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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, July 29, 2008

By Brian Bailey

Ladies prep for pigskin season

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

There is certainly something to be said for a lady who loves football.

I had the opportunity to see some 175 football-lovin’ women this past Saturday morning. The 4th annual East Carolina football women’s clinic was another big success.

The theme for the event was “Real Women Love Football.” The logo included flowers on the back of the shirt, with footballs for the buds.

One of the ladies asked strength coach Mike Golden if the ladies could have the ECU strength logo on their shirt next year. That logo is featured in the weight room and has the likeness of a strong, ferocious Pirate.

These ladies were tough!

The group was divided into two groups, one for beginners and one for the more advanced football follower.

I took in a little of both. The beginners were taught basic formations and terminology. The advanced class featured more on strategy and more complex x’s and o’s.

I wasn’t there at the time, but several of the ladies told me afterwards that the highlight of the event was when former Pirate Jay Sonnhalter modeled the equipment that the Pirates wear for games.

Speaking of Sonnhalter, he still hopes to hook on as a free agent with an NFL team as training camps open. Sonnhalter hopes to end up with the New York Jets, and his agents is working diligently to get him a shot at the NFL.

Sonnhalter enjoyed his role in the women’s clinic, as did the ECU head coach Skip Holtz.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Holtz. “I think our staff enjoys this day. I feel that the ladies do as well. To get this many people out on a Saturday morning is really something.”

Another of the highlights for the ladies was running out of the Pirate ship, just like the team does on Saturdays in the fall at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The ladies all walked out, with the smoke billowing and with the music blasting, and gathered to get final instructions from the Pirate coach.

When the entire group had assembled, Coach Holtz gave a brief pep talk, and led the ladies out on the turf.

If I hadn’t known any better, I’d have sworn there were 42,000 fans screaming to support the ladies as they ran out.

For many, I’m sure the morning will turn out to be one of the highlights of the season. I came away impressed that so many women thought so much about the game of football that they wanted to learn from the experts.

Perhaps we should change media day to a similar type of format. I’m sure there’s plenty we all could learn from the staff.

The Pirate squad reports to camp on Friday. The team will practice for the first time that night. High school football practice opens that night as well.

The anticipation is ratcheting up as we enter the best time of the year!


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07/29/2008 02:14:39 AM


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