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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports


From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, June 17, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Can ECU add another chapter of primetime glory?


Recently I wrote that I would be putting together several “Top 10” lists for the second annual edition of Bonesville Magazine, due out later this summer.

Monday’s announcement that East Carolina and Miami will be televised on a Saturday evening in September by ESPN2 jogs memories of one of those best-ever Pirate games during my career as a member of the media.

Miami leads the series 8-2, but ECU has certainly had some celebrated moments at the Hurricanes' expense. Perhaps in a harbinger of things to come, both victories came in front of — you guessed it — ESPN2 Saturday night audiences.

The visiting Pirates and and field general Marcus Crandell beat down the ‘Canes 31-6 in 1996, one of only four occasions a non-Big East team has won in the Orange Bowl since that season.

East Carolina also happens to be the last unranked team to beat mighty Miami. The Pirates last did it on a surreal night in Raleigh in 1999, following the devastating floods that Hurricane Floyd dumped on eastern North Carolina.

The national media was so impressed with the outing, East Carolina was recognized at the postseason College Football Awards presentation in Orlando as the recipient of the Disney Spirit Award.

Those of us in attendance that night at N.C. State's Carter-Finley Stadium saw a true gut check performance. The Pirates had been on the road for two weeks because of the floods and had to host that big “home” game in "enemy" territory.

The Pirates took a big punch to the jaw in that first half but didn't quite go down for the count. In the second half, East Carolina played the type of “Pirate football” that we haven’t seen all that much of lately. There was a collective chip on the shoulder, and when the night ended the team and its fans were celebrating a 27-23 comeback miracle that was an epic victory for the region in more ways than one.

ECU will have a chance to further cut into the series deficit and extend its winning run against the Hurricanes when the teams tee it up at 7 p.m. on September 13.

Food for thought: How many other programs have two-game streaks going against mighty Miami?

Spurs spur local interest

San Antonio’s win over New Jersey featured a couple of key players with fans in the East Carolina community.

Spurs forward Malik Rose played under Pirate coach Bill Herrion at Drexel. Rose has made it big in San Antonio. Last summer, Rose inked a six-year, 42 million-dollar contract. He delivered by becoming a factor in the Spurs' NBA championship run.

Rose's next run will come later this week, when he is scheduled to be a guest at Bill Herrion’s basketball camp. He should have some great stories, playing this year with the likes of Tim Duncan and a retiring 'Admiral', David Robinson.

Robinson made an annual stop in Greenville during his days at the Naval Academy. I remember a couple of interviews with a young David Robinson, and he was just as nice and polite back then as he was in his interviews after the NBA finals.

Robinson was fun to watch at Minges Coliseum. I also had a chance to see him light up the NCAA tournament in a first round game in Charlotte.

Coach Herrion has always surrounded himself with class acts, so it’s no surprise that he has stayed close with Malik Rose.

It’s not always about wins and losses and baskets and rebounds. Championships are also about class, and the Spurs had plenty of that in winning the title this season.

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02/23/2007 01:26:13 AM

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