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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports


From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, May 29, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9


Once again, inspiration makes a mark at ECU


Not an alumnus, but a Pirate at heart...
Man in the Van headed for Clemson...
Favored Tigers headline tough bracket...


A Pirate at heart

I didn’t graduate from East Carolina University, but I think I would have enjoyed going to school in Greenville. After 18 years of covering the Pirates, I think I’ve earned some sort of honorary “Pirate” status.

Some things just make a man swell with pride. This past weekend’s Conference USA tournament joins a list of Pirate accomplishments against the odds. I compare it favorably to the “Flood Game.”

The last time I felt this way was just after Hurricane Floyd swamped the region with devastation. There was talk at our station of not sending a crew to Raleigh for the East Carolina-Miami of Florida game, because all of the crews were exhausted from covering the flood.

I fought for a photographer and I even convinced the powers that be to send the satellite truck to Raleigh for the game. Never did I think the events would unfold like they did, but at least we were ready.

Several of the Pirates had lost everything in the flood. The team didn’t play well in the first half, but then came out smoking in the second half.

The Pirates rallied and put out their best effort when the people of Eastern North Carolina needed them most.

And last weekend, the Pirates of the baseball diamond put out their best effort, when Coach Keith LeClair needed them most.

Or maybe it was the other way around — that the Coach put out his best effort, finding a way to get to Kinston, when the Pirate team needed him most.

Either way, it worked! The emotions overflowed at Grainger Stadium when the players celebrated their title by making their way to the van that held their ailing coach.

When two Pirate players splashed the van with Gatorade in celebration, there probably wasn’t a dry eye in the stadium.

It makes you proud to be a Pirate, and proud to be an Eastern Carolinian!

LeClair Set for Clemson Trip

Pirate officials spent most of the day Tuesday working out the details for Coach LeClair to go to Clemson for the NCAA regionals.

“The folks at Clemson have been great,” said East Carolina assistant athletic director Lee Workman. “We’ve made arrangements to get Keith as close to the field as possible.”

The regional has a definite Western Carolina feel to it. Clemson Coach Jack Leggett coached LeClair at Western Carolina. LeClair coached Georgia Southern skipper Rodney Hennon at Western.

It will obviously be a very emotional reunion this week in the regionals.

Tough Bracket Awaits

The NCAA certainly didn’t do the Pirates any favors by sending them to Clemson. The Tigers will be big favorites this weekend, and go into these NCAA regionals as the 2nd seed nationally.

The Pirates face a very good Elon team in their first game. The Fighting Phoenix lost to East Carolina in Greenville, but then beat the Pirates at home.

Pirate pitcher Sam Narron could get the start in game one, and he says he’s ready.

“My arm feels really good,” said Narron. “I was ready to go on Sunday if I was needed. I even threw a little on the side and the arm was fine. I’m ready to go, whether it’s game one or game two.”

Best of luck to the Pirates in the NCAA’s, and our prayers continue to be with Coach LeClair and his family!

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02/23/2007 01:22:47 AM

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