Insights and Observations
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
By Henry Hinton
Holtz pitching fans to make
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|Thursday on Talk 1070 &
Holtz will be the guest on a special edition of Midweek
Tailgate Thursday night from 8-9 PM. The ECU football
coach will discuss his team's preparations for the PapaJohns.com Bowl as well as Cincinnati's recent search
for a new football coach. The show will include phone
calls from listeners and viewers. Listen to the
beginning at 8 p.m. or replay the audio on the
Talk 1070 archive page.
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After a long day at work
on Tuesday, people in the Greenville area got home, checked their voice mail
and heard East Carolina coach Skip Holtz’s voice.
Technology. It’s only a
matter of time before there is a hologram standing in the kitchen asking us
to buy bowl tickets.
At any rate, it wasn’t
the mode, but the message, that struck me. After the recorded “howdy” and
please buy tickets to the Papajohn.com Bowl in Birmingham on December 23,
came the best part.
Consider it an admission
by the university and the head coach, himself, that this bowl game coming up
two days before Christmas can be considered a referendum on the Pirates’
exclusion from the Big East in favor of South Florida two years ago.
“Please help us pack
historic Legion Field with purple and gold, sending a strong message to our
Big East Conference opponent, the University of South Florida, that the
Pirates have the best fans in the country,” Holtz says on the message.
ECU has made a huge
comeback in the college football world under Holtz. Inheriting a program
from John Thompson that won just three games in two seasons, Holtz has
turned on the switch to more positive times, winning five games in his first
season and seven so far this year.
That is why other schools
have begun to show interest in Holtz. This past weekend’s confusing reports
regarding Holtz’s involvement in the search at the University of Cincinnati
are an example of how schools not included in the Bowl Championship Series
can expect to be treated.
Making the assumption
that coaches will see a move from a non-BCS conference school to any BCS
conference school as a positive career move is a pretty good bet these days.
Perhaps ECU Director of
Athletics Terry Holland made the case that staying in Greenville could be
the key component in helping get the program into a BCS conference... say,
the Big East for instance.
Holland and ECU won this
round with Holtz but there will be other suitors down the road.
The time is now for East
Carolina to atone for stumping its toe when the Big East was ready for
expansion two years ago. As has been reported before, that expansion came at
the worst possible moment in history for the Pirates.
At that particular time
the university was not only suffering from lack of wins on the field it also
was suffering a lack of leadership that started at the top on campus.
That is not the case now.
East Carolina can be considered to be at the top of its game now with a
strong chancellor in Dr. Steve Ballard and one of the most well-known and
popular sports figures in this region, Terry Holland, at the helm of the
Additionally it appears
Holtz has the program in terrific shape heading into next season in spite of
the fact the Pirates will start the 2007 with an inexperienced quarterback.
Significant momentum was
lost during those dark days. It is rare to get a second chance.
The time is now for East
Carolina faithful to answer the bell and show the kind of support expected
from a program back on track.
As Holtz’s recorded phone
message indicates, ECU can send a “strong message” by packing the bowl game
on Dec. 23.
Remember, people are
watching. The message that is sent must be the right one this time around.
Holtz to appear Thursday
As previously mentioned,
the events of last weekend were somewhat confusing, with reports coming that
Holtz had recommended his defensive coordinator Greg Hudson for the opening
at Cincinnati and subsequent reports that he, himself, had interviewed for
After much speculation,
Coach Holtz is now ready to go public with his comments regarding that
situation and to also discuss preparations for his team’s game with South
Holtz will appear live on
a special edition of the Taco Bell Midweek Tailgate show Thursday night at 8
p.m. on Talk 1070 and Cable 7, preceded by the Ricky Stokes Show at 7 p.m.
Holtz will be on the air
with Kevin Miller and Mike Steele for an hour, which will include phone
calls from listeners and viewers.
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This page updated
04/21/08 07:02 PM.