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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
By Brian Bailey

Super Bowl rooting interests plentiful

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

Unbeaten New England and the upstart New York Giants are Super Bowl bound.

There are some interesting “Super Bowl ties” to East Carolina and the region.

Former East Carolina Pirate Guy Whimper of Havelock is headed to the Super Bowl.

Whimper has played a nice backup role for the Giants this season, and now he and the G-Men are headed to Arizona for Super Bowl XLII.

Earlier this year NBC analyst John Madden had high praise for Whimper, singling him out with the telestrator with several compliments.

The Giants also feature an ECU Hall of Famer on the team’s medical staff.

Ronnie Barnes has been a member of the Giants organization since 1976. He was named head trainer in 1980 and then was promoted to the position of Vice President of Medical Services with the Giants in 2003.

One of the most respected trainers in the NFL, Barnes has compiled an impressive dossier of accomplishments since joining the Giants as a student intern. He was elected to the National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame in June, 1999. In 2002, he was voted the Athletic Trainer of the Year by NFL physicians.

Barnes became involved with the East Carolina football team as a student-trainer in the early '70's. He was the first African-American graduate of the Sports Medicine Department at ECU. He has since been elected to the East Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame and been named a winner of the Outstanding Alumni Award

East Carolina honored Barnes in 2002 by opening the Ronnie Barnes African-American Resource Center at Joyner Library. The center collects books, software, journals and other media featuring African-Americans in eastern North Carolina and the Southeast.

The Giants offensive coordinator, Kevin Gilbride, spent two seasons at East Carolina. Gilbride was the club’s passing game coordinator in 1987, and served as offensive coordinator in 1988 under Art Baker.

Gilbride has a great personality and always made everyone around him feel comfortable during his stay in Greenville. He was an absolute gem to work with.

Gilbride was also a head coach in San Diego. He worked under Giants head coach Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville in the mid 90’s.

Finally, though he wasn’t a Pirate, New York backup quarterback Anthony Wright has eastern North Carolina connections. Wright was a star at South Carolina after a stellar high school career at West Craven High School in Vanceboro.

Nothing comes easy for hoops

Mack McCarthy and the Pirates almost found a way to sweep their pair of home games this past week.

East Carolina came from 8 points down to beat Marshall on Wednesday night.
The squad then came from a 29-7 deficit out of the gate to take the lead late before falling to Central Florida 71-66.

The Pirates got off to a horrendous start against the Knights.

Coach Mack agreed.

“I’ve never seen anything like it. We were trying, but literally everything we did turned out bad,” said McCarthy.

Last season, this would have turned into a 50-point loss for sure.

This year, the Pirate hoopsters dug down deep and put on a great effort to get back into the game.

Had it not been for a “Superman” type effort from UCF's Jermaine Taylor, the Pirates might have gotten this one.

Before Saturday night, I didn’t think there was really a player in Conference USA that could start for now No. 1 Memphis. Now, I think Coach John Calipari just might find a slot for Taylor.

Taylor scored 32 points on 11-18 shooting from the field. He was a man among boys down low.

Still, this Pirate team battled, scratching and clawing until the bitter end. It was a loss, but many left Williams Arena Saturday night feeling good about a squad that just wouldn’t quit. There are no moral victories, though, and a loss is still a loss for this team.

The challenge now is to find success on the road. That’s tough for any basketball team, but especially difficult for a squad as young as this East Carolina team.


Send an e-mail message to Brian Bailey.

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

04/21/2008 07:04:13 PM


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