Insights and Observations
Monday, May 29, 2006
By Henry Hinton
Road to good deeds finds
Skip breathless in G-ville
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In view of East
Carolina’s exit from the Conference USA Baseball Tournament and the onset of
summer, perhaps some levity is in order, particularly since this column will
run on a holiday Monday.
ECU football coach Skip
Holtz has poured his heart and soul into helping Special Olympics and other
special populations programs in and around Greenville this year.
The Law Enforcement Torch
Run, which crosses the state leading to the Special Olympics State Games in
Raleigh, came through Greenville this past Thursday morning. Talk 1070
broadcast the festivities live from the Greenville Town Common.
Many members of the
Greenville Police Department and Pitt County Sheriff’s office were in
attendance along with a large group of the Special Olympians from the area.
The Torch Run not only signifies the lead-up to the games, it also is a
fundraising mechanism for the games run by local law enforcement officials
across the state.
Coach Holtz was offered
up to escort the torch part of the way from Greenville to Farmville by
former ECU basketball coach Mike Steele after Holtz used Steele’s bid card
at the recent Pirate Club auction to offer $2,000 to allow Steele's
now-famous Special Olympian son Drew to be an honorary assistant baseball
coach for Billy Godwin next baseball season. (Coach Godwin later told Drew
he would have let him done it for free. Mike really liked that).
Coach Holtz showed up
bright and early Thursday morning for his run, which was suppose to be
approximately three miles from the Town Common to the Stanton Square
Shopping Center area on the west fringe of town just before the 264 Freeway
The football coach was to
be accompanied by Drew and other Special Olympians, along with about a dozen
police officers who were scheduled to intermittently run the torch on its
way to Farmville, where other officers would take it on its journey
The event also served as
a preliminary promotion for the upcoming Drew Steele-Skip Holtz Golf Classic
next week. So, Drew left the Town Common running the torch along with Holtz
and the officers. A Greenville recreation department van followed the group
with water and other needs for the runners. The plan was to have some of the
runners occasionally drop back and ride a ways to ensure no one was
overtaxed in carrying the torch.
As soon as the entourage
left the town common, Drew handed the torch off to Holtz. (Mike said Drew
wasn’t interested once the TV cameras were out of site). At that point the
run was on with the police officers being led by Coach Holtz carrying the
Holtz had agreed to try
to carry the torch to the shopping center where Steele was supposed to be
waiting to pick him up. However there was a slight problem. Steele, now a
prominent insurance agent, had taken a phone call from a client and lost
track of time.
When Holtz and the other
runners arrived at the designated pick up point, Stanton Square Shopping
Center, Steele was nowhere to be seen.
When he finished his call
he realized he was going to be late to pick up the coach, so he headed out
to catch up with the torch run group quickly. He finally found them several
miles onto the freeway and sure enough Holtz was still in the front of the
group carrying the torch. The Daily Reflector newspaper carried a picture
Friday morning of the coach and other runners running up the freeway.
No one is quite sure, but
it appears that Holtz may have run up to 6 miles before Steele showed up to
rescue him. Why he was still carrying the torch and had not gotten into the
van has been up for debate.
Perhaps he was pushing
himself to see how far he could run. The coach has recently lost a lot of
weight and admits to being in some of the best shape of his life. Perhaps it
was pride. Steele has suggested he was trying to emulate Forest Gump.
(Remember “I was running and running and running.”)
It appears that when
Holtz finally stopped and got in Steele’s car he wasn’t seeing any humor in
Asked to describe what
Holtz said when he got in the car, Steele responded this way Friday morning
during a Talk of the Town segment on Talk 1070, “I don’t think I can use
those words on the radio.”
Steele jokingly said that
one of the good things was that Holtz actually could not speak for
approximately 10 minutes upon entering his car, obviously catching his
breath. That apparently gave him time to cool off, literally.
When asked exactly how
far Holtz had run, Steele responded, “Well, Farmville’s not that far, is
At any rate, it was a
huge success and helped the Greenville Police Department raise over $14,000
for the upcoming state games.
It was also a great
kickoff to the upcoming golf event, which promises to be the largest golf
tournament in Greenville since the Michael Jordon Celebrity Golf Classic.
Three tee times (two at
Ironwood Country Club and one at Greenville Country Club) have been nearly
sold out. As of Thursday there was room for three last foursomes. Interested
golfers should contact
The event commences next
Sunday evening, June 4th, with a huge star-studded dinner at Minges Coliseum
where 700-800 people are expected. Tickets for the Sunday night event are
$75 each and can be purchased, while available, on the website.
There will be lots of
surprises and lots of fun at the event leading to the golf on Monday June
Hopefully, Holtz and
Steele will be speaking by then.
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This page updated
04/21/08 07:06 PM.