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View from the East
Monday, April 7, 2003

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Thompson clinic earns respect, wins friends

©2003 Bonesville.net

East Carolina hosted a clinic for high school football coaches this past weekend. Score it as another public relations victory for first-year Pirates coach John Thompson. Golf was available at Ironwood and Thompson moved around to play two or three holes with different groups on the course.

Registration on Friday for the clinic was free but participating coaches had to pay for golf and their meals, according to NCAA regulations. High school coaches could study film and then attend ECU’s practice on Friday afternoon. Following the Pirates’ workout, individual sessions were available with the ECU coaching staff.

On Saturday morning, several prominent high school coaches spoke in Harvey Hall in the Murphy Center. Then the high school coaches could watch ECU’s scrimmage on Saturday afternoon at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Dewayne Kellum, the Associated Press coach of the year at Southside High School, which consolidated Chocowinity and Aurora in Beaufort County three years ago, said he was impressed with Thompson and the format of the clinic. He also picked up some helpful information. Kellum’s team reached the state 1-A final in 2002.

“It’s been awhile since East Carolina had a coaching clinic,” Kellum said. “It’s great going to clinics at UNC and N.C. State, but it’s nice when you’ve got something at your own back door, too. That’s one reason I supported it.”

Among area coaches on hand were Harold Robinson of Williamston, Greg Thomas of Greenville Rose and Bing Mitchell of Beaufort County Northside.

Kellum chose to be in the group mentored by ECU offensive line coach J.B. Grimes on Friday night. Kellum coordinates the offense at his school, which has an enrollment of 480. A former Chocowinity quarterback, Kellum wanted some input on developing his offensive linemen.

“It was kind of a social situation,” Kellum said. “We got more done than a lot of clinics because there weren’t 90 or 100 in the group. The sessions were smaller, which allowed more interaction. We got a lot accomplished. It was very informative.”

Doughnuts, pastry and juice was available on Saturday morning. One thing that impressed Kellum was that Thompson and his staff were there early to hear the high school coaches speak beginning at 8 a.m.

“You don’t see the college coaches like that at a lot of clinics,” Kellum said. “But they were there after a practice on Friday and with a scrimmage on Saturday afternoon. That was impressive that they were there to hear what the high school coaches were saying.”

Gerald Odom, the father of ECU defensive coordinator Jerry Odom, was one of the speakers. The elder Odom is a veteran high school coach in Florida with several state championships to his credit. He now coaches at Cocoa High.

“Coach Odom does a lot of stuff offensively that we went to this year and what he’s doing is basically the direction we want to go,” Kellum said. “We’ve been a wing T team but we expanded this year with some speed option, belly option, misdirection option, two backs and one back sets. It was basically what Coach Odom has done at Cocoa.

“He had the format to put it all together and made it a much simpler package.”

Hank Sawyer of Lake Taylor High in Norfolk spoke on developing good relations with college coaches to enhance the recruitment of his players. Tight end Marc Jones of Lake Taylor signed with ECU in February.

“I like the goal of helping the kids further their education,” Kellum said. “He said he tells administrators at his school to treat the college recruiters like gold, even if they’re Division III.”

Kellum spoke about building a program from the ground up, something he knows about from personal experience at his consolidated school.

“We started from scratch,” Kellum said. “We had people who couldn’t get in a stance.”

Kellum had coached previously at Chocowinity and said players who came into that program often knew what to expect.

“We had some kids (at Southside) who had never played football so we had to kind of refresh our brains to teach them the basics,” Kellum said.

Chip Williams of New Bern spoke on organization and the Bears 2002 run to the state 4-AA title game.

“Coach Williams had a highlight tape that showed how they had expanded their offense,” Kellum said.

Robinson, who directed North Carolina to a 28-0 Shrine Bowl victory in 2002, spoke on his organizational approach and talked about the combines he instituted to help select players for the Shrine Bowl.

Kellum came away from the clinic feeling he had started a relationship with Thompson and his staff.

“I hope Coach Thompson does well,” Kellum said. “He’s real personable. Coach (Jerry) Odom is young but he comes from a good background and I’m sure he’s inherited something there. I was real impressed with his father.

“I was impressed with Coach Grimes, too. Anybody who has coached at Texas A&M has to know their mess.”

Narron gets win in high Class A

I sat at Sam Narron’s table when ECU had its “Meet the Pirates” gathering for the baseball team at the Murphy Center on Feb. 8. Narron, a 6-foot-7 left-handed pitcher, would have been a senior this season but opted to sign with the Texas Rangers after going 8-3 with a 2.98 earned run average for the Pirates in 2002, a season during which he was the default starter on those Fridays entering each Conference USA weekend series.

Narron played a half-season of rookie league ball last summer and said in February his goal going into spring training was that he hoped to jump to the Rangers’ high Class A team at Stockton in the California League. Narron was assigned to Stockton and pitched four innings in relief on Friday for a win in his first appearance. He allowed one earned run, three hits and struck out two without a walk.

Didn’t have the foggiest

I liked this item on Sunday in The Fayetteville Observer.

Richard Siddall is a soccer goalie for the Stocksbridge Steels in England. A Steels game was halted in January because fog on the field had become too thick. But Siddall was not aware the game had been stopped and stayed at his position for 10 minutes after his teammates had left for the locker room.

“I stood there waiting for a player to come through the mist,” Siddall said.

Send an e-mail message to Al Myatt.

Click here to dig into Al Myatt's Bonesville archives.

02/22/2007 11:53:41 PM
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