Insights and Observations
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Thursday, July 1, 2004
By Henry Hinton
2004 baseball team preceded by
Summertime and the living is easy around Pirate sports.
So our column today will feature some bits and pieces of news, thoughts and
follow-ups on recent items.
This year’s East Carolina baseball team was a great one
but in this writer’s opinion not the best ever. Recent release of some of
the final season polls and RPI rankings tend to make that point for me.
Power rankings for the 2004 team have been in the mid
teens. In comparison, the 2000 Pirates finished as high as 3rd in the nation
in RPI rankings. That team defeated LSU once in Baton Rouge in the NCAA
Regionals but ran out of pitching in the final game and the Tigers moved on
and sent Keith LeClair’s team home.
That will always be a special team in ECU history. It
should be remembered as the group that started the recent run of great
baseball at ECU that has taken the program to a national level. The sad
thing about that team is that it was a number one seed and had to play on
That event initiated the talk that will culminate in a
new stadium next season. Like I said, the 2000 Pirates got it all started.
Unexpected twist in AD
It was good to see Chancellor Steven Ballard name a
coach to be part of the task force charged with searching for a new
athletics director. The choice of John Thompson, however, seems just a bit
Ballard has said he intends to take his time in this
new search, and Thompson will be knee-deep in season prep and practice soon.
While football is certainly the marquee sport, it is also a bit puzzling why
someone with more seniority was not chosen.
Swim team coach Rick Kobe may have the longest tenure
of all the full time coaches at ECU. If revenue sports are an issue, Bill
Herrion might have been a good person to give input. Herrion has seniority
with regard to high profile revenue sports.
Audio Archive: Replay
Wednesday's program with co-host
Hank Hinton & guest G.K.
At any rate, kudos to Chancellor Ballard for realizing
it is appropriate for someone from athletics to be a part. The original
search committee was void of anyone from the athletic department.
Politicos, cardio center plod
towards finish line
The university’s efforts to build a cardiovascular
research institute at the Brody School of Medicine are still in play as the
2004 legislative session nears an end.
Leaders in both chambers of the General Assembly went
on record early that every effort would be made to end this year’s “short
session” prior to the July 4th holiday. They will not make it. After a
recess they will return to Raleigh on Tuesday to try and finish up.
Checking with sources in Raleigh on Wednesday afternoon
we learned that getting a new state budget has been more problematic than
expected (what else is new?). The new fiscal year begins today, July 1, and
it will have to start with an interim budget until disagreements can be
That has put the ECU project on the back burner. It
appears now that budget negotiations with the legislature and Governor
Easley may not even be finished until next week. Until then, the
cardiovascular project will not be brought to the floor.
The ECU request was discussed in several closed door
meetings earlier this week including one with Senate President Pro Tem Marc
Basnight and co-Speakers Jim Black and Richard Morgan. Basnight had been
insistent that only the Chapel Hill cancer hospital and the ECU heart
project would be funded since they are the only ones that have been approved
by the UNC Board of Governors.
The House leadership has added three other projects; a
biogenetics center at UNC-Charlotte, a school of pharmacy at Elizabeth City
State and a very controversial geriatric studies center (including a new
basketball arena) at UNC-Asheville. There are also still some disagreements
about the funding mechanism.
The Asheville project seems to be the one with which
lawmakers are having the most problems. Administrators at UNC-A have not
been as far along in their planning as the other universities and have made
changes in their project since their original request.
They have now stated, however, that only private funds
will be used on the arena part of the project although it will be connected
to the state-funded center.
A compromise seems to be in the works. We are told that
Basnight may agree to allow the bill to go back to the floor for a vote with
the provision that only Greenville and Chapel Hill are funded immediately
and with the understanding that funding for the other three facilities must
first be scrutinized by the Board of Governors.
This seems to be a fair compromise. The co-speakers
will not get the necessary support in the House without those projects in
the bill, but it does seem logical that they be approved by the governing
body of the UNC System first.
At that point, if there are questions about the
Asheville project or any other projects in the bill, they can be worked out
by the Board of Governors.
If this horse trading pans out, expect the vote on all
of the projects to hit the floor late next week in Raleigh.
There is still guarded optimism that ECU will soon be
awarded this project, which will take the medical school to a whole new
level of credibility nationally. Leaving Raleigh without a thumbs up on the
initiative as they did in 2003 will be an embarrassment neither side wants
in an election year.
Remember our Talk of the Town program can now be heard
live on the Internet everyday Monday-Friday from 5:06-6pm. Just go to
www.talk1070.com and click on our “Listen Live” icon. You can
also replay earlier shows in the
Have a great and safe 4th of July holiday!
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Click here to dig into Henry Hinton's GoPirates.com
02/23/2007 10:13:46 AM