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College Sports in the Carolinas

View from the East
Monday, January 12, 2004

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

ECU in the 'Pink' with verbal from legacy

CyberEast of New Bern

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Reggie Pinkney played defensive back on the only East Carolina football team to beat North Carolina. That was in 1975. That was just one highlight of his playing career for the Pirates. A win over N.C. State the following season and two Southern Conference championships were other significant accomplishments while Pinkney was playing for Coach Pat Dye at ECU.

Pinkney was back on campus this weekend as a guest parent of the Pirates football program. Pinkney’s son, Patrick Pinkney, has been an outstanding quarterback for Fayetteville Pine Forest during his high school career and has been an ECU recruiting target. The older Pinkney, who formerly was head coach at Fayetteville Westover High, is now principal at Hillsboro Elementary School in Fayetteville.

Reggie Pinkney said he and his wife, Rose, were the second to find out that Patrick Pinkney had committed to the Pirates. Reggie Pinkney said head coach John Thompson was the first. The Pinkneys were getting ready to have supper on the club level at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Saturday night when their son broke the news that he planned to be a Pirate.

“We told him through the whole recruiting process that it would be his decision,” Reggie said. “He came over and said ‘I just did it. I committed.’ ”

The Pirates made an impressive presentation over the recruiting weekend — touring the campus, showing off athletics facilities and introducing university personnel. The culmination was Saturday night at the stadium.

Interim chancellor Bill Shelton spoke to the recruits and their families.

“They took the parents over on a bus and the recruits on another bus,” Reggie said. “They had jerseys made up for the players with their names on them. They had them run out of the tunnel with the vapor and smoke going and the public address announcer telling about their past accomplishments. The cheerleaders were there and some of the players.

“They did their homework. They did a good job of selling the program and Coach Thompson stresses the family concept. My hat’s off to Coach Thompson and Coach (Jerry) McManus. It was a first class operation. I think they sold a lot of kids and their parents. It was a great, great weekend for the kids.”

Reggie Pinkney said it was a different weekend in many regards from the one he experienced when Sonny Randle was directing the ECU program and he was being recruited. Randle left ECU for Virginia after Pinkney’s freshman year.

“My dad was overseas and one of my high school coaches, Coach Woolard, drove me up there,” said the elder Pinkney of his recruiting visit to ECU. “My Mom and Dad weren’t involved. My coach drove back home and then came back to pick me up. We met with players and boosters and we had a big dinner the last day. Everyone met with Coach Randle. I felt comfortable and the opportunity to play right away was influential.”

After a 1-11 season, the opportunity to play right away again become a selling point for many of the current ECU recruits. McManus, ECU’s recruiting coordinator and running backs coach, identified Patrick Pinkney early.

“Coach McManus was one of the foremost factors,” said Patrick Pinkney. “He had been recruiting me since I was a freshman. The people down there are great and it’s a great environment. I found out the players are great to hang around with and the coaches are so supportive — I know they’ll not only make me a better player but a better person. I wanted to be a Pirate, but I wanted to make my official visit to be sure.”

Pinkney said he was being recruited as a quarterback. The Pirates have rising senior Desmond Robinson and rising sophomore James Pinkney returning at that position. Florida transfer Patrick Dosh, a redshirt sophomore, will be eligible to play after being confined to the Pirates' scout team last season.

ECU is expected to name former Washington Redskins quarterbacks coach Noah Brindise the new offensive coordinator and Brindise will be allowed to implement changes in the Pirates’ offensive system, according to Thompson.

ECU also has a commitment from quarterback Antonio Miller of Charlotte Olympic and is also recruiting New Bern quarterback Davon Drew. There will likely be more commitments forthcoming from this past recruiting weekend.

Pinkney’s Pine Forest team reached the third round of the NCHSAA 4-AA playoffs in 2003. Patrick Pinkney’s ECU jersey was No. 15, the same number he had in high school.

Banowsky: Show me the money

East Carolina will play its last home basketball game against Louisville for the foreseeable future when the Cardinals visit Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum at 9 p.m. on Thursday night (ESPN2). Under the new scheduling format in Conference USA, the Cardinals are not one of the teams that the Pirates play twice during the regular season.

If coach Rick Pitino’s program is in C-USA next season, it will be the Cards’ turn to host ECU.

According to a report Friday on, there has been talk of speeding up the timetable for teams moving from C-USA to the Big East. The group involved includes Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette and South Florida.

Those teams were originally supposed to join the Big East for the 2005-06 academic year but many of the leagues involved in the domino effect from the ACC’s acquisition of Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College have indicated they would be receptive to executing new affiliations for next scholastic year, 2004-05. Miami and Virginia Tech will join the ACC at that time.

Boston College is subject to a higher exit fee from the Big East — $5 million as opposed to $1 million — which was instituted after the Hokies and Hurricanes made their decisions to leave the Big East.

Boston College would like to avoid a lame-duck season in the Big East and ditto for the Cards and possibly others in C-USA. The holdup is C-USA commissioner Britton Banowsky, who wants to make sure his league is properly compensated for potential lost television revenue if the scheduled changes are moved up a year.

The payoff to C-USA under discussion is $10 million. Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese told Andy Katz of, “that’s a lot of money.”

Banowsky is doing his job in looking after C-USA’s financial interests. There also should be higher exit fees from C-USA in force if earlier exits take place.

The ACC’s expansion has impacted the Big East, C-USA, the WAC, the MAC, the Atlantic 10 and the Sun Belt thus far in terms of future membership shifts.

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02/23/2007 12:44:51 AM

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