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Don't miss Al Myatt's profile of ECU Chancellor Steven Ballard in the 2004 Bonesville Magazine.

View from the East
Monday, November 29, 2004

By Al Myatt

Holland hooking up with candidates


Listen to the archived audio of last week's Bonesville Power Hour on WNCT-AM Talk 1070. Host Patrick Johnson and's Al Myatt and Denny O'Brien delved into East Carolina's search for a football coach and interacted with callers: Select clip...


Bonesville Magazine

• PAT DYE: Short on Tenure, Long on Impact

• Recruit Profiles
• Rookie Books
• Tracking the Classes
• Florida Pipeline
• NCHSAA & ECU: Smooth Sailing Again


• STEVE BALLARD: New Leader Takes Charge

• SCOTT COWEN: Busting Down the Door

• KEITH LECLAIR on ECU's Field of Dreams

• BETH GRANT: Actress Still a Pirate



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East Carolina athletic director Terry Holland has been doing a little more than just making a list of head football coaching candidates and checking it twice.

Holland talked to Skip Holtz, recently quarterbacks coach on South Carolina's staff, prior to the N.C. State-ECU game and visited with William & Mary coach Jimmye Laycock on Sunday. Those conversations have been confirmed and there also are indications that deposed Florida coach Ron Zook will be in Greenville early this week.

Louis "Skip" Holtz, Jr., is, of course, the son of recently-retired South Carolina coach Lou Holtz. The younger Holtz played in his dad's program at Notre Dame and later was an assistant on the Fighting Irish staff. He has head coaching experience, guiding Connecticut successfully on the Division I-AA level before joining his dad's Gamecocks staff.

Skip has been at USC for six years and was once thought to be in line for the head job. After dad replaced him as offensive coordinator, Holtz finished out with the Gamecocks as assistant head coach in addition to working with the quarterbacks.

Laycock's Tribe advanced in the Division I-AA playoffs on Saturday with a 42-35 win over Hampton in Williamsburg, Va., on Saturday. Laycock has some impressive achievements on his resume in 24 years as the head man at W&M.

An interesting twist in the search for John Thompson's successor is that former Clemson and Arkansas head coach Danny Ford has apparently contacted former ECU coach Ed Emory, now head coach at Richmond County High. Ford, who has a farm near Clemson, told Emory that he is interested in the Pirates job.

The Charlotte deal

Count Terry Holland among those who would have preferred that ECU was the home team in Greenville on Saturday rather than in Charlotte.

"To get the games, the way I understand it we had to agree to play two of them in Charlotte to get one in Greenville and then one in Raleigh, of course," Holland said. "And now the next two — one will be in Raleigh (2007) and one will be in Greenville (2010).

"We've at least got the series going. It's not what we want but they've agreed to play us every three years."

As home team, ECU made the larger portion of the rights fees from Raycom, which promoted the game at Bank of America Stadium.

"Both teams get a very nice check," Holland said. "It's a revenue date for you, whether you're the visitors or home. It's more than we would make for a home game. It's under a million (dollars), but it's closer to a million than a half-a-million."

ECU sold single home game tickets for $25 this season. Tickets in Charlotte were $45 for the lower bowl and $30 for the upper deck. Parking near the stadium was 20 bucks a pop.

Pirate fans from eastern North Carolina saw their team take a 52-14 pounding before driving back home — in the rain. No doubt they would prefer to play in Greenville.

"I've never looked at the exact contract ... but it's a good deal for both teams except for the fact that having an N.C. State at home is more important to us even if we can't make more money off that individual game," Holland said. "It helps sell our season ticket package.

"We would always choose under normal circumstances to play a game like this at home — if it was our choice."

Pack defense praised by Pirates

With back-up quarterback Desmond Robinson at the controls for most of the game, ECU managed just 140 total yards against an NCSU defensive unit that was allowing an average of only 229.5 yards per game, the lowest in Division I-A, coming into the game.

"Wow, ... wow," said ECU coach John Thompson, a former defensive coordinator at Florida, Arkansas and Southern Miss, when asked about State's defense. "I think a whole lot of them will be playing on Sundays. They looked like the guys who play on Sunday (in the NFL)."

Although the Pirates had trouble blocking fronts at Louisville and Southern Miss, ECU receiver Kevin Roach and quarterback Robinson agreed that the Wolfpack was superior.

"They're definitely the best defense we've faced," said Roach, who had two catches for 18 yards. "They're big, fast and very disciplined — and they showed it today."

Robinson was 7 for 23 for 62 yards passing with two interceptions. He was the Pirates' top receiver with two catches for 35 yards, including a 33-yard reception from Will Bland on a trick play. ECU rushed 40 times for a net of 35 yards.

"By far the best defense I saw all year," Robinson said. "Eleven hats to the ball — fast, athletic, big and they played very disciplined ball."

Hoops Pirates bounce back

Speaking of defense, guess what the focus was after ECU's surprising 90-60 basketball loss at Gardner-Webb on Tuesday night?

"That was probably as poor a defensive performance as I've been associated with," said ECU coach Bill Herrion, who is in his sixth season with the Pirates. "We were just really bad defensively. Maybe that was kind of a wake-up call. We watched tape and went back to square one with our halfcourt man to man. We just worked on the basics — containing the ball, keeping in front of your man and rotating to the ball on the baseline.

"One thing we typically do is defend."

The Pirates were back to their old selves on Sunday in a 77-50 home win over Division II Belmont-Abbey, limiting the Crusaders to 26.7 percent field goal shooting.

Next up is a deceptively-challenging Toledo team at Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

"They won 21 games last season, lost to Marquette in the first round of the NIT and have five starters back," Herrion said. "They've started 0-2 with losses at Vanderbilt and at Wright State but it will be a very tough game for us — a great opportunity for our kids against a quality team."

Bronson not available

The Pirates could have used 6-foot-10 freshman Charles Bronson at Gardner-Webb when frontcourt performers Moussa Badiane and Corey Rouse encountered foul trouble.

Bronson will likely miss the rest of the first semester. His status for second semester will be based on an academic evaluation.


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02/23/2007 12:46:53 AM

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