Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, September 3, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
The black clouds that have hovered over the East Carolina
athletic department followed the football team to Durham on Saturday night.
The cloud that was in the sky
dumped rain by the bucket load, but it was another cloud that may have been
at least one of the reasons that ECU lost its opening game.
Duke snapped its infamous 23-game
losing streak by upsetting the Pirates 23-16.
Perhaps fans and observers of the program should have seen
it coming. Instead of focusing on a new season, the athletic program has
been mired in controversy all summer.
A 'buzz', credible or not, began circulating within and
outside the athletic department in May that trouble of some sort might be
School officials confirmed that the university was
conducting what was termed a “normal” audit of the ECU athletic department.
Officials called the audit one of many that are done all around the campus.
They termed it “business as usual.”
Then came the “Friday Promise” firestorm, sparked when ECU's
home game with Cincinnati was moved, at the behest of ESPN and Conference
USA, to the first Friday night in December by ECU athletic director Mike
Hamrick. The move placed the game in conflict with the semifinals of the
state high school football playoffs.
The head football coach was mad, a prominent member of the
Board of Trustees was livid, and the Pirate A.D. was apologizing to high
school coaches via area newspapers, but not returning phone calls to at
least one television station.
On game-day, the headlines should have read something like,
“Pirates Get Set for 2002 Opener”, or “ECU Looks to Dominate Duke”.
Instead, the black cloud took a stop in Raleigh on its way
to Durham. The News and Observer, on opening day, proclaimed, “All is
Not Well at ECU.”
The article went on to quote Hamrick and Pirate head coach
Steve Logan, bringing into sharp focus the strain between the two that has
emerged in public with revelations that Hamrick apparently skipped over a
clause in Logan's contract by leaving the coach out of the loop in
rescheduling the Cincinnati game.
That slight, in combination with the uproar from high school
interests and the potential negative recruiting fallout over ECU's abrupt
reversal of its Friday night policy, was apparently the straw that has
prompted Logan to air his displeasure about the turn of events.
I asked Logan if it bothered him that the headlines of late
haven’t been football related for East Carolina, and about the Friday night
“Yes, it bothers me,” said Logan. “You spend all of your
time investing some integrity, some pride and some poise, the things that
were not here ten years ago — and they are here now. All of a sudden those
things are being attacked. It bothers me personally, but I don’t take it on
Logan continued, “That Friday night things is something that
we’re going to have to see how it plays out. I think the high school
football coaches and the athletic directors on the high school level know
that this has nothing to do with Steve Logan. They know that I am probably
one of the biggest advocates of high school football in this state. We’ve
got more North Carolina football players on our team then anybody in this
state, including the University of North Carolina.”
The Board of Trustees has a meeting scheduled for Wednesday
of this week. Kind of makes you wonder if more clouds are in the forecast.
Troth show signs of leadership
Paul Troth is a natural born leader.
The Pirates' sophomore quarterback threw three
interceptions, one for a Duke touchdown in the rain on Saturday night. After
the game, though, he stood up and faced the music. He took the blame for
most of ECU's problems on offense, despite the fact that he really doesn’t
have a whole lot to do with the running game in the offense.
Troth was just 13-31 through the air, but he saw several
passes hit his receivers in the chest, and then fall harmlessly to the
“I don’t ever want to make any excuses,” said Troth. “The
weather, though, did cause problems. I don’t thing you’ll see our receivers
drop that many passes again. They are a good group, and we’ll all be better
Troth made some mistakes against the Devils. But he also
showed the class of a great quarterback, and I think he’ll be a great one in
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02/23/2007 01:23:14 AM