The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Former men’s basketball head coach Terry Holland passes away at 80

Holland led the Cavaliers to nine NCAA Tournament appearances across 16 years in charge

<p>Holland retired as the all-time winningest men's basketball coach in program history</p>

Holland retired as the all-time winningest men's basketball coach in program history

Virginia men’s basketball lost one of their own Sunday, as former head coach and athletic director Terry Holland passed away at the age of 80. Holland had been battling Alzheimer’s Disease since 2019 and entered a memory care facility last year. 

Holland took the reins for the Cavaliers in 1974 following a five-year head coaching stint at Davidson, his alma mater. Across 16 seasons at the helm, he transcended a previously sputtering men’s basketball program. 

The Clinton, N.C., native led Virginia to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1976, booking the Cavaliers' place in the dance after winning the program’s first ACC Tournament. 

A few years later, Holland had turned Virginia into a juggernaut. Largely credited with the recruitment of Cavaliers legend Ralph Sampson – among several other notable players – Holland coached Virginia to a 112-23 record from 1979 to 1983. 

That span included three ACC regular season titles, two appearances in the Final Four and a National Invitation Tournament championship – all accomplishments that had never been reached in the program’s history before his arrival. Holland also earned ACC Coach of the Year in 1981 and 1982, and was a runner-up for National Coach of the Year twice.

Holland racked up five more appearances in the NCAA Tournament – including another Final Four berth in 1984, this time without Sampson – before passing the baton to Jeff Jones following the 1989-90 campaign.

He retired a legend, having coached the Cavaliers to 13 winning seasons and a then-record 326 victories. Current Head Coach Tony Bennett surpassed Holland in that respect in January and had nothing but kind words to say about the late great.

“It’s an honor,” Bennett said. “To pass Coach Holland, he’s amazing.”

Holland would later act as the athletic director for the University during a seven-year period, stepping down in 2001 to become a special assistant to the president of the University. Two years later, he was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. 

“[Holland’s] influence on the University of Virginia’s athletic program has made him a prominent role model in Virginia sports history,” the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame said.

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


Latest Podcast

Today, we sit down with both the president and treasurer of the Virginia women's club basketball team to discuss everything from making free throws to recent increased viewership in women's basketball.