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Insights and Observations

Henry's Highlights
Wednesday, December 20, 2006

By Henry Hinton

Purple Army is on the move

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Purple Army is on the move Pirates arrive safe & sound Images from Birmingham

6:30-9:00 a.m.

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There will be no pipers piping or geese alaying in Birmingham this weekend, but The 12 Days of Christmas have been filled with lots of other exciting things as the East Carolina athletic staff prepares for a big weekend at the Bowl.

Skip Holtz has been busy getting his team ready to face South Florida in the 1 p.m. (Eastern Time) kickoff at Legion Field. But preparing the team is only part of what goes into getting a program ready for a bowl.

Getting everything needed for the team and travel party from Greenville to Birmingham has been more like moving a small army, according to ECU Associate Director of Athletics Lee Workman.

Ever wonder what goes into getting ECU to a bowl game? Workman, the department’s point man on the project, talked about it Tuesday on Talk 1070’s Talk of the Town program.

How about one charter plane, two equipment trucks, eight bowl events, 12 buses, 30 meals, 230 hotel rooms, 710 hotel room nights, 450 people, 500 media guides, 600 pieces of luggage, 7,000 tickets, one cannon and 25 days of a hard charging athletic staff working together to pull it all off?

That’s all?

Well, not quite. As part of it all there will be some drummers drumming (band) and ladies dancing (cheerleaders).

And, oh, by the way, quite a few Pirate fans as well.

Workman says more than 6,500 tickets have been sold at ECU and there should be at least 6,800 by week’s end from the Pirate allotment.

There has been an ongoing debate about how many tickets sold would be an impressive amount to the college football world.

Workman says this is a much better investment by Pirate fans than East Carolina’s most recent two bowl trips (Mobile 2001 and Houston 2000).

"6,800 tickets for a pre-Christmas bowl is great for anybody,” Workman says. “There are not a lot of schools selling 6,800 for a game before Christmas unless it’s right next door to them. We’re ten hours away driving from here. That’s a phenomenal number for the Saturday before Christmas.”

He also believes there will be more ECU fans in Legion Field than that number in spite of the fact that many people have bought tickets and will not actually attend.

“We will sell a few more as the week goes on,” said Workman. “By the time you take what’s been sold and add our player families, the band and folks that live in that Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi area that didn’t buy here but bought there, I think we’ll have 7,000-8,000 people on Saturday, which will be a tremendous showing.”

In addition, Conference USA is providing free tickets to area Birmingham children’s organizations. People are given a free ticket and a purple t-shirt to wear to the game, creating some instant ECU fans from the Alabama region.

Talk 1070 has announced its bowl coverage for the week, which will include a live morning show from 6:30-9:00 a.m. Friday from the Winfrey Hotel, the Pirate team hotel.

Scheduled to appear are Anne Holland, Jennifer Holtz, Greenville Mayor Don Parrott, Bonesville writer Denny O’Brien, and former ECU Media Relations Director Norm Reilly, who is now at UAB. Reilly is the bowl media coordinator.

Other special guests who may stop by and have a cup of coffee with the 1070 morning crew. Since we’re in the team hotel, who knows who will stop by.

A complete listing of all programs airing live from Birmingham on Talk 1070 is now available at

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

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