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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
By Brian Bailey

The time to sign McCarthy is now

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

Mack McCarthy is currently East Carolina's acting head basketball coach.

After beating rival North Carolina State on Saturday night, Coach Mack is acting like he is more than ready to take over the position full-time.

Pirate Director of Athletics Terry Holland won’t find a better resume if he does open the position.

McCarthy compiled a 309-177 (.636) record in 16 seasons as a head coach at Tennessee-Chattanooga and Virginia Commonwealth, including 14-winning seasons and eight 20-win campaigns.

Now add in the wins over George Mason and North Carolina State from this past week.

McCarthy was handed an absolute mess this past summer. Ricky Stokes' resignation didn’t come until August and it came under a big black cloud of behind the scenes controversy. The Pirates were just 14-44 in those two seasons under Stokes.

McCarthy has already turned this summer’s mess into one of the greatest nights in Minges Coliseum history. The program had previously lost all 57 games against ACC schools.

“That was fun,” said McCarthy in his post-game press conference. “It was an unbelievable atmosphere. I've coached a long time and in a lot of great places. I don't think I've been in a building as loud as this was. There was some times where it was deafening in there. There's no question that the crowd played a factor in the outcome."

Besides the wins over George Mason and N.C. State, and besides the impressive resume from the past, the comments from Pirate John Fields convinced me that the time is now for ECU to sign Coach Mac McCarthy.

Fields had just one rebound in 27 minutes against Clemson. He had 11 boards in 28 minutes of playing time in the win over N.C. State.

“I had to watch the Clemson tape with Coach Mack, and I didn’t want to go through that again,” said Fields.

When the players were asked if Coach McCarthy deserved the job fulltime, it was Fields that wanted to answer first.

“I’ll take that one,” said Fields. “He deserves the extension. He makes us all better players.”

That’s the gift that McCarthy has. Some coaches just demand respect. They dish out “tough love.”

Earlier this season, Darrell Jenkins had high praise for Mack.

“He’s great to play for,” said Jenkins. “He’ll get on you for sure, but it’s just to make you a better player.”

Jenkins has certainly improved his floor game of late. That’s another key to success, an experienced point guard who can lead his team. Still, it’s taken a while for Jenkins to become that asset with his floor game.

The Pirates now have a couple of weeks off before the UNC-Wilmington game. Could there be a better time to go ahead and sign your coach to a new contract?

As director of athletics, Terry Holland has pulled the early trigger before. I’m a big fan of Billy Godwin, but Godwin’s resume doesn’t touch Mack McCarthy’s credentials. I know Holland knows more basketball then I do, but I don’t know if even he understands just how difficult this job is. Coach Mack welcomes the challenge and certainly deserves the shot!

Stability in the basketball program would make a great Christmas gift for all Pirate fans.

Lady Pirates finish the sweep

It turned out to be a record setting weekend at East Carolina.

The Lady Pirates followed the men’s lead by beating 24th-ranked N.C. State 89-82.

It was East Carolina’s first-ever win against a nationally-ranked opponent.

“I think the game last night, with the guys beating N.C. State, our players were all at it, watched it and saw the excitement,” said Coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener. “But more, I think it gave us some confidence that, if we played together as a team, run what we are supposed to run and do what we’re supposed to do, we would come out with a victory.”

East Carolina honored N.C. State coach Kay Yow before the game. The ECU alum was named one of the “100 Incredible Women of ECU.”

What a weekend it was for basketball at East Carolina!

Next week, I’ll check in from Honolulu with the Pirates at the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. I, for one, can’t wait to get there.


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Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville archives.

12/11/2007 01:44:25 AM


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