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View from the East
Saturday, December 13, 2003

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

ECU leaders wrestle past and present

©2003 Bonesville.net

In effect, East Carolina is still working to stem the fallout from the rift between former athletics director Mike Hamrick and ex-ECU football coach Steve Logan.

The latter got an unsolicited amendment to his contract buyout agreement approved by the board of trustees on Friday. A search committee has started its work in looking for a replacement for the former.

A clause in Logan’s resignation pact had stipulated he could not be on the ECU campus without permission of the athletics director.

“It came to my attention that that provision was in the contract,” said interim chancellor William Shelton. “It was creating some discontent and I didn’t know the reason for it. I recommended that it be removed and the board approved it.”

Former chancellor William Muse and Hamrick designated the terms of the buyout contract, which was also signed by Charles Franklin, former chairman of the board of trustees.

Logan was on campus occasionally last spring when his younger son, Nate, who subsequently transferred to Campbell, was in the ECU baseball program.

Muse did not recommend extensions on the contracts of Hamrick or Logan. He signed off on the dismissal of Logan and helped Hamrick get the athletics director’s job at Nevada-Las Vegas in August. Hamrick’s relationship with Logan polarized the ECU community and ultimately helped pave the way for Hamrick’s own departure from the ECU scene.

The three biggest internal players in ECU athletics one year and one week ago are now all gone. Muse, of course, was forced out in September.

One void has been filled.

John Thompson was assigned the coaching task of returning the Pirates to glory on the gridiron. His personality gave the fan base something to focus on and get excited about — before a 1-11 season subdued the mood. Obviously, Thompson and staff are hard at it on the recruiting trail in addressing the issue of the record.

The search committee, which will make a recommendation on Hamrick’s successor, held an organizational meeting at the Mendenhall Student Center on campus on Friday. There is also a chancellor search being conducted. Simply stated, those two hires are vital to ECU's future.

The AD search committee shared thoughts about what it wants to see in terms of leadership.

“I want someone with a vision for East Carolina and the ability to implement that vision,” said Lynn L. Lane of Winston-Salem, chair of the ECU foundation and a member of the AD search committee.

“We need someone with communication skills and integrity,” said James Talton, chairman of the board of trustees and an ex-officio member of the AD search force.

David Dosser, faculty athletics representative, favored “an integration of academics and athletics” as well as concern for the full range of sports — beyond football and basketball.

Timing is everything and the AD search is included in regard to the pending chancellor hire. The question of hiring the AD before the chancellor was viewed by some as getting the cart before the horse.

“One major question I hear is ‘Why are we in such a rush?’ ” said committee member Walter Williams, whose financial support of ECU athletics is legendary. “Who we pick might prefer to know who his immediate boss is going to be.”

The urgency of having a fulltime hire in place has diminished since the domino effect of conference affiliation bypassed the Pirates. AD search chairman Stephen Showfety indicated he would direct the search in a timely manner. Then it would be up to the chancellor, interim or otherwise, and the board of trustees to determine the advisability of hiring an AD if a new chancellor had not yet been determined.

Interim chancellor William Shelton said the university can’t stop during the search processes. He pointed out that there is a pending hire for a vice chancellor for finances.

“I don’t believe we should just hold off,” Shelton said.

Indications are that there are numerous applicants for the AD post although none are so prominent that conversations will stop at the mention of their names. Sources indicate that some good potential candidates have been reluctant to apply because of the uncertainty about the chancellor’s position.

The chancellor search may be completed as early as March. Interim AD Nick Floyd is capable of overseeing the program in the meantime and may be a candidate worthy of consideration in his own right. The next chancellor would be a good one to make that determination.

ECU can afford to wait on an AD. Get the chancellor in place. Let that person be on the same page with the next leader of the athletics program. We’re still seeing the fallout when top figures in the ECU athletics administrative chain of command don’t have a functional relationship. The Pirates can’t afford another negative trickle-down affect.

THE AD SEARCH COMMITTEE

Chairman: Stephen Showfety (Greensboro), vice chairman board of trustees, alumnus; Committee members: Marvin Blount III (Greenville), board of visitors, alumnus; David Dosser (Greenville), faculty athletics representative; John P. Hudson (Durham), ECU Foundation, alumnus, Pirate Club, board of visitors; Dan Kinlaw (Fayetteville), secretary of board of trustees, alumnus; George Koonce (Greenville), former ECU and NFL player, alumnus; Lynn Lane (Winston-Salem), chair of the ECU Foundation, board of visitors; Charles Martin (Greenville), president ECU parents council, board of visitors, alumnus; Pete Murphy (Wallace), alumnus, name donor of the Murphy Center; Angela Sye (Greenville), women’s basketball team member; Margaret Ward (Burlington), president of ECU alumni association, trustee, chairwoman of board's athletic committee, alumnus, board of visitors; Walter Williams (Greenville), major supporter, alumnus. Ex-officio member: Jim Talton (Raleigh) chairman of the board of trustees, alumnus.

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02/23/2007 12:39:52 AM
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