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Don't miss Al Myatt's profile of ECU Chancellor Steven Ballard in the 2004 Bonesville Magazine.

View from the East
Friday, November 26, 2004

By Al Myatt

Holland touching all the bases in coach quest

BONESVILLE POWER HOUR

Listen to the archived audio of this week's Bonesville Power Hour on WNCT-AM Talk 1070. Host Patrick Johnson and Bonesville.net's Al Myatt and Denny O'Brien delved into East Carolina's search for a football coach and interacted with callers: Select clip...

 

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©2004 Bonesville.net

East Carolina athletic director Terry Holland looks to be close to his playing weight as a hoopster at Davidson in the 1960s.

Good thing.

Holland doesn't have time for seconds on turkey and pumpkin pie as he presses on in the search for a new Pirates football coach.

"We're hard at work," Holland said. "We're still in the expanding mode, still trying to get as many names as we can. ... We're trying not to miss any names, making sure nobody gets overlooked."

Asked Wednesday if he had a timetable to determine a replacement for John Thompson, the former Virginia hoops coach said, "Yesterday."

Then he chuckled and added, "Tomorrow."

Holland is well aware that the sooner a coach is in place, the better it will be in terms of the coaching transition. A staff can be hired and recruiting can continue under the new regime.

Postseason commitments to bowls on the Division I-A level, playoffs on the lower collegiate levels and the continuation of the NFL season could possibly inhibit the time frame of the search process at ECU.

"We'll move as fast as is reasonably possible," Holland said. "There are always candidates involved who may not be immediately available. It's important always to gauge the danger created by that. We can't establish a timetable because of that. We can't establish a timetable until we determine how important it is to wait on them."

Asked if any interviews were scheduled, Holland said, "I can't comment on that."

One source said William & Mary's Jimmye Laycock may be in town on Sunday or Monday — after the Tribe, ranked sixth in Division I-AA, has a first-round playoff game on Saturday.

Those with access to the circumstances of the coaching transition have indicated that Holland will be able to put together a package of $750,000 to $800,000 to compensate a coach who will be charged with returning the program to its former prominence.

Holland would only say, "I don't anticipate that (money) will be a real issue."

The ECU AD is scheduled to hold a news conference on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. to update media on the search process.

The national candidates

Although Jim Donnan has indicated he is not interested in resurrecting the ECU program, Bonesville.net has reported that Ron Zook apparently has signaled that he is. The deposed Florida coach has national name recognition, which translates big time into the important areas of recruiting and fan excitement.

He's won with the Gators, although not enough to meet the unreasonably high expectations generated in the Steve Spurrier era. Zook could attract a quality staff and might even retain current coach John Thompson, who was Zook's defensive coordinator at Florida prior to coming to ECU in December of 2002.

Two more coaches with national presences whose availability has been speculated are Tyrone Willingham at Notre Dame and Walt Harris at Pittsburgh. Harris probably bought himself some time with a 16-13 win over West Virginia on Thursday night that kept the Panthers hopes alive for a share of the Big East Crown.

Willingham has not delivered the sort of national prominence expected in South Bend and the Irish are thought to covet Utah's Urban Meyer, a former Notre Dame assistant. Willingham, who is from Jacksonville, could conceivably return to the region as coach at ECU if he is ousted at Notre Dame.

Holland's list is likely lengthy at the moment. Gene Corrigan is apparently serving in something of an advisory capacity, along with senior associate AD Nick Floyd and former ECU players Carlester Crumpler and George Koonce.

The hottest names at the moment are Zook and Willingham. Holland has stated a preference for head coaching experience, which was not a priority when Thompson was hired less than two years ago.

Many other names are cropping up as already reported on Bonesville.net, but the most glamorous in terms of national impact are Zook and Willingham.

Thanksgiving Top 10

Here are 10 things Pirate fans can be thankful for as they make turkey sandwiches today and get ready for the N.C. State game in Charlotte on Saturday.

10. The likely loss to the Wolfpack apparently will not be televised.

9. John Thompson has handled his departure with a high degree of class.

8. ECU quarterback James Pinkney has two more years of eligibility.

7. Travis Williams and Chris Johnson have three more years.

6. The Big East may consider adding ECU as a football only member.

5. ECU is No. 140 in the Sagarin ratings in hoops, one notch ahead of Santa Clara (which beat UNC-Chapel Hill).

4. The Pirates don't play Gardner-Webb in Boiling Springs again.

3. Baseball season is coming and the new stadium is on schedule.

2. Terry Holland is AD.

1. And the No. 1 reason ECU fans can be thankful is, Rick Hart is not the AD and therefore is not conducting the search for a football coach.

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02/23/2007 12:46:52 AM
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