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View from the East
Thursday, May 1, 2003

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Hard-working booster fired up about Pirates

©2003 Bonesville.net

Perry Hudson got a standing ovation at the Wake County Pirate Club banquet on April 24. Hudson signed up 43 Pirate Club members in 2001 and was the club’s rookie rep of the year. He was named the Pirate Club’s rep of the year for 2002 after signing up 48 members. His goal by October of this year is 50 and he has already signed up 37.

A former East Carolina student and a resident of Dunn, Hudson’s oldest daughter attends ECU. He is president of the Harnett-Johnston chapter of the Pirate Club and attended banquets featuring new football coach John Thompson in Fayetteville and the Triangle in recent weeks.

Hudson has gotten former ECU defensive lineman Devone “Biscuit” Claybrooks, who played for Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay, into the Pirate Club fold and has commitments from former players such as kicker Chad Holcomb, defensive lineman Dwayne Ledford and running back Leonard Henry.

The spring banquets have helped fuel Hudson’s interest and enthusiasm for ECU athletics.

“There were about 100 people at the Cumberland County (Fayetteville) banquet and the one hosted by Wake County was one of the very best I’ve ever attended,” Hudson said. “It was very well-run, the personalities were great and everyone had a good time.”

Thompson is scheduled to appear at all 19 gatherings on the consolidated Pirate Club circuit this year. There was a banquet in the Norfolk area on Wednesday night.

“Record crowds,” said athletics director Mike Hamrick. “There’s lots of interest in the football schedule and the new coach. The response has been very positive.”

Thompson said he doesn’t have prepared remarks when he speaks at the booster functions.

“I have really enjoyed it,” Thompson said of his banquet appearances. “Every one is a little different and unique — different people and different settings.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of it. It’s been a fun four months learning about the Pirate nation and the Pirate family.”

Thompson’s remarks have dealt with his team and where the Pirates stand coming out of spring practice.

“I just get up and talk like I’m talking to friends,” Thompson said. “I did it a lot when I was on the staff at Arkansas and a few times at Florida. It’s different in this capacity at East Carolina. The people have been great, very warm. The passion is unbelievable. I really enjoy getting to meet the fans and getting out.”

Hudson said hard work is a consistent element among the Pirates coaches he has heard at the banquets this year — Thompson, men’s basketball coach Bill Herrion, women’s hoops coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener and baseball coach Randy Mazey.

“Coach Thompson said we’re going to outwork everybody,” Hudson said. “We’re going to attack offensively and defensively. He’s got that family deal going and I think everybody is buying into that. He said they went heavy in spring ball every day that the NCAA would allow because they’re looking to get physical.

“We’ve got some weaknesses and we’ve got some kids (recruits) who could possibly step in. He talked about moving some kids into the secondary like Mickey McCoy and Antonie Nealy. But he said every time somebody started looking good, it seemed like they got hurt. But they’ll be back in the fall and the effort has been there.”

Hudson also noted Thompson's observation that every coach on the ECU staff had been assigned a group of high schools in North Carolina.

“He talked about recruiting North Carolina first and then going to Florida, Georgia — wherever else — to get the best players out there,” Hudson said. “Right now, he said the focus is on the first game at Cincinnati (Sept. 1). That’s Game One.

“He says we’re going to win championships and that’s the attitude you have to have.”

Herrion has told Pirates fans on the banquet circuit that 2002-03 was a frustrating season after one of the best starts in almost 50 years. The ECU coach wants to see offensive improvement from forward Erroyl Bing next season.

Herrion and his staff continue widespread recruiting in an effort to bring in needed talent. A point guard and improved perimeter shooting remain priorities. The ECU coach had two recruits on campus on Wednesday.

The possibility of the 3-point line being slightly extended by the NCAA rules committee to beyond 20 feet would put an added premium on outside shooting accuracy, a dimension that was lacking for the Pirates last year.

“Coach Herrion said it’s frustrating not to be a part of the postseason selections but we can get there — it’s just a matter of time,” Hudson said. “No one wants to win more than he does.”

Mazey has indicated he’s looking forward to recruiting to a new baseball stadium, which will be constructed at the present site of Harrington Field after the 2004 season.

“He said the new stadium will help us attain our goal of going to Omaha for the College World Series,” Hudson said. “It’s a matter of time but we’re goin’.”

Send an e-mail message to Al Myatt.

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

02/23/2007 12:41:06 AM
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