ON PIRATE SPORTS
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
By Brian Bailey
C-USA poll hands Bucs
bulletin board material
Last year, the University of
Central Florida was picked dead last in the East Division in Conference USA
in the preseason media poll.
The Golden Knights then went
to work on a tremendous season, and a berth in the first-everr C-USA title
game. UCF hosted Tulsa in that historical match up.
East Carolina coach Skip Holtz
has some bulletin board material. The Pirates are this year's pick
to finish dead last in their division.
Despite last year’s 5-6 mark, the Pirates were picked sixth in the East.
UCF was picked first and
that’s understandable after the season that George O’Leary and company put
together last year. Southern Miss was second, and it’s hard to argue against
the Golden Eagles year in and year out.
I would have placed East
Carolina third, with hopes that Coach Holtz and company will finish higher.
I don’t think the Pirates have all of the pieces just yet, and the schedule
is a difficult one.
Playing eight bowl teams and
seven bowl winners will be a difficult chore. East Carolina will have early
encounters with UAB on the road and with Memphis at home, which should set
the early tone.
East Carolina has Marshall at
home, but faces UCF and Southern Miss both on the road.
Tulsa is the pick in the West
Division, barely over Texas-El Paso. The Pirates face Tulsa at home as a
part of that rare, five-game home stand on
the 2006 schedule.
“Friday” one to remember
Chuck Young, who spoke for the
LeClair family this past week, joked that Coach Keith LeClair had “coached
him up about LeClair’s funeral.”
Young said that LeClair had a
plan. That plan was executed to perfection.
The funeral service was one
that I will never forget. Sure, there was sadness. But the service had
LeClair stamped all over it. Keith LeClair would have been proud.
Legendary high school coach
and ECU assistant George Whitfield told a great story of LeClair’s courage.
Whitfield visited with LeClair on the Sunday before LeClair’s death.
Clemson coach Jack Leggett
wrote a poem and read it to the congregation. It was entitled “The Toughest
Man I Know.”
The poem talked about
LeClair’s decision to play for Western Carolina, where Leggett was coaching.
It told of LeClair’s life and about the disease that cut that great life
He concluded his poem with
We have learned much more from
you, than you have from us all,
And believe us when we say it goes far deeper then baseball.
Keith, in our eyes you lived your life without flaw,
And, I’m willing to bet, that right now you’re headed to Omaha!
The service also included a
videotape of LeClair himself, speaking to the congregation back when he was
first diagnosed with ALS. It was a powerful message, made even more
emotional by the circumstances.
Friday night’s “Celebration of
Live” was equally as strong and emotional.
The coaches and players who
spoke did a fabulous job of sharing their love for their coach with the many
Pirate fans in attendance.
The stories were sometimes
humorous, sometimes sad, but always filled with love and respect for Coach
Friday was a day to remember.
And Friday was a day that I’ll never forget!
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02/23/2007 01:33:54 AM