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Watch for Al Myatt's profile of new ECU Chancellor Steven Ballard in the 2004 Bonesville Magazine.

View from the East
Monday, August 30, 2004

By Al Myatt

ECU, Tech still cultivating ties after BCA shuffle

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• PAT DYE: Short on Tenure, Long on Impact

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• Florida Pipeline
• NCHSAA & ECU: Smooth Sailing Again

• HIGH HOPES FOR HOOPS

• STEVE BALLARD: New Leader Takes Charge

• SCOTT COWEN: Busting Down the Door

• KEITH LECLAIR on ECU's Field of Dreams

• BETH GRANT: Actress Still a Pirate
 

 

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Southern California began defense of its Associated Press national championship as East Carolina's replacement in the Black Coaches Association game with a 24-13 win over Virginia Tech on Saturday night.

The Pirates originally agreed to give up a contracted home game to meet the Hokies in Blacksburg in the 2004 BCA showcase game. ECU's cut for the move was to have been about $750,000.

Virginia Tech had been scheduled to play Georgia Tech in a previous BCA Kickoff Classic that was ultimately cancelled by lightning that also ignited the rental car of ESPN analyst Lee Corso.

The Yellow Jackets bowed out of a rematch and that opened the door for ECU.

"There were discussions and a preliminary agreement but it had never gotten to the contractual stage," said Nick Floyd, ECU's interim athletic director. "The BCA changed promoters and decided to go in another direction."

The BCA announced the pairing of VPI and USC last December and the new promotional interests relocated the matchup to Landover, Md.

The reshuffling involving this year's game included the insistence of Hokies athletics director Jim Weaver that a game at LSU, originally scheduled for this weekend, be moved, and the Tigers agreed to play that game in 2007.

"We've got fees to join the ACC and we need another home game," Weaver said of the Hokies' present situation and the need to postpone the trip to the bayou.

Hokies coach Frank Beamer also was not enthralled with the prospect of meeting both winners of the 2003 split national title in successive weeks.

Floyd said ECU still has a game with the Hokies in Greenville from an existing contract. That's some good news for the Pirates financially because Virginia Tech fans travel well. The crowd of 45,123 that saw the Hokies and Michael Vick top ECU and David Garrard 45-28 in a Thursday night ESPN battle on Sept. 7, 2000, is the second largest in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium history.

Floyd and Weaver have been talking about more business involving their football programs, too. Expect an announcement soon that the series will add additional home and home games.

Better news on another BCA front

East Carolina basketball coach Bill Herrion is happy to have landed a spot in the 8-team BCA Tournament hosted by N.C. State on Nov. 17-19.

"It gets us up to Raleigh and into that arena (RBC Center)," Herrion said. "We've had some tough times scheduling. We've improved and we're pretty tough at home. If you want good home games you've got to guarantee a lot of money, which we aren't doing, or you've got to play a lot of these people home and home."

ECU the answer for Bell

Herrion seemingly has more Philadelphia contacts than Dick Clark, whose American Bandstand show got its start there.

The Pirates announced last week that forward David Bell was transferring from LaSalle to join the ECU hoops program. Ironically, the announcement came in roughly the same time frame of speculation that Herrion might be a candidate for the Explorers' vacancy.

Bell, who must sit out the 2004-05 season, joins Philadelphians Mike Cook, Marvin Kilgore and Charles Bronson in the ECU program. Herrion and second-year ECU assistant Dino Presley formerly coached in Philly at Drexel.

Bell averaged about six points and 20 minutes per game last season as a sophomore.

Bell was a highly-regarded prep player at Olney High in Philadelphia and later at the Mount Zion Academy in Durham, where former Pirate player Derrick Wiley also developed.

"We knew about David as a high school player but didn't recruit him," Herrion said. "His move to leave LaSalle was a basketball decision. He was really playing out of position at LaSalle. He's 6-foot-7 and about 195 pounds, a bit lanky.

"He's a natural wing player and that's where we'll plan to use him, but out of necessity he was playing the four spot at LaSalle. The uncertainty about the coaching situation also contributed to his decision."

Two LaSalle players were allegedly involved in a sexual assault. Apparent attempts to cover up the situation led to the dismissal of the Explorers women's coach as well as men's coach Billy Hahn.

Bell needs to add some strength in the weight room, according to Herrion, and his physical development will be entrusted to Danny Wheel following the news that Jim Whitten has left the ECU strength and conditioning staff for a position at Virginia Military. Wheel is an assistant in the ECU strength and conditioning program.

Herrion on the USA's bronze

The United States had to settle for the bronze medal in basketball in the Athens Olympics after a semifinal loss to Argentina. The USA had missed wake-up calls dating back to a loss in Indianapolis in the world championships, a setback in exhibition play and defeats in pool play in the 2004 games.

"I think it goes back to how much the other countries have improved," Herrion said. "Argentina has some NBA players like (Mano) Ginobli of the (San Antonio) Spurs. They're good. It's taken a lot of these countries 25 or 30 years, but they're catching up.

"It also proves something that's true at any level — if you can't shoot the basketball, it's hard to win. By 2008, the NBA has got to do something with the selection process. The threat of terrorism was a factor. Do you blame some of the guys for not wanting to go?"

Herrion's program scrapped a trip to Europe two years ago because it was not advisable for Americans to be overseas.

Herrion said USA teams used to intimidate opponents.

"That factor's gone," he said. "The respect is gone. Once that's gone, anybody can beat anybody."

ECU has overcome its fear factor in Conference USA.

"We've definitely proven to ourselves that we can compete," said the Pirates coach. "To break through to the next level, we've got to keep increasing the talent pool."

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02/23/2007 12:46:19 AM
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