Bonesville Magazine, Vol.
III, Teaser No. 1
Sunday, August 8, 2004
By Ron Cherubini
Pat Dye reflects on all things East Carolina
By Ron Cherubini
Order Bonesville Magazine Online Now!
ORDER ONLINE NOW!
• PAT DYE: Short on Tenure, Long on Impact
• INSIDE PIRATE FOOTBALL
• Recruit Profiles
• Rookie Books
• Tracking the Classes
• Florida Pipeline
• NCHSAA & ECU: Smooth Sailing Again
• HIGH HOPES FOR HOOPS
• 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
As part of writing a very
special Pirate Time Machine for the upcoming Bonesville Magazine, Vol. III,
I gathered some first-hand thoughts from former East Carolina football coach
and Auburn coaching legend Pat Dye on some of the issues facing the Pirate
football program. He reflected on topics ranging from ECU's current search
for an athletic director... to what conference the Pirates should be in...
to the brazen hypocrisy of the BCS... and the ability for a school like East
Carolina to build lasting traditions.
During his years at East
Carolina — from 1974 through 1979 — Dye learned a lot about being a head
coach and what it would take to eventually become an Auburn icon,
winning four Southeastern Conference titles, posting a 99-39-4 overall
record, and taking his team to 9 bowl games. After winning
three-straight SEC titles from 1987-89, Dye’s name became mentioned in
the same breath as his mentor, Paul “Bear” Bryant (Alabama), and General
Robert Leyland (Tennessee), Vince Dooley (Georgia) and Steve Spurrier
(Florida) as being the only SEC coaches to turn the trifecta.
As it was in his days at
East Carolina, while piling up a 48-18-1 record with the Pirates, Dye
still circles ECU as a grand job for a coach, despite non-inclusion in
the BCS, disproportionate funding, media bias and the complete gamut of
obstacles that the Pirates find themselves struggling with on a daily
“East Carolina is a great,
great job,” Dye said. “Sure, you’re going to have to play teams that
probably have more talent and certainly as good a talent as you’re going
to have. And, if you’re going to win at East Carolina, you’ve certainly
got to recruit and recruit well. But, in my opinion, you can win at East
Carolina and you can do it with coaching. If you don’t believe you can
win with coaching at ECU, then you’re never going to be in it… ever.
More games are lost every Saturday than are won. You teach how to play
hard, you teach how to tackle. Nobody has the best offensive or
defensive schemes. It is all about executing what you believe in.
“A well-coached team wins
all the games they are supposed to and others they are not.”
Anyone who has followed
Dye’s career knows that he did what he did at East Carolina with with
two parts talent, two parts speed, and six parts motivation and
discipline. He was a firm believer in execution.
“I believe you have to be
balanced these days to win football games,” he said. “You can’t overlook
the kicking game. It seems all close games are decided by the kicking
game. And, you take care of the football. Those are things that have
nothing to do with talent or ability and everything to do with
discipline, believing in what you are doing and being ready to play
every time you step on the field. The head coach’s number one
responsibility is to have his team ready mentally, physically, and
Still, Dye is sympathetic
with the plight East Carolina faces as a member of a conference that is
effectively barred from having an equal opportunity to reach the pot of
gold at the end of the BCS rainbow.
“I have always been for a
playoff,” Dye said. “How in the world can you pick a national champion
on a computer. The game is played in the dirt and on the grass. The
champion needs to win it all on the field. All teams should be
(eligible) to compete for the (national) championship. Teams lose early
in the year that may be the best in the nation at the end of the year.
All the other sports have playoffs and a (collegiate football) playoff
could easily incorporate the bowl system in a playoff (format). These
guys all talk about school work being impacted and lengthening the
season and all that stuff, but those are just excuses to hold on to the
money. College football players miss the least classes of all sports…
they’re gone on Fridays and back on Mondays.”
Case in point, this past
season’s BCS fiasco.
“I wanted to see Southern
Cal play LSU,” he said. “Sure would have been nice to find out who was
really the best on the field.”
For the record, Dye liked
Southern Cal had the two teams actually played for the title.
Dye, like many ECU fans, longs for the day that the Pirates will have a
seat at the table and he believes he knows where that seat should be,
though he admits it may be a long wait for ECU.
personality definitely fits in the SEC,” he said. “The way those people
up there love football, that is where they should play. It would be
working uphill for them to beat Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Auburn, and
LSU, but they could play with the other half of the league, for sure.
And, they could beat any team in the league on any given day. They’ve
proven that before over the years. During Steve (Logan)’s time, they
have beaten and could have beaten those types of teams.
“The people up there feel
the same way about football as the people down here in SEC country do.
It is important to them, just like down here. It is going to involve a
period of time and things will work out for ECU, it will.”
And what will be the
catalyst for change at ECU?
“You’ve got to have a
chancellor to support (the push for the big time) and an athletic
director who can lead (that effort),” Dye said emphatically. “You’ve got
to get and keep the right coaches. Even though every year is not going
to be a banner year and you will go through growing pains at times, you
have to keep (striving). ECU will get there, but they have to make the
right (personnel and strategic) decisions. Florida State started just
like East Carolina. They were a teacher’s college in the ‘50s and look
what they have become.”
Dye focused more on the
“The Athletic Director at
East Carolina has absolutely got to burn the midnight oil to make things
happen there,” Dye said.
Send an e-mail message to Ron Cherubini.
Click here to dig into Ron
Cherubini's Bonesville archives.
02/23/2007 02:06:59 PM