East Carolina hasn’t had many weekends to beat this one — a solid 2-0
start in men’s basketball and a 31-28 football win over No. 22 Texas
A 65-58 men’s basketball win over a veteran Ole Miss team capped a
productive Pirate weekend on a beautifully-sunny Sunday in Greenville.
It’s a sign of a broad-based athletics program, which has always been the
vision of ECU athletics director Mike Hamrick since he arrived at ECU in
“I really knew and believed this could happen,” Hamrick said as he left
Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum after the win over the Rebels. “If you
follow the basketball program you could see the leaps and bounds in
improvement it has made in the last three or four years. It’s a big win for
us and I’m excited.”
The big three sports at ECU and most schools — football, men’s basketball
and baseball — all have basis for optimism.
Pirates fans should be thankful at Thanksgiving.
“I think the reason why is that we’ve got good people here,” Hamrick
said. “We’ve got good coaches and we’ve got everything we need in place.
I’ve said ever since I’ve been here that we can be a factor in college
basketball at East Carolina. We’ve got fan support. We’ve got facilities.
We’ve got the resources, and in my mind, we’ve got the coach.”
The Rebels have four starters back from a team that went 20-11 and made
the NCAA Tournament, but they were unable to match the energy of the Pirates
and their supportive fans down the stretch in Williams Arena at Minges
ECU basketball coach Bill Herrion said fans may have felt like the whole
university was on a roll after the football victory that kept the Pirates’
Conference USA title and bowl hopes alive. On Friday night, Herrion’s club
got its season started by snapping a 17-game road losing streak with a 65-63
win at Middle Tennessee State.
“It was a feel-good thing for all of our fans,” Herrion said. “It might
have put more people in the seats today. People might have said ‘This is a
great weekend. Let’s go get one more against Mississippi.’ The bottom line
is that it’s good if we all win.”
Herrion has talented players and directs them well in a system that
emphasizes defense first. Personnel limitations required that ECU play a lot
of 2-3 zone last season but Ole Miss saw the man-to-man style that the
fourth-year ECU coach prefers.
The change indicates the program is growing and gives it Herrion’s
personal stamp. All of the players from senior point guard Travis
Holcomb-Faye on down are his recruits.
Herrion took advantage of his post-game news conference to get on a soap
box for a moment. He was pleased that 6,332 fans showed up to see the Ole
Miss game and lend their support to ECU but he said that the Pirates need a
similar turnout for a home game against William & Mary this Saturday at 7
Fans need to come see the Pirates — regardless of who ECU is playing.
It’s a plea football coach Steve Logan has made on occasion as well. It
would be healthy for ECU to outgrow its perception as a football school.
Logan would love to have some help as the main breadwinner for the athletic
That’s not saying that anybody wants the Pirates not to play exciting and
winning football as they certainly did on Saturday. It would just be good
for basketball to catch up and, based on Sunday’s performance, that may be