Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
By Brian Bailey
Holtz recipe blends in dash of
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• PAT DYE: Short on Tenure, Long on Impact
• INSIDE PIRATE FOOTBALL
• Recruit Profiles
• Rookie Books
• Tracking the Classes
• Florida Pipeline
• NCHSAA & ECU: Smooth Sailing Again
• HIGH HOPES FOR HOOPS
• STEVE BALLARD:
New Leader Takes Charge
• SCOTT COWEN: Busting Down the Door
• KEITH LECLAIR on ECU's Field of Dreams
• BETH GRANT: Actress Still a Pirate
|Replay the audio
archive of Tuesday night's Brian Bailey Show,
featuring guest Don Edwards:
The post-it notes were arranged neatly on tables behind Coach Skip
Holtz’s desk. There had to be over 100 of them, neatly arranged in columns.
I did snoop to catch some of the names, and many of them I recognized. I
knew Coach Holtz was connected, and the many post-it notes confirmed my
“I answer these calls,” said Holtz, “ and then I just move the columns
It’s a busy time for the new East Carolina football coach. Forget
Christmas shopping, the Pirate coach and his staff are out shopping for
I met with Coach Holtz to do an interview for an upcoming special that we
are airing on WNCT-TV later this month. The show is a part of our station’s
“Eye on Eastern Carolina” series.
Holtz is busy assembling his staff. He told me that he wanted a
combination of coaching talents, with a bit of ECU flavor and a bit of Holtz
The ECU flavor is most evident with the addition of Steve Shankweiler as
offensive line coach, Donnie Thompson as assistant head coach, and Junior
Smith as running backs coach.
Shank is embarking on his third term in Greenville. He is a class act and
his son, Kort, was a standout at J.H. Rose at quarterback and is in the
program at East Carolina.
Donnie Thompson is known for getting the top athletes out of Eastern
North Carolina. He has a great relationship with many of the high school
coaches in our area, and he will reap great dividends for the ECU program.
Junior Smith is from Fayetteville and is a great example of a player from
eastern North Carolina making it big at East Carolina University. Junior was
a class act as a student-athlete, and a nifty running back that was
certainly fun to watch.
Holtz will most likely fill the remaining spots on his staff with
assistants having what he described as a “Holtz” flavor.
Phil Petty, a Holtz protégé as a quarterback at South Carolina, has
already been named, and Greg Hudson, who is leaving his defensive
coordinator's position at Minnesota, will soon follow suit.
“I think it’s important to have guys that you know and that know you,”
said Holtz. “That really pays dividends later on. I need guys to be on the
same page, and so I really want guys that I’ve worked with before.”
Of course, everyone wants to know when the Pirates are going to win. Will
it take one year, two years..?
Holtz says the plan is to have success right away. Certainly, though,
there is plenty of work to get through to have a chance to elevate the
“It will be hard for me to evaluate the talent until after spring ball,"
Holtz said, "when I can get through spring practice and have an opportunity
to see where we are with our strengths and where are weaknesses are."
Holtz, though, is adamant that his program is dedicated to winning as
soon as possible.
“I don’t believe in the long term plan.” Holtz said. “I believe we have
an obligation to the seniors that we have in here that we are going to have
the same goals now that we are gong to have four or five years from now.
“We are going to raise the standards, raise the bar where we are going to
take this program. We are going to ask an awful lot out of the seniors this
It may really depend on just how much the seniors buy into the Holtz
“We met the other day with the seniors and they said they want to be the
class that turns this thing around,” Holtz said. "They want to be remembered
as the class that started the change at East Carolina."
You can see more of the interview with Coach Holtz on “Eye on Eastern
Carolina – Pirate Football Return to
Glory” on Christmas Day at 3:00.
We’ll also hear from Terry Holland on his plans for the future, and we’ll
take a look back at some of the great players in Pirate football history.
In case you have plans for Christmas Day, set that VCR or Tivo. It’s our
Christmas present to Pirate fans, a chance to go in-depth with the new
skipper of the Pirate football ship.
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