Bennett takes time to acknowledge Terry Holland after upset over Duke

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Former UVA head coach Terry Holland watches the Duke game with his wife, Ann, and his former three-time player of the year, Ralph Sampson (Photo: Matt Riley, UVA Athletics).

Tony Bennett’s opening to his postgame chat with media following Saturday night’s upset over No. 7 Duke was short and sweet, but clearly important to Virginia’s coach before he began answering questions about the Cavaliers’ 21st win of the season.

“It made my heart smile to see Coach [Terry] Holland sitting across the court with his wife (Ann),” Bennett said. “I don’t even know if he saw me, but I looked at him — it was kind of late, with five or six minutes [remaining] — and I thought of all he’s done for this program.

“I thought of my dad. It was a sweet moment.”

During the heat of one of the biggest games of the season against the hardest team to beat in the ACC, Bennett took the time to notice Holland and his wife in the crowd. That’s just the kind of guy that Tony Bennett is, to have spotted the Hollands and to have started his press conference acknowledging two of the most beloved people in UVA athletic history.

The Hollands have been regulars at all of the Cavaliers’ home games since moving back to Charlottesville a little more than a year ago.

Holland, a standout basketball player at Davidson under Lefty Driesell, went on to become Driesell’s assistant before taking over the Virginia program in 1974. He stayed for 16 seasons and put Wahoo basketball on the map.

Under his direction, UVA compiled 326 wins and 173 losses (.653), and was nearly unbeatable at home with a .790 winning percentage. Holland took UVA to nine NCAA Tournament appearances, two Final Fours, two other Elite 8’s, four NIT’s (including one championship), and the school’s first-ever ACC Tournament championship. He also brought legendary Ralph Sampson to Charlottesville where the 7-foot-4 star won three national player of the year awards.

Holland later returned to UVA as athletic director and was a key figure in getting John Paul Jones Arena built.

Bennett will surely surpass Holland’s program-record 326 wins (Bennett has 275 as of this writing), and has already passed Holland in ACC wins with 121 (Holland had 111).

It was only fitting for Bennett to acknowledge Holland and what he meant to Virginia basketball, while also thinking about his own father, Dick Bennett, who coached several college programs, including Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he coached Tony.

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