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The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, February 1, 2006

By Bethany Bradsher

Attention riveted on talent hunt's climax


Last fall my family and I went gem mining in Spruce Pine. Using a square screen, we poured debris, dirt and rocks through and sifted them out, searching for the amethyst, garnet and topaz that were hidden therein.

The East Carolina football coaches have been on a similar expedition for months, and today they will include media and fans in a celebration of their newfound treasures.

I think it’s safe to say that you might live in a college football town if you plan to take all or part of Signing Day off from work.

For those who do ditch their real-world responsibilities for a little foretaste of fall, there’s the Signing Day Fan Fest at 4 p.m. in the Murphy Center. Head coach Skip Holtz will give fans the rundown on the whole new crop of Pirates, and complimentary refreshments and video highlights will be featured at the event.

Despite the official ECU athletic website’s promise to update signing news every hour all day today, the day will actually hold few surprises. Tuesday’s news about the signing day intentions of Richmond County running back Norman Whitley brought to 17 the number of high school and junior college players who have already declared their intention to become Pirates.

Logan to NFL sooner or later

Even Pirate fans that cheered Steve Logan’s 2002 departure as head football coach had to concede his ability to cultivate quarterbacks. But despite reports that he was on the brink of getting his chance to practice that skill in the NFL, Logan will not be leaving the North Carolina coast for frozen Wisconsin anytime soon.

New Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy announced this week that 52-year-old Tom Clements, former offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills, would fill his final staff vacancy as quarterbacks coach. Several sources confirmed that Logan and Clements were the finalists for the post and that McCarthy interviewed both at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL.

Logan has never worked in the NFL, but he coached the last two MVPs in NFL Europe — Dave Ragone last year and Rohan Davey in 2004. Considering the speed at which the NFL coaching carousel travels, I’d be surprised if Logan doesn’t find himself on an NFL staff within the next three years.

Piecing together fall itinerary

Does signing day give you an itch to plan your fall tailgating activities? You can pinpoint the opening and closing dates on the Pirates’ schedule, but the months in between the two are still a bit sketchy.

Conference USA has not officially released the schedules of its members yet, but a few details are available from the websites of ECU opponents. The upcoming campaign will open on Sept. 2 on the road against Navy, and the Pirates will end the season in Raleigh against the Wolfpack.

Two other dates are available — home games against West Virginia on Sept. 23 and against Virginia on Oct. 7.

The Southern Miss game will be played on the road, although the date is not available, and other definite conference opponents include Central Florida, Marshall, Memphis, UAB and three squads from the Western Division of C-USA.

Shellacking finally revisited

West Virginia and Virginia Tech have both been common names on ECU schedules over the years, but the Pirates have only met Virginia once before, in 1975. That season had something else in common with the upcoming one: It was the second season for a new head coach, in this case Pat Dye. ECU went 8-3 that season, with the victories including a 61-10 shellacking of the Cavaliers in Charlottesville and a strong clue as to why the two teams didn’t meet again for three decades.

Excellence under the radar

If football in February just doesn’t feature enough action for you and you’re getting burned out on basketball, ECU has several athletes in less-publicized sports who are worthy of an expanded fan following.

Sophomore swimmer Megan Pulaski, a Greenville native, set a new East Carolina varsity record Saturday and helped lead her team to a 144-99 victory over Duke, elevating the Lady Pirates’ record to 9-1. The women’s swimming program and coach Rick Kobe have created a winning environment that is unsurpassed among ECU sports programs.

Several Pirate runners distinguished themselves at the On Track Open invitational in Lynchburg, VA, over the weekend. Senior Kyle Yunaska won first place and set a new personal record in the 1,000-meter run, junior Eric Frasure won the shot put and the weight throw and set his third NCAA-qualifying distance. On the women’s side, freshman Danielle Eiler earned a new career-best in the shot put with a throw of 13.19 meters.

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02/23/2007 01:12:47 AM

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