Virginia basketball Coach Terry Holland today dismissed rumors that he would resign, despite severe abdominal pains that caused him to miss last week's game against Virginia Tech and four others a year ago.
Speaking at a news conference that Holland said he called to clear up questions about his health, he described the pains, which result from intestinal surgery he underwent in May 1984, as intense. Holland was hospitalized for two days after his latest attack this season.
"But I'm feeling fine at this point and don't anticipate any further problems," he said. "The pain had resolved itself before I got to the hospital."
Holland's abdominal pains are caused by an adhesion or scar that periodically blocks his small intestine. Although it is a relatively common occurrence in patients who have undergone intestinal surgery, the pain can be disabling and sometimes requires further surgery to be corrected.
Holland elected not to undergo an operation after last week's attack, which occurred moments before the Cavaliers' game in Roanoke on Dec. 10, preferring to "see what happens and reevaluate my condition at the end of the season."
But surgery will be performed if he has another relapse, even if it is during the season, with a recuperative period of approximately two weeks.
Neither of Holland's physicians, Dr. David Stone nor Dr. Morton Wilhelm, could be reached in his office at the University of Virginia Hospital.
Holland, who jogs regularly and is otherwise in good health, says the attacks can occur without warning.
"I have not seen any pattern," he said. "I wish I could say I did because then at least I would have something to sink my teeth into. It is certainly not stress or diet. But I would like to get this problem resolved."
Holland first suffered abdominal pain last Jan. 19 after Virginia's game at Clemson and was admitted to Emory Hospital in Atlanta the next day when the team arrived to play Georgia Tech. Holland was released Jan. 21 and flew back to Charlottesville, where he spent the next 10 days undergoing further tests at the University of Virginia Hospital.
Holland's illness caused him to miss Virginia's games with Georgia Tech, Arkansas, Wake Forest and Maryland, and assistant coaches Jim Larranaga and Dave Odom shared coaching duties in his absence. Virginia won just two of those games, losing the others by a combined 34 points, and Holland said today he fears his illness has adversely affected the team's play.
"I've left this team in quite a lurch several times with very little time to adjust," he said. "Having your coach taken away by the rescue squad right before a game cannot be too good for a team's confidence."
Larranaga agreed. "We did not play well against Virginia Tech (in an 84-66 loss)," he said. "To what degree do you credit Virginia Tech or Coach Holland's illness? I don't know. But the newcomers were probably pretty shaken."