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View from the East
Thursday, February 28, 2002

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Hamrick Dampens Speculation About Clemson Job


The rumor mill has linked East Carolina athletics director Mike Hamrick and Clemson but Hamrick has said strongly that he isn’t a candidate to replace Clemson athletics director Bobby Robinson, who is leaving that position after 17 years.

“I haven’t talked to anyone about the Clemson job, period,” Hamrick said on Wednesday. “I don’t know anybody at Clemson. Nobody has called or contacted me. There’s zero to that.”

Hamrick interviewed for the athletic director’s job at Kansas last summer and was one of four finalists for the job. Kansas hired an executive search firm to assist in the selection process for that position. Such a search firm identifies candidates for a position and coordinates the screening process.

Clemson president James F. Barker has said he will have no comment on Robinson’s successor until he is ready to introduce his choice. Robinson is supposed to leave the post June 30 but he may remain at Clemson in another capacity.

Clemson has been conducting a fund-raising effort for facilities improvements called “Tiger Pride,” that includes the current renovation of Littlejohn Coliseum. The leading internal candidate for the position is Bill D’Andrea, a 1973 Indiana State graduate who majored in criminal justice. He earned a master’s degree in education from East Carolina in 1975.

D’Andrea is in his 11th year as Clemson’s associate athletics director for student-athlete enrichment. The position covers five areas — academics, personal growth, career assistance, service commitment and athletic commitment. Under D’Andrea’s leadership in the spring semester of 2001, Clemson athletes had a record 2.80 grade point average. The general student body GPA was 2.82. The GPA of Clemson athletes had increased for 12 consecutive semesters going into the current academic year.

Robinson has also given D’Andrea increased responsibilities in football and basketball administration, according to Jim Rice of The Greenville (SC) News.

“He’s been Robinson’s right-hand man,” Rice said.

D’Andrea, a 50-year old native of Morgan, PA, coached offensive tackles for the Clemson football program from 1986 to 1989. He was a graduate assistant for the Tigers football program in 1982 and ’83. He served as Clemson football recruiting coordinator in the spring of 1991.

Hamrick said if Clemson called about the athletics director’s job that he would listen. That doesn’t mean he’s seeking the job and there’s no indication the Tigers are even interested in Hamrick, who has been at ECU since 1995.

Hamrick has had an active administration. He ushered the Pirates into Conference USA and has overseen extensive facilities improvements. His football scheduling policy has brought Wake Forest, Duke and N.C. State to Greenville. North Carolina makes the first of two scheduled trips to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in 2003.

Hamrick has raised coaches’ salaries in the major sports so that they are much closer to big-time levels across the country. He hasn’t hesitated to make personnel changes when he felt it was necessary, most notably replacing Gary Overton as baseball coach and Joe Dooley as men’s basketball coach.

Recently, the departure of women’s basketball coach Dee Stokes was negotiated because she apparently breeched some NCAA rules. ECU could have been held responsible as an institution by the NCAA if Stokes had not been removed.

Hamrick said he is conducting a nationwide search for a replacement for Stokes. He confirmed that interim women’s basketball coach Gene Hill is a candidate for the job.

Hamrick signed a new contract with ECU for $180,000 annually that runs through May 31, 2005 after he interviewed at Kansas.

“There’s nothing to me and Clemson,” he reiterated.

Big Win for Pirate Basketball   <<< Go to Top of Page >>>

Ninth-ranked Marquette managed just six points in the last 12 minutes of a 51-46 loss at East Carolina on Tuesday night. The Pirates’ fifth Conference USA win assured Coach Bill Herrion’s club of a berth in the Conference USA Tournament, which starts March 6 in Cincinnati.

“These guys played with great intensity tonight,” Herrion said after the victory.

Next up for the Pirates is a game at Texas Christian at 8:05 p.m. on Saturday, an opportunity to end a road losing streak that dates back to a 74-64 overtime win at American on January 20, 2001.

“They played so hard,” said AD Hamrick, an enthralled spectator at ECU’s first-ever win over a Top 10 team. “It was such a defensive battle. Every possession was a war.”

Freshman Moussa Badianne blocked five shots and forced the Golden Eagles to alter other shots. He also hit 5 of 6 field goals and finished with 10 points. Travis Holcomb-Faye dropped in 4 of 6 three-point attempts and led ECU with 15 points.

Marquette double-teamed sophomore center Gabriel Mikulas, but he compensated by dishing out seven assists.

Ultimately, it was a great way for seniors Kenyatta Brown (10 points), Bryan Foxx and Brandon Hawkins (7 points) to close out their college careers in their final home game.

Baseball Pirates Unbeaten   <<< Go to Top of Page >>>

East Carolina’s baseball team is 7-0 going into a weekend series with Central Florida.

“We’ve got some resilient guys who have taken their preparation very seriously,” said assistant coach Kevin McMullan, who has been overseeing ECU’s offense because of health considerations for head coach Keith LeClair. Assistant Tommy Eason has been handling the pitchers.

Shortstop Luke Cherry, a junior college transfer from California, and freshman first baseman Darryl Lawhorn have led the position player newcomers. Catcher Clayton McCullough, third baseman Bryant Ward and center fielder Warren Gaspar have led the returning players.

Sam Narron, Jason Mandryk and Davey Penny comprise the likely starting rotation for the weekend.

What’s up With Durant?   <<< Go to Top of Page >>>

The announcement that Darian Durant, who split time with Ronald Curry at quarterback for North Carolina as a freshman, was planning to transfer was surprising.

One school of thought has Durant heading for Division I-AA South Carolina State where he could play immediately without sitting out. A source said Durant’s girl friend goes to South Carolina State. Another source said Durant will transfer to a I-A program and will sit out a year. His list is supposed to include South Carolina and Georgia.

UNC’s ECU Connections Flourishing   <<< Go to Top of Page >>>

Dave Huxtable was promoted to North Carolina's defensive coordinator Wednesday, taking over for Jon Tenuta, who left earlier in the month to take the same position at Georgia Tech. Huxtable served two stints at ECU as an assistant, most recently as defensive line coach for the Pirates’ 9-3 team in 1999.

North Carolina had the top defense in the ACC last season, but lost eight starters.

“We lost a lot of defensive players but I'm certainly not going to throw up the white flag and start this position with an attitude of surrender,” Huxtable said. “I see a tremendous enthusiasm and an excitement with our football players.”

Head coach John Bunting interviewed three others before selecting Huxtable, who will still be in charge of the linebackers.

“I wanted to get somebody with energy, and Dave has that,” Bunting said. “I wanted to get somebody who has passion, and Dave has that. I wanted to get somebody who is a communicator, and Dave is all of that. The interview process became rather simple. It was Dave all the way.”

Spring practice for the Tar Heels, starts March 19.

Bunting has also hired Jim Fleming, an ECU assistant from 1994-97 on the defensive side.

“I am very impressed with Jim’s coaching background,” says Bunting. “He’s coached a number of different positions, has been a coordinator and obviously has been a head coach (at Sacred Heart the last two years). He is an aggressive recruiter and has the communications skills needed to deal with today’s student-athlete.

"I was given recommendations on Jim from both coaches on our staff and by other coaches outside our program. I am pleased he is joining our staff.”

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02/23/2007 12:58:07 AM

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