College Sports in the Carolinas
from the East
Thursday, August 7, 2003
By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News &
Muse enlists potent help in
For those who believe it's who you know, East Carolina's
prospects for improved league affiliation have taken an upward turn. Or
maybe that should be expressed as a Southeastern turn, with a Tallahassee
twist thrown in for good measure.
ECU chancellor William Muse has known Roy Kramer, the
original power broker of the Bowl Championship Series, from when Muse was
president at Auburn and Kramer was commissioner of the SEC. Muse was
president of the SEC his last two years at Auburn before he came to ECU and
worked closely with Kramer.
With the Pirates preparing to present themselves in the best
possible light to conferences with an automatic berth in the BCS, Muse has
enlisted Kramer as a consultant and proactive representative on ECU's
"He's agreed to work with us to put East Carolina in the
best possible situation in terms of conference affiliation," Muse said on
Wednesday. "He seems to be very enthusiastic about that and we certainly
value his advice and assistance."
Muse and Kramer were on a committee that studied the
feasibility of a playoff in college football. The prospect of NCAA control
of such a possible playoff system prompted Kramer to organize the
conferences that eventually formed the BCS. Kramer negotiated with
television interests to secure the financial rewards that have effectively
divided the ranks in the college game into the haves and have-nots.
He's an influential presence and valuable ally for the
"Roy Kramer can get in front of a lot of important people,"
said ECU athletics director Mike Hamrick.
The grass is hardly growing beneath Muse's feet as he
continues his quest to move the Pirates into position to compete on the
highest level in college football. The chancellor and major ECU booster
Walter Williams had a luncheon earlier this week at the Murphy Center, which
featured a special guest appearance by Florida State athletics director Dave
Hart, formerly ECU's AD. Hart was in Greenville to visit family.
About 20 prominent ECU supporters were on hand.
"Mainly everybody was interested in conference alignment,"
Muse said. "I thought Dave did an excellent job. He's still very well
respected by everybody who knew him personally when he was here."
Muse got to know Hart from the Bowden Classic, a golf
tournament put on by FSU coach Bobby Bowden and son, Terry, then the coach
at Auburn. The event was staged alternate years in Tallahassee and in the
"Dave mainly talked about the Big East and not as much about
the ACC," Muse said. "He said clearly that we need to market ECU's assets,
both in terms of our strength in football and try to address the issue of
our media market."
Muse said Hart emphasized the importance of numbers in terms
of Pirate Club membership and season ticket sales to demonstrate a strong
"That's very significant in terms of other schools we may be
compared to in the conference affiliation process," Muse said.
The Thompson touch
By the time some of you read this, ECU's returning football
players will be on the field for a workout at 8:45 this morning. Incoming
players are scheduled to practice at 5 p.m.
New football coach John Thompson plans for the players to
stay at the City Hotel and Bistro, formerly the Ramada Inn, according to my
recollection, on Greenville Boulevard for the first 10 days of preseason
"We will literally eat, sleep and breathe the same air
together for 10 days," said the first-year Pirates coach. "It has to do with
chemistry and bonding. They don't need their cars. They just need to eat
well, rest well, study well and practice well."
Thompson wants to start a tradition of Pirate fans forming a
human tunnel from the team bus to the ECU locker room entrance at the back
of the Ward Sports Medicine Building two hours before home games.
"We want to let our people see our team and let our team see
our people," Thompson said. "Hopefully it will be a motivating force for
Hamrick does Vegas
ECU athletics director Mike Hamrick returned on Wednesday
from two days of extensive interviews at Nevada-Las Vegas for the Rebels'
vacant athletics director's position. Other finalists include Wayne Hogan of
Montana and Mike Bohn of Idaho. Hogan made a strong impression in an
interview last week, according to sources, and Bohn is scheduled to visit
Vegas next week.
"I was identified by an executive search firm and was invited
to come out, look around and visit with them," Hamrick said. "At this point,
that's all there is."
Hamrick worked at UNLV in 1981 in athletics promotions and
said the campus has expanded significantly since that time. It's back to
business at ECU for the time being, including finalizing the Pirates'
2003-04 men's basketball schedule. UNLV president Carol Harter may make a
decision by mid-August.
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02/22/2007 11:53:51 PM