Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Thursday, March 17, 2005
By Brian Bailey
Holland slips an ace out of
If I see Terry Holland at the
poker table, I’ll simply move on.
Holland has the perfect poker
face. On Tuesday at noon, he
didn’t have a leading candidate for
his vacant head coaching position.
Just hours later, he had a
deal and was planning a news conference.
Lashawn Merritt may go down as
the only Pirate faster then Terry Holland.
Ironically, the name Ricky
Stokes was one of the first to surface when the position first came open.
Sometimes the pieces of the puzzle just fit.
I asked Holland on Wednesday
if his Tuesday news conference was just a “white lie.”
Holland explained it this way:
“After the news conference we
went back to work on our list. Ricky was on that list and had shown a great
deal of interest in the job.
"When he mentioned Mack
McCarthy as part of a potential staff, we got to thinking. Mack was also on
our list. We thought that if we could get them both, then this might be the
way to go.”
McCarthy, of course, is the
highly-regarded former head coach at Chattanooga and Virginia Commonwealth.
Stokes was obviously elated
with a second chance at a head coaching position. He was just 45-70 in four
seasons at Virginia Tech.
Like Bill Herrion at East
Carolina, Stokes faced long odds in moving the Hokies from the Atlantic 10
to the Big East. Herrion had the unenviable task of moving ECU from the
Colonial Athletic Association to Conference USA.
“It was tough,” Stokes said.
“I thought we were making progress at Virginia Tech, but it apparently
wasn’t enough. I learned a great deal as a head coach and can’t wait to get
Even though he didn’t win at
Tech, Stokes evidently recruited. It was basically Stokes’ recruits that
Seth Greenberg used in running out to a fourth place finish in the ACC this
past year. Greenberg was also the ACC’s Coach of the Year for 2005.
“Building a program is a
process and there’s no doubt that the foundation Ricky laid has enabled us
to enjoy the success we have now,” said Greenberg. “Ricky Stokes is a great
person and a great evaluator of talent. Successful players in our program
today, like Carlos Dixon and Coleman Collins, are here because of his
Take away the four years at
Tech, and Stokes’ resume is most impressive.
He played an active role on
coaching staffs which made nine NCAA Tournament appearances since 1991.
Those years include two Sweet Sixteen and one Elite Eight appearance.
Stokes' introductory press conference:
Select audio clip
Overall, Stokes is a 13-time
NCAA Tournament veteran, including two appearances in the Final Four while a
player under Holland at Virginia.
While Stokes may have still
gotten the job eventually, it appears that his ability to get McCarthy on
board may have been the clincher.
McCarthy spent this past year
with the Georgia Tech women, but before that he had tremendous success at
both Chattanooga and VCU. He is a tremendous asset to the Pirate program.
While the student body was at
spring break this week, three Pirate players still made their way to the
news conference for the announcement.
Corey Rouse, Taylor Gagnon and
Jeremy Ingram were all on hand for Stokes’ introduction.
“I think he is a great coach,”
said Ingram. “He recruited me out of high school, so I’ve known Coach Stokes
for a while. I’m looking forward to playing for him.”
The entire Pirate nation
wasn’t thrilled with the choice. Many looked at Stokes’ losing record at
Virginia Tech as his main blemish.
Holland, though, sees
something in Stokes and in the coaching duo of Stokes and McCarthy.
Just don’t challenge Terry
Holland at a game of Texas Hold’em!
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02/23/2007 01:31:36 AM