Holland is the rain doctor
that finally cured the Purple Fever

by Eric Gilmore

The Pirate hard luck and bad news of the better part of two years has finally subsided. Last week, Terry Holland delivered Pirate faithful some much needed good news. This whole out of conference slate has to be the beginning of the end of the huge rain cloud that has been held over Greenville since I’ve arrived in 2003.

Remember those “Fire Holland” t-shirts at one of the last home basketball games? What about the open letters that clearly shot back at some of the Pirate backers questioning his decisions? Holland has been dignified the entire way. Now with the recent good news and fresh start to an entire new school year, only good things are on the horizon. But to able to reach that peak one day, the Pirate Nation has to understand their enormous valley.

It started with the conference realignment. If the ACC had expanded three years ago or even in three years, the Pirates surely would have been selected into the Big East. Everything shook down at the program’s lowest point in years.

The football team continued to spiral out of control. John Thompson didn’t connect with his players. He embarrassed the Pirates on national television several times. In fact, he completely ruined what had been the featured sport for so many years.

Many fans liked Bill Herrion. The New Englander was always just a couple of players from winning. But his teams lacked chemistry and clear fundamentals. He never got those players or had enough at one time to sustain any amount of wins.

Most recently the baseball team has been in turmoil. The Diamond Bucs experienced an arguably disappointing season after many had hoped that they would jump to a nationally elite program. Instead, the Pirates were hit by a slew of injuries and settled for fourth in the conference standings.
With last week’s announcement and July 1 on the brink, all of that negativity is over. This purple fever campaign can finally be put to rest. Its clear sailing compared to the treacherous waters Holland’s program experienced. It’s clear from 10 months atop the helm that the “trust Terry” mantra is well alive.

Through all the shake-downs, firings and the hiring, he has remained true to his goal. He will continue to be the best ambassador for ECU athletics and the Pirate Nation should now do their part to back one of its most respected leaders.

It’s time to celebrate. At a time when ECU was a complete crossroads, Holland has steered everything in the right direction. Dowdy-Ficklen will be sold out again and even the scalpers will make money.

This new league is not ideal for travel expenses and geography. Yet, it is a league where the Pirates can win and win quickly. The lower rung teams are excited about moving up. And the Pirates should be excited about being hunters to those teams instead of prey for the larger budget teams.

There is a new attitude in the football schedule. There is a new conference that officially starts on July 1. There is a renewed sense of pride in being a Pirate. After all, the peak will feel that much better after the last two years.

Eric Gilmore