East Carolina will have a new offensive coordinator next season as coaching veteran Donnie Kirkpatrick will be stepping aside at the conclusion of a 2023 campaign that has seen the Pirates struggle to score points and win games.
ECU head coach Mike Houston released a statement Sunday announcing the impending change.
“Donnie Kirkpatrick and I met this morning and we have mutually agreed to part ways and go in a different direction offensively at the conclusion of the season,” Houston stated. “I have a lot of respect for Donnie as a person and a football coach. We appreciate his leadership and commitment to our football program.”
Kirkpatrick is in his 40th year as a college coach. In his 16 years on the ECU staff (2005-15, 2019-23), Kirkpatrick has been an integral part of offensive units that have posted seven of the top 10 scoring averages in program history and helped the Pirates earn bowl eligibility on 10 occasions.
This season has been a different story as ECU has been unable to mount a consistently effective offensive effort to take advantage of generally strong performances by its defense. In the team’s latest outing, the Pirates were shut out for the first time in 322 games as Navy recorded a 10-0 victory in Annapolis on Saturday.
With one game left in the season, ECU carries a 2-9 record into Saturday’s finale with Tulsa at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.