ON PIRATE SPORTS
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, November 7, 2006
By Brian Bailey
A big day in November
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SKIP HOLTZ PRESS CONFERENCE:
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Emotions should run sky-high
at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium this Saturday.
Senior Day, the "We are
Marshall" movie, Military Appreciation Day and the East Carolina hoops
opener should provide for a day to remember in Greenville.
Add in the fact that this is
the first meaningful East Carolina football outing in November in some time
and you’ve really got a reason to be at the game this week.
Senior Day is always an
emotional time, regardless of a team’s record. This will be the last time
the Pirate seniors will play a home game — unless, of course, things get
wacky in Conference USA’s West Division and the Pirates play their way into
the host role of the league’s championship game.
Pirate coach Skip Holtz has
done a wonderful job so far of keeping his team focused. However, with so
much going on around the program, he’ll be tested this week.
“Our goal again this week is
to just go 1-0,” said Holtz at his weekly Monday news conference on campus.
“We have to continue to be humble about our past, focused on our present,
and hungry for our future.”
Holtz continued: “I’m not
naïve; I know the players are getting in their dorm rooms and talking a
little bit about the big picture. I think that’s a loser’s mentality, to
think ahead like that. Sure, they hear stuff about bowl games and such, but
so far they’ve done a good job in handling everything.”
This is a Pirate senior class
that has never played in a bowl game. It’s a class that has seen three
different head football coaches. It’s a class that desperately wants to
finish strong. For these seniors, Saturday will be a very emotional time.
“Sometimes seniors don’t play
well on these days,” said Holtz. “It’s hard to block and tackle when you
have tears in your eyes. It’s really hard to focus in on a football game
when you’re thinking about your past with the program. I know it will be
"We Are Marshall"
Despite rumors to the
contrary, Matthew McConaughey, who plays the coach in the
upcoming movie "We Are Marshall," is
not expected at Saturday’s game. McConaughey was on the sideline for a
Marshall game earlier this season on a Thursday night.
"We Are Marshall" is the story
of the 1970 plane crash that occurred after the Marshall football team had
lost to East Carolina. McConaughey plays the Marshall coach, Jack Lengyel,
who helped rebuild the football program after the crash. The movie will open
on December 22nd.
Coach Holtz said that he had
addressed this angle of the game with his team.
“We talked to the team about
the movie, and about the history of the tragedy,” said Holtz. “We are very
sensitive to the fact that the name East Carolina conjures up tragic
memories for many in the Marshall community.”
Holtz said it is difficult to
envisage what a tragedy like that would do for a football team and its fans.
“I can’t imagine,” said Holtz.
“That area is a really close to its football team, sort of like Greenville
and East Carolina. I can’t imagine all of the lives that were touched and
On Wednesday evening at 8:00
will present "Remembering Marshall," a
delving into poignant memories surrounding the hard-fought game between ECU
and Marshall in then-Ficklen Stadium 36 years ago and the tragedy that
unfolded in the hours after that game.
(cable channel 99, Sudden Link Communications) is East Carolina University’s
official cable station.
On Saturday morning, East
Carolina plans to honor the 1970 Marshall football team with a permanent
plaque to be placed near the visitor’s gate at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. That
ceremony is scheduled for late morning before the 1:00 p.m. ECU-Marshall
Tickets for the Troops
As if the game needed any more
emotion, Saturday is also Military Appreciation Day at Dowdy-Ficklen
What a great way to show the
men and women of our military just how much we all appreciate the things
they are doing.
I’m as guilty as anyone in
taking my freedom for granted. I cover sports for a living. I go to games. I
enjoy life, but only because the men and women of our military sacrifice so
much to protect our freedom. We should all go and give them a personal thank
you on Saturday.
That military group may prove
to be a valuable 12th man come Saturday afternoon.
Emotions should run high all
Basketball tips off
Don’t forget, after the
football game stick around for ECU hoops and the start of year two of the
Ricky Stokes era at East Carolina. The Pirates host Morgan State at 6:00
You can sharpen your knowledge
about the basketball Pirates by catching the Windows Media replay of my
weekly Cable 7/Talk 1070 show from last night, which featured ECU head coach
Ricky Stokes as my guest. [Select
Brian Bailey Show...]
What a day! You’d better bring
your tissue on Saturday, because you just might shed a tear or two.
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04/21/2008 07:04:19 PM