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View from the East
Thursday, August 1, 2002

By Al Myatt
Pirate Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Logan 'combine' identifies talent and ECU believers


East Carolina football coach Steve Logan said he doesn’t make money on the Steve Logan Football Camp, which completed its second and final session for the summer on campus last Friday.

“Nobody is getting rich off of football camp,” said Logan, who directs proceeds to his assistant coaches. The rewards for Logan are players who come through the camp, who eventually progress into the Pirates program such as David Garrard, Paul Troth and many of the six early commitments for the February, 2003 signing class.

The camp has grown from 52 youngsters in 1992 to over 800 this summer.

“It was one of those things that they said you couldn’t do here,” Logan said of his camp. “They said you can’t compete with the ACC schools.”

Logan said his program's success is the major attraction of the camp. High school coaches also like the timing of the team sessions. They are held the week before high school practices start, which allows the prep coaches to assemble their players and gain some momentum and continuity before workouts begin at home.

There were 10 teams from North Carolina and six from Virginia attending this year. ECU running backs coach Jerry McManus, who serves as director of the camps, said the 16 team slots were filled in April.

“That’s one reason we’re here,” said Raleigh Sanderson High coach Tim Gillespie as he gestured toward Logan in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum last Thursday night.

Logan was speaking to the camp’s quarterbacks and receivers after a shower had curtailed the 7-on-7 passing games outside. Logan’s message was on the importance of overcoming distractions and remaining focused. He was speaking from personnel experience of when ECU had wins in 1999 over South Carolina, Miami and Army while dealing with the ravages of Hurricane Floyd.

McManus said Penn State was a forerunner in recruiting through its camp.

“I’m not an innovator when it comes to things like that,” Logan said. “But you can believe in this business that if ABC is doing it, then XYZ will be doing it,too. ... The thing that it has become is kind of a combine-type experience for the high school kid. It’s the only time by NCAA rule that we can work a kid out legally.”

ECU tests its campers on various aspects of speed and strength and keeps the data on file for recruiting purposes.

All things being equal, Logan will favor offering a scholarship to a player who was interested enough in ECU to attend the camp over a player who did not. Logan said in recent years over 50 percent of ECU’s incoming players have been through the camp, and once they show what the Pirates coaches perceive to be ability to play in their program, it’s irrelevant if they are coveted by other programs.

“Two things that have evolved in our recruiting approach is finding players who can play and who want to play at East Carolina,” Logan said.

The ECU coach has learned that high pressure tactics or pleading with a prospect to sign with the Pirates is not a good policy because it brings players into the equation who are not fully committed to being in the program in Greenville.

“When I offer a scholarship and there’s a hesitancy to reply on their part, that tells me something,” Logan said.

David Garrard, who started 41 games for the Pirates at quarterback and set 28 school records in a career that concluded last season, was a camp discovery. The camp augments the impersonal process of evaluating game tape of prospects.

Logan tries to keep the camp priced affordably to compete with other Division I programs in the region. Cost for the four-day individual camp is $150 for a day camper and $260 for overnight campers, who are housed in Scott Dorm. It’s $110 for a day camper at team camp and $220 for those staying overnight. For a $25 fee, a high school player can go to ECU for a one-day workout session.

Logan said he doesn’t try to exploit campers on concessions or souvenirs.

The camp isn’t exclusively about identifying college prospects and the ECU staff doesn’t hire outsiders to do the instruction. The Pirates coaches get on the practice fields with the youngsters in the July heat and teach them various elements of the game.

“We have some guys who can barely get in a stance and we have some guys with some kind of wherewithal about them,” said ECU offensive line coach Steve Shankweiler. “By the end of the week we kind of get them all looking alike and get them where they can go back and be competitive.”

Switch to adidas

Logan said ECU will wear adidas shoes and gloves this season, a switch from Nike gear. The move resulted because Nike representatives were insistent that the Pirates play with a Nike football.

Logan said his quarterbacks don’t like the feel of the Nike ball. So he consulted adidas about the possibility of a change.

“The adidas guys almost jumped through the phone,” Logan said. “They’re giving us more and we can continue playing with a Wilson ball.”

Under the ECU-Nike contract, Nike had a 60-day time frame to respond — and did not. ECU will play with a Wilson ball this season, a GTP model.

“My hands aren’t big but even I can wing that thing,” Logan said.

Game change

Administrators of the N.C. High School Athletic Association weren’t the only ones who were disappointed that the Cincinnati-ECU game was moved from Saturday, Nov. 2 to Friday, Dec. 6. Logan said the Pirates had a big recruiting weekend planned that centered on the Nov. 2 date.

ECU athletics director Mike Hamrick didn’t lose out at the bargaining table on the game change. Not only did he get the Pirates a nationally-televised date this season with the Bearcats, he secured a guarantee that ECU will get a nationally-televised date next season. That will likely mean about $250,000 in the ECU coffers.

Many ECU fans had little sympathy with the NCHSAA’s concerns that the date change will conflict with the high school playoffs. They point out that North Carolina, N.C. State and Wake Forest will be used as state championship sites while ECU will be denied that particular recruiting advantage.

Japan bound

ECU linebacker Greg LeFever, who was second on the team in tackles last season with involvement in 98 stops, is scheduled to leave Aug. 4 for Japan, where he will play professionally for the Fujitsu Frontiersmen. The team’s head coach is Kurt Rose, son of ECU defensive coordinator, Tim Rose.

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02/23/2007 12:57:32 AM

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