Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, April 6, 2005
By Brian Bailey
Going around in circles can
be a good thing
Ricky Stokes hasn’t won a game
as the East Carolina basketball coach. He has, however, won several new fans
and friends in his first couple of weeks in Greenville.
Ricky spent an hour as a guest
on my show last night on Talk 1070 radio and Cable 7 TV. (Replay
It was a nice conversation, a
chance for me to not only ask questions about the future of Pirate
basketball, but to also reminisce about watching basketball in my college
student days as a fan of the University of Virginia.
I often joke that I missed out
on attending Virginia by about 300 points on my SAT. Ironically, Ricky and I
would have been classmates if I had faired a little better on my college
Life is one big cycle. Dave
Odom was the head coach at East Carolina when I was in high school. Odom
then moved on to Charlottesville to work for Terry Holland.
Holland and Odom recruited
Ricky Stokes out of Richmond. Ricky’s brother, Bobby, was a freshman in 1976
when Virginia won its only ACC Tournament championship. The tourney was
played that year in Landover, MD.
It was only natural for Ricky
to follow his brother’s lead and play for Coach Holland.
Stokes played in two Final
Fours at Virginia. The second came in 1984, the year after Ralph Sampson
graduated and moved on to the NBA. That ’84 team was probably Terry
Holland’s finest coaching job.
Fast forward to 2004. East
Carolina was in need of new leadership within its athletic department.
Coach Holland was looking for
a new challenge and had hoped to serve as a consultant for East Carolina.
Chancellor Steven Ballard and company wanted something more and offered
Holland the athletic director’s job at the school.
Odom, by this time the head
coach at South Carolina, was instrumental in getting Holland to agree to
take the job in Greenville. Odom has always had positive things to say about
Greenville and East Carolina University.
Holland first made a change in
football, hiring Skip Holtz, who had been an assistant at where else — South
When Holland felt like he
needed to make a change in basketball, the events came full circle.
Holland’s star guard in his second Final Four team could develop a staff
that the AD felt was needed to win at East Carolina.
Holland chose Stokes — who
happened to be Odom's assistant at South Carolina — giving Ricky a second
chance at a head coaching job. Holland liked the idea of also bringing Mac
McCarthy to town, feeling the duo would make a nice combination.
Ironically, rumors from the
Final Four now have Odom as the leading candidate to return to Virginia as
its new head coach.
If that comes true, this
circle will certainly be doubly complete.
Hot bat for Chad
Former East Carolina star Chad
Tracy was at his new position for the Diamondbacks on Monday afternoon.
Tracy struggled with throwing
errors at third base last year. Arizona obtained Troy Glaus in the
off-season and moved Tracy to first base.
In the opener, Tracy was 3-4
with a sacrifice fly and an RBI. Tracy has the kind of bat that can help
keep him in the lineup.
Wolfpack on deck
ECU's injury-depleted pitching
staff is showing just how important the position is in winning baseball
games. The team is off to a 2-7 mark in Conference USA with Southern Miss
coming to town this weekend.
But first things first — the
Pirates visit N.C. State tonight.
It’s funny, but these midweek
games certainly cause headaches with an ailing staff.
On the one hand, you want to
play great baseball against an instate rival. On the other hand, you have to
win in league play to have a shot at making the NCAA tournament.
Coach Randy Mazey may have to
go about the midweek games with a “bullpen by committee.”
This is a good Pirate baseball
squad that has been decimated by injuries. Hopefully, they can get a winning
streak going to get back into the NCAA picture.
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02/23/2007 01:31:43 AM