Terry Holland, former U-Va. basketball coach and athletic director, dies


Terry Holland, the coach who turned Virginia’s men’s basketball program into a national powerhouse, died Sunday in Charlottesville, four years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 80 years old.

Holland coached the Cavaliers to nine NCAA tournaments and a pair of Final Fours from 1974 to 1990. His 326 wins at Virginia in 16 seasons was a school record until Tony Bennett surpassed him this year.

“I’m not a die-hard, but I’m d— competitive,” Holland said after being hired by Virginia after five seasons as head coach of Davidson, his alma mater.

Holland led Virginia to its first ACC Tournament Championship in 1976, in only its second season. He would take the program to even greater heights after recruiting 7-foot-4 Harrisonburg High center Ralph Sampson from Charlottesville in 1979.

Led by Sampson and main guard Jeff Lamp, the Cavaliers went 29-4 in the 1980-81 season, which ended in a loss to North Carolina in the national semifinals. Virginia made a surprising Final Four run under Holland in 1984, the year after Sampson, the three-time National College Player of the Year, was the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.

“Virginia Athletics mourns the loss of legendary men’s basketball coach, Terry Holland, who first showed us what Virginia basketball could be like.” the school said in a statement Monday.

“I think if you sum it all up, I’m not sure U-Va. Athletics would be in the position it is now at all levels without Coach Holland, and with that Ralph Sampson,” said former Dominion coach Jeff Jones, who played for Holland from 1978 to 1982. and succeeded him as head coach of Virginia. the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which first reported the news of Holland’s death.

Jones, Dave Odom, Craig Littlepage, Jim Larrañaga and Seth Greenberg are among the former assistants who found success as head coaches after working under Holland.

“RIP Coach Holland,” wrote Greenberg, the former Virginia Tech coach who is now an analyst for ESPN, on Monday. “I was blessed to have you as my mentor and friend. You have guided me through almost every major decision I have made in my adult life.

Prior to his coaching career, Holland, a native of Clinton, North Carolina, played at Davidson for legendary coach Lefty Driesell. Holland averaged 13.5 points per game and led the nation in field goal percentage (.631) as a 6-foot-7 senior forward in 1963-64 before joining Driesell’s staff. Holland was promoted to head coach after Driesell left to take the job at Maryland in 1969 and his replacement, future Hall of Famer Larry Brown, quit after less than two months on the job.

Virginia needs to fix offense with ACC and NCAA tournaments looming

Holland led Davidson to 92 wins and an NCAA Tournament berth in his five seasons before Virginia athletic director Gene Corrigan hired him to replace Bill Gibson in 1974. Prior to Holland’s arrival, Virginia had had four winning campaigns in the previous 25 seasons and had never made an NCAA Tournament. Virginia Dutch teams have posted just three losing seasons and qualified for the NCAA Tournament in eight of his last 10 seasons at school.

In June 1989 Holland announced that he had accepted an offer to become Davidson’s athletic director and that the 1989-90 season would be his last at U-Va. Holland returned to Virginia in 1994 as athletic director, a position he held until 2001. After serving as special fundraising assistant to then-Virginia President John Casteen for three years, Holland was athletic director at East Carolina from 2004 to 2013.

“As a successful coach and respected administrator, Terry Holland leaves an indelible mark on the University of Virginia, the ACC, college basketball and college athletics,” ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips said in a statement. “He was a true gentleman who considered his players and colleagues like family. Our hearts will go out to his wife Ann and the entire Holland family.

As Bennett edged closer to his winning record in Virginia, Holland’s wife Ann said her husband “was so honored when I told him that.”

“Terry was good at developing his players and not letting them do things they weren’t going to be successful at,” Ann Holland told UVA Today in December. “And I think Tony Bennett is a bit like that.”

Holland is survived by his wife, daughters Ann-Michael Holland and Kate Baynard, and three grandchildren.

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