East Carolina's 2007 football schedule may
be its best ever and the basketball schedule sounds like it will be a
suitable encore as a pair of ACC teams — Clemson and N.C. State —
apparently are headed to Greenville.
The Tigers will be coming in on a
Wednesday night in early December, according to a strong source, and the
Wolfpack will make the trip the following Saturday.
The Pirates will play more home games
in 2007-08 than ever before. Season ticket purchases for hoops may show
an increase proportionate to football's record setting numbers now that
ECU has some opposition that will drive sales.
The Pirates are 0-53 against the ACC in
hoops. ECU does have wins over Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech but not
while those programs were ACC members.
Pirate assistant Mack McCarthy has been
working on the schedule and appears to have done an outstanding job. The
presence of former Virginia coach Terry Holland and the respect he
commands certainly has helped ECU upgrade its nonconference opposition.
On the down side of roundball
scheduling, the passing of Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser may put the
Demon Deacons' series with the Pirates in some doubt. Prosser had
committed to a game in Greenville but it is not known whether his
successor will honor that agreement.
The Tigers will be the first ACC team
to play in Minges Coliseum since South Carolina on Dec. 10, 1969, a
contest the Gamecocks won 68-49 in their penultimate season in the power
league. John Roche and company went on to finish 14-0 in the ACC under
legendary coach Frank McGuire.
South Carolina went 25-3 that season
with one of its losses coming at home to a Davidson team with Holland as
its first year head coach. Another Gamecocks loss came to N.C. State
with Roche hobbled by an ankle injury. The defeat by the Wolfpack in the
ACC Tournament final kept McGuire's club from gaining an NCAA berth.
McGuire brought his first team at North
Carolina to Greenville in 1952-53 where the Tar Heels posted a 79-66 win
the season before the ACC was formed.
Virginia recorded an 88-79 win in
Greenville in its lone meeting with the Pirates in the semifinals of the
Eastern Carolina Classic on Dec. 27, 1968.
Speculation swirling about Stokes
ECU basketball coach Ricky Stokes went
8-20 in his first season with the Pirates, cleared out much of the
returning personnel after that and went 6-24 with a youthful team in
While the contracts of football coach
Skip Holtz, women's basketball coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener and baseball
coach Billy Godwin have been extended, Stokes has completed the second
of a five-year deal with no extension announced.
That means he can't assure recruits he
will be around for the entirety of their potential Pirate careers.
Sources outside the university are
saying the end is near for Holland's former point guard in terms of his
ECU coaching career. Some speculation has it that he will be moved into
athletic administration and that McCarthy, a successful former head
coach, will guide the program on an interim basis. A source said that
Stokes has been seeking a step up to the NBA as an assistant.
Any change in Stokes' status probably
wouldn't happen until Holland returns from vacation in Costa Rica at the
end of next week.
One ECU official said firmly this week
that, "Ricky Stokes is the basketball coach."
Another commented, "There are a lot of
rumors going around, but that's what they are — bad rumors."
Pace sets the record straight
When the readers write, they sometimes
have it right. Charles E. Pace, class of 1969 at East Carolina, is an
It had been reported by myself and
others that East Carolina had never won a football game in the state of
Alabama but thanks to Mr. Pace, we can amend the record.
Mr. Pace recalled that the Pirates had
won a game at Howard College, which is now Samford, "sometime between
1965 and 1968." A consultation with an ECU football media guide proved
On Nov. 20, 1965, before a crowd of
3,000, the Pirates defeated host Howard, 35-10, according to the media
guide and as recorded in
Bonesville.net's 'Historical Date' pages.
According to its website, Samford
changed its name from Howard College to Samford University on Nov. 9,
1965, in honor of Frank Park Samford, chairman of its board of trustees
and its leading individual benefactor at the time.
Howard/Samford's biggest day on the
gridiron wasn't a win but a 7-7 tie of Alabama in 1935. The Crimson Tide
had an end on that team named Paul "Bear" Bryant.
Legion Field in Birmingham has been a
tough venue for ECU, including a 24-7 loss to South Florida in the
Papajohns.com Bowl last season. Howard played the first game at Legion
Field on Nov. 19, 1927, defeating rival Birmingham-Southern, 9-0.
Howard began in Marion, Alabama in 1841
before moving to Birmingham in 1887.