College Sports in the Carolinas
Watch for Al Myatt's
profile of new ECU Chancellor Steven Ballard in the 2004
from the East
Thursday, August 19, 2004
By Al Myatt
Deja Vu: Pirates to tip off in
Order Bonesville Magazine Online Now!
ORDER ONLINE NOW!
PAT DYE: Short on Tenure, Long on Impact
INSIDE PIRATE FOOTBALL
Tracking the Classes
NCHSAA & ECU: Smooth Sailing Again
HIGH HOPES FOR HOOPS
New Leader Takes Charge
SCOTT COWEN: Busting Down the Door
KEITH LECLAIR on ECU's Field of Dreams
BETH GRANT: Actress Still a Pirate
Once again, East Carolina will open a basketball season in the Black Coaches
Association Tournament at the RBC Center in Raleigh.
The Pirates began 2001-02 in the same event and same venue, defeating
Rutgers and Northwestern before falling to host N.C. State in the final.
Maybe you remember that the win over Northwestern coincided with a 39-34
football loss to Louisville in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium the same night.
What made the wins over the Big East Scarlet Knights and the Big Ten
Wildcats all the more remarkable was that the Pirates played without the
post presences of Moussa Badiane and Gabriel Mikulas, who were sitting out
after playing on foreign teams that had included pro players before they
arrived at ECU.
This year's BCA field will include host NCSU, Oregon State, the Pirates,
Pepperdine, New Orleans, Sienna, Fairleigh-Dickinson and Elon.
The BCA tournament runs Nov. 17-19, which is a Wednesday, Thursday and
Friday. There will be no conflict with football this time, around although
the Pirates do play Memphis in Greenville on Sat., Nov. 20.
Because of new NCAA regulations, ECU will no longer tune up for the season
by blowing away the likes of the World Young Stars or the Charlotte Stars in
The new regulations allow Division I programs to play open exhibitions
against Division II teams or closed-to-the-public scrimmages against other
D-I programs. ECU coach Bill Herrion welcomes the new NCAA mandates.
"Under the old rules, you paid a lot of money to get bad teams and you got
nothing out of it," Herrion said. "We'll play a Division II team probably
the first week in November and another Division II team the second week in
"With a Division II team you'll get someone who runs an offense and has
things they're trying to do on defense, unlike some of these AAU clubs."
ECU may meet Barton, formerly Atlantic Christian, in one of its preseason
matchups. The Pirate staff is also talking with Belmont Abbey and St.
Andrews about its other preseason date.
Among highlights of the non-conference schedule are games with South
Carolina in Mobile, Ala., on Dec. 20 and at Clemson on Wed., Dec. 29. The
matchup with the Gamecocks is part of a prelude to the GMAC Bowl at
Ladd-Peebles Stadium the following night. ECU is 0-47 all-time against ACC
The Pirates will play at Gardner-Webb on Nov. 23, host Toledo on Dec. 1,
play Old Dominion at home on Dec. 12, and host Winthrop on Dec. 17. The
Conference USA portion of the schedule will be announced later.
Classes start at ECU on Aug. 25 and Herrion will hold a team meeting late
that afternoon. Preseason workouts will begin the following Monday, Aug. 30.
The Pirate coaching staff can work with groups of four players or fewer
before official practice begins. The ECU players will also be lifting
weights, conditioning and playing pick-up games on their own in the
"We had a great offseason in the weight room," Herrion said.
LaSalle link lacked substance
Andy Katz of ESPN stated that LaSalle might bring Bill Herrion back to
Philadelphia to fill its basketball coaching vacancy.
"I think that was speculation because I obviously worked in Philadelphia for
eight years," Herrion said. "I think they were just trying to attach names
Herrion was 121-32 in eight seasons at Drexel with three NCAA berths and one
trip to the NIT. He still works the city of brotherly love thoroughly in
recruiting with three Philly products Mike Cook, Charles Bronson and
Marvin Kilgore on this season's ECU roster.
"This is home right now," said Herrion, who is under contract at ECU through
2008. "I have a daughter (Caitlin), who will be a senior at Rose High and a
son (Ryan), who will be a freshman. There's a lot more other factors to
consider when something like that pops up."
Herrion is 61-79 in five seasons at ECU, steering the Pirates into
highly-competitive C-USA during that span. A number of C-USA's basketball
powers depart for other leagues after next season.
FOOTBALL QUICK HITS
The focus of football practice has shifted from numerous repetitions last
week in split squad workouts designed to find out who among the younger
players might be able to contribute to preparing for the season with the
players who will be on the field the most in 2004 starting to get the bulk
of the work.
The total of 575 passing yards in Tuesday's scrimmage was impressive but was
accumulated with 120 snaps. An offense typically gets about 70 snaps in a
game. Still, new offensive coordinator Noah Brindise showed some flair with
the passing game. The big thing is to go vertical, stretch defenses and let
the running backs take advantage of the resultant space. Running back Marvin
Townes was back in workouts on Wednesday after sitting out the scrimmage.
Wet conditions forced the Pirates off the Cliff Moore practice facility on
Wednesday and into the stadium.
The Pirates were supposed to see a movie last Saturday night but Coach John
Thompson dismissed the team so players concerned about the effects of
Hurricane Charley could check on their residences in Greenville and those
from areas in Charley's path could check on their families.
The next scheduled scrimmage for the Pirates is at 3:30 p.m. pm Saturday.
The 10th annual Meet the Pirates meal is at 7 p.m. Reservations are required
for the supper event, which features the ECU players for autographs and
Coach Thompson's bonding process in August a year ago helped the team stay
together and playing hard despite a 1-11 record in 2003. The Pirates stayed
at the City Hotel, bused to campus together, ate as a group, went to movies
and also went swimming.
Although Coach Thompson went away from the hotel concept this year, the
Pirates have been spending 12-hour days together with meetings, practices
and conditioning followed by more meetings and practices. Some entertainment
relief is scheduled for Sunday night with a team talent show.
Send an e-mail message to Al Myatt.
Click here to dig into Al Myatt's Bonesville
02/23/2007 12:46:17 AM