The East Carolina University
Educational Foundation, better known as the Pirate Club, began
promoting a practice some years ago called Pirates Supporting
Pirates. The idea was to strengthen East Carolina by encouraging
members to seek goods and services from fellow ECU supporters.
There was a directory published
that listed various Pirate Club members and their businesses.
The concept wasn't lost on
former ECU offensive lineman Brian Rimpf and some of his former
After four years in the
National Football League with the Baltimore Ravens followed by
two years of playing professionally indoors in California and
New Orleans, Rimpf was ready to settle down with his oldest son
approaching kindergarten age. He estimated that he and wife
Lauren, who recently gave birth to a daughter, had moved nine or
Rimpf majored in accounting and
finance at ECU, which helped him manage his money when he was
making a good salary in the NFL. He earned $500,000 his last
season in Baltimore. As the former All-Conference USA selection
was pondering a more stable career situation, former Pirate
quarterback Paul Troth was trying to assist first-year Harnett
Central High School football coach Patrick Turner as he put
together a coaching staff.
Turner followed Marc Morris to
the consolidated school between Lillington and Angier. Morris
had guided the Trojans to the Eastern 4-A championship in 2009
but left to take over the program at the new Cleveland High
School in Johnston County. Troth, the new Harnett Central
offensive coordinator, came from a position as receivers coach
at Campbell University. Harnett Central had an outstanding
quarterback, Brian Taylor, who received offers from Clemson, ECU
and North Carolina before he accepted a grant from N.C. State,
the program he had pulled for growing up.
Rimpf had called Charlie
Dempsey, a former left guard at ECU.
"He's coaching at Southwest
Onslow," Rimpf said. "I talked to him about coaching and he told
me to talk to Paul. He said Paul was at a school and they were
looking for an O-Line coach."
Rimpf called Troth and the
position worked out from there.
"Paul did set it up," Rimpf
said. "I e-mailed coach Turner and we talked. It's funny because
I was always the one protecting him. I was at left tackle when
he was in there at quarterback as a young guy. He looked out for
me on this one so I guess he returned the favor."
There you go. Pirates
The learning process
Rimpf learned a few things in
the transition from player to coach.
"It's a different mindset," he
said. "The first two or three games I was getting myself
motivated and prepared like I was going to play. I was getting
psyched up on the bus, getting mentally focused. Then I
realized, 'I'm not going on the field.' I have to get these guys
ready. I always got myself ready. I had my own little routine."
Rimpf was talking to his
offensive linemen before one game and felt like he couldn't
breathe. He was so intense that he was about to hyperventilate.
"I said, 'Let's break it down,'
and I sent them to the sideline, I didn't want them to know I
was about to pass out," Rimpf said.
Rimpf said he also had to
adjust to watching the offensive line function as a group.
"That was a little bit of a
change because my inclination was to watch one guy and then
watch another guy," he said. "But you have to see what your guys
are doing as a group. It took a little while for me to see the
game like that."
Turner feels like he has a
coach with a good upside in Rimpf.
"He has excellent knowledge of
his position," Turner said. "He will only get better as his
circle of knowledge with other facets of the game increases."
Rimpf's presence at Harnett
Central enabled the football program to receive an $8,000 grant
from the NFL which was used to buy new helmets for the 2011
seniors, new shoulder pads and new practice pants.
continues below picture]
Record Photo by Al Myatt
Central coaches (from left) Brian Rimpf, Patrick
Turner and Paul Troth display new helmets made
possible because Rimpf, the Trojans’ offensive line
coach, is a former NFL player. (Photo courtesy of
the Dunn Daily Record; Copyright © 2011 Record
Still following the program
"I went to see the State game,"
Rimpf said when asked if had seen the Pirates play. "I loved
that one. It made me nervous. They got up so fast."
ECU led 21-0 in the first
quarter against the Wolfpack but needed an interception in
overtime by freshman backup safety Damon Magazu to preserve
a 33-27 win.
"I've pretty much been able to
make it to at least one game (a season) since I left," Rimpf
The offensive style the Pirates
have adopted resembles an arena approach with its commitment to
"It's wide open," Rimpf said.
"They've got to build their defense back. They lost a lot of
Work to be done
Rimpf teaches business courses
at Harnett Central. He is working on his teaching certification
online through ECU.
"My first day we were in the
computer lab and all my students Googled me," he said. "So they
knew all about me."
Rimpf is 6-foot-6 and played at
over 300 pounds but he's slimmed down some.
"I can't eat as much when I'm
not working out," he said.
Some of the Central wrestlers
have challenged him to a match on the mat. There has been some
trash talk about the student-faculty basketball game.
"That's OK," he said. "I'm
still in good shape. Some of these kids aren't going to give you
their respect. You have to earn it."
Central plays in the Greater
Neuse Conference which includes some strong programs such as
Garner, Southeast Raleigh and Clayton.
Harnett Central went 7-5 in
2010 as injuries to Taylor and running back Jarod Spears proved
detrimental. It was a down year, relatively speaking, after a
15-1 season in 2009.
But Rimpf has resolve.
"I know a lot of football and I
know what it takes to make it," he said. "I think I know enough
to help these kids. These are some of the best days of their
lives but they don't last forever and I tell them they need to
make the most of them."
Rimpf has embarked on the
transition from player to coach but he still has a desire to
succeed, that will to win that got him to the NFL. That's why
he's planning to remain at Harnett Central.
"As a competitor, I want to
have a better season next year," he said.