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View from the East
Friday, October 31, 2003

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

ECU's man of the Hour(igan)


Richard Hourigan
Senior, Cary, NC
(Photo: ECU SID)

 

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©2003 Bonesville.net

East Carolina receiver Richard Hourigan embodies both aspects of the term “student-athlete.” He’s enrolled in a five-year masters degree program in accounting. He has been on the PCS Phosphate All-Academic Team for the past two years for having the team’s highest grade point average.

After walking on from Cary High and making the Pirates team in 2000, Hourigan received a full scholarship at the first team dinner of the 2003 season.

“It was nice because I’ve worked really hard ever since I’ve been here,” Hourigan said. “It’s nice to finally get a little bit of a reward. My Mom [Brenda] loves it. She really does, but more importantly than just the money, she’s just proud that because I worked so hard that I finally got the reward.”

Hourigan had 19 catches for 197 yards and one touchdown last season. He has 11 catches for 164 yards this season, making a successful transition to a change in position.

“I’ve moved positions recently and I’m getting a lot of work,” Hourigan said. “I’m working really hard. I think Desmond Robinson [ECU quarterback] is gaining a little bit of confidence in me and it’s showing up on game day.”

Hourigan made his first start against West Virginia at flanker earlier this season and also started the following week at Miami. He has gone from being a wideout to a slot position.

“The differences are that you’re running your routes on linebackers and safeties moreso than you are just a corner,” Hourigan said. “You’ve got to read defenses a little more and it’s worked out well for me.”

ECU’s offense had a goal of “going vertical” from the outset in its design but has struggled for much of the season in that regard. Still, Robinson hit Hourigan downfield for a 45-yard gain to the Louisville 11-yard line on Saturday. Hourigan made the catch and even made a move for some additional yards after the reception. The play led to a 21-yard field goal by Cameron Broadwell for ECU’s first points of the game.

“Throwing down the field is something we wanted to do all along,” Thompson said. “We just weren’t able to do it. We’ve gotten better. Our protection is better. We’ve developed more receivers that we can do that with. Richard Hourigan stretching the field has helped us. Desmond is throwing the ball better and better.”

Hourigan is the son of former Cary High baseball coach Jim Hourigan. At Cary, Hourigan played both ways and led the state in interceptions as a high school junior in 1998 with 10, which also set a school record.

The following season Hourigan set school marks for touchdown catches with 10 and receiving yards with 950. He was twice all-conference in football. He was team MVP and was named conference player of the year as a senior. He also was a three-year starter in baseball for the Imps. He had some small college recruiting interest coming out of high school but wanted to play for the Pirates.

His two years on the scout team weren’t easy but the 6-foot, 190-pound Hourigan persevered.

“It’s tough to get noticed on the scout team,” Hourigan said. “The coaches should be looking at the scholarship players because they’re paying for them.”

Hourigan was a teammate of ECU offensive lineman Corey Schmidt for four years at Cary and that created some uneasiness for Hourigan when Schmidt went down with a knee injury on Saturday against Louisville.

“It’s not a pretty thing to see one of your buddies laying on the field — any teammate — but someone like Corey who I went to high school with and played with,” Hourigan said. “I hope it’s not serious, but if it is I’ll be beside him.”

Coach Thompson said Schmidt dressed out for practice on Monday.

“We were doing some drills and Corey is over there doing push-ups with a big brace on his leg,” said the ECU coach. “I said something to Mike Hanley (head trainer) about it and he said, ‘That’s Corey Schmidt.’ I walked over to him like, ‘Corey, what in the world are you doing?’ and he looked at me like I was crazy, like ‘Hey, it’s practice, I’m supposed to be out here.’

"He had brace from his ankle to his hip. It slowed him down a little but but that just says a lot about the kind of guys we have.”

Pirates fans have been persistent, too. ECU is averaging 36,700 fans per game at home, third in Conference USA. The Pirates are the only program in the league’s top five in average attendance with a losing record. Hourigan appreciates the loyalty of the ECU fans.

“We have great fans,” said the former walk-on. “They’re loud. They have a great time. They cheer for us. They root for us. It’s amazing to know that you can play at home and have people that support you regardless of whether your season is going as well as planned or not.”

Improving Pirates need winning experience

Terrance Copper had 10 catches for 142 yards and set an ECU season record for receptions during the 36-20 loss to Louisville. Copper has 62 receptions this season, surpassing Troy Smith, who had 54 catches in 1997. Copper’s season catch total is tied for fourth nationally in Division I-A. Desmond Robinson completed 24 of 42 passes for a career-high 291 yards with one touchdown and one interception against the Cardinals.

“The coaches are doing a great job of keeping this team together,” Robinson said. “No one is pointing fingers. ... The ball just hasn’t bounced our way.”

The Pirates had 457 yards of offense last Saturday as Marvin Townes ran 20 times for 82 yards.

“We got other receivers into it,” Copper said. “The offense is moving the ball. We just came up short at the end.”

Louisville outscored ECU 23-7 in the fourth quarter.

ECU is assured of its third straight non-winning season, having gone 6-6 in 2001 and 4-8 last season. The Pirates can’t get to a bowl this year, even in theory, and younger players in the program are yearning for a winning experience.

“That’s probably one of the main problems,” said sophomore linebacker Chris Moore, who leads the nation in tackles per game at 14.9. “Three years and we’re not really used to having a winning season. Louisville — they know what it takes to win. Even though we beat Army, we lost the fourth quarter. We’ve just got to win the fourth quarter.”

Bad news for Bobby Good

A left leg injury in practice on Monday will sideline true freshman receiver Bobby Good for the remainder of the season. Good signed with Memphis in the spring but the Tigers granted him a release because his uncle, Rick Stockstill, is offensive coordinator at ECU. Good had eight catches for 55 yards in four games.

Rice brings boost in baseball

Future C-USA member Rice is the defending NCAA champion in baseball and ECU coach Randy Mazey said that will be a benefit for the Pirates in recruiting.

“That’ll help us,” Mazey said. “Kids want to play the best teams out there. That will add a lot to the conference.”

The Pirates have finished fall practice.

“We’re going to be a different team,” Mazey said. “We should be more productive offensively. Pitching may be the question mark this year. We’re going to have a lot of unproven-type pitchers.”

New players who hit well in fall ball included Trevor Lawhorn, the twin brother of junior standout Darryl Lawhorn who transferred from Barton, and outfielder Drew Costanzo, who is from West Palm Beach, Fla., and played at Louisburg College.

Send an e-mail message to Al Myatt.

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

02/23/2007 12:41:33 AM
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