Legendary ACC basketball coach dies at 80

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Terry Holland, the gentlemanly coach who brought Ralph Sampson to Charlottesville and turned the University of Virginia into a college basketball power, has died at the age of 80.

Holland led the Cavaliers to nine NCAA tournament appearances – and two Final Fours – in his 16 years at the school while competing against a who’s who of ACC coaching legends, including Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Lefty Driesell and Jim Valvano.

Holland was diagnosed in 2019 with Alzheimer’s Disease and had recently entered a memory care facility.

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‘He was a visionary, a positive coach,’ former UVA team captain Bobby Stokes told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. ‘He made it his mission to make it like a family.’

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Terry Holland as a player

Holland was a star player for Driesell at Davidson, where he led the nation in field goal percentage as a senior in 1963-64. 

He joined Driesell’s staff after he graduated and took over the coaching reins when Driesell took the job at Maryland in 1969.

Terry Holland’s coaching career

After five seasons at the North Carolina school, Holland accepted the head coaching job at Virginia in 1974, where he turned around a downtrodden program and won the school’s first ACC tournament championship in 1976.

He took the program to another level with the arrival of future stars Jeff Lamp, Bryant Stith and of course, Sampson. The Cavaliers reached their first Final Four in 1981 when Lamp and then-sophomore Sampson lost to Smith’s North Carolina squad in the national semifinals. 

Then the year after Sampson graduated, Holland took the Cavaliers back to the Final Four in 1984, losing to Hakeem Olajuwon and Houston in the semis.

In his 21 seasons of coaching, Holland’s teams compiled a record of 418-216, with a school-record 326 of those wins coming at Virginia. Holland’s record was broken earlier this season by current UVA coach Tony Bennett.

‘He established what Virginia basketball was,’ Bennett told Charlottesville sportswriter Jerry Ratcliffe. ‘I just love the fact that I get to be at a place where he was one of the key establishers of putting it on the map and how he did it.”

After retiring from coaching in 1990, Holland returned to Davidson as athletic director. He later became AD at Virginia for seven seasons and then at East Carolina for 10 more years.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY