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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports


From the Anchor Desk
Friday, March 21, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Gridiron Pirates open their own March Madness

Replay Monday's BRIAN BAILEY SHOW, which aired on WCZI 98.3 FM and Greenville Cable 7...  Listen...


The last thing I thought I would ever see is a set of bleachers at the East Carolina practice field.

Welcome to the new attitude for Pirate football. It’s an open door policy this spring, and everyone is invited.

“If they want to come out, it’s all open,” said new coach John Thompson. “We didn’t have a lot of bleachers set up, but we did have some.”

Some is more then I thought I would ever see. So if you need a fix of Pirate football before the fall, spring practice is open to everyone, especially if you like competition.

“All eleven positions on each side of the ball are open,” said Thompson. “But this will be the only time we’ll ever say that while we are here. Usually, we’ll know more going in.”

Some of the players are obviously not worried about their positions.

“We all know that Brian Rimpf is a great football player,” said Thompson. “But he has to earn his job, just like we all do.”

One of those players hoping to earn his position is last year’s starting quarterback Paul Troth.

Troth seems like he is ready for the challenge, and he is especially hard on himself from last year.

“I keep telling myself that the job isn’t mine,” said Troth. “With the problems that I had last year, it doesn’t deserve to be mine. But I’m confident in my abilities. Competition excites people so it will be fun this spring.”

League struggles in NCAA tournament

Conference USA stumbled out of the gate in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday.

Memphis fell by thirteen to Arizona State. Gonzaga bounced Cincinnati. And holy cow, Marquette barely got by Holy Cross.

Memphis complained about a number seven seeding. It looks like the Tigers should have spent more time preparing and less time complaining about a seed. Arizona State won the game, 84-71.

The ‘Zags are annually one of the “Cinderella” stories of the NCAA tournament. Gonzaga wrote another chapter in that script by beating Cincinnati 74-69.

Things got so bad for the Bearcats that Bob Huggins and team announcer Chuck Machock were both ejected. Funny, I can’t see the Pirate’s Jeff Charles ever getting the heave-ho from an official.

Marquette rode the heroics of Travis Diener in a four point win over Holy Cross. Had the Golden Eagles stumbled, this would have been an unbelievably bad start for the league.

Louisville opens play later tonight, playing Austin Peay.

Add in North Carolina’s convincing win over DePaul in the NIT, and this has been a tough week for Conference USA.

We can only hope that Marquette and Louisville get on a roll, so that Conference USA can save face down the road.

Sports goes on as war begins

The sports world continued on even as our country entered into war with Iraq on Wednesday.

Pirate Coach John Thompson says he’s got plenty to do as the new ECU coach, but that he’ll also make sure to take time out to keep up with events a world away.

“It is a major concern,” said Thompson. “We are just so removed from that situation, but it does make you put everything else into perspective.”

The NCAA tournament announced on Monday that its games would go on. CBS stayed with war coverage early on Thursday, but then came back with basketball on Thursday night.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the men and women who are fighting so that we can enjoy our world in sports.

I know that my job really feels insignificant in times like these. I spent Thursday with one television on the games, and one television on war coverage.

In North Carolina, we have so many different military connections that are so close; it does bring us closer to problem at hand.

God bless our troops, and let’s hope that those with Down East connections are back and watching the Pirates soon!

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02/23/2007 01:26:23 AM

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