NEWS, NOTES &
Friday, August 24, 2007
By Bethany Bradsher
High seas spectacle on the way
All rights reserved.
East Carolina Assistant AD Scott Wetherbee can’t
help but feel a little sorry for the other marketing directors, the ones at
universities with mascots like Bobcats, or Eagles, or Bears.
Occasionally one such colleague will call
Wetherbee and ask for some tips on how to create a mood in their home
football stadium that rivals the ambience at Dowdy-Ficklen. And Wetherbee
has to admit that part of the magic is the ECU mascot, which gives marketing
departments a treasure chest of material.
This country has a fascination with pirates that
stretches back for decades and has been fanned by Johnny Depp’s Hollywood
interpretation. So as Wetherbee and his department have sought to enhance
the already-lively atmosphere within the stadium, the culture has handed
them plenty of material.
Florida State has Chief Osceola throwing a
flaming spear, the University of Colorado actually runs a buffalo around the
field before kickoff and Clemson players touch Howard’s Rock and storm down
the hill. But Wetherbee and others who have worked on these plans hope that
the East Carolina home field traditions will be among the most memorable in
“There are so many new wrinkles that you don’t
want to not be in your seat 15 minutes before kickoff,” Wetherbee said.
“People have got to be there early, and we’re going to make it worth their
The fans that arrive with time to spare will
first notice the big Pirate ship in the end zone. Designed to look like the
front of an actual Pirate vessel, the ship will feature two ramps that will
lower down for the Pirate players to run out. Other than the ship and the
absence of the purple tunnel, the entrance will look and sound the same –
complete with the siren and purple smoke.
“That’s what our fans like, and we’re not going
to mess with what they like,” Wetherbee said.
Wetherbee and others have also promised that the
player entrance will contain a few surprises, and he seems to be relishing
the preseason speculation that has gripped fans on Internet message boards
and in other Pirate Nation gathering spots.
“There are some things that we don’t want to let
out of the bag yet,” Wetherbee said. “In the meantime, it’s kind of fun to
let the other rumors fly. We only want to add little pieces. We don’t want
to detract or make it a circus.”
Once the Pirates walk the gangplanks and prepare
for kickoff, the other major changes come Game Day will involve Pirate
flags. Fans have long expressed a desire for the Jolly Roger to play a
larger role, and Wetherbee and his people are doing them one better with the
new No Quarter flag.
First, the Jolly Roger will be raised at the
beginning of the game as the song “Hoist the Colors” from “Pirates of the
Caribbean 3” blasts throughout the stadium. That flag will fly until the end
of the third quarter, when the Pirates will serve notice of their
fourth-quarter determination with a new flag.
“If pirates come up on another ship and raise
their battle flag they’re saying, we want to go to battle with you,’”
Wetherbee said. “Then the pirates would raise a blood red flag, that said,
‘We’re not giving it up, we’re ready to give it our all, and we’re raising
this no quarter flag.’”
As “Welcome to the Jungle” plays, the No Quarter
flag will be raised. It’s a blood-red flag (considerably darker than
Wolfpack red, Wetherbee reassured) with the ECU “Jolly Roger” logo
emblazoned on it. Fans are then encouraged to either raise a fist or cross
their forearms to signify the skull and crossbones.
“We want to start a real good tradition before
the fourth quarter to get the teams hyped up,” Wetherbee said. “We’re not
going to give any mercy to the opposing team and we’re going to fight to the
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Dig into Bethany Bradsher's Bonesville
08/24/2007 01:49:57 AM