James Holland ’85 Named Senior Associate Commissioner for Big South Conference

August 1, 2018 at 10:20 am

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) – The Big South Conference has named 30-year coaching veteran James Holland as Senior Associate Commissioner, it was announced today by Commissioner Kyle B. Kallander.  Holland will begin his duties in mid-August.

Holland will primarily focus on men’s basketball and the conference’s officiating alliance, as well as be responsible for operationalizing the Big South’s strategic plan.  He will also oversee the league’s public relations, digital initiatives, marketing and branding.

“I would like to thank Commissioner Kallander for giving me this great opportunity,” said Holland.  “I am truly looking forward to transitioning from the college campus to the Big South Conference office.  I’ve always had a passion for college athletics and the day-to-day interaction with the student-athlete.  While I will miss that interaction, I am looking forward to being able to assist our student-athletes from my new position in the Big South office.”

A 2006 inductee in the USC Upstate (formerly known as USC-Spartanburg) Hall of Fame, Holland joins the Big South following six seasons with the Western Michigan University men’s basketball program, where he helped develop five All-MAC players, seven Academic All-MAC student-athletes and the 2012-13 MAC Freshman of the Year.

Holland’s coaching background includes league championships as an assistant coach in four different conferences.  He helped coach five NCAA Tournament teams and three NIT squads in his career, and his recruiting classes ranked among the top seven in the nation.  In addition to his collegiate coaching credentials, Holland served as the Southeast Regional Scout for the NBA’s Washington Wizards in 2003-04.

He served a three-season stint at Alabama from 2006-09 under head coach Mark Gottfried, and helped the Crimson Tide to an NIT bid in 2006-07 in addition to three straight winning seasons.  Holland coached three All-SEC players from Alabama in that time.  Before joining the Crimson Tide, Holland was an assistant for two years with Texas-El Paso where he helped lead UTEP to a 2005 WAC championship and NCAA Tournament berth, in a season in which the Miners went 27-8 and had three All-WAC performers.

Holland was an assistant with Georgia from 1999-2003, and helped the Bulldogs to NCAA Tournament appearances in 2001 and 2002, including a Southeastern Conference East Division title in 2002.  Before his time at Georgia, Holland served the longest stint of his career as an assistant/associate head coach at San Diego State from 1993-99; he had spent the previous two seasons as an assistant with South Carolina.

Holland found great success early in his career at Murray State.  As assistant coach from 1988-91, Holland helped turn the Racers into a formidable mid-major program.  The Racers won three consecutive Ohio Valley Conference titles from 1989-91, made a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances in 1990 and 1991 and an NIT appearance in 1989.  Holland helped develop three consecutive OVC Players of the Year in Jeff Martin (1989) and Ronald “Popeye” Jones (1990-91).

Holland began his coaching career at his alma mater, working with USC-Spartanburg from 1984-87.  He would later move on to coach a season at UNC Asheville in 1987-88 before ending up at Murray State.

A native of Charlotte, N.C., Holland started all four of his collegiate seasons at Upstate and still ranks as the program’s all-time assists leader while ranking eighth in games played.  Holland was part of the 1982 then-Rifles team that won the NAIA National Championship, defeating Biola, 51-38, and served as a three-year team captain.  He would go on to play with the Harlem Globetrotters in the 1982-83 season, teaming with Globetrotter greats Fred “Curly” Neal and Hubert “Geese” Ausbie.  Holland also spent time in 2010-12 as a contributing writer for Fox Sports and was a weekly guest host on WCOS-1400 Sports Radio in Columbia, S.C.

Holland earned his Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Political Science from USC-Spartanburg in 1985.  He is married to the former Rhonda Edwards, and the couple has two sons, Anthony and Kevin.