in the end for the university and vice
As Holland put it, when
speaking about Holtz’s involvement in the golf event earlier this month,
“You could say this kind of thing has nothing to do with winning football
games and then again it has everything to do with winning football games.”
Holland is right. The
more unity that takes place between ‘town and gown,’ the more success will
be realized at every level of the university.
Finally, ECU has an
administration that realizes that.
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This page updated
04/21/08 07:05 PM.