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Henry's Highlights
Monday, October 3, 2005

By Henry Hinton

Season of redemption still within reach


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The next time you think you’re having a tough day at the office, think about how Skip Holtz must have felt after the third fumble Saturday night.

A strong week of preparation gave East Carolina hope that this might be the year to break the losing string to Southern Miss.

Truthfully, Southern Miss looked like the better team, but it was hard to tell due to the self-destructive pattern set early on by the Pirates.

Would ECU have been able to keep it close or even win the game if it had not given the Golden Eagles the ball deep in its own territory early and then twice more inside the red zone? Surely the Pirates would have come away with at least three points both times? Who knows?

The good news is that even with five turnovers it seemed totally possible that ECU could come back and have a shot to win until mid-way the second half.

A great atmosphere inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium was dashed by the unfortunate turn of events. This coaching staff and young team need that electric environment to return on Saturday night when Rice comes to town.

This season is not lost by a long shot. Holtz, his talented coaching staff and these players deserve another chance from the fans. While Rice will create some unique challenges for the Pirate defense, it is totally possible that the ECU offense could put up some points on this Owls squad which is 0-3 after its loss to UAB on Saturday.

For a program fighting hard to regain respectability and that now has a three-game losing streak to overcome, the home crowd needs to be part of the solution, not the problem.

It is way too early to give up on this edition of Pirate football. The story of this season could well still be ahead.

Hall of Fame goes 'big time'

Potentially the largest and most talked about East Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony ever is set to take place this weekend.

Legendary coach Pat Dye will finally be inducted at a ceremony Friday night along with golfer Gail Sykes-Clayton, baseball player Larry Crayton and basketball player Latonya Hargrove.

Thinking about Coach Dye and those formative years of ECU football reminds those of us who have been around long enough about some exciting times. It also serves as a 30-year milestone of what can be called “big time football” in Greenville.

The Pat Dye era was the start of what Chancellor Leo Jenkins wanted ECU football to be. While the opponents were mostly Southern Conference foes like Richmond, VMI, William and Mary and the like, Dye also managed to become competitive with the likes of N.C. State and North Carolina in the 70’s.

When Jenkins hired Dye off Bear Bryant’s staff at Alabama, many eyebrows were raised around the country. Jenkins’ dream was to make ECU the best football program in the state of North Carolina. It can be argued the Pirates made great strides toward that goal during the Dye years.

Dye’s 48-18-1 record serves as the best winning percentage of any coach in ECU's modern era. His exit from ECU was somewhat controversial in many eyes, but his players have remained loyal to their former coach and many have worked tirelessly to make this weekend’s events a reality.

Dye came to ECU in 1974 and concluded his run at ECU six years later. Waiting 30 years to be honored in the Hall of Fame seems like too long considering what he accomplished in Greenville and subsequently at Wyoming and Auburn.

Better late than never.

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04/21/2008 07:08:13 PM

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