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View 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" in Durham.

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 compete.

"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 no-brainer.

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 Greenville.

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.

Stay tuned.

Send an e-mail message to Al Myatt.

Dig into Al Myatt's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 12:30:47 AM


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