Hard-hats appear ready to get to work
at the east side of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on an expansion project which
will enclose the field at that end and add about 7.000 seats.
"They're just getting started," East
Carolina athletic director Holland said Wednesday night. "They've got
the construction fence up. They're taking stuff down. They're not
putting anything up yet. They're a long way from that.
"They've got to get the scoreboard down
before anything will happen going in the other direction."
Holland said a new scoreboard will be
put back up on the east end after construction is completed.
"At least it's started," Holland said,
"and they don't have any choice they have to have it ready for the
Holland indicated the first game might
be something of a showcase event.
"You never know what ESPN may do," he
said. "Hopefully, they'll help us find a good opening game regardless of
who it might be."
There apparently is the possibility of
a Thursday night game on ESPN to open the 2010 season, according to
Jimmy Bass, senior associate athletic director for external operations.
Holtz at home in Greenville
Maybe we should have listened closer
when football coach Skip Holtz said his primary thoughts were about how
to make the program at East Carolina better after the Pirates had
clinched their second straight Conference USA championship with a
38-32 win over Houston on Dec.
Coaching vacancies at Notre Dame,
Kansas, Louisville and Cincinnati have been filled and Holtz has been
busy making home visits on the recruiting trail for the Pirates.
Holland wouldn't comment regarding who
might have asked to interview Holtz.
"We don't comment on that type of
thing," he said with a chuckle. "Obviously, he's staying here. He's been
very loyal to us and we're very fortunate to have him. Certainly the
Pirate Nation has earned his loyalty. We've got a great thing going. We
just need to keep it going."
Back to Memphis
The Pirates will be heading to the
Liberty Bowl for the second straight season, this time to play Arkansas
on Jan. 2. ECU played Kentucky in Memphis last season,
falling 25-19 as the Wildcats rallied
from a 16-3 halftime deficit.
ECU became the first team to win
back-to-back C-USA football titles since division play was established
in 2005. The Pirates are headed for a bowl game for the fourth straight
season, a first for the program.
"Before you can establish tradition,
you've got to do things more than once," Holland said. "Certainly,
winning a second championship is important but now finding a way to win
that third one either next year or in very close proximity is
crucial as well.
"We're going to lose 28 seniors so
we've got our work cut out for us but we've got a lot of good, young
players who also want to keep it going."
The Razorbacks are expected to have a
lot of fan support at the Liberty Bowl, given the proximity of Memphis
to the state of Arkansas.
"The Liberty Bowl is not worried about
selling tickets this year," Holland said. "Arkansas is so close by and
has such a large fan base."
How does Holland anticipate the Pirate
Nation will support ECU in person?
"About like last year," he said. "It"s
a long trip for our fans. It's very tempting to stay and watch it on
television but we've also got a great central core of fans who will be
there. The ones that are there will be very loud."
Bass said ECU sold over 8,000 tickets
to the Liberty Bowl last season.