director Terry Holland took time out of his busy schedule to respond to
my questions. Holland
answers candidly about student fee increases, facility upgrades and the
recent discontinuation of the soccer program. Below is the full
transcript of the interview.
EG: Skip Holtz just began the second year of his five-year
contract. With media appearances, his guaranteed salary this year was
approximately $390,000. Comparatively, Al Groh, the coach whom you
hired at Virginia now has a guaranteed salary of $1.7 million. After going 5-6
this year, is there a possibility of increasing Holtz’s pay or
extending his contract?
Holtz and his staff have done a marvelous job of restoring the Pirate
pride and spirit and we hope to keep them all under contract for as
long as possible.
EG: According to Holtz, his team and this program are “still
a work in progress.” But the media and fans seemed to label the 2005
season a success. Judging from your vantage point, was this season
important than the won-loss record or the result of any particular game
is the fact that this staff and team members built a “foundation” that
can support a championship program.
EG: With the increase in overall scheduling for 2006, what
indicators will make next year successful? What are your expectations?
only goal is to put a team on the field that has an equal chance to win
against any competition on any given Saturday. As long as we are
progressing toward that goal, the won-loss record or individual game
results will eventually take care of themselves.
EG: The SGA senate recently voted to support the athletic
department’s $50 increase in student fees. The $436 fee pumps over $10
million directly into the athletic budget. Is it fair for students to
fund approximately half of the athletic budget?
ECU student fees are comparable to those at other institutions. So, I guess the correct way to look at it is
that the students are doing their part – is everyone else doing their
EG: In recent interviews, you’ve mentioned expanding
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. You’ve spoken of a six-story building that would
encompass football offices and more luxury suites. How much would this
structure cost and when do you expect it to be completed?
have clearly said that is my vision but that it is the vision of
someone who does not know what they are talking about. The Circle of
Excellence campaign includes funding for hiring someone who can tell us
what can be done and how much it will likely cost.
EG: Other facility upgrades that have been rumored are a new
ticket office, a new pirate club building, a supplemental basketball
gymnasium, a new press box, an improved track facility and horseshoeing
the football stadium. Which upgrades are the most imminent and which
ones will be completed within the next decade?
would guess that a stadium upgrade would come first and that anything
that can be included into that project will be done in that same time
EG: Your expertise is in undoubtedly is in basketball. You’ve
experienced 418 wins in 21 years at both Davidson and Virginia. While
you’ve enjoyed success, ECU never really has. How much tougher is the
building the basketball program compared to football and baseball?
TH: It is
harder simply because it has never been done so there is no tradition
to point to that helps people believe we can do it. So we have hired
coaches who have been part of building championship programs to provide
that credibility – but they can not do it without a lot of help from
all Pirate fans.
EG: Ricky Stokes and his team have stated their goal is to
have a winning season. Similar to the football question, what are your
expectations for the basketball program- both this season and beyond?
Again, building a solid foundation for success on and off the field and
court is the first step and continuing toward that goal is the next
EG: Billy Godwin was first named “interim head baseball
coach” upon Randy Mazey’s suspension. At that time, you stated that
there would be a national search at the conclusion of the upcoming
season. Instead, Godwin was named head coach on Nov. 2, 2005. Why the change?
felt that Billy Godwin was the person we wanted to lead our program and
that waiting until the end of the season would be unfair to this year’s
team as well as this year’s recruiting class. If
we could have “interviewed” Coach Godwin earlier, we would have been
able to make a simultaneous announcement. But,
of course, it was impossible to interview anyone until the decision on
Coach Mazey had been made.
EG: At Virginia, your athletic program was in contention for the Sears Cup
yearly. Most of ECU’s Olympic and non-revenue sports need significant
upgrades. What has to be done to improve programs such as golf, tennis
and cross country?
always believe that facilities are the most important investment an
athletic program can make since those facilities will serve generations
of athletes and coaches. The second level of investment would be to
hire outstanding coaches, and the third level would be scholarship
support to the maximum allowed by the NCAA.
EG: Why was the decision made on Tuesday to discontinue the
men’s soccer program?
was initiated by the need to hire a new coach - I found that I could
not ask a coach to take the position until ECU is capable of providing
the men’s soccer team with the support necessary to have a fair chance
against our conference opponents. The
record over 23 years in the CAA and C-USA of 17-151-5 means that we
have averaged less than one conference win per year for over two
decades. That is a clear indication that we have not provided the
necessary support in the past and we are not currently positioned to
provide such support.
EG: Do you think ECU will add one of the following varsity
sports within the next decade: lacrosse, hockey, wrestling, crew or
ECU has 19 sports (after the loss of men’s soccer) that means we
support more sports than other C-USA schools and more than many of our
competitors from BCS conferences with much larger budgets. Unless
someone knows something that I don’t know, I believe that until ECU’s
athletic budget is comparable to those of schools with 20 or more
sports playing Division I-A football, that ECU will not add a sport.
EG: What are the advantages and disadvantages of competing in
disadvantage is the distance from our conference opponents requiring
our teams to do a better job of non-conference scheduling to create and
keep local rivalries (as we have done in football recently).
advantage of C-USA is that we get to play in major media markets
throughout the southeast and into the southwest – Orlando,
New Orleans, Tulsa,
EG: Ever since you arrived, it’s seemed that ECU’s goal has
been to position itself for a potential move into another athletic
conference. What makes ECU a lucrative program when the next round of
are not positioning for another conference except to protect ourselves
if and when another re-alignment occurs. As we found out the hard way,
C-USA is a major source for other conferences to raid.
EG: You instilled a rigorous class attendance policy for
student-athletes causing them to lose their scholarship if they miss
three or more classes. How has the policy been received and is it
has been well received but enforcement is totally dependent on the
willingness of professors to provide the athletic department with
attendance information. About 60 percent
of the professors respond to our requests for information but we are
slowly increasing that percentage.