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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
By Brian Bailey

Herrion deserved another year

Replay Tuesday night's Brian Bailey Show, with guest Denny O'Brien and callers discussing ECU's decision to replace basketball coach Bill Herrion at the end of the season:
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I didnít notice the broom in Terry Hollandís hand when he was named the Pirate athletics director.

Maybe we all should have, because it is beginning to look like a clean sweep in the Pirate program.

Bill Herrion was the latest casualty on Tuesday.

Donít get me wrong. I had the utmost amount of respect for Coach Holland before his arrival, and that will continue, even after he fired a friend.

Holland may find a better coach, but he wonít find a harder worker then Bill Herrion.

Herrion inherited an impossible situation. Sure, he came to Greenville with the hope of East Carolina moving to Conference USA in all sports. He had no idea that the move would come so quickly.

That move to C-USA made this coaching job virtually an impossible one. East Carolina wasnít very good in the CAA. Suddenly they had to recruit better athletes to try and compete with the likes of Louisville, Cincinnati, Marquette, etc.

Herrion hit the ground running and put together a program that could compete in C-USA at times. There were the two wins over Marquette, a victory over Louisville, a win over Charlotte. Unfortunately, the wins just didnít come often enough.

Still, I think Herrion deserved one year in the forthcoming watered-down Conference USA. This is a league that the Pirates can compete in. Memphis is the only kingpin that stays in the reconfigured league. The conference will be solid, but itís a league that Bill Herrion would have won in next year.

He wonít get the chance, though.

For whatever reason, Holland and Nick Floyd decided to offer Coach Herrion a chance to stay at East Carolina in a different role. They offered a guy who had spent the last six years sweating his guts out in one of the nationís best basketball leagues a chance to help raise money for the institution that no longer wanted him as a head coach.

Itís sort of like your girl friend breaking up with you and then asking you to get her a date.

The head coach usually comes out fine in these kinds of deals. Herrion has three years left on his contract at around 150 thousand dollars per year.

Greg Herenda and the rest of the staff arenít as lucky. Herenda stayed at East Carolina after turning down a lucrative deal at Virginia. Ironically, Cavaliers coach Pete Gillen could lose his job at any time as well.

Dino Pressley and George Stackhouse will also be looking for work, though Stackhouse might stick with a new coach because of his relationship with both Corey Rouse and Jeremy Ingram. Stackhouse was their coach at Kinston High School.

The question now is just how will this East Carolina team react to the firing of its coach. Rumors have swirled all year long that Herrion wasnít a playerís coach. But this team never quit this season and has a realistic chance to run the table and end the regular season with a trio of wins.

Regardless, the jump to Conference USA proved to be Herrionís undoing. The hard work, the sweat, the blood, the tears that Herrion and his staff shed in trying to make East Carolina competitive should have been enough to get the coach one season in the new C-USA.

Good things happen to good people, so Bill Herrion and his staff will be fine.

Next year, Hollandís choice will have success and he will win some games.

Deep down, heíll have to thank Herrion and his staff for moving this program to a place where success can be found.

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02/23/2007 01:31:31 AM

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