Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather





Put your ad message in front of 1,000's and 1,000's of Pirate fans. Call 252.637.2944 for flexible options & rates.





Pirate Notebook No. 374
Monday, February 23, 2009

Denny O'Brien

Godwin proving Holland right

By Denny O'Brien
All Rights Reserved.

Terry Holland must have had a hunch when he ripped the interim tag away from Billy Godwin’s title. A pretty solid one, too.

There is no other explanation behind the decision to appoint Godwin as ECU’s full-time skipper. With no track record for success at a major college program, Holland’s decision to hire him couldn’t have been grounded in the details of the résumé.

Compared to the credentials of others who might have pursued the opening following Randy Mazey’s dismissal, it’s hard to imagine that Godwin would have stood out as the most decorated candidate.

A national search likely would have produced someone of greater national stature and reputation – and looking back there’s a good chance that it wouldn’t have worked out quite as favorably.

While Godwin’s first season might have raised questions about his ability to lead a program of ECU’s caliber, the last two should have erased any doubts. Godwin has proven himself capable of keeping the Pirates afloat in the crowded waters of the nation’s Top 25, and he’s done so while facing an annual docket that rivals anyone from the Southeastern Conference.

"Once again we have been able to put together another great schedule,” Godwin said last week. “Our 35 home games will allow our fans to see some of the top college baseball programs both regionally and nationally.

“Our players came to ECU to play on a national stage, and with the tough competition in Conference USA and our non-conference schedule, they will be able to do just that on a weekly basis. Our goals and standards for the program are high and in order to be the best you have to play the best teams year in and year out.”

What’s most impressive is how Godwin has kept the ECU standard high in a baseball environment that is tougher than any other Pirates coach has faced. The in-state competition, with North Carolina now an annual Omaha visitor, has never been stiffer while the current conference makeup is more challenging than any in ECU history.

To log 40-plus wins against the type of schedule the Pirates now annually face is an accomplishment that shouldn't be undervalued. Godwin has now done that in consecutive seasons while returning ECU to one of the top programs in C-USA.

The obvious next step for Godwin is to guide the Pirates to an NCAA Super Regional, a milestone that would be greatly enhanced by hosting a regional. Given the depth of high-profile programs that populates the Carolinas – and the NCAA’s inclination to both spread out the regionals geographically and keep teams close to home – the road to advancement in the NCAA Tournament won’t be easy.

During seasons in which ECU doesn’t earn a No. 1 seed, the general rule is that it must travel to the venue of another regional power. Chances are high that the current NCAA formula will land the Pirates somewhere like Chapel Hill, Clemson, or Columbia, where competition is certain to be stiffer than brackets in Ann Arbor or Wichita.

East Carolina has a chance to overcome its imposing regional hurdles because the decision to hire Godwin has proven fruitful. He has quickly stabilized a program that was beginning to slip towards the latter portion of Mazey’s tenure, and every aspect of it has improved as a result.

From the personnel on the field to the overall infrastructure of the program, East Carolina is significantly better across the board. Godwin has accomplished this despite the increasing challenges ECU continues to face and without compromising the high standards he commands of both himself and his team.

Truthfully, you won’t find a more respectable moral figure on ECU’s campus than Godwin.

His genuine nature largely explains the success Godwin has quickly enjoyed as a major player in recruiting. Though he isn’t recruiting quite at the level of UNC-Chapel Hill coach Mike Fox, he has proven especially resourceful at filling immediate needs when players depart.

Though it is too early to predict how the Pirates will finish in 2009, it’s clear that ECU is as talented as any bunch during the Godwin era. The demanding schedule will no doubt make it difficult to match last year’s win total.

Even if ECU doesn’t, it’s hard to argue that Godwin wasn’t a good choice to lead the program. His success compared to the unparalleled challenges he faces should be proof of that.

Send a message to Denny O'Brien.

Dig into Denny O'Brien's archives.

02/23/2009 01:30:12 AM

©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact:; 252-444-1905.