The Jeff Compher buyout ends one of the most tumultuous times in East Carolina’s athletics history.
The buyout had been rumored for weeks. I even had a chance to ask the soon-to-be former Pirate AD about the situation a couple of weeks ago. Compher said there wasn’t anything to it.
It’s been my experience that if there is enough smoke, there is a fire somewhere. So I took his answer with the proverbial grain of salt.
After all, Steve Logan once told me that he had no idea that his defensive coordinator, Larry Coyer, had been named as the defensive line coach with the New York Jets. The Jets had already announced it, but Logan played dumb. I was young and naïve back then. I’m old and probably still a bit naïve now.
I try to see the best in people. It’s worked quite well for me in my 30-plus year career. This situation, though, had soured. Many in the Pirate Nation were holding back their support of the Pirates and the athletic program was in a downward spiral.
The Chancellor and the Board of Trustees are now the ones under fire. Some are mad about the buyout. Others are concerned about the new hire.
Now the program has a chance to bounce back. Compher’s departure opens the door for a new person to come in and right the Pirate ship.
I believe East Carolina should go after someone with “Pirate ties.” I think the lack of those ties hurt Compher during his tenure at ECU.
I expect ECU to call on former Pirate AD Dave Hart in the near future. Hart currently heads up Athletics Legacy Partners, a consulting firm that identifies and develops talent to lead college athletics departments. Hart is expected to play some type of role going forward.
The first person I thought of as a full time replacement for Compher was UNC-Wilmington AD Jimmy Bass. Bass had to make some tough decisions with the Seahawks early on, but has flourished in his seven-plus years on the job at UNCW.
Scott Wetherbee would certainly be a nice hire. Wetherbee is currently the AD at Eastern Michigan. Wetherbee was a Pirate for ten years and has also made stops at Mississippi State, San Diego State and Fresno State.
Jeff Barber was an assistant AD at ECU in the late 80’s and early 90’s. He led the Liberty program for a decade before he suddenly resigned a year and a half ago.
Charles Bloom is a former SID at East Carolina and is now an Associate AD at South Carolina. Bloome has a great resume going back to the BCS and the SEC.
Nick Floyd left ECU to take the AD job at Louisiana-Monroe. Floyd is a class guy and could certainly help with the current budget situation.
There are certainly many other candidates. Hopefully, the powers that be will move smartly but swiftly on the hire.
An expensive chapter in ECU’s athletic history is now in the past. Compher’s employment relationship with ECU will formally end on May 1.
Alice Morse Earle once said, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.”
Here’s hoping the Pirate’s “present” can come in here and turn this thing around.