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View from the East
Monday, December 9, 2002

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Logan suddenly a man with many options

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On most Mondays this fall, Steve Logan held a news conference at the Murphy Center. Not today, of course, because he is no longer the football coach at East Carolina.

Too bad he won’t be talking today because there would be a lot of interest in what he might have to say.

According to those who have spoken to Logan over the weekend, he is doing fine.

His meeting with athletics director Mike Hamrick on Saturday morning was over in a matter of minutes and Logan was soon out the doors of the Ward Sports Medicine Building with the assurance that he will be paid $200,000 per year by ECU for the three years remaining on his contract.

ECU will be responsible for the full amount of his base salary unless Logan takes other employment, and an annuity in the range of $800,000 will begin paying him at age 62.

There are probably only a few positions that would immediately interest him. He might go somewhere like Florida State to be offensive coordinator. He watched some of N.C. State’s 17-7 win over the Seminoles and indicated to me that he thought FSU’s talent was being underutilized. That job might be only a phone call to Dave Hart, now the FSU athletics director, away.

Or the head job at Tulsa, his alma mater, is open if he wants a challenge.

Or Logan might want to do some commentary on ESPN. He might be twice as good as Lee Corso in forum where he would have the leeway to tell it like it is.

He had a pretty good wit about him when he wasn’t overburdened by the pressures of coaching. “He couldn’t play dead in a cowboy movie,” Logan once said of a player with limited ability.

Or Logan might just enjoy playing his guitar for tips. At age 49, he has lots of options as to how he might spend his time. He enjoys tennis. He can go fishing without worrying about getting back to see a recruit or breaking down a game tape. He can watch his sons play baseball.

He can take pride in the fact that he had a winning football program for the most part at ECU. He graduated players. He ran a clean program. He probably did a good job of preparing his players for life.

Logan might also look into being an athletics consultant. He reached that conclusion after an interview with Gene Corrigan recently that Logan said amounted to little more than chit-chat. “That’s what I need to be doing,” he said. “How do you get to be a consultant?”

Logan can have a glass of wine and watch the sun rise and set at his condo near Atlantic Beach. He and wife Laura can enjoy each other’s company without the distraction of getting ready for the next game.

I’m not sure he ever thought of himself as a head coach at a major college program before it actually happened. He gave up on football as a player after one season in junior college and enrolled at Tulsa with plans to be a history professor — not your normal route to the elite circles of coaching.

But when he started teaching high school, they needed some help coaching football and an alternate career path emerged.

He was an assistant for some notable head coaches — John Cooper at Tulsa, Jimmy Johnson at Oklahoma State and Bill McCartney at Colorado.

When he was fired at Mississippi State in 1988 where he had coached quarterbacks for two years, he joined Bill Lewis’ staff at ECU. He was instrumental in the development of Jeff Blake at quarterback for the 1991 Pirates team that went 11-1, and when Lewis decided to use ECU as a stepping stone to Georgia Tech, Hart chose Logan over a field that included then-Tennessee assistant Phil Fulmer to take over as ECU’s head coach.

Sixty-nine wins and 58 losses later he was done, lasting longer than any man who had held the position before. There were five bowl trips and big wins, with perhaps the biggest being those over Miami and N.C. State.

For 11 seasons, he managed to avoid the pitfalls that get you dismissed and he didn't use ECU as a springboard to another job. Maybe if he had planned to be a head coach all along he would have viewed the so-called greener pastures differently. But when those opportunities presented themselves, Logan was more about ECU than personal career advancement.

Logan took things one day at a time for the most part because each day had different challenges. He liked Greenville. It reminded him some of his native Oklahoma. He built a new house last year.

In many ways being a head coach is about meeting someone else’s needs. It’s hard to avoid a degree of burnout during the course of 11 years. Now Logan has some well-earned time to himself if he wants it.

And you know what? That may be good for him and the ECU football program. There may be more to life for Steve Logan than trying to win that next game. And speaking as someone who considers him a friend, I hope he enjoys it.

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02/23/2007 12:57:43 AM
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