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The football coaching search at East Carolina may be getting
to the short rows.
Sources indicated that Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Paul
Rhoads and LSU assistant head coach Kirk Doll were interviewed on Sunday.
Those expected to be interviewed when that portion of the
selection process resumes on Tuesday include South Carolina defensive
coordinator Charlie Strong, Florida defensive coordinator John Thompson and
N.C. State assistant head coach Doc Holliday.
Georgia offensive coordinator Neil Callaway could be added
to the mix.
ECU chancellor William Muse and athletics director Mike
Hamrick may have additional candidates if their initial short list doesn’t
pan out, but Rhoads and Doll are both thought to have presented themselves
impressively on Sunday.
There is little doubt among his friends and prominent
backers that Doll, an ECU alumnus and former Pirates player, would accept
the position if it is offered.
One source said he didn’t think the new coach would
immediately command the same financial compensation as former coach Steve
Logan, whose annual package was in excess of $500,000. The new man will
likely get performance-based incentives that would enhance his earnings.
Salaries for coordinators are expected to be in the
$140,000-$150,000 range with assistants making $90,000 to $100,000.
What should Pirates fans expect in the new coach’s first
season? Let’s look at the first-year records of the last eight ECU head
coaches going back over four decades:
Clarence Stasavich, who was 5-4 in 1962.
Stas's successor, Mike McGee, was 3-8 in his only season,
Sonny Randle, was 4-6 in 1971.
Pat Dye went 7-4 in 1974 (the best first-year mark in the
Ed Emory was 4-7 in 1980.
Art Baker’s first team was 2-9 in 1985 (the worst).
Bill Lewis was 5-5-1 in 1989.
Logan’s first team in 1992 was 5-6.
That’s really an apples to orange comparison because each
new coach faced different circumstances in terms of competitive level and
talent on hand.
Randle actually showed a slight improvement from McGee's 3-8
season in 1970, while Dye slipped a notch from Randle's 9-2 mark in 1973.
Logan probably had the toughest act to follow, the 11-1 Peach Bowl
championship season of 1991, which preceded his promotion from offensive
There were some numbers jumping out from East Carolina’s
90-62 men’s basketball win over Division II Mount Olive in Greenville on
For starters, the Pirates are 7-0, which equals the best
start in school history — a 7-0 record at the outset of the 1953-54 season.
With a win over George Mason at home on Thursday night, ECU can set a school
Sophomore Moussa Badiane showed that he is fulfilling Coach
Bill Herrion’s hope that he would become more of an offensive presence after
his shot-blocking rampage as a freshman. Badiane made 7 of 8 field goal
attempts as the Pirates dealt the Trojans their first loss in six games.
Badiane was 1-for-2 behind the arc. He also played his customary rejecter
role on the defensive end with four blocks.
Another significant number, other than Mount Olive’s 28
percent field goal shooting or 23 turnovers — stats generated by Herrion’s
demand for defensive effort — was 5,711.
That figure for Saturday night’s attendance in Williams
Arena at Minges Coliseum is important because it’s a good crowd, even though
it wasn’t an attractive opponent. The game also came at a time when students
were finishing exams and getting ready to leave campus for the holidays.
The attendance is a strong indication that ECU fans are
coming out to see the Pirates and not because there’s a big-name Conference
USA opponent in town, something Herrion has emphasized as a necessity for
the growth of the program.
Minges Coliseum has a listed capacity of 8,000. The season
attendance record was set in 1995 when a total of 71,761 fans saw 12 games,
a school record average of 5,980 fans per game. For 15 home games last
season, the Pirates drew a total of 69,403 fans, an average of 4,603 per
Familiar foe missing big man
ECU hosts an opponent from the Pirates’ days in the Colonial
Athletic Association when George Mason visits on Thursday at 8 p.m.
The teams did not play last year. In their last matchup on
Feb. 3, 2001 in Greenville, the Patriots won 77-74 as George Evans led GMU
with 22 points. Jesse Young, then a sophomore, had 11 points and a game-high
Young is not supposed to play against the Pirates this time.
Young, who comes from Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, was suspended for
violating team and university athletic department policies, head coach Jim
Larranaga and athletic director Tom O’Connor announced on Dec. 9.
The suspension includes two games, starting with East
“Jesse has violated a team rule and has been suspended,”
said Larranaga. “His status with the team will be re-evaluated during the
next few weeks.”
Young, a 6-foot-10 forward, started in all six games for the
Patriots (3-3) this season, ranking second on the team in scoring at 12.5
points per game, while leading GMU in rebounding with a 7.0 average. He has
led or shared the scoring lead for George Mason in two of its last three
games, posting a season-high 23 points in the Patriots 79-72 win against
Young has tied or led the team in rebounding in five of six
contests, including a season-high 13 in George Mason’s 56-49 loss to
Mississippi, a team the Pirates defeated on Nov. 24. He got his only
double-double this season against the Rebels (14 points, 13 rebounds) and
has scored 10 or more points three times.
Mason brings a 3-game winning streak to Greenville after
starting the season with three losses for the first time in 23 seasons. ECU
doesn’t want to lose this game because with its move to Conference USA, the
Pirates obviously feel they have risen above the competitive level of the
Actually, ECU doesn’t want to lose any game, period,
especially one that would give the program its best start ever.