VIEW THE MOBILE ALPHA VERSION OF THIS SITE

Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather

Insights and Observations
-----

Henry's Highlights
Monday, December 26, 2005

By Henry Hinton

AD's grand vision for ECU football still evolving

 Improved schedules, prospect of bigger crowds at Dowdy-Ficklen spur
Holland to picture special new student section with jumping atmosphere

©2005 Bonesville.net

LIVE THIS A.M.
7:00-9:00 a.m.

Tune in on the radio or catch the live audio feed of today's Talk of the Town with Henry Hinton:

SELECT LIVE STREAM

ARCHIVES

Replay the archives of past shows, including the Dec. 9 Talk of the Town with guest Terry Holland:

SELECT ARCHIVE CLIP

As 2005 comes to a close, there is clearly more excitement about East Carolina football than in recent years.

Terry Holland and Skip Holtz have breathed new life into the program and this past season’s 5-6 season gives hope that the building blocks are in place for the Pirates to return to national prominence.

Recently, Coach Holland joined a group of Pirate fans to toast Greenville’s trendy new coffee shop, Port City Java. Sitting around the fire, Holland gave us a little insight into what’s ahead for next season.

With the basketball team getting off to a bit of a rocky start, people seemed to still want to chat with the AD about football. Finishing the gridiron season with two strong wins has put a little extra bounce in the steps around Greenville.

“Absolutely,” said Holland. “It affects everything that we do… recruiting, season tickets for next season. We have upgraded our schedule considerably and it’s time for Pirates to step up and show that we can fill up Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Our coaching staff is out there hard at work on the road producing results.”

The next two seasons will be a true test to see if ECU can jump its season ticket base to an all time high. Holland has signed his old school Virginia to come to town next season along with West Virginia. The following year, both N.C. State and UNC-Chapel Hill will come to Dowdy-Ficklen.

Another coup was swapping games with Virginia Tech and Southern Miss to allow room for the Pirates to play in Raleigh next season.

“N.C. State wanted that game at their place next year at Thanksgiving,” said Holland. “We’re going to try to avoid those holiday weekends as much as we can, but if a chance to play N.C. State or North Carolina comes available on a holiday, we’re going to be available. We won’t have any choice.”

Responding to critics that the Pirates' routine in recent years is to play both on Labor Day weekend and Thanksgiving weekend, Holland is unapologetic — particularly when those dates can produce an upgraded schedule. This coming season is a great example.

“We’re at Navy Labor Day weekend,” said Holland. “We were very fortunate that Navy desperately needed a home game next year on Labor Day weekend. We were available and said, yes, if you come to Greenville twice and we’ll go up to Navy one more time. It was worth doing it because they are a very attractive team for everybody in the country. We are very pleased with that.

“Everybody always says why don’t we schedule Navy and Army? They are the two schools that can afford to be an independent today because they have great traditions, but they are schools that you have a chance to beat. They also may beat your brains out but you still want a crack at them.”

Holland’s stated mission almost from day one on the job has been to get more games with regional and in-state teams. Wheeling and dealing with athletic directors is paying off. The next two seasons should provide record attendance for the program.

It is all part of Holland’s master plan to create more interest in what is happening with ECU football to stir the interest of potential suitors when the next conference realignment dominos fall.

Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium has seen a 50,000 plus crowd but once — in 1999, when the Wolfpack made its initial appearance in Greenville. With a stadium capacity of just 43,000, Holland is already looking at where to find room for extra fans in the house. His comments hint that the east end zone (scoreboard end) could soon draw his attention.

“We’re talking about that for next season,” he said. “Certainly we know that the next season, when both N.C. State and Carolina come here, we’ll need extra seating. I’d like to create in that end zone at some time in the future a wonderful atmosphere with all our students. One of the things you’ve seen in stadiums is that they create a great place for the ‘fat cats’ but no one seems to create that kind of thing for the students.

“Maybe if we looked at it close enough, the idea of bringing down all our students and putting them in that end zone with them going absolutely crazy — with that going all the way around the corner would be great. We could create some very fine amenities there, and the other thing I was thinking is that with that we could create a six- or seven-thousand seat amphitheatre, which would allow that to be used much more than the five or six football games each year.”

No question about it, a new era has arrived at ECU. The pressure on Holtz to win will increase with these new added dimensions. If the program can get back to being a perennial winner, Holland’s plans will certainly start to get the attention of the national media once again.

Ever the salesman trying to incite the fan base, the Pirate AD issued this challenge which sounds more like a warning.

“I think everyone is excited about it,” said Holland. “The thing is that if you want tickets in ’07 you need to be here next year. It’s really a two-year thing that’s going on here, and once you see what’s going on here, well, those are going to be strong schedules.”

Send an e-mail message to Henry Hinton.

Click here to dig into Henry Hinton's archives.

04/21/2008 07:03:34 PM

 

©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 Bonesville.net. All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of Bonesville.net.
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View Bonesville.net's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact: editor@bonesville.net; 252-444-1905.