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College Sports in the Carolinas


View from the East
Tuesday, October 21, 2003

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Logan and Duke — the right fit?


With Duke terminating Carl Franks as coach at midseason and Blue Devils defensive coordinator Ted Roof taking over as interim head coach, speculation is rampant about who will get the job on a permanent basis. One name that has been mentioned on the short list of possible candidates is that of former East Carolina coach Steve Logan.

Of course, the rumor mill will have little impact on the thought processes of Duke AD Joe Alleva, who will make the call with input from a search consultant. But Logan has a number of qualities that should make him appealing to the Blue Devils.

Number one is successful head coaching experience. He was 69-58 at ECU with five bowl teams in 11 seasons. He brought stability to the program for an extended period in terms of success, staff continuity, player conduct and graduation rates. He developed two quarterbacks who are in the NFL, more who have played elsewhere as pros.

Duke’s best teams in recent decades under Steve Spurrier were wide-open offensively, and given Duke’s inability to attract players in great numbers because of stringent academic standards, a spread offense which relies on finesse as — opposed to a power attack that increases depth-depleting injuries — makes the most sense.

Offensive innovation, in that regard, was Logan’s forte. In fact, it was his passion.

Keys for Logan to be considered strongly by Alleva would be an assurance that the defensive side of the game could be handled capably, which it was not during the downturn at ECU which led to his dismissal. Alleva also will have to be convinced that his next hire can recruit effectively enough to significantly improve Duke’s performance in the ACC, which will only get tougher as a result of expansion.

The professorial Logan would take to Duke’s intellectual climate like a fish to water and he would no longer battle the negative aspects of non-bowl championship series status as he did at ECU. He could play tennis with Mike Krzyzewski if Coach K’s hip replacements didn’t prohibit it. And Logan would still be within relatively easy driving distance of his cherished condo at Atlantic Beach.

Logan would have to realize some of the advantages that Duke has going for it — a new football center, recently relaxed admissions policies regarding football, expanded support staff, higher salaries for assistants — and some excellent football tradition going back to the days of coaches Wallace Wade and Bill Murray in the 1930s to the 1960s.

Logan would have to see the silver linings in what many perceive to be a coaching graveyard. Maybe he’s smart enough to bring Duke to the level of a Notre Dame or a Stanford — private schools which have had gridiron success without sacrificing their academic reputations.

From ECU’s standpoint, it would get the Pirates off the hook financially for $200,000 annually for the two-plus years remaining on his contract.

It would be a great opportunity, one that could possibly springboard him to the status of Spurrier.

Given his loyalty to ECU, Logan might stay at Duke for an extended period even if he did win and other schools came after him. Based on the present depths of the program, Duke shouldn’t reasonably expect more than 6-5 seasons toward the end of the four- or five-year contract that it will award Franks’ successor. Logan did better than that at ECU and ultimately became a victim of his own success.

He took the Pirates program to a level of sustained success that went above the program’s resources at the time. When that level slipped, he was vulnerable to those who didn’t value his leadership in creating that success.

Logan is rested. His batteries are charged. He could be ready to light up another program and fan base with his unique style.

The potential downside is that he couldn’t get it turned around and would jeopardize the level of respect he has achieved for the job he did at ECU over the long haul. That’s a definite risk, one that could keep him from getting another meaningful head coaching position if he couldn’t get it done at Duke.

Arizona is the best job open at the moment in terms of resources and potential. Mississippi State will be looking, too, but Logan is a former Bulldogs assistant and might not be interested in going back to Starkville.

There’s no guarantee that Duke will get the right guy. It’s one tough gig, as numerous promising coaches have proved by their failures. But Alleva should certainly give Logan a thorough evaluation. He won consistently at a place that had less going for it than Duke in some respects.

Logan and Duke — it might be a good fit for both parties. The Blue Devils could and have done a lot worse. They might have difficulty doing better.

No search for AD yet

When Mike Hamrick left the athletic director’s position at ECU for the same post at Nevada-Las Vegas, then-chancellor William Muse planned to wait until the end of football season to search for a permanent successor with senior associate AD Nick Floyd stepping up to serve as ECU’s AD in the interim.

Muse’s reasoning was that a better field of candidates could be attracted by waiting. Since Muse resigned on Sept. 12, James Talton, chairman of the board of trustees, had suggested that the search should be initiated forthwith because of various issues at hand, including the conference affiliation possibilities with the Big East.

The search for an AD has not started, according to Don Leggett, an assistant to interim ECU chancellor William Shelton.

“A search committee has not been established,” Leggett said regarding the AD vacancy. “As far as the time element, I don’t know.”

With Floyd capable of handling the job for the time being and ECU likely to remain in Conference USA for the near term, it might make sense to hire the new chancellor first and allow that person to have input on the AD hire. The sense of urgency for having an AD in place diminishes with the Big East’s apparent apathy toward ECU’s interests in membership.


Here’s how the Division I-A teams in the Carolinas stack up:

  1. N.C. State (5-3, 2-2 ACC) ... The Wolfpack edges Clemson 17-15 and has extra time to prepare for Duke.

  2. Clemson (4-3, 2-2 ACC) ... Tigers come up short in Raleigh but try to bounce back at home against UNC.

  3. South Carolina (4-3, 1-3 SEC) ... Gamecocks can't handle LSU but shift focus to homecoming against Vandy.

  4. Wake Forest (4-3, 2-2 ACC) ... Demon Deacons roll to 42-13 win at Duke and get ready for trip to Florida State.

  5. North Carolina (1-6, 0-3 ACC) ... Tar Heels left saying 'What if?' after losing on last play to Arizona State.

  6. Duke (2-5, 0-4) ... The axe was hovering over Blue Devils coach Carl Franks and it fell Sunday.

  7. East Carolina (1-6, 1-2 C-USA) ... A nice vibe on campus after the first win in the John Thompson era..

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02/23/2007 12:41:31 AM

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