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No. 7

With Ron Cherubini

Shane Hubble: A Scholarship that Made a Difference

To talk to Shane Hubble, it is easy to forget what the man does day-in and day-out for a living. With a large sense of humor and a friendly air about him, the 6-5, 225 pound former Pirate defensive lineman belies the seriousness that awaits him every morning when he straps on his sidearm and prepares for another day on the job as a member of the Pinellas-Park police force in Largo, Fla.

Nestled in the shadow of bustling Tampa Bay, the community of about 70,000 people knows Hubble not as the jovial, even prankish, football player, but rather as a trusted protector.

For most of the past nine years, Hubble has been working as an undercover narcotics detective and is a member of the Pinellas-Park S.W.A.T team, confronting life in the underbelly of society close up.

“I really felt like I could make an impact,” Hubble said of his career-choice. “So after I got my degree (in Criminal Justice) and did my internship (for the Pitt County Sheriff's Department), I decided to make a career out of it.”

And it has been a career that, at the very least, is not boring, though Hubble admits that life as a Sergeant is not as adrenaline-packed as the narcotics work.

“We did a lot of undercover operations where I purchased a lot of cocaine, crack, ecstasy,” he said of the job. “I was doing a lot of hand-to-hand deals where you do buys and long-term undercover investigations. Stuff like seizing assets, drawing up warrants and serving them, things like that.

“I haven’t been in any shootings, but once a guy did try to run me over with a car.”

It might very well be that bit of humor in a serious moment that has been the largest success factor for Hubble as he continues to exceed even his own expectations coming out of a working class family in Florida.

Coming out of high school, Hubble’s playing status was hinging on a late test score and his future seemed certain to be an enlistment in one of the armed services. And, that would have been all right with Hubble, who was never afraid of hard work. But, opportunity intervened.

“I was facing the likelihood of Prop 48 (status),” Hubble said. “Schools were backing off and I was waiting for scores. I really never planned on going to college. No one else in my family had gone and I was all set to go into the military. I had never heard of ECU and when they called, I did a little research and I was like, ‘Hey, it’s a Division I school. Hmmm.’

“They flew me up and Donnie Thompson (former coach and recruiter) said, ‘Art Baker wants you, we are signing you today.’ I was excited and signed…”

For Hubble, whose scores did arrive fully qualifying him, it was the opening of a door he never knew really existed. For his family, who lacked the means to send their son to school, it was a Godsend.

“They were excited for me, really excited,” he recalled. “Especially when they heard the words ‘full scholarship.’ We weren’t even middle class. That scholarship changed my life direction a great deal.”

For Hubble, the scholarship meant an opportunity to take a step that no one in his family had taken before. And, it meant a challenge that would force him to become a man.

 “When you go to college, you grow up real fast,” Hubble said. “It gives you a different perspective on life and helps you appreciate things more. Football threw me into a group of guys from all over the United States with different backgrounds and attitudes and personalities as well as the challenge of the academics. It gave me a great perspective on life that I would never have gotten, I think, if I had not gone to ECU.”

As a player, Hubble was always on the slight side for his 6-5 frame, weighing in at barely more than 220 pounds, but his attitude more than made up for the size deficit. Even in retrospect, he is able to laugh at himself as a player.

Hubble in his days as an ECU defensive lineman

“I played on the defensive line and played all three positions,” he recalled. “Every year, the coaches would say that they were bringing someone in to replace me and every year, they never could. Well…they did bring in Ernie Logan and he was a stud, but I fought him off.”

You could say that Hubble probably was just happy to be there, and he enjoyed every moment, even if the football team wasn’t winning many games.

“You know, I hadn’t even really flown much until I got to ECU,” he said. “Football was my first opportunity to travel and to see so many states and cities. It was an incredible experience for me. I especially liked Philadelphia ‘cause those cheesteaks really kick ass — and we also beat Temple pretty good.

"Going to Syracuse, NY, and Virginia Tech and then coming back home to Florida to play Florida State and Miami…I really enjoyed it.”

At school, he diligently pursued his Criminal Justice degree, though he admits that he was a little bit of a prankster.

“I always had fun,” he recalled. “I didn’t necessarily like to be the center of attention, but I would crack a joke now and then.”

Like the one he cracked on former Syracuse fullback Daryl Johnston when the Pirates – Hubble in particular – had stopped the bruising runner on three consecutive carries during a goal-line stand in the Carrier Dome.

“I was playing nose guard and I made three tackles in a row against Daryl Johnston,” Hubble said. “And after the third one, I looked at him and said, ‘All-America my ass!’ And then he looked at me and said, ‘hey, look at the score!’ I looked up at the scoreboard and, ummmffff, it was like 41-28…oh well.

“I’ve never really been too serious, I guess. I can get along with a lot of different people. Now it is more about knowing when you need to be serious. Some guys think there is only one way to be in a situation, but I’ve learned that you need to be flexible.”

Hubble credits the tightness of his ECU team for providing the foundation on which his career is built.

“At ECU, we were losing a lot games and everyone gets upset, but we were a pretty tight group and we knew we had enough athleticism to be good,” he said. “When you go through three-a-days and winter conditioning at 5 a.m. before classes, and you work hard in the weight room together, it really builds camaraderie. There is something special about being part of a group that works together and looks out for each other.

“I am on the SWAT team as a team leader, supervising eight guys in high risk situations. Each guy has to take on faith that the other will be where he is supposed to be when he is supposed to be there. We have to trust each other with our lives. It is the same with football, to a lesser degree.”

Being part of a team is something Hubble knew he could not give up in his life. And though the highs of camaraderie are very high, the lows can be much lower than he ever anticipated.

“September 11th really hit us all very hard,” he said. “It really felt like you lost one of your own brothers. You know every time you go out to do the job you are putting your life on the line for others, but (the WTC bombing) was devastating to the police community.”

Hubble said that since the tragedy in New York, he has noticed that his own community has rallied to the support of its own guys in blue.

“Everything has changed,” he said. “It seems like everyone has come together more and understands. Our generation missed Vietnam and has kind of had it easy, but everyone now seems to sense that it is our time to pull together. It has made the work much easier.”

And now that he is a Sergeant, he is not out on the streets as much, unless the SWAT team is called. Though he misses the day-to-day excitement of the Narcotics Division, he knows that his wife, Karen, and their six-month-old daughter, Marlee, sleep much easier these days, knowing Daddy will come home each day. They give him a purpose in life… make it easier to be a good person.

Hubble is very proud of the man he has become and he holds ECU’s contribution to that close to his heart, beneath the badge he so proudly wears.

“The biggest thing for me was graduation,” he said. “I was able to fulfill my dream of getting a college degree. (College) allowed me to make it to where I am today.”

These days, when he's around a group of guys talking football, one will inevitably mention that Shane played and the others will act surprised. Hubble will tell them about ECU, which many of them have heard of, and they will look at him a little differently.

“I think a lot of people wonder where I came from,” he said. “They are surprised that I played Division I football and it gives them a different perspective on me. I feel good when that happens.”

Today when he looks back at ECU, he remembers the changing seasons, the walk from the dorm to the Sports Medicine building, and he remembers his teammates and the good times.

Hubble skydiving

Today, he stays in excellent shape, competing in 5Ks and teaches new police candidates how to protect themselves, and he looks forward to a long career in the police service, whether it be where he is or perhaps someday in the federal arena.

“For me, (ECU) changed my life. I will always remember those times.”

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Shane Hubble





Years at ECU:


Position/Jersey No.

Defensive Lineman/ No. 53


St. Petersburg, FL

Currently Resides:

Largo, FL


Sergeant, Pinellas Park Police Department

ECU Degree(s)
  • BS, Criminal Justice, ECU

Marital Status:


Significant Other:



  • Daughter, Marlee, 6 Mos.


"I would like to thank all the past and present ECU players, alumni, and Pirate Club members for making a tradition to be proud of for East Carolina athletics."

Hubble with wife & daughter.


1. Who is your favorite current Pirate and Why?

“I really liked Keith Stokes (last season) because when he got the ball, he was all over the field.”

2. What do you miss most about ECU?

“I would probably agree with most past players that the camaraderie and the atmosphere at ECU was special and will never be duplicated. I loved the change of seasons and the tranquility of college life.”

3. Where is your favorite spot on the ECU campus?

“I loved the new Sports Medicine Building which, of course, housed our new weight room and locker room. I loved walking from Scott Dorm to the new facility after a day of classes because it reminded me of the love of the game.”

4. What was your dorm room and favorite dorm story?

“Scott 115 was fun because of my past suite mates that included Greg Gardill, Glenn Willis, Chad Grier, Jarrod Moody, Michael Leggett, Joe Bright, Ernie Lewis, and of course, Jeff Blake. I have to say the funniest story I can talk about is watching Jeff Blake, Ernie Lewis, Chris Hall, and Jerry Dillon practicing their dance steps for their lip sync contest they actually ended up winning at the Elbow Room.”

5. Greatest Moment as a Pirate football player?

“My redshirt freshman season (1988) was exciting. I played in all 11 games which included Virginia Tech, South Carolina, West Virginia, Syracuse, Miami, and Florida State. That was true Division I football at its best.”

6. Most disliked opponent?

“The Miami teams we played because they were so out of control. The coaches let the players warm up before the game by taunting the opposing team. They would put on a show that would make your blood boil.”

7. Athletic Influences?

“My mom (Barbara) because she never missed a game I played until college. My mom used to tell me she loved watching her baby play. Coaches come and go but family is always an earshot away.”

8. Favorite coach?

“I had three at ECU: Strength coach Jay Omer, Steve Shankweiller, and Cary Godette. You hated them so much you had to love them.”

9. Best Lockerroom Story

“You just can’t top running to the Student Store naked with a bunch of close friends.”

10. Best Emerald City hangout?

“By far, Cubbies was the best. Every time I visit ECU, I have to go to Cubbies. My order would be a Cubbies Cheese Steak, a shrimp burger, and some fries. I miss that place a lot.”


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02/23/2007 02:07:36 PM

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