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Insights and Observations

Watch for Henry Hinton's feature story on veteran Hollywood actress and loyal ECU alum Beth Grant in Bonesville Magazine.

Henry's Highlights
Thursday, July 29, 2004

By Henry Hinton

Hints of football season cropping up all over



TALK OF THE TOWN with Henry Hinton: Replay Wednesday's program with co- host Kevin Miller and guest Mike Money of ECU sports marketing: Select clip...

Here we are at the end of July and thoughts are turning to fall Saturdays in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. This week’s Conference USA media event in Memphis signifies that kickoff cannot be far away.

Members of the media and coaches from all of the league’s schools will meet in Memphis early next week to talk about the upcoming season. There will be a little golf and a lot of socializing at the hospitality suite to grease the skids for media-coach relations for the upcoming season.

Won’t matter. By the end of the first week in September, coaches will be mad at things the media writes and says and the reporters will feel the coaches haven’t been honest with them about some ridiculous issue. Same old same old.

For football fans, though, it’s the most wonderful time of the year (with apologies to Andy Williams.)

ECU is already out pushing to sell tickets. The marketing department has just released a cutting edge idea of selling corporate season tickets. Any legitimate organized group or business can buy a block of season tickets at a large discount and pick up some extras like picnics and autographed balls along the way.

I have heard some complaints about this season’s schedule but those of us old timers who suffered through cold Saturdays with the likes of Furman and Richmond being the marquee games will be excited to see Wake Forest, Cincinnati and Army come to town this season.

Of course the season will end with a game on Thanksgiving weekend in Charlotte with N.C. State. That game is considered a home game of sorts for ECU even though it is being played in a neutral site. Regular season ticket holders will not have to purchase a separate ticket for that big one in Charlotte. However, the corporate season ticket does not include the game with the Wolfpack.

The two huge home games will feature the Deacons and the Black Knights of the Hudson. Having Army in Greenville is always special and generally becomes one of the largest crowds of the season.

Already ticket sales for special groups in the military are being marketed to area bases. This game also affords area parents and family members of West Point students and graduates an opportunity to see a game close by. I recently spoke to the parents of a second year cadet from Durham who have already purchased a block of tickets to be here with their son. The Academy’s alumni are truly national in scope.

Having Wake Forest back in town will also be fun. While last season’s record took away a little of the glitz, it is always fun to have an ACC school in Greenville. The Deacons have taken the last three meetings between the two in-state rivals and ECU has not beaten WFU since Jim Grobe took over as head coach. Pirate fans are hoping Dowdy-Ficklen will become a “no Wake zone” on September 11 for the home opener. (Sorry. It’s a little boat humor.)

The Pirates are 6-4 in home openers in the last ten years and they haven’t won in Greenville since November 23, 2002. John Thompson would love to get his first home victory against an ACC team. That could set the tone for a huge turnaround.

Thompson and other coaches joined sponsors of ECU athletics at a gathering at Ironwood Country Club in Greenville on Tuesday for lunch. The marketing department holds a golf tournament each year in late July to thank the advertisers of the various athletic events. Thompson shook hands with everyone but left before the golf began to head back to the office for more season prep.

All of the above is a sure indication that football will soon be here.

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02/23/2007 10:13:49 AM

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