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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.”
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
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
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
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
“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
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.