Since Holland's arrival at East Carolina in the fall of 2004, the Pirate Nation has been impacted with an unparalleled sense of energy, enthusiasm and optimism.
From campuses in Davidson to Charlottesville and Greenville, and in many basketball arenas across the nation and globe, Holland created a legacy and earned a reputation as a well-respected leader in collegiate athletics for nearly five decades. In the aspect of athletics administration, he has left enduring marks as director of programs at Davidson and Virginia, and led ECU to unmatched heights in intercollegiate competition, academic success and facility growth.
In just eight-plus years, Holland’s fingerprints are firmly secured on the revitalization of a once-proud football tradition that includes back-to-back C-USA football titles in 2008 and 2009, a division co-championship in 2012 and bowl appearances in six of the last seven years. The on-the-field success has enabled East Carolina to enjoy unrivaled record-breaking numbers at the turnstiles as well – breaking stadium standards for total attendance and average attendance in five consecutive seasons – allowing for a 7,000-seat expansion at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium that pushed the facility’s capacity to 50,000 in time for the 2010 campaign.
Holland orchestrated an aggressive scheduling plan through 2020 which elevated public perception, national interest and growth of Pirate Football with annual home and road regional rivalry games against Atlantic Coast Conference members North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia and Virginia Tech, along with contests versus former Big East power and Big 12 newcomer West Virginia and Southeastern Conference contender South Carolina.
East Carolina's other sports programs have also prospered under Holland's direction, earning C-USA regular season and tournament championships or qualifying for NCAA post-season appearances in baseball, women's basketball, men's and women's golf, women's soccer, softball, women’s swimming, and men's and women's track.
In the classroom, a total of 973 Pirate student-athletes have been selected to the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll and 213 have been the recipient of the league's top academic medal since 2008 alone. During the 2009-2010 year, nearly half (nine) of ECU sports netted a perfect Academic Progress Rate (APR) score of 1,000.
The renewed passion and spirit has resulted in unmatched internal and external support as Pirate Club membership has soared past 17,000 and fund-raising scholarship dollars climbed above $6.4 million for the first time in department history. In addition to the stadium expansion, impressive capital projects such as the renovation of the football practice facility and the construction of the aforementioned Olympic Sports Complex have all been accomplished under Holland’s guidance. Furthermore, work on a $15 million basketball practice facility is currently underway adjacent to Minges Coliseum and is expected to be completed during the late summer or early fall of 2013.
Holland, who was introduced at a news conference in Greenville Sept. 8, 2004 and officially began his duties Oct. 1, took over the top athletics leadership position at ECU after assisting the president in a fund-raising and marketing role at Virginia since 2001.
Holland first came to Virginia in 1974 as head men’s basketball coach, and over the next 16 seasons became the most successful coach in Cavalier history, with a record of 326-173. He helped lead the Cavaliers to a pair of Final Four appearances (1981 and 1984) and a National Invitational Tournament title (1980) while earning two Atlantic Coast Conference Coach-of-the-Year awards.
In 1990, he returned to alma mater Davidson College to become its athletic director, but five years later he was back in Charlottesville to take on similar duties at Virginia, and in 1999, was named of the 50 most influential figures in ACC basketball history by the Charlotte Observer.
Holland, a Clinton, N.C. native, earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Davidson in 1964 after earning three letters as a member of the Wildcats’ varsity basketball program. He began his coaching career at Davidson as an assistant coach in 1964 and was soon promoted to the top position five years later where he earned three SoCon Coach-of-the-Year selections.
In all, Holland completed his basketball coaching career with a total of 418 wins in 21 seasons, an impressive average of 19.8 wins per year. His NCAA Tournament record of 15-10 stands among the nation’s top 20 in history for coaches who have appeared in 10 or more post-season games.
He has remained active in basketball circles. He was a member of the powerful NCAA Basketball Committee, chairing the panel in 1997. He served on the Senior National Team Committee of USA Basketball from 1992 through 1996, and also chaired the organization’s Collegiate Committee.