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

Henry's Highlights
Thursday, January 20, 2005

By Henry Hinton

Elite teams farther beyond reach than ever

Bonesville Magazine

• PAT DYE: Short on Tenure, Long on Impact

• Recruit Profiles
• Rookie Books
• Tracking the Classes
• Florida Pipeline
• NCHSAA & ECU: Smooth Sailing Again


• STEVE BALLARD: New Leader Takes Charge

• SCOTT COWEN: Busting Down the Door

• KEITH LECLAIR on ECU's Field of Dreams

• BETH GRANT: Actress Still a Pirate


Replay the audio archive of Wednesday's Talk of The Town with Henry Hinton: Select clip

The news got worse and the gap got wider for East Carolina in Conference USA on Wednesday night as the Pirates fell to Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals 92-51.

In some ways the game is a microcosm of what is going on right now in the league as the rich get richer and the rest try to just be competitive.

Barring a meeting in the conference tournament at year’s end, it was the last time the Pirates will face the Cards as conference members.


It is easy to think back to the first meeting with Pitino at the helm just three short years ago in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. It was arguably one the greatest Pirate victories in hoops. Bill Herrion’s team took it to the Cards that night and won 87-77.

That was January 16, 2002, exactly three years and three days ago. Since that game, much has changed. Not only has Louisville run over ECU six times since then but Pitino has taken the program right where he intended — into the stratosphere of college basketball.

Herrion’s post-game comments alluded to the widening gap.

“We’ve been able to compete with these guys over the last couple of years but we really took it on the chin tonight,” said the Pirate head coach in his postgame comments on the radio.

The truth is that ECU has gotten better over the same years that the marquee programs in C-USA have improved exponentially. But better just ain’t good enough to play in Freedom Hall in 2005.

The way Herrion’s team has played this year has varied from impressive to frustrating. Perhaps it is a symptom of all that has gone wrong with this league’s make up.

Pirate fans may not be as excited to see Marshall and Central Florida come into Minges in future years… that is, unless they get excited about winning. And who doesn’t?

Herrion and company will limp to the finish line this season hoping to have enough support and dignity intact to regroup for the new league make-up next season.

As his own worst critic, friends of Herrion are hoping he can do just that. Coming to ECU as the 15th winningest active coach in America, his arrival generated high expectations from fans and from himself.

The losing has taken a toll. Even a 51-point loss on Thursday night is no excuse, however, to lay down.

Speaking to ECU radio announcers Jeff Charles and Si Seymour after the game Wednesday night, Herrion sounded ready to move on, in spite of the crushing defeat.

“We really had no answer tonight,” said Herrion. “It was obviously very embarrassing and we’re going to have to get back to work Thursday and Friday and mentally get this basketball team back in the ballgame and try to go to DePaul and steal a game on Saturday.”

Speaking of the “Voice”

East Carolina was featured on ESPN2 Wednesday night on the program “The Season,” which this year is following the Cincinnati Bearcats.

A video diary of Bob Huggins’ team while visiting Greenville last week was a prominent part of this week’s edition. The program showed Cincinnati’s preparation for the ECU game followed by its trip into Pitt-Greenville airport and some candid shots from around the Hilton Hotel as they got ready for the Pirates.

Huggins can be seen “yucking” it up in the Hilton bar with some buddies, including new ECU football defensive coordinator Greg Hudson. Hudson and Huggins were pals from the days when Hudson was an assistant under former Bearcats football coach Rick Minter.

Bill Herrion made the show as the ESPN cameras got a sneak peak of the Pirates’ shoot-around on game day. Herrion is shown motivating his team and then with some on camera comments about how difficult the Bearcats were to beat.

The play-by-play of the game featured East Carolina’s own “voice,” Jeff Charles. Jeff can be heard calling the action during an edited highlight reel of the game itself, which ECU lost 82-76.

Is it possible ESPN was taping 1070 that night?

If you missed it, you have one more chance as the show will repeat on ESPN2 in the wee hours of Friday morning from 2:30-3 am.

Anyone know how to program a VCR?


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02/23/2007 10:15:59 AM

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