View from the East
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

By Al Myatt

Al Myatt

American kicks off Media Day in Newport


ECU quarterback Shane Carden putts on the practice green before playing the course at Newport National Golf Club on the first day of the American Athletic Conference Media Days in Newport, Rhode Island. (Photo by W.A. Myatt)


The par three 13th hole at Newport National Golf Club, the site for the golf outing for coaches, players, league affiliates and media on the first day of the American Athletic Conference Media Days. (Photo by W.A. Myatt)





Aresco touts the future

American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco met with the press on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at East Carolina's Harvey Hall to hail the Pirates' pending July 1st entry into the league. After his introduction by ECU athletic director Jeff Compher, the former CBS Sports and ESPN executive highlighted the American's aggressive goals and flaunted the league's contractual arrangement for high-profile TV exposure on ESPN, ABC and CBS Sports. During his remarks, Aresco said of the Pirates, "The country is going to discover ECU in a way that it hasn’t.” (Aresco photo by W.A. Myatt; audio courtesy of Pirate Radio 1250 via Brian Bailey) ... Select audio clip (43 minutes, 15 seconds)...

By Al Myatt
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NEWPORT, RI — There's an exit to Plymouth, MA as you come back across the bridge to Newport, RI, where the American Athletic Conference kicked off its Media Day on Monday with a round of golf at Newport National and a clambake at the Hyatt Regency on Goat Island.

Plymouth, where the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620 according to legend and/or history, is about an hour northeast of Newport.

This is an area of significant history, a contrast to the American, which is geared for the challenges of the future.

The conference's immediate history in its year of existence prior to East Carolina's arrival in July, included a BCS win by Central Florida over Baylor (52-42) in the Fiesta Bowl as well as both NCAA Tournament championships in basketball by Connecticut.

AAC commissioner Mike Aresco talked about the accomplishments and challenges facing the young league at the outset of Media Day on Tuesday at the plush Hyatt Newport, at 1 Goat Island on Narragansett Bay.

The event started Monday with a superball golf tournament at the very-challenging and well-maintained Newport National Course.

Pirates quarterback Shane Carden and athletic director Jeff Compher toured the links.

"Shane can hit it," said acclaimed television journalist Jack Ford, who moderated the coaches session from the podium Tuesday.

Compher's name was on the list for closest to the pin on one of the par threes when our group went through.

My son, W.A., and I were paired with Chris Elsberry, a UConn beat writer with the Connecticut Post, and Joe Zone, sports anchor with WFSB-3, a CBS affiliate in Connecticut.

Chris and Joe had played the course before and that was a valuable asset.

They also told us about the clambake at the Hyatt on the bay Monday night.

It was a feast. They cooked lobster, oysters, steak, chicken, corn and potatoes in an underground pit. There was peach and blueberry cobbler with ice cream for desert.

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country with 1,045 square miles of land area. That compares to Pitt County, which is 657.98 square miles.

The American's office is in Providence, RI.

One resident said, one can fall down in Rhode Island's eastern strip and land in Massachusetts.

Despite the small stature of the state, it hosts a big time event in the AAC kickoff.

The Vanderbilt family was among those who built elaborate mansions, known as cottages, in Newport. Many of those magnificent homes are preserved by a historic society and may be toured.

Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy had "summer White Houses" in Newport.

The sail boats running before the wind Monday evening were a reminder that this is an appropriate location for Pirates.

ECU will be looking to add to its football tradition in a league based in an area with a rich history.

As the lady at the toll booth for the bridge over the bay said with a smile after accepting our payment, "Be off, like a prom dress."

That was the line of the day on Monday, surpassing Tulsa safety Michael Mudoh, who was joined by offensive lineman Garrett Stafford as player representatives from the Golden Hurricane. We sat with them at the meal Monday.

"We've actually got three players here," Mudoh said. "Garrett (6 feet, 5 inches, 314 pounds) counts as two."

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