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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Sunday, January 19, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Thompson still beating the bushes

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I had a chance to speak with new Pirate football coach John Thompson on Thursday night before the ECU-Louisville basketball game. I asked him about the first two weeks on the job.

“It’s been the best two weeks of my life,” said Thompson. “It’s been a whirlwind, that’s for sure. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but I love it.”

Thompson says he’s close to naming a new offensive coordinator. The Pirates lost Noah Brindise back to the Redskins on a $400,000 counter-offer that Brindise couldn’t refuse.

I asked Thompson if he was impressed by the atmosphere at Williams Arena for the Louisville game.

“It’s awesome,” Thompson said. “This kind of atmosphere really helps recruiting for all sports. There is so much excitement here.”

Uniform changes?

Many times a new coach will put his mark on a program by changing the uniform, or the logo on the helmet.

Bill Lewis gave East Carolina the flying "ECU" with the yellow stripe.

Steve Logan’s era featured the monotone purple helmet without a stripe, but with a standard "ECU" mark.

If there is a change in the uniform, I’d like to see the color black added in some respect.

A purple jersey with some black inserts, sort of like Miami of Florida, would be nice. Or how about black pants with purple piping, especially on the road.

I, for one, hate a team wearing all white on the road. But I’m not real high on the purple pants, either — though purple pants might look okay with a white jersey. The purple on purple look makes the team look like a bunch of grapes.

Of course, all of this fashion advice is coming from a guy who has to have his wife lay out his clothes for him! I’m lucky if I end up without blue socks with black slacks.

Herrion's squad fought back on national stage

Down by 31 points in the second half, it would have been very easy for East Carolina to have packed it in and gone home with the loss.

The Pirates kept plugging away, though, and for their coach, Bill Herrion, that helped offset some of the negatives of ECU's 87-70 loss to No. 15 Louisville on Thursday night.

“I think if there is any positive to take out of this game from our standpoint, we didn’t stop playing,” said Herrion.

Give the Pirates credit. They fought back and actually should have gotten to within twelve points with still plenty of time on the clock. The Pirates had just cut the lead to 14, then got a steal and a hoop. But the official signaled that Louisville had called time out.

Only Rick Pintino could get that call on the road. Honestly, do you think Bill Herrion, or any other coach, would have gotten a time out on that kind of play?!

Don’t shortchange Pitino and the Cardinals, though. This Louisville teams looks a lot like those Kentucky teams that Pitino had in the ‘90’s. They are fast, athletic and deep. They “body-up” on you for forty minutes. They are the best team in Conference USA, and look like a Top 10 program.

Even though this wasn’t a winning night for ECU, it was another step in the growing process of a young basketball team.

Unfortunately, it never gets easier in Conference USA. After a tough loss at Charlotte last Saturday, the Pirates had to return home to play Pitino's Powerhouse in primetime on ESPN2. Then, after the loss to the Cards, it was back on the road to Chicago for today's matchup with a vastly improved DePaul team.

Oh, yeah, and then there’s the return trip home to meet Cincinnati and Bob Huggins on Wednesday.

Herrion said it best after the non-conference games were complete.

“We’ve got 15 games to go,” said Herrion. “They are all in Conference USA, and they’ll all be wars. We’ve got to come to play every night, or we won’t win many in the league.”

Vintage Pirates to wage battle

One of the best basketball events of last season was the first ever alumni game at East Carolina.

This year’s “2nd Annual Pirate Letterwinners Game” is set for Saturday, February 8th, at 3pm. The game is just part of a day full of events planned to welcome back the former basketball players to campus.

That night, the Pirates will play host to Southern Mississippi in Conference USA play.

Former players expected to participate include Theodore “Blue” Edwards, Lester Lyons, Curt Vanderhorst and Ike Copeland.

It was really neat to see all of the former players last year. I think they really appreciated the opportunity to come back to campus, and play again on the Minges hardwoods.

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02/23/2007 01:25:48 AM

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