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The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, October 10, 2012

By Bethany Bradsher

Bethany Bradsher

Logan, Garrard win another one together

Former coach and his QB, authors of key chapters in Pirate gridiron lore, capture ECU athletics' ultimate honor

By Bethany Bradsher
All rights reserved.

Note from the Editor: This article has been updated to correct a mistake
in the date of the ECU Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremonies
and to add other details related to this year's Hall of Fame class.

For years, I have deferred to those in the Pirate Nation with far more seniority than me, mindful of the fact that there are legions of East Carolina fans with decades of purple and gold history under their belts.

But something is happening in coming weeks that makes me feel qualified to climb into my rocking chair and wax a little nostalgic — Pirate football icons Steve Logan and David Garrard are part of a five-member class elected for induction into the ECU Athletics Hall of Fame. The others are Amanda Duffy (soccer), Michelle Ward (softball) and John Williamson (baseball).

The HOF ceremonies are scheduled for the weekend of the Houston game on Nov. 3, though Logan and Garrard are not expected to be in attendance due to conflicts. An August release from ECU athletics indicated that the pair will be enshrined at a later data.

In my estimation, Logan and Garrard are certainly as worthy as any who have passed through Pirate country, but I have always considered Hall of Fame selection as something that comes decades after one’s glory years. It seems like only a year or two ago when I was hanging out at the Ward Center, enjoying the free spread that ECU used to offer to attract sportswriters, listening to Logan and Garrard break down some of the gridiron program's greatest triumphs.

I moved to Greenville in August of 1999 with a miniscule slice of East Carolina knowledge. But even before we had unpacked all of our boxes, I had two news outlets hire me to provide Pirate football coverage — so I started cramming.

The Pirates hit the ground running that fall, forcing me to do the same. Less than three weeks after I arrived, they knocked off West Virginia, followed by Duke. A month after my move, my initiation to Eastern North Carolina intensified considerably when Hurricane Floyd hit and led to the most catastrophic flooding in the region’s history.

From a football standpoint, Floyd’s destruction meant that the Pirates had to stay in Columbia — where they had just dispatched the Gamecocks for their third straight victory — to train for their next game, which was scheduled as a home contest against Miami. Suddenly I was writing stories about ECU for news outlets in South Carolina, all before I had even learned Thing One about the 1991 Peach Bowl.

Through that exciting autumn — peaking with ECU’s improbable win over Miami at Carter-Finley Stadium and a national ranking — I would have been hopelessly lost without the knowledge and nuance provided by Steve Logan. I had covered the NFL for two seasons and had experience interviewing several other collegiate coaches, but I had never encountered a coach with the rapier wit and the depth of football knowledge I discovered at Logan’s Monday press conferences.

True confession: It can be hard for women to learn enough about football to cover the game with excellence. Other than a memorable evening as a middle linebacker for my high school Powder Puff team in 1986, I had never set foot on a football field prior to becoming a sportswriter, so my understanding of the sport had to come from outside sources.

I am grateful to Logan for accelerating that process and for refusing to settle for the same old coachspeak. I would frequently come home and play my recording of his remarks for my husband, wanting to relieve either his dry humor or his astute football observations. Every time Logan has found his way to a radio show I rejoice, because we need more of his brand of candid perspective in this business.

At those same press conferences, after we were treated to a series of Loganisms, the media would gather around David Garrard at a round table to hear his insights about the upcoming game. Later I interviewed key players who were visibly nervous about talking to reporters; in a few cases the athletes making the greatest contribution on the field were so uncomfortable that they struggled to put together a lucid response to our questions.

Garrard was the complete opposite. Always humble and never seeking the spotlight, he nonetheless showed maturity and generosity during interviews, whether his previous outing had been triumphant or troubling. He was only a sophomore that season, but his potential for leadership seemed boundless even then.

With clutch performances like the comeback from a 20-3 deficit against Miami that day in Raleigh, it came as no surprise to me when Garrard went on to turn heads in the NFL as a quarterback, and I was even less shocked at his generous service to the communities where he played. Of course, the end of Garrard’s story is still unwritten, but I have no concerns whatsoever about his potential to keep inspiring in football or any other realm of life.

East Carolina is a school that cherishes its heritage, and even though Logan and Garrard still seem like yesterday’s headlines, I am grateful that they will take their proper place in the Pirate legacy this weekend. I am grateful to both of them for pursuing excellence during their ECU careers and teaching me such valuable lessons along the way.

E-mail Bethany Bradsher

PAGE UPDATED 10/10/12 05:50 PM.

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