Terry Holland’s last interview: full 36 minutes with Holland and Jerry Ratcliffe in April, 2019

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Terry Holland with former manager Tom Baker at the Final Four in 2019.

Before the pandemic struck in 2020, a group of guys with ties to UVA athletics used to get together every six weeks for what organizer Joe Gieck called “The Frank McCue/Jim West Memorial” luncheon.

Terry Holland used to be a guest at the luncheon once he and wife, Ann, moved back to Charlottesville, and I often sat beside Coach at those lunches. Shortly after Virginia won the national basketball championship in 2019, which Holland attended in Minneapolis, I invited him to come on my then-radio show with WINA, and he graciously obliged.

The date was April 13, 2019, and it was the very last interview that Holland gave.

One of my goals going in was to get him to talk about all his great accomplishments, but as anyone who knew Holland was aware, he just wasn’t going to talk about himself. He just wouldn’t do that, no matter how hard one tried.

Still, it was fun getting him on record one more time for him to share some thoughts on his career, on UVA winning the championship, on recruiting Ralph Sampson, on Tony Bennett and where the ACC and the college game were headed.

One of the topics was the recruitment of Sampson, which changed the course of Virginia basketball. Ralph chose UVA over Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia Tech. He held a press conference at Harrisonburg High School and a press credential was required to attend.

I asked Holland about luring Ralph to Charlottesville and here’s what Terry said:

“I think the real key here is that his mother (Sarah) was a hell of a lot better recruiter and she wanted him to stay closer to home and thank goodness,” Holland said. “All of us felt that was probably the best move for him at that particular stage.

“It almost brings tears to my eyes when I think about how hard he’s worked and having to put up with what happened to him with his knees and all that. He was pretty doggone spectacular until those injuries came into play.”

I asked Holland (coaches were not allowed at the press conference that day), where he was when Ralph announced.

“I was down on my knees,” Holland chuckled.

For the entire interview, click below to hear the 36-minute chat: