NEWS, NOTES &
The Bradsher Beat
Friday, April 18, 2008
By Bethany Bradsher
Burning question: What's in a
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East Carolina has played host to legendary
aviators (Amelia Earhart in 1936), first ladies (Eleanor Roosevelt in 1941)
and presidents (John F. Kennedy in 1960 and George W. Bush in 2001).
On Thursday, the white-hot eye of the political
spotlight again flashed briefly over Greenville when Barack Obama made a
speech at Minges Coliseum.
So we know that famous people in the spheres of
politics and science venture to East Carolina occasionally. But who are the
best-known athletes ever to grace this university with their presence?
I am not a resident historian of all things
Pirate, but Iíve found a handful of past visitors who have distinguished
themselves in their sport, either during the time they dropped in on ECU or
Four visits from the
Miami Hurricanes in six years in the Ď80s brought several football
players to town who would later make major waves in the NFL. Michael
Irvin and Vinny Testaverde both played at ECU in 1985, followed by Steve
Walsh in 1987 and 1988.
football has only been to town once, for a 44-3 drubbing of the Pirates
that might have been aided by an upstart cornerback named Deion Sanders.
Sanders went on to become a consensus All-America cornerback that year
and the next.
In 2000, one of the
most damaging fall-from-fame stories in recent years made a stop in
Greenville when Michael Vick and his Virginia Tech teammates came for a
game against ECU. The Hokies prevailed that day, 45-28.
In basketball, some
of the most memorable players to come through the arena came in the Bill
Herrion era. The 2002-í03 season was notable for the coaches who came
and roamed the Williams Arena sideline: Bob Huggins for Cincinnati and
Rick Pitino for Louisville.
I saw Bobby Bowden
here in 2003 to give a speech for an FCA event. Michael Jordan never
made it closer than his community golf tournament.
Rumors about the likes of
Danny Ford and Matt Doherty dropping in to interview for coaching vacancies
So I need your help,
gentle Bonesville reader. Who is the best visiting athlete you have ever
seen play at East Carolina? Or, which players seemed to blend in when they
competed against the Pirates and later set their sports ablaze? Which
coaches seemed to elevate the level of competition with their very presence
in the venue?
The rules of this
exercise: Iím looking for notables who did not wear an ECU jersey. Iím
certainly a David Garrard fan and I know that Blue Edwards drew crowds in
his day, but current and former Pirates get to dominate this space every
other week. So weíre branching out.
Send me some of the
history-making ECU visitors and your opinions about which were the greatest,
and Iíll publish some of your observations in an upcoming column. Use the
e-mail link below my column, and help educate this poor Texas transplant who
hasnít had time to make it past the shallow end of the Pirate Nation pool.
If I get a thorough
response, I might even rank them: Top 50 Athletes to Visit the ECU Campus.
It all depends on you.
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04/19/2008 12:40:38 AM