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Insights and Observations

Henry's Highlights
Thursday, April 1, 2004

By Henry Hinton
Broadcaster & Owner of Greenville Cable 7

Back to the future on offense... and more


There's plenty to ponder on the East Carolina sports front: a new wide open offense for next fall; more high school championships potentially coming to ECU; and a radio icon from the past returning to our airwaves.

Let’s go spanning the Pirate sports globe.

Back to the future with new offense

The lightening that ended the scrimmage on Saturday in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium wasn’t the most electric thing in the air. It was new offensive coordinator Noah Brindise’s schemes.

From the beginning it was evident that Brindise has changed the passing strategy for the Pirate offense…. and for the better. Forget that the drives either ended in interceptions or touchdowns. It was exciting to see the ball going up the field again.

The “Spurrier influence” was evident. What fans were treated to on Saturday was an offense more along the lines of what they were use to seeing prior to the 2003 season. Flair passes and sideline routes were what ECU utilized for the most part in John Thompson’s first year.

Opening up the game and allowing the quarterbacks to grow into a more wide open style is the best bet to quickly bring back some wins to ECU.

Brindise is impressive. His appearance on The Brian Bailey Show this week created a lot of excitement among Pirate faithful who want to see ECU move the ball up the field.

You have another chance to have a look at what Coach Brindise has in store for the 2004 season tonight in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The final intra-squad game of the year is scheduled for 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

There is no charge but food and clothing will be collected for the Greenville Food Bank and the Greenville Community Shelter.

Friend of the Pirates returns to local radio

In 1996, a national sports talk show host created quite a stir with ECU fans. Arnie Spanier, a wide open, loud and entertaining host from what was then the One on One Sports Network became a huge Pirate fan.

Arnie made a prediction that no one else in the country would have dared to make. He said that East Carolina would go into the Orange Bowl and defeat the Miami Hurricanes.

People laughed. In fact, his producer Dusty Rhodes bet Arnie his car that the Pirates would not be able to win at Miami. The gag became great fun for ECU fans who listened across the country and in Greenville.

You already know that the Pirates did, indeed, defeat Miami handily on national television that night, October 19, 1996 by a score of 31-6.

Spanier became such a star in Greenville that he came to town for the next home game. A post-game live appearance by Arnie at Professor O’Cool's drew such a huge crowd that the fire marshal nearly shut the place down.

The university even flew Arnie down to appear in the team’s season-ticket television commercial the next year.

Well, Arnie is back. After a successful career in talk radio in Los Angeles and Atlanta, Arnie Spanier has rejoined his old network, now Sporting News Radio.

Arnie’s nightly program will start airing on Talk 1070 on Monday night, April 5, from 7-10 pm.

From his office in Chicago on Wednesday afternoon, Spanier told us, “The first thing I asked when I got back here was if I was going to be on in Greenville? I love that town and I love ECU. I can’t wait to start talking to the Pirate fans again.”

Well, Arnie, you will get your chance starting Monday night.

Regionals coming to Greenville?

As reported in The News and Observer last week there is, indeed, a chance that ECU will begin hosting more high school regional action, beginning with football later this year.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has offered ECU and the City of Greenville a chance to host the Eastern Regional Championships in several sports starting with the 2004 football season. Basketball regionals are already hosted in Greenville.

State championship games have been played on college campuses in recent years, including Greenville Rose’s 4-A title game this past season at Wake Forest.

The NCHSAA wants to bring some eastern title games to ECU as part of a new strategy to centralize season-ending regional competition.

At the time state championship games were being scheduled at UNC-CH, N.C. State and Wake Forest, the executive director of the NCHSAA, Charlie Adams, was disgruntled with the athletic administration at ECU.

Adams has made it clear to community leaders and ECU officials that the problems are in the past and he wants Greenville and East Carolina to have a shot at future opportunities, maybe even some state championships in years to come.

The Greenville-Pitt Chamber of Commerce has been the fund-raising arm for the very successful Eastern Regional basketball tournament in Minges Coliseum for years. Currently, the Chamber is working with Greenville city officials and ECU Athletic Department officials to determine how funding for these new games might be handled.

CALL 252.349.3280 FOR OUR RATE CARD.

The Greenville City Council will discuss the issue and hear a proposal from the Chamber on Monday night of next week.

If efforts are successful the new agreement would begin with Dowdy-Ficklen most likely hosting two Eastern Regional football games at the end of this season.

Send an e-mail message to Henry Hinton.

Click here to dig into Henry Hinton's archives.

02/23/2007 10:13:22 AM

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