Insights and Observations
Thursday, March 11, 2004
By Henry Hinton
Broadcaster & Owner
of Greenville Cable 7
Herrion deserves positive
Brian Bailey Game Story AP
ECUPirates.com Game Story
Season-to-Date, Game-by-Game Scores, Attendance
East Carolina’s 61-54 loss to Louisville on Wednesday
night in the Conference USA Tournament could be the beginning of something
Too much effort to spin the season-ending loss in a
Not really. Bill Herrion continues to move the Pirate
basketball program ahead against almost-insurmountable odds. That ECU
finished the regular season with a 13-13 record in one of the toughest
conferences in America says Herrion has the program moving forward.
Herrion should be rewarded immediately with a contract
extension and a raise.
As ECU started the conference season with an 8-game
losing streak in January, things started looking bleak. Then came a
season-ending injury to Gabriel Mikulas.
At that point, Herrion really started earning his
“I’m extremely proud of this team and the effort these
kids have given,” Herrion said after last night’s loss. “When you lose a
Gabriel Mikulas back in January, arguably one of your better players…. I
don’t think any of us knew where this was going to go.”
The last 12 games of the year, Herrion had his team
ready to play in spite of the problems the losing streak and Mikulas’ injury
It was at that potentially vulnerable point that it
started becoming obvious that ECU was making up some ground on the rest of
“We have closed the gap in this league, I think,
athletically and physically”, said Herrion. “The last couple of years it
seemed like we were running uphill against teams in this league. I don’t
know if there is really much difference now athletically and from a
Herrion has brought a defensive strategy to the Pirate
program that has taken hold. It was never more obvious than last night’s
Louisville game where ECU held Rick Pitino’s team to less than 41 per cent
shooting. At times the Cardinals simply could not get off a shot.
Brian Bailey goes 1-on-1 with ECU coach
Bill Herrion after the Pirates' hard-fought
loss to heavily favored Louisville:
U of L coach Rick Pitino meets with the
media after the Cards out-struggled ECU to
advance in the C-USA Tournament:
Unfortunately ECU shot just 33 per cent. A lack of
patience at times and some errant three-point attempts late in the game cost
the Pirates a chance for an upset.
The loss of the five seniors, particularly Erroyl Bing,
Mikulas and Derrick Wiley, will be felt. However, Herrion has a tremendous
Next year’s team will feature three players in Mike
Cook, Frank Robinson and Jaffett McNeal that will have one season under
their belt. All three have the potential to be impact players.
Add to them an improved Moussa Badiane and Corey Rouse
and there could be some magic in the ECU basketball future. Hit the weight
room again guys!
No, a 13-14 record is not where ECU fans wanted this
team to be this year but Bill Herrion is the right man to take this program
The Pirate program is on the verge of a breakthrough.
Med School Heart Center
The continued efforts of ECU to establish a world class
heart center may still have an uphill battle in the North Carolina General
In recent weeks the center has received a shot in the
arm from the news that planning money had been set aside by the state. That
was followed by a visit to Greenville by Democratic Co-Speaker of the House
Jim Black who announced his unequivocal support for the project.
After a strange move at the end of last year’s session,
Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight has recently gone on the record that
he would support the ECU efforts.
Basnight proposed $180 million for a project in Chapel
Hill in the session-ending technical corrections bill last year and nothing
for ECU. The Chapel Hill bill set off a finger-pointing competition between
the two chambers. Basnight had previously said he would support both
Now, Basnight says he will support both ECU and UNC-Chapel
Hill in the upcoming session.
That has given hope to ECU officials, including the
future center’s director, Dr. Randolph Chitwood, that the project would get
the necessary funding from the legislature when the lawmakers return to
Raleigh in May.
On Wednesday, Republican Co-Speaker of the House
Richard Morgan finally made his appearance at the ECU Med School. After a
meeting with ECU officials, including Interim Chancellor William Shelton and
Chitwood, Morgan gave us an exclusive interview on our Talk of the Town
program on Talk 1070 and Cable 7.
While Morgan admitted being impressed with what he saw,
including the demonstration of Chitwood’s groundbreaking work in robotic
heart surgery, he stopped short of making a full commitment to the new
cardiovascular diseases institute.
“We’re looking at financing arrangements and we want to
be sure we can find the resources to do the funding and those
recommendations haven’t been made to us yet,” Morgan told us.
Morgan has been under attack by some in his own party
for agreeing to the November redistricting plan that some Republicans feel
may put their jobs in jeopardy when voters go to the polls this fall.
Basnight and others have floated the idea of a tobacco
tax to fund the Greenville and Chapel Hill projects. Many Republicans have
said no to a new tax of any kind for the last two sessions. Morgan has been
opposed to any kind of tax increase since being elected co-speaker last
Given the state’s financial problems, ECU may yet have
an uphill battle getting the initiative funded this year.
Stay tuned. Anything can happen (or not happen) in a
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02/23/2007 10:13:17 AM