Purple pedigree runs deep in newest
From staff and ECU
(Photo: ECU SID)
The latest addition to
Skip Holtz's steadily emerging East Carolina football staff isn't likely
to suffer lightly any complaints from his charges that his expectations
are too demanding. 'Been there, done that,' he can tell them with
Not only has he done it
performance-wise, the Pirates' new running backs coach did it better
than anyone else in school history on the very turf he'll be teaching ECU's current-day crop of runners to
Wardell "Junior" Smith, an
ECU alum and Fayetteville native, was named to his alma mater's gridiron
staff in a Monday announcement by Holtz.
Smith, who ranks as the
Pirates' all-time leading rusher with 3,745 yards during his 1991-94
playing career, served last season as running backs coach at
Louisiana-Monroe. He also handled the Indians' punt team and was video
and professional scout liaison under head coach Charlie Weatherbie.
"We couldn't have brought
a better role model and person of high character and class back to East
Carolina University," said Holtz in a statement. "From a recruiting
standpoint, Junior will certainly bring our staff and program a wealth
of ECU and eastern North Carolina knowledge. He was a great student and
athlete and obviously knows what it takes to succeed here."
Prior to joining the ULM
staff, Smith spent four seasons as running backs coach at Army under
head coach and former ECU offensive coordinator Todd Berry. Smith also
handled various special teams assignments and was in charge of the Black
Knights' recruiting efforts in North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia and
In 1998 and 1999, Smith
served under Berry as running backs at Illinois State, where he helped
the Redbirds to a combined two-year record of 19-7 and a pair of NCAA
Division I-AA playoff appearances.
Prior to accepting his
first full-time job at ISU, Smith served as a graduate assistant in
ECU's Athletic Student Development Office in 1997, where he was
responsible for designing academic schedules, monitoring student
academic progress and coordinating the Pirates' faculty guest coaching
Smith posted three
consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons as a player at East Carolina and
recorded 16 triple-digit rushing efforts. He was among the top 10
candidate for the 1994 Doak Walker Award. In addition to three honorable
mention selections to the Football News All-America team, Smith was a
three-time All-South Independent pick.
In the classroom, Smith
was the recipient of the 1994 St. Jude Liberty Bowl Scholar-Athlete
Award and the 1995 Texas-Gulf Phosphate Outstanding Male Scholar-Athlete
Upon the completion of his
collegiate career, Smith played professionally with the Shreveport
Pirates and Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League in 1995
Smith earned his
bachelor's degree in exercise and sports science from East Carolina in
Smith is the fourth
official hire — the third with past ECU ties — to the staff of the
recently-appointed Holtz, joining defensive line coach
Donnie Thompson, offensive line coach
Steve Shankweiler and offensive assistant coach
Thompson was a one-time
defensive coordinator of the Pirates, while Shankweiler lists 10 years
of service at ECU on his resume and has a son, Kort, who is a rising
junior fullback on the football team.
Several Minnesota media
outlets have reported in recent days that Greg Hudson, who resigned last
week as Minnesota's defensive coordinator, is in line to be named to
take over East Carolina's defense.
Holtz was named on Dec. 3 to succeed John Thompson, who
stepped down as coach of the Pirates at the end of the
02/23/07 11:30 AM
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Bonesville.net contributed to this report. An
ECU Athletics press release was used in
compiling this report.