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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
By Brian Bailey

Back down to earth

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

WNCT-TV 9 Sports
Director Brian Bailey
interviews East Carolina
quarterback Rob Kass
after the Sheraton Hawaii
Bowl. (Photo: ECU SID)


Tune in on the radio or catch the live stream of The Brian Bailey Show with WNCT-TV 9 Sports Director Brian Bailey, each Monday night from 7-8 p.m. ... Select Live Stream...


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After the bowl trip of a lifetime and a great holiday week, it’s finally time for a reality check.

My first comment to East Carolina coach Skip Holtz in our half-hour bowl special interview for WNCT-TV 9 probably summed it up best for me.

I said to Coach Holtz, “I think we all knew this was going to be a special trip. I just don’t think any of us knew how special this was going to be.”

Holtz agreed. He had been to Hawaii before. For most of the rest of the Pirate party, it was a first ever trip across the Pacific Ocean.

It was truly a once in a lifetime event. Sure, I may get the chance to go back to Hawaii, but I’ll probably never get a chance to do it again with so many in the Pirate family.

That was probably the most fun. Every time you ventured into the hotel lobby, you saw a staff member or a player. The smiles told you that they were having the times of their lives.

It was close to a perfect week. The players enjoyed their downtime, but you could tell by the way they played the game that they were focused and ready to attend to business in the actual football game.

Thankfully, Chris Johnson will be remembered for his record-shattering day for all-purpose yardage, and not his fumble in the final minute.

Perhaps, though, that added to the enjoyment. Watching Rob Kass deliver the Pirates down the field and seeing Ben Hartman boot home another game-winning field goal only added to the near perfect experience.

There will certainly be other bowl games in the Pirates' future. However, there will never be anything that comes close to the experience these players enjoyed at the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

Each night, both the ECU and the Boise State players were literally treated like kings.

One media member said that the national championship should be played there each year. That’s how great the players and coaches were treated, like teams playing for a national title.

Late that week I did get a little homesick. I like being near my two children around Christmas, and was lucky that I was back in Greenville and eating dinner with them early Christmas Eve night.

A place as tranquil and as beautiful as Hawaii gets a man thinking.

Reality for me was coming home to two great children, and a job that I enjoy more with each passing year. I know how fortunate I am that I get to work so closely with a program like East Carolina University.

I was very fortunate to get to cover the Pirates in Hawaii. It was a magical week and one that I know I will think back on often with the fondest of memories.

Congratulations to Coach Skip Holtz and his staff on a great football season. It certainly had its ups and downs.

Holtz told his team after the loss to Virginia Tech on opening day that they belonged on the field with that Hokies team.

I think there’s a team from Boise, Idaho, that just might agree!

Here’s looking forward to the recruiting season, and then football in 2008! The reality is that ’08 should be another good year, one that should find the Pirates battling for that elusive Conference USA crown!


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04/21/2008 07:05:24 PM


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