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

ECU News, Notes and Commentary

The Bradsher Beat
Thursday, July 14, 2005

By Bethany Bradsher

Dog Days can't suppress ECU-related news

Gary Overton (left) has a Pirate pedigree matched by few. From his days as a freshman resident of Aycock Dormitory in 1969, he went on to earn Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate degrees from East Carolina University and has served his alma mater for more than three decades in coaching and teaching capacities. Now, he will take on a role with the school in athletics administration as Director of Operations. Overton is pictured above during his tenure as the Pirates' head baseball coach with former player Steve Sides in an image from the online archives of ECU's Joyner Library.


There are still 52 long days left on the countdown to kickoff, it’s too hot to walk any further than the mailbox and the collegiate highlight in one paper's sports page is the visit by Duke's women golfers to the White House.

It’s officially a slow news season, but the East Carolina grab bag isn’t completely empty. Here are some items of note:

The doctor is still in

He could become a nuclear physicist, and the East Carolina community would still likely refer to Dr. Gary Overton as “Coach.” And now the winningest baseball coach in school history has a position that will allow him to make life easier for all Pirate coaches.

Overton, who compiled a 427-237 record as the Diamond Bucs’ skipper from 1985 to 1997, has taken the post vacated by J.J. McLamb, who left to become the associate athletic director for facilities and operations at Nevada-Las Vegas. As ECU’s Director of Operations, Overton will manage the facilities, equipment and other physical aspects of a Division I athletic program.

“I have a long-time interest in athletic administration,” Overton said. “This is where I coached, and this is my alma mater. I’ve seen ECU grow on all fronts, academically and athletically, and it’s just really special to be part of this program.”

Most recently, Overton was a sports management professor in ECU’s School of Exercise and Sports Science. Now he is taking those classroom lessons to the fields and buildings that house Pirate athletics.

He has hit the ground running in the past two weeks, taking over a slate of projects headlined by the refurbishment of the football practice fields and planned renovations of the football and basketball offices in the Ward Sports Medicine Building.

And in the not-too-distant future, his bailiwick could include an expansion of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, since athletic director Terry Holland has made it clear that increasing the stadium capacity is a key part of his plan for the program.

In his new role, Overton will work with everyone from athletes and coaches to boosters and contractors. His firm dedication to ECU over the years as a coach, professor and in other roles involving the school makes him a valuable complement to newcomers like Holland, Skip Holtz and Ricky Stokes. In fact, Overton’s decision to take McLamb’s job was sparked by his fervor about the ambitious vision of Holland, Nick Floyd and other ECU athletics administrators, he said.

“There’s a lot of excitement and a lot of enthusiasm,” he said. “It’s an exciting time to be in the middle of it. I want to assist in making East Carolina the best possible athletic program it can be.”

BCS stuck on quantum theory

I spent an hour of my time on Monday listening to football officials and polling experts explain the merits of the Bowl Championship System rankings equation. The upshot is this: A new poll, conducted by Harris Interactive, will take the place of the AP poll, and the BCS rankings will be determined by a combination of the Harris poll, the USA Today coaches’ poll and six computer ranking systems.

Members of the media split hairs with the teleconference participants on topics like the composition of the 114-member Harris Interactive voting poll and the number of voters nominated by the independent Notre Dame.

I’d like to have a bumper sticker that says, “Warning: Journalists Doing Math,” so you can consider the source when I say that I didn’t follow 100 percent of the polling theory as explained by Harris senior research scientist Dr. Renee Smith. But the sports fan in me has an inborn resistance to words like “science” and “statistically valid representation” in a discussion of college football.

Where is the romance, the triumph of the plucky underdog? When it comes to their respective postseasons, college basketball is like watching the fireworks over Cinderella’s castle at Disneyworld; college football is like taking a test on the periodic table of the elements.

For Pirates fans, the intricate BCS theorem means that few postseason obstacles have been removed. Every conference, even if it was not granted an automatic BCS qualification, was allowed to nominate 10 voter names for the new Harris Poll. The deck is still stacked against non-automatic qualifiers like ECU, but the BCS pundits leave the door cracked open just a bit for an upstart school to make a splash in the style of Utah in 2004.

I’ll leave you with a dubious reassurance from Big 12 commissioner and BCS coordinator Kevin Weiberg, who was asked if he struggled with the realization that the average college football fan is mystified by the system that holds a team’s postseason dream in its statistically representative hand.

“If people who are interested want to analyze it for a few minutes, I think they’ll understand the calculation,” Weiberg said.

Don't judge Dad Holtz too quickly

I was jolted Wednesday night by the news that the South Carolina football program had been charged with 10 NCAA violations under former coach Lou Holtz. Only one reported infraction, in which Holtz talked to two prospects with a media member present, directly names the retired coach, and the most serious charges were linked to administrators and other coaches who are no longer employed by the athletic department.

ECU head coach Skip Holtz is quick to credit his dad with instilling character and determination in him and teaching him how to succeed with integrity. And when I interviewed the senior Holtz in the ‘90s for a column I wrote about sports and faith, our conversation confirmed my impression of him as one of college football’s true class acts.

I hope fervently that the news from Columbia has been blown out of proportion and that Holtz will be absolved. He has been a pillar of college football, the kind of man who deserves to enter retirement with his head held high. But if he did break any rules, I expect him to teach his children and former players a different kind of lesson — one about owning up to mistakes and doing whatever is possible to right the wrong.

Send an e-mail message to Bethany Bradsher.

Click here to dig into Bethany Bradsher's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 01:11:31 AM

©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of
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's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact:; 252-444-1905.