Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Friday, June 21, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
LeClair's advice deserves high
Wednesday was a sad day at East Carolina University.
Keith LeClair, who came to East Carolina five years ago with goals that many
felt were unachievable, resigned his position because of his failing health.
But donít think for one minute that Coach LeClair is giving up
on himself or on the objectives he has laid out for Pirate baseball.
LeClair knows what is best for this program, and whatís best at this
juncture is for ECU to move in the right direction ó and LeClair should be given every opportunity to help decide that
crucial next step.
This is not an easy time in the East Carolina athletic department. There are
those, like myself, who would like to see Mike Hamrick name Kevin McMullan
as Keith LeClairís successor.
If thatís what LeClair wants, then I think thatís the way it should be.
At the very least, LeClair should be a one-man search committee for Hamrick
and Chancellor Bill Muse. LeClairís vote should carry the most weight,
especially if this is a national search for a new coach.
Hamrick deserves ample credit for hiring Keith LeClair
five years ago. There were candidates that many Pirate Club members and alumni wanted.
Billy Best, then an assistant at North
Carolina State, was considered the front-runner, and
there were those who were upset that someone in the Pirate family didnít land the
Best had worked under Gary Overton and was an ECU graduate. But Hamrick
found his man in LeClair.
How ironic is that? Now Keith LeClair is a huge part of that same Pirate
I like Kevin McMullan. I think that the job he did, guiding this team
to a first-ever Conference USA championship, was tremendous. Just think about
the players that the Pirates lost after the 2001 season.
Coach Mac should be the leading candidate, especially since he has gotten
the endorsement from Coach LeClair.
According to a source close to the athletic department, Coach LeClair had
asked East Carolina athletic director to make McMullan an
associate head coach before the season. That source says that Hamrick
Hamrick has met with McMullan on at least two occasions since the end
of the season. I believe McMullan wants the head-coaching job, but he
also may be looking for work elsewhere if the vibes he is getting arenít all
that positive from the Pirate athletic director.
This is a situation that needs to be resolved quickly. This is a very
important time for recruiting in baseball. The State Games of North Carolina
are coming up, an event which will feature some of the top talent in the
There are other names that have surfaced, but as is the case with every
coaching search, the names are just possible candidates. Todd Raleigh was at
East Carolina in 1999 under LeClair, and is now at Western Carolina. Elonís
Mike Kennedy and Coastal Carolinaís Gary Gilmore are also highly regarded,
and could emerge as candidates.
At the very least, LeClair should be consulted and his knowledge should be
used by the powers at ECU in naming a new coach. LeClair is the bravest of
warriors, the classiest of men, the kind of person that we all wish that we
Heís earned the honor of guiding the program in the direction that HE wants
it to go.
LeClairís goal is to get this team to Omaha. His stamp should be on this
program for many years to come.
Send an e-mail message to
Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville
02/23/2007 01:22:34 AM