Michael Terrence Holland '64
As a skinny high school senior in Clinton, North Carolina, Terry Holland was not convinced he should believe Lefty Driesell's assurances that Davidson was only a few jump shots - not to mention a couple of All-Americans like Fred Hetzel and Dick Snyder - away from being in the Top 10.
Terry's mother was certain Coach Driesell held the keys to a first rate education, but Terry had doubts. But after spending the last four decades as a Davidson student and athlete, assistant coach, athletic director, head coach, TV commentator, and member of the NCAA Division I basketball committee, he has made believers of us all.
A three-year letterman in basketball, Terry led the nation in field goal percentage and captained the 1964 team that went 24-4, establishing Davidson as a national basketball power. That year, the Cats were ranked tenth in the final Associated Press and United Press International polls.
Coach Driesell convinced Holland to remain with the Wildcats as an assistant coach. The business world's loss was Davidson's gain. He was instrumental in developing the next set of Davidson standouts, and his 1966-1967 freshmen team went 16-0.
After a school record 27-3 season that included a final number three ranking and a second straight "Elite Eight" appearance, Holland succeeded Lefty as head coach of the Wildcats, leading teams to three Southern Conference titles, one NCAA tournament berth, and their first-ever NIT. In three of the five years he served as Davidson's head coach, Terry was named conference coach of the year. Administrators at the University of Virginia took notice and lured Holland to Charlottesville, where over 16 seasons - competing in the ACC, the nation's most competitive conference - Holland averaged 20 wins a season. He took Virginia to eight NCAA tournaments and twice reached the Final Four, plus four NIT tournaments, including the 1980 championship. He was ACC Coach of the year in 1981 and 1982 and runner-up for National Coach of the Year.
Terry emerged as one of the most respected coaches in America, and though the nation's top programs tried to steal him away from the Cavaliers, only a call from Davidson would work. In 1990, he returned to Davidson as Director of Athletics to provide the guiding hand as the Wildcats searched for a new identity and a conference home.
Holland stressed the notion that Davidson could prosper as a model for intercollegiate athletics. Largely through his efforts, Davidson rejoined the Southern Conference and the program grew to 21 intercollegiate teams, including the re-instatement of women's basketball. His leadership left Davidson ready for the challenges of a rapidly changing athletics world. In 1995 Davidson College inducted Terry into its athletics Hall of Fame, well-deserved recognition for a brilliant career as player, coach, and administrator.
Because you have clung to the belief that a small school can win big without sacrificing academic integrity; because you have achieved coaching excellence and success and have been the guiding administrative influence which has provided for stability for present and future; because you have represented Davidson College with professionalism and dignity; because you have maintained a deep and loving interest in your family, classmates, and Davidson College; and because you have made believers of us all, the Davidson College Alumni Association honors you, Michael Terrence Holland, Class of 1964, and presents you with the Distinguished Alumnus Award on the occasion of the 35th Reunion of your class.