has been the athletics director at East Carolina for just over one
year, but he has already made wholesale changes to the three main
revenue sports football, basketball and baseball. So much for easing
into the job.
The former University of Virginia basketball coach is leading a fast
break of change. Like a good point guard, he is having to make tough
decisions to try and keep everyone happy, yet not commit a violation,
and ultimately win the game. He is being paid well to do so ($282,000 a
year), and he is not backing down from the challenge.
With change, there are going to be critics who voice their opinion.
It's a job hazard. I, for one, thought Bill Herrion deserved another
year as the Pirates basketball coach. Was it a good decision? Only time
will tell. No leader should be followed blindly, all authority should
be questioned to make sure they are not abusing their power. It's what
made our country great.
I don't think Terry Holland is power hungry or a poor leader. Quite the
contrary. I think he is a man of integrity. Holland appears organized
and seems to understand what makes people tick. He treats people with
respect (although some of the coaches who have been dismissed would
probably beg to differ). He shakes your hand firmly and looks you
square in the eye when he talks to you. He always smiles and seems
sincere, and I can't find a police record anywhere.
I think he expects the same of the coaches who work for him. When he
sees something he doesn't like, he isn't afraid to make a change,
even if they are running a winning program like Randy Mazey was doing
with the baseball team. I don't know why a change was made, but I am
guessing it was a series of straws that broke the camel's back. It's
been well documented that two assistant coaches left amid turmoil, and
a couple of players transferred. I am confident Holland had a
sufficient reason for Mazey's dismissal, but I would feel better if it
was made public. But part of Holland's philosophy is not to air dirty
laundry for fear of causing a division among the Pirate fans.
I have dealt with many athletics directors in my 15 years in
television. Many hide when it's time to talk about the tough
subjects. Terry Holland has not been one of those. He may not answer
all the questions right away (he waited two weeks for the football
season before addressing the firing of John Thompson), but he was
visible and would talk off the record.
Not everything turns to gold with Terry's touch. I am sure he would
like to have another crack at a national championship with those Ralph
Sampson led teams. But he made the right decisions to run a very
successful program for 21 years, averaging 20 wins a season. It's
consistency that is the sign of great leaders, and Holland has been
consistent in making change. Now we have to wait and see if these
changes work out. But Pirate fans should be confident based on
Holland's track record.