ARTICLE OF THE DAY
 
Editor's Note:  The following is in response to an article written by Eric Gilmore on 9/22/05.  The article was pulled off line on 9/23/05 and no longer appears on the Pirate Radio website.

A Message from Terry Holland

by Terry Holland
9/29/05


By now, most Pirate fans know that I welcome the opportunity to answer questions and enjoy the chance for constructive debate on almost any issue.

Before attempting to address some of the issues you raised in your "Article of the Day" on 9/22/05, I feel the need to clarify my understanding of the athletic director’s position at ECU.  First and foremost, I do not believe my job description would include "catering" to any particular group.  As much as I can humanly do so, my job is to keep ECU's long-term best interests in the forefront regardless of the agendas of various individuals or groups.

You noted that "Since his arrival, Holland has attempted to get Pirate fans on the same page" and that means I have to address the issues that have divided us.  In many cases, these are complicated and, sometimes, emotional issues - if they were not difficult to address, they would never have divided us. 

Addressing fan behavior that prevents others from enjoying sporting events is a national issue, not a local one.  My expectation for ECU is that we should be willing to address difficult issues and resolve them in manner that projects ECU as a "leader" and not a "follower" - and definitely not as a "second-class imitation."

In my 45+ years in intercollegiate athletics, I have seen some great home court support but I cannot recall one single game that was won by cursing the opponents, the officials and/or the opponents' fans.

My personal experience would clearly indicate that you do not win individual games by such "irrational" behavior and that you definitely do not build a successful program with that type of behavior.  I can personally cite examples of excellent students and excellent athletes who refuse to consider certain outstanding institutions because of the way a brother, sister, etc..., was treated at a sporting event at that institution. That may not have much impact on an institution that recruits nationally for students and its athletes, but I sincerely believe that if ECU "fouls its own nest" in this manner, the price we will pay (not just in athletics) is greater than we can imagine..

You make a polite threat that students could decide to withhold their contributions to athletics if the athletic director espouses a philosophy contrary to what happens (in your words), "when you combine alcohol with plenty of irrational twenty-something's."

While we all may occasionally act irrationally on game days, we should try to avoid allowing such behavior to enter our daily lives.  Should students withhold tuition dollars from the economics department because a professor is "banging his head against the wall" teaching students that massive credit card debt is contrary to their own long-term self-interest in spite of the immediate pleasure they may get from their purchases?  Should students withhold fees from programs that advise students on alcohol, drug, conflict resolution or other self- destructive behaviors?

I believe that the kinds of behavior we are talking about minimizing are equally self-destructive and, more importantly, have a negative impact on this university as a whole.  As much as I personally love to win, if that is what it takes to win, then count me as a "loser." 

I respect the right of our students and other fans to behave in whatever manner they chose to behave. However, just as with other teachers and counselors here at ECU, it is my job to make sure our students understand the consequences of their actions to the best of my ability based on my own personal knowledge and experience.

From a personal standpoint, I also reserve the right to refuse to be a part of something that stands in stark contrast to basic human civility and respect.  Without those guiding (and limiting) forces, we all are less than we could be.

Terry Holland