TUSCALOOSA James Holland, who won an NAIA national championship as a player at the University of South Carolina Spartanburg and has won championships in three different conferences as a coach, has been hired as an assistant basketball coach on Mark Gottfried’s staff at the University of Alabama.
Holland, 46, has been an assistant coach at the University of Texas El Paso for the past two seasons. During that time, the Miners won 48 games, highlighted by its 2005 run when UTEP went 27-8 and produced three All-Western Athletic Conference players en route to winning the WAC tournament championship.
“I am very excited about James Holland joining our staff,” said Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried. “He has a great basketball mind and is a tremendous recruiter as well. He will be involved in every aspect of the program including on the floor coaching, scouting of opponents and most certainly recruiting. He comes highly recommended, having been around great coaches and has recruiting ties all around the country but especially the southeast. He also has worked as an NBA scout for the Washington Wizards and our players will benefit greatly from that experience. He knows the John Wooden system and his familiarity with our terminology will allow him to connect immediately with our coaches and players. I also have been impressed over the years with his character and his tireless work ethic.”
Holland brings with him a complete coaching background, having worked as a recruiter, on the floor coach and opponent scout. His player evaluation background includes having worked as a scout for the Washington Wizards. Holland is a 1985 graduate of South Carolina -Spartanburg where he was a three-time team captain and helped lead his team to the 1982 NAIA national championship and was inducted into the school’s athletics Hall of Fame in 2006. He started his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater, now named the University of South Carolina Upstate and coached there from 1983-87, moving to Division 1 coaching at the University of North Carolina-Ashville in 1987.
“I’m really excited about joining the staff at the University of Alabama,” said Holland, a native of Charlotte, N.C. “Coach Gottfried is very well-respected, not only in the southeast but throughout the country, and I’m excited that he’s providing me with the opportunity to work in a program that not only has won and continues to have the potential to win conference championships but has the potential to win national championships as well.”
Holland, who played for the Harlem Globetrotters from 1982-83, is returning to familiar territory at Alabama as it marks a return to his coaching in the Southeastern Conference. He has been an assistant coach at South Carolina, where his recruiting classes ranked among the top seven nationally during part of his 1991-93 tenure there and he helped coach Georgia to the SEC Eastern Division title in 2002.
He and his wife Rhonda have two sons, A.J. and Kevin.
Holland replaces Eugene Harris on the Alabama staff.