TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
July 12, 2011
A summer highlight: Pirates
helping Pirates help others
Former East Carolina and Dallas Cowboys star
Vinson Smith (right) allows WNCT-TV
sports anchor and Bonesville columnist Brian Bailey to hold his Super
championship ring. The photograph was taken at an event associated with
Garrard Celebrity Golf Classic held last month at the Greenville Country
Bonesville features writer Ron Cherubini
conducted Q&A exchanges with East Carolina
offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley (left) and
Pirate defensive boss Brian Mitchell (right).
The net result: candid
glimpses into the thinking inside the
program heading into next season.
Links to the interviews:
Lincoln Riley Q&A
Brian Mitchell Q&A
All rights reserved.
Thankfully, the summer is
quickly winding down in my world.
The rest of July is pretty
slow, but once the Pirates report and the NFL lockout ends, things will
really get rolling.
It’s been a great summer
so far, but I would just as soon be covering an East Carolina game in
This is my first chance to
share some thoughts on an event that we hope becomes an annual affaire
in our area. It was the first ever David Garrard Celebrity Golf Classic.
First of all, David and
Mary Garrard are as classy as you can get. They both bleed purple and
gold and they were both most appreciative of all of the hard work that
was put in by the many volunteers that made the event such a success.
The fun part for me was
seeing all of the former players that I have had the chance to cover
over the last 28 years.
The celebrities were
mainly former East Carolina stars. Some, like Patrick Pinkney,
permanently etched their names into Pirate football lore with dazzling
exploits during their college careers. Others, like Vinson Smith and C.J.
Wilson, parlayed their ECU careers into Super Bowl championships.
Smith has always been one
of my favorite Pirates. His deep voice and stern but friendly demeanor
was always on display.
Smith knows I’m a big
Dallas Cowboys fan, so he let me wear his Super Bowl ring from the
Cowboys' championship in Super Bowl XXVII.
“I’ll always be a Pirate,”
said Smith with a big smile. “This is a lot of fun, coming back to
I also got a chance to
wear C.J. Wilson’s Super Bowl ring from this past February. That baby is
a little bigger than the Cowboys version. The Packers ring had some 13
diamonds, one each for the Super Bowls and NFL Championships the team
has won in its history.
Dwayne Harris was a part
of the celebrity contingent. Harris was absolutely chomping at the bit
to get a chance to show his new team, the Dallas Cowboys, what all he
can do as a wide receiver.
“I’m just working out in
Atlanta, trying to get in shape and be ready to go to camp,” said
I’m not sure just how good
Dwayne’s golf game was, but I do know he looked fit and ready to go when
training camp opens.
As a part of the
festivities, Garrard and some of the celebrities gave youngsters a
chance to play with the pros. The Greenville Country Club driving range
was transformed into a football training camp, with drills organized by
ECU offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley.
Vonta Leach came back to
support his fellow Pirate. Leach led the running back drills, and nailed
one of the youngsters with one of the pads used in the drill.
The youngster bounced back
to his feet quickly. You know he would tell all of his friends that he
took a real shot from a Pro Bowl fullback and lived to tell about it!
The David Garrard
Celebrity Golf Classic benefitted both Beau’s Buddies Cancer Fund of
Greenville and the David Garrard Foundation.
The dinner auction and
golf tournament were hugely successful and, overall, the event raised
over $160,000 for the organizations.
It certainly got me
thinking about Pirate football again. It won’t be long now!
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Brian Bailey Archives
07/12/2011 03:30 AM