Take on Pirate Sports
TOM SOUTHERN, ECU '74
From the Anchor Desk
Friday, October 3, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
Who will save the season?
The Houston game was thought to be the start of a new
football season for East Carolina. The schedule eased up a bit, the Pirates
had some much needed rest, and Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium would be rocking with a
Some plans don’t go the way you want them to. Houston came
to Greenville with a gunslinger at quarterback and beat East Carolina 27-13.
While Freshman Kevin Kolb was firing bullets against a
porous Pirate secondary, Desmond Robinson and Paul Troth were firing blanks.
Robinson was picked off twice early in the game, so Troth
got another chance to take over a job that he thought he would have from the
very beginning this season.
But Troth played more like a guy trying to give the job back
than the Pirate quarterback that might just save the season.
Troth was 22-33 for 369 yards and three touchdowns in last
year’s win over Houston. This year, he was 2-13 for 42 yards and an
How does this happen?
I am still a fan of Paul Troth, and sincerely hope that he
can turn this thing around. Likewise, I think that Desmond Robinson is a
tremendous athlete, and would love to see him turn it up a notch and become
a top flight quarterback.
Somebody has to step to the forefront, or this team is
looking dead on at an 0-12 campaign.
With both quarterbacks struggling the only thing that you
can really go on is the past. Troth has had some success in the past, and I
think he’ll take over this week at quarterback.
Promotions gurus deserve pat
Somehow, there were over 33 thousand fans on hand for
Tuesday night’s game with Houston.
Credit the ECU marketing department for a job well done.
Sure, tickets were practically given away, but the atmosphere was one of the
lone highlights of the game.
The marketing department was in one of those, “danged if you
do, danged if you don’t” spots for the Houston game.
Without any promotions, there is no way that the crowd would
have eclipsed 20 thousand. I say it was a job well done. Still, the
marketing department took a fair share of criticism from some quarters.
N&O takes shot
The News and Observer took some potshots, calling the
ECU-Houston game an “embarrassment.” The paper said that fan interest was so
weak that the school was offering specials to keep the cameras from showing
an empty Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
Leave it to our friends from Raleigh to kick a program when
it’s down. On game day, the paper reminded everyone that the chancellor had
resigned, that the athletic director had moved on, that things didn’t look
good for the Pirates' Big East prospects at this time, etc…
In two different articles on game day, the paper reported
that ex-chancellor William Muse was forced to resign. Both articles also
mentioned that former ECU athletic director Mike Hamrick had moved on to
By my count, this was all certainly old news.
No where did either story mention that Hamrick’s job was on
life support when he left. No where did the story say anything about the
chancellor “strongly urging” Hamrick to look for greener pastures, because a
change was coming.
No, the paper implied that all was well until Hamrick
departed. What a spin!
No, all is not well at East Carolina. Those of us who live
here realize that. The Pirates are desperate for a BCS connection, somewhere
and somehow. Without that connection, none of us know what the future will
be for East Carolina athletics.
The most encouraging line from the pair of stories dealt
with a logical but profound quote from BCS architect and former SEC
commissioner Roy Kramer, who has acted as a consultant to ECU on realignment
“Coaches come and go,” Kramer said. “Athletics Directors
come and go. Presidents come and go. Conferences make their decisions based
on institutions, not on personalities.”
Here’s hoping that Kramer is someone in East Carolina’s
East Carolina has long been worthy of admission in a BCS
league. But life is about timing, and the Pirates' problems couldn’t come at
a worse time.
Of course, a couple of wins would soothe feelings all over
the Pirate nation!
So many times this summer I heard the same statement.
“I don’t care if we win a game, as long as we beat North
Carolina,” several fans told me.
I say be careful what you wish for, because you just might
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02/23/2007 01:26:48 AM