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Watch for Al Myatt's profile of new ECU Chancellor Steven Ballard in this summer's Bonesville Magazine.

View from the East
Friday, July 30, 2004

By Al Myatt

TV menu for Pirate fans features league dishes


East Carolina football is coming to a den, living room or sports bar near you.

Jeff Charles, "The Voice" of the Pirates and director of electronic media at ECU, said Thursday that plans are in place for WITN-7 to televise four of ECU's Conference USA road football games.

Charles will team with WITN sports anchor Billy Weaver on games at Louisville on Oct. 2, Southern Miss on Oct. 23, Houston on Nov. 6, and South Florida on Nov. 13.

Charles said ESPN regional will produce the Louisville and South Florida games. WITN crews will handle production of the Southern Miss and Houston games.

"Last year WITN produced the North Carolina game and did a really good job so this was the compromise we worked out," Charles said.

Tim Moreland will be back to do the radio description on the Pirate network for the games when Charles is involved with television. Former Pirate great running back Carlester Crumpler and Charles will be together for the 17th year on the radio for the non-televised matchups.

Marty Feurer is on the radio broadcasts for the 11th year. Former ECU defensive back Kevin Monroe will seek stories on the sideline for the second season.

You may be wondering about the television status of the N.C. State game in Charlotte on Nov. 27.

"We need to sell more tickets before we commit on the State game," Charles said.

Neinas gears up

Former Big Eight Conference commissioner and ex-NCAA executive Chuck Neinas met with members of ECU's task force on the search for an athletic director at a site near RDU airport on Thursday. One objective of the meeting was to make sure everyone is on the same page as far as a profile on the position.

Callaway ERC Drivers

Neinas offered a number of attributes.

"The chancellor has to have complete confidence in the ability of this person to run the department," said the professional consultant. "The individual has to have ability to serve as an effective conduit to the university (administration, students and faculty) and to the outside world as well as an important component — university alumni.

"The person needs effective management skills. They need to understand the business aspects of intercollegiate athletics. They need to have ability as a fund-raiser either in person or have good fund-raisers on staff.

"The most important role for the athletic director is taking charge of student-athletes and the most important aspect of that is hiring the coach."

James Talton, chairman of the ECU board of trustees, focused on one aspect of character.

"Far and away the single most important criterion is integrity," Talton said.

Chancellor Steve Ballard, who will ultimately make the choice of AD and assume responsibility for it, weighed in on Neinas' marching orders as well.

"He or she should be a great leader," Ballard said of the ideal AD. "They should be a program builder and they should be someone of integrity who has the confidence and support of the ECU family."

Ballard went into conference with Steven Showfety and Talton after the task force concluded its meeting with Neinas. Showfety is the vice chairman of the board of trustees and chaired the initial athletic director search committee which produced interim ECU AD Nick Floyd, Gamecock Club director Jeff Barber and former Air Force AD Randall Spetman, now AD at Utah State, as finalists.

Ballard met with all three previous finalists but didn't offer the position to any of them and ultimately restructured the search process to include the hiring of a consultant to facilitate the selection.

The task force went into closed session for just over an hour to discuss some potential candidates with Neinas. The task force may have some interest in former Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks administrator Mike Reinfelt.

Ballard hopes to have the position filled in 60 days but reiterated that finding the right person takes precedence over a timetable.

Herrion returns

ECU basketball coach Bill Herrion has been doing some "globetrotting" but not the kind that involves spinning the ball on his finger or making no-look passes to the tune of Sweet Georgia Brown. Herrion was back in his office on Thursday after trips to Las Vegas and a national AAU tournament in Orlando to evaluate elite high school prospects.

Even though the Pirates coach has two scholarships available with the recent transfer of Frank Robinson to Cal State Fullerton, he said it is unlikely ECU will sign another player before the 2004-05 season.

"In this year's class we've brought in several perimeter players — Tom Hammonds, Jonathan Hart and Marvin Kilgore," Herrion said. "Right now we're staying put unless something at the last minute pops up and we think it's worth pursuing.

"When you get kids really late, there's a reason why they're still available. We've gambled late before and it hasn't worked out."

Herrion knew in the spring that Robinson might be leaving the program after a promising freshman season.

"I really think it was a personal matter of getting closer to his family in California," Herrion said. "He started in Conference USA the second half of the season. Honestly, I'm disappointed he's not coming back. He had a chance to be a good, solid player here."


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02/23/2007 12:46:05 AM

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