An expansion is in the future for East
Carolina's Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium at the East end of Bagwell Field that will
add as many as 5,000 seats to the 43,000-seat facility.
ECU athletic director Terry Holland
said the addition could be in place by the 2010 season.
"We had to make sure the season ticket
demand was going to continue," Holland said Saturday at ECU's football
media day in Harvey Hall of the Murphy Center.
The Pirates are expected to sell out
their season ticket allotment again this season, although, unlike the
2007 home schedule, there are no home dates with North Carolina and N.C.
State to drive sales.
Holland placed the cost of the first
phase of stadium renovation/expansion at $24 to $30 million. Plans call
for the addition to be consistent with the present architecture of the
"Cost depends on how much we do with
offices and suites," Holland said. "It also depends on how far they let
us go toward the street (West Berkley Road in front of Elmhurst
If the stadium upgrade becomes a
reality in 2010, an unofficial compilation of East Carolina's
future schedules by
Bonesville.net indicates that the tentative home opponents that season
would include N.C. State, Navy and four Conference USA foes.
Different setting for opener
ECU's season-opening football game with
Virginia Tech will be played under different circumstances than last
year's 17-7 Hokies win in Blacksburg.
Last year, the Virginia Tech community
was in the healing process from a tragic killing spree on campus the
previous spring. The Pirates generously donated $100,000 to the Hokie
Spirit Memorial Fund in pregame ceremonies.
The teams will kick off their 2008
seasons at noon in Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on Saturday,
"It's not going to be the emotional
game that it was a year ago," said ECU coach Skip Holtz. "It was a great
atmosphere to have the opportunity to go up there for a lot of our
players, especially when you talk about a lot of our guys in the
secondary and other players who played for the first time.
"That's not exactly where you want to
go up there and get baptized is at Virginia Tech. This year our players
are real excited. They understand that Virginia Tech is a great football
team. They're a great program. They reload. They've got an awful lot of
talent but we stood toe-to-toe last year and we competed with them.
"That gives this team a little bit of
confidence going into this upcoming game. Having the opportunity to play
in Charlotte, I know it will probably be about 2 to 1 from the ticket
standpoint with Virginia Tech fans. Having an opportunity to play at
Panthers Stadium, playing in the state of North Carolina and having an
opportunity to go over and play on the western side of the state in
front of many of the fans that we don't have the opportunity to play in
front of very often, I think it will be an emotional, exciting game.
"I think it's important that this team
understand the challenge."
The Hokies' No. 15 national ranking in
the coaches' poll and a national audience on ESPN give the Pirates a
chance to jump into the national spotlight at the outset of the season.
Unlike last season, the Pirates will
have two experienced quarterbacks available for the first game. ECU had
to prepare Brett Clay, a back-up to suspended Rob Kass, in the 2007
opener. Patrick Pinkney emerged from virtual anonymity to lead the
Pirate offense, and he was sensational the following week in a 34-31
home win over North Carolina.
Pinkney and Kass both stepped up at
various junctures during an 8-5 season in 2007 that included a 41-38 win
over Boise State in the Hawaii Bowl.
"The difference between this year and
last year is the number of players that we return that have some game
experience," Holtz said. "At that point, Brett Clay and Patrick Pinkney
had never taken a snap. You don't know what you're going to get. You
don't know how a quarterback is going to respond."
Homecoming for Lindsay
The game in the Queen City will be
special for ECU running back Dominique Lindsay, who played at powerhouse
Charlotte Independence on the high school level.
"It's going to be like the biggest game
I've played in," Lindsay said. "I mean senior year in college, playing
in my hometown in front of the hometown crowd, national audience against
a nationally-ranked team – I couldn't ask for a better start to my
Son of Shank a Spartan
Former ECU player Kort Shankweiler, son
of Pirates offensive line coach Steve Shankweiler, is apparently
planning to follow in his dad's footsteps into college coaching.
The younger Shankweiler is serving as a
graduate assistant at Michigan State.
"He's getting a heavy dose of learning
how to be a coach right now," said his dad at media day on Saturday. "He
spent last year as receivers coach at the Coast Guard Academy."
From there, it was on to East Lansing.
"He's doing all the grunt work," said
the elder Shankweiler. "He's working from 6 a.m. to 11 at night. He's
getting a good dose of Big Ten football and learning what hard work's