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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports



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 Pirate victory.

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 interception.

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 on back

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 UNLV.

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 matters.

“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 corner.

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!

Carolina thoughts

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 get it.

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02/23/2007 01:26:48 AM

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