CHRONICLING ECU & C-USA SPORTS
from the 'ville
Thursday, October 12, 2006
By Al Myatt
'Professor' Logan still
lecturing the establishment
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Tulsa and East Carolina have something in
common besides a 3 p.m. kickoff on Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Steve
Logan graduated from Tulsa and shortly afterward began a coaching odyssey
that brought him to ECU as running backs coach in 1989.
Logan, head coach of the Pirates from 1992
through 2002, compiled a 69-58 record and guided the program to five bowl
trips over an 8-year span. He coached more seasons (11) and had more wins
than all other grid coaches in the school's history.
Logan is still involved in coaching as an
offensive coordinator in NFL Europe. He resides in Raleigh and spends his
afternoons these days hosting a radio call-in show on 620 am WDNC "The Bull"
There's no heavy lifting and Logan has his dry
wit to augment a wealth of background experience.
"It's stealing right now," Logan said. "So,
we'll take it."
Ironically, when Logan and ECU parted ways
after the 2002 season, the football job at Tulsa was open. Logan didn't
pursue it because he knew the difficulties involved in winning at a small
institution with demanding academic standards. The recruiting pecking order
places the Golden Hurricane behind a flock of Big 12 powers.
Steve Kragthorpe, a former offensive
coordinator at Texas A&M who had most recently been quarterbacks coach for
the NFL's Buffalo Bills, was the man who took the job. The Golden Hurricane
has flourished to a surprising degree under his guidance.
Tulsa won the inaugural Conference USA
championship game in 2005, 44-27 over Central Florida in Orlando, and went
on to defeat Fresno State 31-24 in the Liberty Bowl.
Tulsa buried ECU 45-13 in 2005 to drop the
Pirates to 3-6 and end their chances for bowl eligibility. East Carolina
actually led that game 13-10 at the half but a roughing-the-punter penalty
on the Pirates in the third quarter proved to be a turning point. Tulsa
ultimately poured it on ECU on a sunny, windy Senior Day.
Tulsa is 4-1 this season and 1-0 in league
play with a 20-6 home win over Southern Miss in its last game on Tuesday,
Oct. 3. The Golden Hurricane has obviously had ample time to heal injuries
and prepare for the Pirates.
"My guess is that the administration decided
they wanted to play football again," Logan said of the turnaround from a
2-21 dryspell in the two seasons that preceded Kragthorpe's arrival.
"They've got a new administration that brought Kragthorpe in and I imagine
they've made some adjustments to their academics that are necessary to
"I think that's basically all it ever was and
all it ever will be at a place like that."
Logan said he isn't an avid follower of the
college game these days. He doesn't park himself in front of the television
to watch game after game.
"I watch enough so I can comment
intelligently," Logan said.
A lot of listeners in the Triangle dial in and
tune in to get his opinions.
"We've gotten a tremendous response to it and
I'm having a lot of fun with it, which is the prerequisite to anything I do
anymore," he said. "It's a really good group of people to work with and we
obviously make sure and keep everything real light and have some fun."
Logan has always marched to his own drummer
and was outspoken at times during his days at ECU. He's been a student of
the college game during coaching stops at Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Colorado
and Mississippi State before he came to ECU.
Former ECU athletic director Dave Hart gave a
Tennessee assistant named Phil Fulmer an interview but decided to promote
Logan from offensive coordinator after Bill Lewis jumped ship for Georgia
Tech after the Pirates' 11-1 season in 1991.
Logan often had a cerebral approach to the
game that was consistent with his background.
After a stint as a defensive back on the
junior college level, Logan concentrated on academics at Tulsa and didn't
play the sport he later coached. He had plans to get a doctorate degree and
become a college professor.
"I realized I wasn't going to the NFL," he
said. "I had to teach in the public schools before going to graduate school.
They (Union High School) wanted me to coach football."
Logan did for five years as an assistant at
Union and he says, "I got addicted."
He has spent his last three springs in Europe
feeding his addiction and putting the finishing touches on players who
aspire to NFL careers. He helped the Berlin Thunder to a league championship
in 2004 as the quarterbacks coach. Former LSU signal caller Rohan Davey in
2004 and former Louisville passer Dave Ragone in 2005 were each named the
league's offensive players of the year under Logan's tutelage.
This past season, Logan stepped up his
responsibilities as offensive coordinator for the Rhein Fire. Rhein went 6-4
and finished one game behind the league leaders.
Logan said if he was czar of college football
for a day he would do away with all academic restrictions for athletes.
"Level the playing field for everybody," he
said. "I'd give these kids a voucher for a college education and they could
come play. They could go to class or not go to class. They would have a
voucher that would last X number of years.
"That way it puts them responsible for
academics instead of the charade that's taking place right now. I don't
think that will happen so you can just forget that."
Logan chuckled for a moment at the thought.
One of his pet campaigns that possibly stands
a better chance is a playoff system in Division I-A football.
"It'll happen one of these days," he said.
"It'll hit somebody in the head one of these days."
Logan said when one looks at what March
Madness has done for NCAA basketball, a playoff system in football is a
In the meantime, the archaic bowl structure
and the computer rankings that help determine the so-called champion of
college football are fodder for Logan on talk radio.
Raleigh is his home now.
"I love it up here," he said. "It's a great
place to live."
His older son, Vince, is working for the
Durham Bulls. Younger son Nate has finished Campbell and is coaching
baseball at Louisburg.
The Tulsa-East Carolina matchup will feature
premier performers at the quarterback position, which coincidently is
Logan's developmental forte. How many coaches could have seen an NFL
quarterback in David Garrard's linebacker body?
Paul Smith of the Golden Hurricane and James
Pinkney of the Pirates should make it an interesting afternoon in
There will be no television of the contest for
Logan to glimpse but he may find some material from the game anyway for his
airtime next week.
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