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View from the East
Monday, December 16, 2002

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Hunt for Logan successor hones in on handful

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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, 1970.

  • Sonny Randle, was 4-6 in 1971.

  • Pat Dye went 7-4 in 1974 (the best first-year mark in the modern era).

  • 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 coordinator.

Hoops numbers

There were some numbers jumping out from East Carolina’s 90-62 men’s basketball win over Division II Mount Olive in Greenville on Saturday night.

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 record.

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 game.

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 seven rebounds.

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 Carolina.

“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 Duquesne.

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 CAA.

Actually, ECU doesn’t want to lose any game, period, especially one that would give the program its best start ever.

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02/23/2007 12:57:45 AM
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