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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports


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

East Carolina officials should clear the air


It's time for Chancellor William Muse and the East Carolina University Board of Trustees to remove the question marks, one way or another, about the status of ECU athletics director Mike Hamrick.

The Board is meeting today, and a review of Hamrick's job performance is once again on the table.

One has to wonder how many reviews any of us could survive. First, it was the Gene Corrigan report, and it seems there has been a sort of perpetual, informal review going on since then.

The choice is clear. Either give Hamrick a new contract and an unequivocal vote of confidence or set in motion the process that will lead to the hiring of a new director of athletics.

The rumors and speculation — fueled by behind-the-scenes unrest and arm-twisting among factions on both sides of the issue — have gone on way too long. Last Wednesday, those rumors returned to the front burner.

Dr. Muse is a very difficult person to get up with. In addition to recently undergoing heart surgery, he has a busy agenda and, perhaps understandably, putting himself at the disposal of the media is not exactly at the top of his 'To Do'  list.

I did talk with Dr. Muse on the day that John Thompson was hired as the East Carolina football coach back in December. I asked him at that time about the status of Mike Hamrick as athletic director.

 “We will continue the process of evaluating the athletic director,” said Muse at the time. “This will be an ongoing process and we will know more in the spring.”

I then asked Dr. Muse if he could give his athletic director a vote of confidence.

“I can certainly give our football coach a vote of confidence," he said on that day in December, "and that’s why we are here today.”

I took his last comment to heart, and after discussing the situation with my news director; we decided not to air those portions of the interview at that time. We didn’t want to take anything away from John Thompson’s day.

That spring timeframe Dr. Muse referred to is upon us. Today's Board of Trustees meeting is the appropriate venue for ECU's leaders to put the issue to rest.

At this stage, a vague statement issued after the meeting would be unfair to Hamrick and would undermine his ability to be as effective as possible in his job.

Is Mike Hamrick the person to direct this athletic department in the future? Or will this Pirate program be better served by new blood, new ideas, and new enthusiasm.

The “new blood” theory seems to have produced tangible results in football so far. John Thompson’s enthusiasm has brought on a whole new excitement to the Pirate Club banquet circuit.

Would a similar change in the A.D.'s office result in positive new energy in the department and among the constituencies whose funding is the lifeblood of ECU athletics. Or is Hamrick, who has struck a wrong chord in some important quarters while overseeing a period of rapid growth and transition in the school's sports endeavors, best suited to carry on the mission?

Dr. Muse, who has pondered the matter meticulously and with great deliberation, apparently holds all of the cards and he’ll play them when ready. Hopefully, he'll play them today in a manner that will ultimately prompt all crew members, from the officers on down to the deckhands, to begin rowing the Pirate ship in the same direction.

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Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 01:26:24 AM

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