Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, December 1, 2004
By Brian Bailey
Holland grasps magnitude of
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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
Brian Bailey Show, featuring guest Greg Thomas:
the replay of Terry Holland's Tuesday Press Conference,
in which he discussed East Carolina's search for a
football coach (recorded by Brian Bailey):
Terry Holland was growing tired of taking calls about his search for a
new football coach, so the new East Carolina AD called all of the media
together for a little “Q” and “A” to quell the clamor.
What Holland got was a room full of media, staff, Pirate Club members and
at least a couple of players.
I made the comment that we usually don’t have that type of crowd unless
we are hiring a coach or getting rid of one. Obviously, the setting for this
news conference morphed into something Holland didn't have in mind when he
And it certainly wasn’t what many among the hodgepodge of attendees had
come to see!
Still, it was an interesting meeting with a man that many of us are just
getting to know.
Holland spent the bulk of the early part of the news conference catching
everyone up to speed. He went back to the decision to make a change in the
“It was matter of answering questions both from potential new staff
members and also to recruits and their parents,” Holland said. “And not just
for one more year. That is not good enough for someone who is sending his or
her son here to play football.
"I was actually going to be required to, at some point, essentially
extend, if not in public, the coach's contract. At that time, Nick (Floyd)
and I decided that we needed to make a decision that we felt was in
everyone's best long-term interest and that another year would not help our
staff, nor would it help East Carolina University."
It was black Tuesday for coaches soon after Holland’s news conference.
First, Butch Davis resigned with the Browns. He may be headed to Florida to
take over the Gators' program. Then, Notre Dame fired Ty Willingham.
Willingham has strong ties to Eastern North Carolina, but with openings at
Washington and Stanford, the East Carolina job may not be enough to
lure Willingham home.
I met Coach Willingham at the Liberty Bowl in 1995, when East Carolina
beat Stanford in that defensive struggle. You could tell just by listening
to him that he was special, and that he would be in line for one of the top
jobs in that nation.
Now, Willingham is on the rebound. East Carolina already came up with one
amazing hire in getting Terry Holland to come to Greenville. Holland and
Willingham together would spell one word: C-L-A-S-S.
Holland refused to get into names at his Tuesday briefing. But you have
to believe that Holland was dialing 4-1-1 in South Bend early Tuesday
evening, because he knows he’ll be calling 9-1-1 if he doesn’t come up with
what many are calling the biggest hire in the history of the program.
"I think we are at a crossroads,” Holland said. “I don't think there is
any question that this is an important time in our football history. There
is no question how important football is to the university and to the
athletic department. It is an important hire, a critically important hire.
"But more important than that, it is critically important that we all get
behind the coach, whoever that coach is."
Who will that coach be? Former Florida coach Ron Zook was thought to be
the frontrunner, and then the name of Skip Holtz popped up.
Now, there’s Ty Willingham and his connections to Eastern North Carolina.
I still like Bud Foster, the outstanding assistant at Virginia Tech.
Holland did make one thing clear. If he has to wait to get the right guy,
then he’ll wait.
I think a coach needs to be here quickly for recruiting, but Holland says
that sometimes the wait is worth it.
I wonder if most Pirate fans can wait this one out. The next week should
be interesting in Greenville!
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02/23/2007 01:29:57 AM