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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
By Brian Bailey

Paradise awaits

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

For many, including me, this may be a once in a lifetime deal.

The Pirates are heading to our 50th state for their postseason party. East Carolina will take on Western Athletic Conference power Boise State in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

I had a chance to check out practice on Sunday morning. As I walked up to the practice field I could tell that this wasn’t just any practice. This was the team’s first workout since the announcement that the Pirates would be playing in Honolulu.

It was a lively workout. The team is genuinely excited. Somehow, though, this squad has to figure out a way to stay focused on the game at hand. That won’t be easy in the tropical setting.

“We had a very spirited practice today,” said East Carolina coach Skip Holtz on Sunday after the workout. “We’ve waited a whole week to find out where we would go and we’re thrilled that we’ll be going to Hawaii.”

Holtz knows that many on this team may never have an opportunity like this again.

“I know the guys are really excited,” Holtz said. “This will be a once in a lifetime experience for many of our guys. I think they’ll really enjoy the attention, and the chance to share in some of the Hawaiian cultures. I’ve had a chance to go over there a couple of times and it will give them a chance to experience the luaus, to see Pearl Harbor, to see Aloha Stadium, where this game and the Pro Bowl is played every year.

"There is just so much.”

Think about just how far this senior class has come. Those that were redshirted five years ago have gone from three wins in two seasons to back-to-back bowl trips.

Josh Coffman says he wants to try surfing while on the trip.

“I’ve tried it before,” said Coffman. “But it has been a while. I think it would be fun.”

Coffman says the team can enjoy the experience and still stay focused on the actual football game.

“Yeah, I think we should have a lot of fun early in the week,” Coffman explained. “Then we’ll really concentrate on the game.”

Quarterback Rob Kass agreed that the toughest part about the bowl assignment will be concentrating on the game.

“We’re all really excited,” said Kass. “We know it will be fun, but we also know that we’re on a trip to win a football game.”

Winning that game certainly won’t be easy. Boise State brings a national ranking to the Hawaii Bowl. Last year the Broncos were the nation’s darlings in the bowl season after that thrilling win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.

Boise State will certainly be favored. The Broncos lost to Hawaii for the WAC title just last month in Honolulu.

There isn’t much time to get ready. The Pirates will leave on December 17th. The team will take much of this week off for exams, before gearing up again just before the trip.

They’ll have to do most of their work in Greenville.

I’ve got a feeling that practices in paradise won’t be all that intense.

Huge win for Coach Mack

A big congratulations to Coach Mack McCarthy and the Pirate hoopsters for their win over George Mason on Sunday.

What a way to open one of the biggest weeks in ECU basketball history. Clemson comes to town on Wednesday night, followed by a visit by North Carolina State.

I had a chance to see the win over Mason on MASN on DirecTV. I didn’t recognize this team.

They played with such poise and composure, especially when they gave up the lead early in the second half. This is a team that could have just as easily felt sorry for itself and given up in the second half.

The Pirates didn’t, and that speaks volumes for what Coach McCarthy is all about. Coach Mack’s resume tells the story of a winning coach.

Coach Mack took a big step towards keeping this job with the win over the Patriots.


Send an e-mail message to Brian Bailey.

Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville archives.

12/04/2007 02:10:31 AM


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