Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Friday, January 25, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
Coach Got a Whiff of Something Bad on the Way
Pirates Backtrack in Loss to DePaul
For one night the Pirates played like they were back
in the CAA.
You remember those nights — when the last place team
in the league would come to Greenville, and the Pirates would sleepwalk to a
six-point victory over American or William & Mary.
You can’t take naps in major conferences. DePaul took
advantage of the slumbering Pirates and came away with its first Conference
USA win of the season.
At his post-game news conference, ECU coach Bill
Herrion said he sensed ahead of time that something was coming.
“I’ll be honest with you — I have just smelled
something the last couple of days around our basketball team and I knew I
didn’t like what I smelled," he said.
Neither did the fans on Wednesday night. The Pirates
simply stunk it up. They couldn’t shoot, couldn’t rebound and got blown out
of their own gym by a team which was previously winless in the league.
Herrion was at a loss for an explanation, but he
pointed to a possible letdown from the exhilaration in which the Pirates
bathed after their previous outing in Williams Arena.
“I don’t know if it was because you beat Louisville
last week, you have a great win and the fans storm the court. That was a
great moment," he said.
Herrion went on to clarify what he meant:
"You hear what I said? Moment — a temporary moment.
Okay, but now you’ve got to play 12 or 13 more league games.”
The message was obviously one intended more for his
team than for the media members on hand.
Hopefully, down the road, we’ll look back at the
80-58 loss to the Blue Demons as a growing pain. It certainly was a bump in
the road, and a huge setback as the Pirates try to make the C-USA tournament
in their first season in the league.
East Carolina women’s coach Dee Stokes is still
sidelined by what the university is calling a personnel matter.
Pirate athletic director Mike Hamrick said on
Wednesday night that he would not make any further comment on the situation.
Coach Stokes told me on Monday night that she had no
comment at the time about what was going on, but that she would comment at a
As of Thursday afternoon, the women’s basketball team
at East Carolina was still without its head coach. One report says she was
suspended indefinitely, while another said she was on a leave of absence.
Apparently, there is more then one issue that is
trying to be resolved between Stokes and Hamrick. The ECU women host Houston
on Friday night, and sources tell me that they hope the issue will be
resolved by then.
With this thing dragging out, you have to wonder just
how long Stokes will continue at East Carolina. You would think, though,
that you either fire a coach, suspend a coach or do something.
Baird in Town for Hot Stove
Former East Carolina player and baseball coach Hal
Baird was in town on Thursday night. Baird was the guest speaker for the 13th
Annual Pitt-Greenville Hot Stove League Banquet.
Baird is now the senior associate athletic director
at Auburn, where he also served as the head coach of the baseball program.
He now runs the day-to-day operations of the Auburn athletic department.
He told several stories at the banquet about his ties
with Eastern North Carolina baseball. He said he was amazed when he left ECU
for Auburn to discover that the state of Alabama couldn’t compare with North
Carolina on the diamonds.
Baird is also reportedly very close to East
Carolina's new chancellor, Dr. William Muse, who previously served in the
same capacity at Auburn. If the time comes in the next several years that
ECU faces the task of seeking a new athletic director, Baird might be the
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