NEWS, NOTES &
Wednesday, May 3, 2006
By Bethany Bradsher
ECU, Greenville Little
League: The ties that bind
On many spring and summer nights, less than a
mile from the East Carolina campus, Nick Floyd could get in big trouble for
wearing purple and gold.
He may be the associate athletic director during
the day, but in the evening Floyd is one of the assistant coaches for the
Pepsi team in the Greenville Little League. And within the confines of Elm
Street or Perkins Park, this Pirate better have on something red.
And he’s not the only Floyd with color confusion
this time of year. His 12-year-old son Nixon plays for the Pepsi team, his
wife Elizabeth serves as the president of the board for Greenville Little
League and his 15-year-old daughter Suzanne works in the snack bar at the
Youth sports are often criticized for cutting
into quality family time. In the Floyds’ case, just the opposite has proven
true, Nick Floyd said.
“It’s become something that is a lot of fun for
our family,” he said. “We spend a lot of time together, which in this
business it’s hard to do sometimes.”
When the Floyds moved to Greenville five years
ago, Nick agreed to be an assistant coach for Nixon’s minor league team, but
he thought it was something he would do for one season only. He took a year
off but then was asked to coach again, the same year that Suzanne joined the
Over the years, Nick has discovered that he can
fulfill his ECU commitments and also volunteer for Little League, in no
small part because the baseball parks are so close to the university.
“Everything’s so close together,” Floyd said. “I
don’t know of another place in the country where you could have the
situation that we have here. On the night of the Little League opening
ceremonies, Chancellor Ballard gave the opening remarks and we were having a
Circle of Excellence function at Harvey Hall. I was going to take the
chancellor across the street to Elm Street. Then Mayor Parrott asked if he
could ride along, and then Grant Jarman wanted to come too, so the four of
us rode over to the opening ceremonies and then went back to the function at
Floyd has also decided to serve only as
assistant coach because his ECU position does make it necessary to miss
practice or games from time to time, he said. But often the pieces fit
together like a puzzle; recently he went straight from his son’s Little
League game to Clark-LeClair Stadium to catch the Pirates’ game against N.C.
The Floyds represent just one of the connections
between ECU and Little League. Brian Weingartz, the commissioner of
Greenville Little League, has worked full-time at ECU in the past and now
works the scoreboard for Pirate basketball games and one of the clocks in
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium during football contests.
“Tons of our umpires and a fair number of our
coaches are ECU graduates or current students,” Weingartz said. “If we
didn’t have ECU, we wouldn’t have umpires, I don’t think.”
Chancellor Steve Ballard and athletic director
Terry Holland have been the last two speakers for the spring opening
ceremonies, connections that are certainly helped by the Floyds’ involvement
with the league.
And this year, baseball coach Billy Godwin
ushered in a new tradition: A free April baseball clinic that gave Little
League players a chance to taste the intensity of the college game.
“The whole ECU team participated, and did some
station drills, and every kid got a chance to get three cuts on the field
with Coach Godwin throwing to them,” Nick said of the 125 young baseball
players who participated in the clinic. “It was just a great experience for
all the kids.”
And just as the Floyds watch kids progress by
leaps and bounds through their four years in Little League, they know that
some of the young athletes wearing red, green and blue this week could be
donning a Pirate purple jersey one day.
“It’s fun to watch the nine-year-olds, it’s fun
to watch the next year when they take a step, and then by the time they’re
11 they really get it, and then they hit that 12-year-old year,” Elizabeth
Floyd said. “It’s a growth process. It just really is amazing.”
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