Terry Holland: Go East (Carolina), young man

Terry Holland is never going to retire. Why else would this UVA institution sign up for a five-year stint as East Carolina University's athletic director when he could be resting on his laurels and enjoying his sweet Bryant Hall office overlooking the field at Scott Stadium?

Earlier this year, Holland caused some jaws to drop by announcing he would step down as special assistant to President John Casteen and relinquish his role as the chief fundraiser for the new arena under construction on Emmet Street. He says he's excited about East Carolina University– even though its reputation doesn't extend far beyond Greenville.

"Those people have worked hard to make a great university, and it's economically critical to the area," he says. "Both my wife and I can make a difference there."

Still, to go from the prestigious Ivy League of the South and the now super-charged ACC to a school once known as EZU in the unheard of Conference USA? It's easy to see what ECU will get out of it, but what about Holland?

"I'm only interested in situations where I can make a difference," says Holland. "That's why I went to Davidson and now to ECU."

So can we expect to see East Carolina join the ACC anytime soon? Holland laughs.

"That's what they expect me to do." He does predict an upgrading of the conference at least to one people have heard of, like the Big East.

He's worked miracles before. Holland and Ralph Sampson took Virginia out of the basement of ACC basketball. Post-Ralph, Holland took the team to the Final Four to make his 16-year tenure the winningest in Cavalier coaching history. After five years as athletic director at his alma mater, Davidson College, Holland returned to UVA to become AD for six years. In 2001, he turned to fundraising for the new arena, and he has raked in nearly $90 million.

Holland acknowledges the necessity of athletic fundraising, but he also warns of the pitfalls of "selling the equity" to donors and corporations.

"Maybe it's as mundane as television timeouts" (which force stadium-goers to sit tight for broadcast commercials), he says. "It can also mean donors or investors can vote with their pocketbooks, and ask for a change of coach."

It's no secret that Holland's partial to basketball and football. But what's the consummate athletic director's least favorite sport? Holland refuses to dignify that one.

"I always kid the soccer people about making the goals bigger, or tell them people fight in the stands because they're so bored," he says, but Holland insists he's only joshing.

As his days in Charlottesville wind down and his October start date in Greenville draws near, Holland has only one or two more home football games– only two more times he'll be booted from his Bryant Hall office, which doubles as a Scott Stadium skybox.

"I've got the best lawn in town, and I don't have to cut the yard," he points out.

Where does he plan to watch the homecoming contest against Akron?

"The football field," he replies. "That way, no one can talk to me, and I can watch the game."

Age: 62

Why here? Great hoops fans and Gene Corrigan offered me the opportunity to coach the team.

Worst about living here? No salt water– I need to soak my feet in it with a fishing pole in hand pretty regularly.

Favorite hangout? U-Hall

People would be surprised to know: I love playing practical jokes on my friends, which at times have come close to making them ex-friends.

What would you change about yourself? I try not to spend time on things I can't change.

Proudest accomplishment? Hiring (and recruiting) good people

People find most annoying about you: They can't tell when I'm serious from when I'm kidding them.

Whom do you admire? I honestly try to find something to admire about everyone I know.

Favorite book? Anything by John Steinbeck, or Charles Kuralt's essays from On the Road

 Subject that causes you to rant? Mixed messages to our athletes on the importance of academics

Biggest 21st-century thrill? Grandson, Holland Baynard, who lives in Wilmington, NC

Biggest 21st-century creep out? Reality TV

What do you drive? '66 Mustang convertible. My long leg hits the door handle when I let the clutch out, and that creates some thrilling moments if you're turning right at the same time.

In your car CD player right now: Do I look like the kind of person who can operate a CD? Elton John's Greatest Hits, placed there by my daughter for me. I don't know how to get it out, so I listen to WINA in the AM and NPR in the afternoons and whistle in between.

Next journey? RV the USA, but I'm not sure I'll ever find enough time to do it.

Most trouble you've ever gotten in? Fighting with my brother, who played defensive tackle for NC State. My mom called the cops once after I got things started by tossing a cat on his bare back while he was mowing the lawn.

Regret: The cops didn't get there in time to save me from getting beat up.

Favorite comfort food: Burgers and fries

Always in your refrigerator: Stuff that manages to fall out when I open the door so by the time I clean it up, I forgot what I opened it for.

Must-see TV: CNN Headline News

Favorite cartoon: Deputy Dawg

Describe a perfect day. Go get coffee by boat as the sun rises and return just in time to sit on the porch and watch the sunset.

Walter Mitty fantasy: Doing the Ditch (the Intracoastal Waterway) by boat

Who'd play you in the movie? Deputy Dawg

Most embarrassing moment? Too many to pick one, but they usually involved officials and comments about where they left their seeing-eye dogs.

Best advice you ever got? My college coach and later my boss, Lefty Driesell, told me that if I "ever met a coach who was a good golfer to apply for his job since it would be open soon." Thus, I never got addicted to that great game.

Favorite bumper sticker? If you can read this, thank a teacher!

Terry Holland


Terry Holland