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Insights and Observations

Henry's Highlights
Wednesday, December 6, 2006

By Henry Hinton

Holtz pitching fans to make a statement

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Thursday on Talk 1070 & Cable 7:
Skip Holtz will be the guest on a special edition of Midweek Tailgate Thursday night from 8-9 PM. The ECU football coach will discuss his team's preparations for the Bowl as well as Cincinnati's recent search for a new football coach. The show will include phone calls from listeners and viewers. Listen to the live stream beginning at 8 p.m. or replay the audio on the Talk 1070 archive page.

7:00-9:00 a.m.

Tune in on the radio or catch the live Internet feed of today's Talk of the Town with Henry Hinton:

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Catch the replay of Tuesday's Talk of the Town, featuring guests Kevin Monroe and Sam Martin:

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After a long day at work on Tuesday, people in the Greenville area got home, checked their voice mail and heard East Carolina coach Skip Holtz’s voice.

Technology. It’s only a matter of time before there is a hologram standing in the kitchen asking us to buy bowl tickets.

At any rate, it wasn’t the mode, but the message, that struck me. After the recorded “howdy” and please buy tickets to the Bowl in Birmingham on December 23, came the best part.

Consider it an admission by the university and the head coach, himself, that this bowl game coming up two days before Christmas can be considered a referendum on the Pirates’ exclusion from the Big East in favor of South Florida two years ago.

“Please help us pack historic Legion Field with purple and gold, sending a strong message to our Big East Conference opponent, the University of South Florida, that the Pirates have the best fans in the country,” Holtz says on the message.


ECU has made a huge comeback in the college football world under Holtz. Inheriting a program from John Thompson that won just three games in two seasons, Holtz has turned on the switch to more positive times, winning five games in his first season and seven so far this year.

That is why other schools have begun to show interest in Holtz. This past weekend’s confusing reports regarding Holtz’s involvement in the search at the University of Cincinnati are an example of how schools not included in the Bowl Championship Series can expect to be treated.

Making the assumption that coaches will see a move from a non-BCS conference school to any BCS conference school as a positive career move is a pretty good bet these days.

Perhaps ECU Director of Athletics Terry Holland made the case that staying in Greenville could be the key component in helping get the program into a BCS conference... say, the Big East for instance.

Holland and ECU won this round with Holtz but there will be other suitors down the road.

The time is now for East Carolina to atone for stumping its toe when the Big East was ready for expansion two years ago. As has been reported before, that expansion came at the worst possible moment in history for the Pirates.

At that particular time the university was not only suffering from lack of wins on the field it also was suffering a lack of leadership that started at the top on campus.

That is not the case now. East Carolina can be considered to be at the top of its game now with a strong chancellor in Dr. Steve Ballard and one of the most well-known and popular sports figures in this region, Terry Holland, at the helm of the athletics department.

Additionally it appears Holtz has the program in terrific shape heading into next season in spite of the fact the Pirates will start the 2007 with an inexperienced quarterback.

Significant momentum was lost during those dark days. It is rare to get a second chance.

The time is now for East Carolina faithful to answer the bell and show the kind of support expected from a program back on track.

As Holtz’s recorded phone message indicates, ECU can send a “strong message” by packing the bowl game on Dec. 23.

Remember, people are watching. The message that is sent must be the right one this time around.

Holtz to appear Thursday night

As previously mentioned, the events of last weekend were somewhat confusing, with reports coming that Holtz had recommended his defensive coordinator Greg Hudson for the opening at Cincinnati and subsequent reports that he, himself, had interviewed for the job.

After much speculation, Coach Holtz is now ready to go public with his comments regarding that situation and to also discuss preparations for his team’s game with South Florida.

Holtz will appear live on a special edition of the Taco Bell Midweek Tailgate show Thursday night at 8 p.m. on Talk 1070 and Cable 7, preceded by the Ricky Stokes Show at 7 p.m.

Holtz will be on the air with Kevin Miller and Mike Steele for an hour, which will include phone calls from listeners and viewers.

Send an e-mail message to Henry Hinton.

Click here to dig into Henry Hinton's archives.

This page updated 04/21/08 07:02 PM.

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