August 9, 2012 in Division I
Western Michigan acted quickly to fill a vacancy on its coaching staff. A week after it was announced that former assistant Larry Farmer had taken a job at NC State, Western has added James Holland to the staff. From the school’s news release:
“We’re very excited to welcome James to our Bronco family,” said WMU head coach Steve Hawkins. “We lost experience when Larry Farmer departed, and felt we needed to bring in a lot of experience to replace that. We accomplished that goal with this hiring.”
“James will help coach our big men, which is something he has extensive experience with,” said Hawkins. “He also brings us more of a national recruiting base to work from. We’re very excited to have him with us.”
Holland brings a wealth of basketball knowledge to the Broncos, having won league championships as an assistant coach in three different conferences. Holland has helped coach five NCAA tournament teams and three NIT teams in his career, and his recruiting classes have ranked among the top seven in the nation. In addition to his collegiate coaching credentials, Holland served as the Southeast Regional Scout for the Washington Wizards of the NBA during the 2003-04 season.
Holland has worked as an assistant coach for nearly 30 years, most recently in a four-season stint at Alabama from 2006-10. Primarily under head coach Mark Gottfried, Holland helped the Crimson Tide to an NIT bid in 2006-07 and three straight winning seasons. Holland coached three All-SEC players from Alabama in that time, including Jermareo Davidson (2007) and Richard Hendrix (2007-08).
“I’ve known coach Hawkins for quite a while,” said Holland, who filled the void created when Larry Farmer accepted a position with the North Carolina State men’s basketball program. “We go back about 13 years. We’ve visited the (NCAA Tournament) Final Four together different times and talked basketball different times. I’ve followed the program and it was an opportunity I didn’t think I could pass up on.”
Holland’s coaching resume is full of successful stops, including a four-year tenure at Murray State from 1988-91, where he helped lead the Racers to three-straight Ohio Valley Conference titles and two NCAA tournament experiences. He was most recently an assistant coach at Alabama from 2006-10.
“In losing coach Farmer, you don’t initially have someone in mind. You have a profile in mind,” Hawkins said. “It is a different time of year for it. Normally, coaching changes in basketball take place in April and May. The timing was different, which was good and bad. It was good because we might have been the only staff in America that had a spot open.”
Hawkins did not publicly confirm that move, but he did say it is “a great day” for Carter.
“It’s a day to celebrate because there are very few great opportunities that come around in a guy’s career and a friend’s career and this is one of those,” Hawkins said shortly before 11 p.m. Wednesday evening. “He hasn’t been just an assistant coach the last four years, he’s also a great friend. From a standpoint of him moving on, it’s a great day for him.”