Bailey's Take on
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, October 2, 2001
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
Ties to Former Pirates Just the Tip of
the Iceberg in ECU-UNC Showdown
I don’t care what
anybody at East Carolina says, this will not be a normal game week for the
The ECU-North Carolina
game holds very special meaning for many on the Pirate sideline. Most of the
in-state Pirate recruits also looked at UNC before deciding on East
Most of this team also
played under the likes of UNC assistant coaches Dave Huxtable and James
Webster when they were members of Pirate coach Steve Logan's staff.
ALL of the players,
except for the true freshmen on the squad, sweated blood for
then-ECU-strength-coach Jeff Connors.
Last year, Jeff Kerr
was the heart and soul of the Pirate defense. Now, Kerr is an assistant at
UNC under Coach Connors.
That’s just the tip of
the iceberg in this match-up.
Former Coaches Getting Set for Emotional
With the Pirates in
Syracuse, and with our budget restraints at the “unofficial” station of the
Pirates, I decided to take in this past weekend’s State-Carolina match-up in
lieu of the ECU-Syracuse game. Imagine the looks I got when I told the rest
of the media from around the state that I was there to “see the
I told them the main
event would be next week, when the Pirates locked horns with North Carolina.
Before the game, I had
a chance to visit with Coach Webster. Webster asked about several of the
players, and he said things were going well.
“The Florida State win
was big,” he told me. “But now, the fans want us to win again, and it will
be tough over the next couple of weeks.”
I didn’t see Coach
Connors until after the game. When I shook his hand, I reminded him of
something he told me just before he left Greenville.
“I thought you said
that you’d never wear that light blue,” I said jokingly. We talked briefly,
and he explained that he wouldn’t be able to comment this week about playing
I could tell, though,
that this will be an emotional game for him, as well.
When Connors left
Greenville, some jilted Pirate fans were livid. Connors and I were pretty
good friends when he was in town. His decision to leave wasn’t easy, but it
was probably the only decision that made sense.
But did allowing Connors to get away make sense for
ECU? I haven't seen the Pirates win a game in the fourth quarter this
I also talked briefly
with Jeff Kerr. I tried to get an interview with him for television, but you
could tell that he was given a ‘gag order’ as well. Kerr told me that he
loved his days with ECU, and he wanted nothing but great things for Coach
Steve Logan and the Pirates.
He also told me that
the opportunity in front of him was tremendous, and that he hopes to make
everyone at East Carolina proud of him in the future.
Despite what you read on Internet message boards, I
have NEVER been a Carolina fan in any sport. In fact, many of my friends get
a kick out of it when someone writes that I am a “Carolina Wanna-Be” or
I grew up as just the opposite. I HATED North
Carolina’s athletic teams, because I was a fan of Virginia.
That’s probably one of the reasons that I fit in in
Greenville, because I understood some of the emotions involved. I’m better
now, because I respect the Tar Heels on a professional basis.
I have many friends that love the Tar Heels. I can
handle them. It’s the ones that come out of the woodwork that bother me.
Those fans are alive and well after wins over North Carolina State and
I am a fan, just like everybody else. A fan that
would like nothing more then to see the Pirates roll up a big win over UNC
this weekend in Chapel Hill.
New Entrance Desperately
During this three-game
road trip, I surely hope somebody figures out a better way for this East
Carolina football team to run on the field at the beginning of the game.
There are high school
teams that do a better job. In fact, I showed Tarboro at home this past
Friday night, and mentioned this exact thought.
How come most major
colleges make it a great production for a team’s entrance, while East
Carolina gets some John Boy off the farm to hold a can of smoke so the team
can run through it?
As bad as Duke is, at
least the Blue Devils have an inflatable tunnel to run through.
East Carolina would be
better off to get the cheerleaders to make a homemade banner to run through.
Pirate fans may not
want to hear this, but North Carolina State’s entrance was really
The scoreboard featured
a video of an animated football player, and as his hand touched the
football, his body started to change into that of a wolf. The animation was
awesome; a great looking wolf as compared to the Pirate, which looks like
one of those weebles. (Remember the toy, weebles wobble but they don’t fall
The song “Bodies” by
Drowning Pool blared over the loudspeakers. That’s the song made famous by
some of the wrestling pay-per-view events. The video featured great hits,
sensational catches, etc…
The Pack then came into
the stadium through a thick fog of smoke. They then ran through all kinds of
fireworks and into a stadium that was rocking and rolling. By the time the
Wolfpack ran onto the field, the fans were in frenzy.
It was a great
atmosphere, one that we can only hope comes to East Carolina some day. It
was also well coordinated, so that the team ran out on the field when they
were SUPPOSED to.
How hard is that to
coordinate? To spend millions on a scoreboard, and then run a 10-dollar
video is no way to introduce your football team!
So You Think This Job is Easy
I’ll admit that I have a great job. It’s especially
fun when the Pirates win, because then everyone in town is in a good mood,
desperate for as much information on the Pirates as you can give them.
My Dad always said that
if every day were a good one, you wouldn’t know the difference.
Saturday was that kind
of day for me. Brian Meador and I were making good time on our trip to
Raleigh, when the back left tire on our Live Truck exploded.
Meador did a great job
just to keep the truck in a straight line after losing a tire at 70 miles
per hour. Somehow, it only took us only about 30 minutes to change the big
tire, and we were back on our way.
We got into all kinds
of traffic, but finally got into the stadium just before kickoff.
Then, after the game,
things got really weird. After our interviews, we started to head back to
the truck when I realized that our blue ‘fanny pack’ bag with tapes and
batteries was missing.
After a half-hour
search, a security guard told us the bag had been confiscated, because it
was deemed mysterious.
The bag was sitting
about ten feet from the goal posts when we went in for the interviews. I
knew security was tight, but had no idea that my bag of tapes and batteries
would cause such a problem.
According to security,
a bomb-sniffing dog was called out, and then the bag was searched. Despite
the fact that two of the tapes were identified with “WNCT” on them, the bag
was still taken.
It took us about an
hour to get the bag back, and rush back to Greenville.
Dad said there might be
days like this. At least the spare tire held on the way home.
Here’s hoping that I’m
writing about a Pirate win over the ‘Heels this time next week!
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02/23/2007 01:19:34 AM