All rights reserved.
View the Mobile Alpha version of this page.
The Memorial Day holiday is usually a day of excitement
and anticipation for the East Carolina baseball program.
Which regional would the Pirates be playing in? Who would
be the other three teams that would battle ECU for the right to advance
to the Super Regionals?
That’s the goal and the expectation of this program.
Postseason play is almost taken for granted.
The Pirates fell short of that goal this season mainly
because of problems in the mid-week games and a slow start in Conference
The squad made up for that second issue by winning six
consecutive C-USA series to close out the season. Despite its 1-5 start
in league play, ECU was one of several teams that had a shot at the
Conference USA regular season title on the final weekend of the season.
The true downfall of this team was the lack of success in
non-conference play. In a normal year, the Pirates would have used their
non-conference slate to build their up the team’s RPI.
All of Conference USA had a similar problem. A league
that prides itself in baseball had an off year from top to bottom. Rice
and Southern Miss shared the league title, with the Owls winning the
tournament. Rice and only Rice will represent Conference USA in the NCAA
So instead of preparing for NCAA play, the Pirates begin
this week preparing for next year and a chance to return to the
“I told our seniors that I really wish we could go back,”
said Pirate head coach Billy Godwin after the team beat Southern Miss to
close out the Conference USA tournament. “But this isn’t a business
where you can go back. We have to move forward.”
The Pirates will move forward with top pitcher Jeff
Hoffman back in the fold in 2014. Of the juniors eligible for the draft,
only Jack Reinheimer is expected to go early. The Pirate shortstop is
projected as a third to fifth round selection. He will then have his own
decision to make on whether or not to return next year.
Godwin will now enter the final year of his current
contract with a new athletics director on board. Jeff Compher took over
for Terry Holland on April 30th of this year.
Compher told media members at the Greater Greenville
Sports Club on his first day in office that baseball would certainly be
“I will look at the entire body of work when evaluating
any of our programs,” said Compher. “I know our baseball team has really
played well down the stretch this year.”
Godwin’s overall body of work speaks for itself. In eight
seasons he has guided the Pirates to five NCAA regional appearances and
one NCAA Super Regional berth. His overall record is 284-188-1.
A trip to Omaha and the College World Series continues to
be the goal. Godwin had hoped to be the first coach to deliver the
Pirates to the Promised Land, but so far he’s only gotten his team to a
Super Regional. That’s as far as any Pirate team has gotten.
Godwin has had a certain faction of Pirate fans against
him since he was hired in 2005, replacing Randy Mazey. At that time,
Godwin was first promoted as an interim head coach for the 2006 season.
A nationwide search was to follow for a permanent replacement after that
That fall Godwin was awarded a contract and the ‘interim’
title was removed. That announcement came in the form a release through
an email from ECU. It was a definite surprise to many.
There was no nationwide search for a new coach, which
irked some within the Pirate Nation. Despite his success on the field,
some in the Pirate Nation have held that decision against Godwin since
Godwin found success early on. He became only the second
Pirate coach to lead ECU to three straight 40-win seasons (Keith LeClair
1999-2002) when the Pirates finished 46-20 and won the Conference USA
regular season title in 2009.
Expect Compher and Godwin to meet soon to evaluate the
One thing I know for sure is that no one wants to have
success at East Carolina more than Billy Godwin.
Now Godwin and this entire program head to 2014 with
something to prove and with a little chip on the shoulder after missing
the post season.