Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather

Special Preview

Bonesville Magazine, Vol. III, Teaser No. 1
Sunday, August 8, 2004
By Ron Cherubini
Staff Feature Writer


Pat Dye reflects on all things East Carolina

By Ron Cherubini

Pat Dye reflects on all things East Carolina
Florida contingent looking to spark era of success
Lessons learned from a young football Pirate

Order Bonesville Magazine Online Now!

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



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 basis.

“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 spiritually.”

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.

“East Carolina’s 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 A.D. position.

“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

©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact:; 252-444-1905.