Michael Terrence (Terry) Holland, former college basketball player, coach, athletic administrator, champion of student athletes, cerebral forward-thinking sportsman, and cherished “COACH” to so many, passed away in Charlottesville, VA on February 26, 2023 at the age of 80.
Terry was born in Clinton, NC on April 2, 1942 to the late Percy Benson and Alice Gray Holland. Throughout his life, his heart and passion guided him to multiple rewarding careers at Davidson College and the University of Virginia. His last professional venture took him back to Eastern North Carolina at East Carolina University.
A 1964 Davidson College graduate with a BS in Economics, Terry was a three-year starter on the basketball team, serving as Captain of the 1963-64 top ten Davidson team. As a senior, he led the nation in field goal percentage at .631. His Wildcat teammates remained lifelong friends.
Upon graduation, Holland served as Assistant Basketball Coach at Davidson under his Coach and mentor, Charles G. (Lefty) Driesell from 1964-1969. Holland then took over as Head Basketball Coach from 1969 to 1974. He was recognized as Southern Conference Coach of the Year in 1970, 1971 and 1972.
Gene Corrigan, then the Athletics Director at The University of Virginia, took a calculated chance on 31 year old Holland in 1974, hiring him as Head Basketball Coach. Holland was a fierce competitor and dedicated coach at UVA for 16 years. During his coaching tenure, he led the UVA basketball teams to early and unexpected success — winning the school’s first ACC Tournament Championship in 1976. Holland directed Virginia basketball to a national No. 1 ranking in the Top 25 polls numerous times in the 1980s and helped developed the nation’s number 1 recruit, Ralph Sampson, into becoming a three-time National Player of the Year as well as a lifelong friend.
In 1990, Holland retired from coaching at the age of 48 after amassing over 300 wins in 16 years, two Final Four appearances, a NIT Title, an ACC Tournament Championship, 3 ACC regular season titles, and two ACC Coach of the Year awards. Holland was quick to credit the countless players and coaches by his side for his personal achievements and to this day, refers to each of them as his family. Reticent to leave The University that he loved so much, one wonders if he always knew he would come back.
Often referred to as the Gentleman from Virginia, Holland was a North Carolinian who was eager to give back to his Alma Mater, Davidson College. As Athletic Director for the Wildcats from 1990 to 1995, his laser focus on elevating the athletic department for both men and women student athletes resulted in reentry into the Southern Conference, hosting the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championships for three consecutive years, and bringing back the Women’s Basketball program. Holland’s #42 jersey was retired at Davidson College in January of 2022, as he is their only former student athlete to serve as Coach as well as Director of Athletics.
In 1995, the University of Virginia warmly welcomed Holland back, this time to serve as Athletic Director. Under his leadership, several men’s and women’s teams played at the national championship level and the Athletic Department enjoyed its highest Sears Directors Cup rankings to date at that time. Aligning with his greatest passion, student athletes graduated at high rates. Fundraising for scholarships and facilities improvements prospered under Holland, including the expansion of Scott stadium to its present day form and the construction of the Aquatics and Fitness Center. During this time he also accomplished his passion to bring UVA a new basketball facility, John Paul Jones Arena.
In 2004, Holland returned to North Carolina, to serve as Athletic Director at East Carolina University. ECU held special meaning to Holland, and his wife, Ann, as both his mother and mother-in-law were graduates. As AD, Holland’s optimism and enthusiasm revitalized a proud Pirate program and resulted in enhanced facilities, postseason appearances for men’s and women’s teams and an enduring focus on the educational experience of student athletes. The Pirate Nation was always special to Holland.
In 2014, after 55 years of participating in NCAA athletics, Holland officially retired to focus on the passions that fueled him along his journey; his family and the “tug on the line” that he loved so much.
In addition to his collegiate coaching and AD roles, Holland served on the Senior National Team Committee of USA Basketball from 1992 through 1996, and chaired the organization’s Collegiate Committee. A member of the NCAA basketball Committee from 1991 to 1998, Holland served as its Chairman in 1997. He was also elected to the USA Basketball Executive Committee for the 2005-2008 term.
Holland was recognized and inducted into the Davidson College Athletics Sports Hall of Fame in 1996, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, and the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.
In 2019, Coach and his wife Ann returned to Charlottesville and the University of Virginia for the last time. The UVA Athletic Department and the Charlottesville community embraced them and cared for him during his final chapter, as if he had never left.
Holland is survived by his lifelong best friend since 8th grade and wife of 57 years, Ann Johnson Holland and their daughters Kate Holland Baynard (husband Steve) and Ann-Michael Holland; grandchildren Holland Baynard, Shark Baynard and Eliza-Grey Burnett; siblings Trent Holland (wife Kathy), Gregg Holland (wife Susan), Kirk Holland (wife Laura), Phil Holland (wife Carlyn) and Linda Holland Royal (husband Jamie).
There will be a memorial service at John Paul Jones Arena on Saturday, May 6, 2023 at 2:00 pm in Charlottesville, VA following a private family graveside service at the University of Virginia Cemetery.
Coach Holland’s bravery and willingness to share his Alzheimer’s diagnosis and journey was a testament to his passion for helping others. In his name, we strive to raise awareness and prevent further suffering from this disease.
Contributions to raise awareness and find a cure for Alzheimer’s can be made in Coach Holland’s name at the following address: http://act.alz.org/goto/CoachTHolland. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.teaguefuneralhome.com for the Holland family.