East Carolina Chancellor Steve Ballard formerly introduced Jeff Compher as the school’s new athletics director Wednesday.
Compher, 53 years old, has spent the past five years at NIU of the Mid-American Conference. The Huskies football program was elevated to the national stage recently when it was invited to play in the Discover Orange Bowl earlier this year.
Compher was in administrative positions at both North Carolina State (1986-1992), and Western Carolina (2000-2004), before spending his next four years at Washington.
He has once called Greenville his home, so understandably is thrilled to be back in the south.
“My heart and my home have always been in this area. No matter where we traveled or where we lived, I’ve always felt the whisper in my ear from this great state and the fine city of Greenville,” said Compher.
Holland’s priority over the latter years of his tenure was to get ECU into the Big East Conference. He was successful to a certain extent, with the football program joining in the 2014 season. That has left a lot of uncertainty for the remainder of the Pirates’ programs.
“I think (getting the rest of the sports into the Big East) is a priority for our university. I can’t speak to the progress on that…I don’t want to get too far ahead of the game and take our eye off the ball on what’s most important. And this year, that’s Conference USA,” said Compher.
He will assume his duties as athletics director on May 1.
NIU’s football coach in 2012 Dave Doeren was selected to be N.C. State’s new head football coach after the Wolfpack fired Tom O’Brien. ECU will face NCSU on Nov. 23 this upcoming football season in Raleigh.
Holland, 70 years old, announced his retirement in December and expects to remain at ECU in the athletics director emeritus role. Since arriving in 2004, Holland has turned around a football program in disarray, renovated multiple athletic facilities, brought the school a state-of-the-art Olympic sports complex (soon to be named after him), and most recently helped the football program get invited to the Big East Conference.