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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Friday, February 28, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Patience under pressure pays dividends for Thompson


Experience tells us to be cautious when we meet someone new.

Is that person sincere, or is he blowing smoke?

Every time I talk with new Pirate football coach John Thompson, I get more impressed. This man is a straight shooter.

No one was more disappointed than me when Noah Brindise did an about-face and stayed on with Steve Spurrier with the Redskins. Thompson didnít blame Brindise, as he indicated that the 'Skins offer was too good to turn down.

Thompson was under great pressure to hire an offensive coordinator as soon as possible after the Brindise decision. The new coach could have avoided public controversy by hiring someone else that week.

He wasnít blowing smoke when he asked for patience. In fact, he virtually begged for patience. He told me on two different occasions that this hire had to be the right fit.

Thompson isnít building a football program; heís building a football family.

The newest member of that family, offensive coordinator Rick Stockstill, seems to be a perfect fit. Thompsonís patience has evidently paid big dividends.

"We are very excited to be getting a guy that has such a great background and experience in coaching, recruiting and winning. We've got us a winner," Thompson said. "What he brings to the table will do nothing but add to our program. We're excited about the addition of Coach Stockstill and his family to the Pirate football family."

Stockstill brings 14 years of experience from the Clemson staff to Greenville.

What impressed me most about Stockstill is that he has served at Clemson under four different coaches. Stockstill has worked for Danny Ford, Ken Hatfield, Tommy West, and Tommy Bowden. These are four very different personalities with four very different offensive philosophies.

Stockstillís experience will certainly come in handy on a very young coaching staff.

I have yet to meet Coach Stockstill, but he seems from afar to be in the same mold of ECU running backs coach Jerry McManus.

Coach Mac is widely respected by the high school coaches in the state, and he also sold Thompson on being a good fit for this new football family.

McManus has had to adjust to a new coaching style, something Stockstill did at Clemson on three different occasions.

Thompson wants a vertical passing game, and a power running attack. Stockstill will begin implementing that game plan this week.

We all should get a taste of whatís to come at the spring game in April.

Another road disappointment

The Pirates came so close at Cincinnati on Wednesday night. They were so close to getting that monkey off their backs. They were so close to ridding themselves of that 300-pound gorilla that has developed on the road in Conference USA.

There are no moral victories. Still, this Pirate basketball team is showing signs of life. The shots are starting to fall again. The edge has returned.

Letís just hope itís not a case of too little, too late.

ECU's loss to the Bearcats makes it 0-15 over two years on the road in Conference USA. The Pirates were a 15-point underdog. Again, though, there are no moral victories.

The Pirates still have hopes of making the Conference USA tournament in Louisville. It will most likely come down to the St. Louis game on March 8th. The Pirates will need that win, and hope for help from the opponents of Southern Miss.

Despite ECU's record, this program has gotten better this year. Bill Herrion and his staff are convinced they have to go out and continue to upgrade recruiting.

You know that Herrion will not get outworked. Letís just hope he can once again get his team into the Conference USA post-season tournament.

We all know that anything can happen from there.

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02/23/2007 01:25:38 AM

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