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Noah Brindise got an offer he couldn’t refuse on Wednesday,
just one day after he had agreed with new East Carolina head football coach
John Thompson to become offensive coordinator of the Pirates.
Brindise will remain quarterbacks coach of the Washington
Redskins after a salary increase bumped him to over $400,000 annually.
Thompson will continue looking for an offensive coordinator,
which has been viewed as the key hire on the staff because of Thompson’s
extensive background as a defensive coordinator. He liked the diversity of
the “Fun ’N’ Gun” offense that Brindise had learned as a Gators quarterback
and coached as a Florida graduate assistant.
The Redskins apparently decided Wednesday that the work
Brindise did with rookie quarterback Patrick Ramsey during the 2002 season
was worth a substantial raise to keep him.
Thompson basically said those things happen in the business
of college football and he’ll activate plan B to find a quality coach to
direct ECU’s attack.
Getting the feel of Dowdy-Ficklen
ECU’s first big recruiting weekend allowed ECU’s football
commitments to get a feel of taking the field for a home game. The recruits
got jerseys with their names on them and ran out on the field on Saturday
night through the new tunnel from the Murphy Center while the stadium audio
provided some emotional accompaniment.
The jerseys stayed at ECU but the players will get them when
they become Pirates players.
“They get them back in August,” Thompson said.
Thompson wanted the recruits to get a feel for the ECU
experience and and get to know the members of his staff who were on hand.
“More than anything else we were just trying to show them
what we are like,” Thompson said. “There are so many great things here to
ECU has received recent football commitments from linebacker
Wendell Chavis of Hertford County and receiver Juwon Crowell of
Winston-Salem Carver. Chavis is the fifth ECU commitment from North
Carolina's victorious Shrine Bowl team. He had 153 tackles this season.
Crowell played for the state 3-A champions, catching 48 passes for 976 yards
with 12 touchdowns. Crowell’s older brothers, Germane and Angelo, starred at
Many Pirates fans will have heightened interest in spring
practice. Thompson’s plans to reinstate the spring game will provide a
preview of the direction of the program under his leadership.
“Approximately, it will be the last two weeks in March and
the first two weeks in April,” Thompson said. “We will have a coaching
clinic during that time. We’ll finish up with a big blowout spring game.”
There has been speculation about whether ECU will have a new
look as it heads into a new coaching era on the gridiron.
“Possibly,” Thompson said. “Possibly. Haven’t made any final
decisions on that. We’ve got some things we might want to look at. We’ve got
some people that are coming and maybe there will be a tweak here and there.
I don’t want to change just to change and I don’t want to change just
because we’re new.”
“Might do it — if we think it looks good with all our staff
and involve some of the players,” Thompson said. “I want our players to have
ownership. It’s not going to be just something where I say, ‘You know what?
I want to put this on the helmet or this on the pants or be in this color.’
There will be a lot of people involved in that.
“You want to look good. You want the players to feel good.
I’m not going to change just to change. Sometimes to be a little different —
if we think it’s an improvement — we might do it. There’s a lot of opinions
Tony Oden, who has coached in the ECU secondary the last two
seasons, will be moving on to Boise State for similar responsibilities with
the Broncos. Former Pirates offensive line coach Steve Shankweiler is
reportedly weighing offers from Cincinnati and Middle Tennessee State.
Return of the Cardinals
It was a year to the day, Jan. 16, 2002, that ECU got its
first ever Conference USA men’s basketball victory, 87-77, over Louisville.
The Cardinals return to Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum ranked No. 15 by
the Associated Press with a 10-1 record and nine straight wins since an
86-84 loss at Purdue.
Coach Rick Pitino’s club has added post man Marvin Stone, a
transfer from Kentucky, and point guard Reece Gaines is averaging 18.0
Pirates coach Bill Herrion is concerned about the matchup
problems that the 6-foot-6 Gaines may present.
A sellout crowd will be on hand as ECU goes for its sixth
straight C-USA win at home. It will be Herrion’s 100th game as ECU coach. A
win would make the Pirates 11-3, the best record after 14 games for ECU
since the 1957-58 team was 11-3.
Last year, the win over the Cardinals showed the Pirates
they could compete in C-USA. Tonight, on ESPN 2, ECU will step into the
national spotlight against one of college basketball’s traditionally-elite
How many would have thought three years ago that this would
be happening — sellout crowd, ESPN 2, Rick Pitino, Louisville, Conference
As Morgan Ahlers says on the public address system,
“Heeeerrrre come the Pirates!”