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Read Henry Hinton's feature story on veteran Hollywood actress and ECU alum Beth Grant in Bonesville Magazine.

Henry's Highlights
Thursday, September 9, 2004

By Henry Hinton

Milestone day punctuates bold new era


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 Holland:
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Bonesville Magazine

• PAT DYE: Short on Tenure, Long on Impact

• Recruit Profiles
• Rookie Books
• Tracking the Classes
• Florida Pipeline
• NCHSAA & ECU: Smooth Sailing Again


• 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 institution.

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 one.

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 basketball arena.

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 saving.”


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02/23/2007 10:13:59 AM

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