ON PIRATE SPORTS
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
By Brian Bailey
Poignant ceremony opens
By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.
in on the radio or catch the live Internet feed
of The Brian Bailey Show with WNCT-TV 9
Sports Director Brian Bailey, each Monday
night from 7-8 p.m.
Select Live Stream
TALK 1070 INSTANT REPLAY:
past Brian Bailey Shows, including Monday
night's program featuring Pitt-Greenville Hot
Stove League talk:
Select Archive Clip
Baseball’s “Meet the Pirates”
luncheon has officially outgrown the Murphy Center on campus.
About 500 fans jammed the
banquet hall on Saturday afternoon to get their first real glimpse of this
2007 East Carolina baseball program.
It was standing room only as
Pirate coach Billy Godwin addressed the crowd. Coach Godwin introduced each
player by class, and then talked about a coaching staff that he said was as
good as any in the nation.
The luncheon also provided a
platform for the annual awarding of the number 23, to honor former Pirate
coach Keith LeClair.
It’s still hard to believe
that Coach LeClair is no longer with us. He continued to be a rock of faith
as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, ravaged his body. He was such an
inspiration to all of us. I can’t imagine what it would be like to wear 23.
Junior pitcher Chris Powell
can. Coach Godwin handed off to last year’s number 23, Adam Witter, who
presented 23 to Powell.
Powell was obviously thrilled
with the honor. He found out a couple of days before the presentation. He
decided to tell his Dad, but not his Mom, who found out at the same time as
the rest of the crowd. Powell joked that he hoped his Mom didn’t have a
heart attack after hearing the news.
“It’s really a combination of
a lifetime of working hard,” Powell said. “There’s been a lot of pride and
success in this program and I’m just looking to work hard this season.
Everyone’s working hard and I don’t see any reason why we should be stopped
this year from where we want to go.”
Coach Godwin was pleased that
the decision was a difficult one.
“It was a tough decision,
which tells you a lot about the character of our baseball program," Godwin
said. "There were a lot of good candidates on this team.”
A glaring example of the type
of player that has worn the number 23 is that two of the five honorees are
now on the Pirate coaching staff. Ben Sanderson is a volunteer assistant
coach and Brian Cavanaugh is the Director of Baseball Operations for Godwin.
The other three players to
wear 23 in honor of LeClair are Witter, Jamie Paige and now Powell.
“I’m fortunate this year to
have two guys that have worn 23 on my staff,” said Godwin. “I talked to
them, and my other coaches. It was a total coaching decision. We looked at
many different things. But with Chris, it was like, check, check, check…
Every time we came up with something, he got a check for those criteria.”
The Pirates are getting set to
embrace the toughest baseball schedule in school history. They play a
three-game series at UCLA in February. ECU also hosts three-game sets with
Cal State Fullerton, Michigan and Rice. Add in home and homes with UNC-Chapel
Hill and N.C. State and the spring should be hopping at Clark-LeClair
East Carolina opens the season
with a three-game series against Liberty a week from Friday.
“I’m ready to go,” said
Godwin, “but we still need these two weeks. I like where our team is right
now. We certainly have some work to do. I’m going to be optimistic. I really
feel that this team can do some good things.”
Against this schedule, the
Pirates will have to do great things at times. It’s going to be tough but
this ECU team certainly has a chance to get back into the NCAA regionals.
Perhaps Godwin said it best
when he addressed the big crowd.
“There’s not a day that goes
by that we don’t take the field thinking we want to win a regional, and win
a super regional, and play at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha,” Godwin said.
Somewhere, Keith LeClair was
nodding in agreement. He came close and, more importantly, he moved the
program to a higher level of thinking.
Here’s looking forward to an
exciting spring at Clark-LeClair Stadium!
Send an e-mail message to
Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville
04/21/2008 07:04:07 PM