ECU News, Notes and Commentary
Thursday, July 14, 2005
By Bethany Bradsher
Dog Days can't suppress
|Gary Overton (left) has a Pirate
pedigree matched by few. From his days as a freshman resident of
Aycock Dormitory in 1969, he went on to earn Bachelors, Masters
and Doctorate degrees from East Carolina University and has
served his alma mater for more than three decades in coaching
and teaching capacities. Now, he will take on a role with the
school in athletics administration as Director of Operations.
Overton is pictured above during his tenure as the Pirates' head
baseball coach with former player Steve Sides in an image from
the online archives of ECU's Joyner Library.
still 52 long days left on the countdown to kickoff, it’s too hot to walk
any further than the mailbox and the collegiate highlight in one paper's
sports page is the visit by Duke's women golfers to the White House.
officially a slow news season, but the East Carolina grab bag isn’t
completely empty. Here are some items of note:
The doctor is still in
become a nuclear physicist, and the East Carolina community would still
likely refer to Dr. Gary Overton as “Coach.” And now the winningest baseball
coach in school history has a position that will allow him to make life
easier for all Pirate coaches.
who compiled a 427-237 record as the Diamond Bucs’ skipper from 1985 to
1997, has taken the post vacated by J.J. McLamb, who left to become the
associate athletic director for facilities and operations at Nevada-Las
Vegas. As ECU’s Director of Operations, Overton will manage the facilities,
equipment and other physical aspects of a Division I athletic program.
“I have a
long-time interest in athletic administration,” Overton said. “This is where
I coached, and this is my alma mater. I’ve seen ECU grow on all fronts,
academically and athletically, and it’s just really special to be part of
recently, Overton was a sports management professor in ECU’s School of
Exercise and Sports Science. Now he is taking those classroom lessons to the
fields and buildings that house Pirate athletics.
He has hit
the ground running in the past two weeks, taking over a slate of projects
headlined by the refurbishment of the football practice fields and planned
renovations of the football and basketball offices in the Ward Sports
And in the
not-too-distant future, his bailiwick could include an expansion of
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, since athletic director Terry Holland has made it
clear that increasing the stadium capacity is a key part of his plan for the
In his new
role, Overton will work with everyone from athletes and coaches to boosters
and contractors. His firm dedication to ECU over the years as a coach,
professor and in other roles involving the school makes him a valuable
complement to newcomers like Holland, Skip Holtz and Ricky Stokes. In fact,
Overton’s decision to take McLamb’s job was sparked by his fervor about the
ambitious vision of Holland, Nick Floyd and other ECU athletics
administrators, he said.
lot of excitement and a lot of enthusiasm,” he said. “It’s an exciting time
to be in the middle of it. I want to assist in making East Carolina the best
possible athletic program it can be.”
BCS stuck on quantum
I spent an
hour of my time on Monday listening to football officials and polling
experts explain the merits of the Bowl Championship System rankings
equation. The upshot is this:
A new poll, conducted by Harris
Interactive, will take the place of the AP poll, and the BCS rankings will
be determined by a combination of the Harris poll, the USA Today coaches’
poll and six computer ranking systems.
the media split hairs with the teleconference participants on topics like
the composition of the 114-member Harris Interactive voting poll and the
number of voters nominated by the independent Notre Dame.
to have a bumper sticker that says, “Warning: Journalists Doing Math,” so
you can consider the source when I say that I didn’t follow 100 percent of
the polling theory as explained by Harris senior research scientist Dr.
Renee Smith. But the sports fan in me has an inborn resistance to words like
“science” and “statistically valid representation” in a discussion of
the romance, the triumph of the plucky underdog? When it comes to their
respective postseasons, college basketball is like watching the fireworks
over Cinderella’s castle at Disneyworld; college football is like taking a
test on the periodic table of the elements.
Pirates fans, the intricate BCS theorem means that few postseason obstacles
have been removed. Every conference, even if it was not granted an automatic
BCS qualification, was allowed to nominate 10 voter names for the new Harris
deck is still stacked against non-automatic
qualifiers like ECU, but the BCS pundits leave the door cracked open just a
bit for an upstart school to make a splash in the style of Utah in 2004.
you with a dubious reassurance from Big 12 commissioner and BCS coordinator
Kevin Weiberg, who was asked if he struggled with the realization that the
average college football fan is mystified by the system that holds a team’s
postseason dream in its statistically representative hand.
who are interested want to analyze it for a few minutes, I think they’ll
understand the calculation,” Weiberg said.
Don't judge Dad Holtz too
jolted Wednesday night by the news that the South Carolina football program
charged with 10 NCAA violations under
former coach Lou Holtz. Only one reported infraction, in which Holtz talked
to two prospects with a media member present, directly names the retired
coach, and the most serious charges were linked to administrators and other
coaches who are no longer employed by the athletic department.
coach Skip Holtz is quick to credit his dad with instilling character and
determination in him and teaching him how to succeed with integrity. And
when I interviewed the senior Holtz in the ‘90s for a column I wrote about
sports and faith, our conversation confirmed my impression of him as one of
college football’s true class acts.
fervently that the news from Columbia has been blown out of proportion and
that Holtz will be absolved. He has been a pillar of college football, the
kind of man who deserves to enter retirement with his head held high. But if
he did break any rules, I expect him to teach his children and former
players a different kind of lesson — one about owning up to mistakes and
doing whatever is possible to right the wrong.
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