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Insights and Observations


Henry's Highlights
Thursday, October 2, 2003

By Henry Hinton
Broadcaster & Owner of Greenville Cable 7

Ample 'karma' present to overcome hard times


I’m as depressed as anyone about the Pirates’ 0-5 start but I decided to accentuate the positive for my column this week. Yes, it could be a short column. Seriously, there are some things of which Pirate people should be proud.

I had friends from “the triangle” over for the game Tuesday night. You know “the triangle.” The home of all things wonderful in the state of North Carolina. The area from which all blessings (including state funds) flow.

One of them had never been to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium before. In fact, I’m not sure he had ever been to Greenville before. You see, he’s a big city lawyer….. a Dookie at that. And guess what? He was totally impressed with this place.

No, there aren’t any ivy laden walls or huge historic chapels on campus. There is, however, an amazing atmosphere for college football, complete with a stadium that sparkles for a night game, a beautiful new end zone facility which would impress anyone and a club level unequalled elsewhere in the state of North Carolina.

There is one more thing that you don’t find at most schools. A passion and a spirit that is hard to match. That is what makes losing these games so hard on us. We love our football at East Caroina and we have become accustomed to winning. Most schools have never had a period of success in a sport like the Pirate program enjoyed for about 10 years in football.

When you step back and look at this place it is easy to see why others are impressed. Stepping onto the deck of the Murphy Center before a game to watch the teams warm up is quite an experience. You get a perspective from an angle you don’t normally get to enjoy. The giant scoreboard which features Piratevision is first class and the atmosphere before and after kickoff is amazing no matter where you are seated.

The temporary endzone seats under the scoreboard and the beautiful facility at the other end give Dowdy-Ficklen a big time feel. Just imagine what it will be like a week from Saturday when the Tar Heels arrive and every seat is taken.

For those of us who have been around a while, the East Carolina football experience has been quite a journey. Having a national television audience watching our spirit with a crowd over 33,000 strong on a Tuesday night is, itself, a statement of our desire and passion. The new tradition of raising the Jolly Roger, inspired by some rabid fans who have discussed and pushed for this for years, just adds to an already exhilarating experience.

Realignment vibes

Here is some more positive karma for you. The conference news may not be ALL bad. With all the rumors and speculation about where everyone will land in this next wave of conference re-alignment, there is new hope that the Big East may not have passed on ECU…. just yet.

Memphis has received the call that the Pirate program is hoping it will not receive. The Big East has already eliminated the Tigers from future expansion consideration. Was the call in response to a direct proposal or was Memphis being told “thanks but you probably should be looking in another direction”?

In the last week, there have been rumors in the northeast that the Big East may still consider moving to 12 teams. This is probably coming from the NCAA ruling (actually they just clarified a rule that was already there) that requires conferences to have 12 members to have a year end championship game.

Additionally, there is renewed belief that the ACC may go after Boston College again.

This is fueling speculation that ECU may be back in the mix. Other than great facilities and a strong football tradition, our university has another strong advantage.... location. Being on the coast makes the Pirate program a contender.

It now seems a given that Cincinnati and Louisville will be headed to the Big East. Perhaps the reason ECU has not received the “thanks but no thanks” call lies in the next round of expansion.

So, take heart. There are still some positive things out there. And who knows? Maybe there are some football wins in our near future. Getting one over the Tar Heels would be a good place to start.

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02/23/2007 10:12:14 AM


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