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Big Green Donor of the Week -- J.T. Holland

Feb. 19, 2014

Hometown: Point Pleasant
Year graduated at Marshall: 1979 (BBA, Management)
Age: 57
Children: Josh Holland, 29; Patrick Holland, 25
Grandchildren: Max Holland, 1 month
Occupation: Executive Director of Musculoskeletal Services, Holzer Health System, Gallipolis, Ohio

Last Thursday night, the MGM Big Green Club hosted its annual MGM Football Dinner in Gallipolis, Ohio, at the Elks Club. The club has been hosting this event for over 20 years, with each year seeing a growing number of attendees and dollars raised. This year's event was packed wall-to-wall with more than 150 Herd faithful wanting to get the first look at the 2014 football signing class.
One staple of this great event and club is J.T. Holland. He has been involved with the MGM Chapter from the beginning.
"We have a great core group of people in Point Pleasant that work extremely hard to raise a ton of money for the Big Green," said Travis Epling, Big Green Assistant Director of Development.
The hard work by J.T. and others has paid off. Last year, the MGM Club was one of two chapters to receive Gold Buffalo status by raising more than $10,000.

Travis Epling: Tell me about your time at Marshall.
J.T. Holland:
I came to Marshall to play tennis. Because I was an athlete, I lived in Hodges Hall (MU made all the athletes live in the same dorm). We were such a tight group of guys in Hodges. I made lots of lifelong friends there and had some great times in the three years I lived there. Most of them I probably shouldn't talk about. (Current MU athletic Director) Mike Hamrick lived in the dorm with me and I can tell a few stories about Mike ... but I won't out of respect for his position. I really applaud the effort the football players made just a few years after the plane crash. I remember the one and two wins per season the football team experienced while rebuilding the program, and never did I see any of them give up or have a defeated attitude, and there were some long football seasons while I attended Marshall. At that time, I didn't realize how difficult a situation they were in and how long it would take to get back to winning seasons. I was 18 years old and that never entered my mind.



TE: What is your favorite Marshall moment?
I have a few. Of course, there's the first Division I-AA national championship (football). That let people know that we truly recovered from the tragedy in 1970. The undefeated season was another favorite moment. Third would be the time I was able to travel with the football team to Furman on a charter jet when we were in the Southern Conference. That was special. It let me experience firsthand what it takes to move a collegiate football team to an away game, which is a lot. I got to spend time with the players and coaches. It was a great trip and I will always remember that.

TE: Who is your favorite Marshall player?
Probably Chad Pennington ... great football player, but more importantly a great person. He truly has given back to the university with his work on the Vision Campaign, and to the local community through his 1st and 10 Foundation, and other charities. I am not a close personal friend of Chad's but when I have been at functions he was attending, I never saw him not take time to talk to someone who would approach him for a picture or autograph. He is very approachable and friendly to everyone. That's a great trait to have and Marshall and our communities are lucky to have him.

TE: How did you become involved in the MGM chapter?
There are a lot of Marshall graduates and supporters of Marshall athletics in the Point Pleasant area. We were approached by Scooter Shreve when Jim Donnan was coaching Marshall football and asked to form a local chapter of the Big Green in the Mason County, Gallia County. and Meigs County (MGM) area. We were the first club outside Huntington to be established. I can't remember exactly, but we have been working as a Big Green Club for over 25 years. I was in the original group of guys that started the Club, which was headed up by Jim Wilson for most of those years.

TE: How many years have you been raising money for the MGM Chapter?
For over 25 years. Our little club in rural West Virginia and Ohio, just an hour from Huntington, has raised over $250,000 for the Big Green Scholarship Foundation. I am proud to be a part of this club and try to do what I can to help out.

TE: Why do you give to the Big Green Scholarship Foundation?
It's important for us to support Marshall University. I have enjoyed watching all of the growth in the athletic and education programs at Marshall. A lot of students from Mason, Gallia and Meigs counties attend Marshall, and I want to make it a great place to get an education and to enjoy the competition of great athletes playing for their university. Marshall has come a long way since the early 1970s and I feel that the MGM Club -- which I am a part of -- has had a small part in creating its success.