Experience-laden regime adds more
WHERE TO BUY...
PAT DYE: Short on Tenure, Long on Impact
INSIDE PIRATE FOOTBALL
Tracking the Classes
NCHSAA & ECU: Smooth Sailing Again
HIGH HOPES FOR HOOPS
New Leader Takes Charge
SCOTT COWEN: Busting Down the Door
KEITH LECLAIR on ECU's Field of Dreams
BETH GRANT: Actress Still a Pirate
From staff and ECU
(Photo: ECU SID)
Experience is adding up
for the staff of new East
Carolina head coach
Skip Holtz. Assistant
coaches and years on
the sideline as full-time
Def. Line/Asst. HC
T. Ends, Spec. Teams
Greg Hudson, DC
Dir. of Operations
Total: 143 years
+ Skip Holtz: 18 years
Grand Total: 161 years
The contrast in the
collective career portfolios of the staff members of Skip Holtz versus
the sum of the experience of the aides of his predecessor, John
Thompson, becomes more striking with each new hire.
Thursday's announcement by
Holtz that longtime Illinois assistant Greg McMahon would be East
Carolina's new tight ends and special teams coach reinforced the
transition from a regime slanted towards youth and generally light on
credentials to one steeped in battle and brimming with qualifications.
McMahon adds 20 years of
full-time college coaching experience to the 123 years collectively
shared by the eight aides previously hired by Holtz.
Holtz, whose own coaching
experience spans 18 years,
succeeded Thompson as ECU's head football coach
on December 3 after the latter compiled a 3-20 record in two years on
the job. Thompson had
agreed on Nov. 16 to step down at
the end of the season.
McMahon spent the last 13
years on the Illinois staff working primarily with the tight ends and
wide receivers. In 1997, he took on the additional responsibility of
overseeing the Illini's special teams.
Working under head coaches
Lou Tepper (1992-96) and Ron Turner (1997-04), McMahon helped lead
Illinois to four bowl game appearances and a pair of season-ending
national rankings, including a No. 12 finish in 2001. That 2001 team
captured the Big Ten Conference championship and compiled a 10-2 record.
During his tenure at
Illinois, McMahon had a pair of opportunities to see East Carolina up
close and personal. The Illini met the Pirates in the 1994 Liberty Bowl,
prevailing 30-0, and battled to a 7-0 victory over ECU the following
season in Champaign, IL.
"Greg's career has
demonstrated a strong sense of loyalty, commitment and unmatched
expertise in a very critical and important area of our program," said
Holtz in a statement. "He's had a lot of success with special teams
play, tight end production and recruiting in the Big Ten Conference,
which certainly stands on its own merit."
McMahon's special teams
accomplishments at Illinois included his tutelage of the team's current
punter, Steve Weatherford, who earned All-Big Ten honors the last two
seasons and finished fourth nationally with a 45.4 average in 2004.
McMahon also coached
Illinois' career punting leader Steve Fitts, single-season and
single-game kick scoring leader Neil Rackers, all-time punt return
yardage leader Eugene Wilson and placekicker Peter Christofilakos, who
established a new UI standard in consecutive extra points made with 69.
During his oversight of
the Illini's special teams, McMahon also instilled a kick defense
strategy which resulted in 16 blocked kicks over the past four seasons.
During that same span, Illini special teamers have accounted for nine
As a tight ends coach,
McMahon's unit accounted for an average of 20 catches, 200 yards and
three TDs per season. He cultivated Josh Whitman into an All-Big Ten
performer and a pro prospect. Whitman, on the current roster of the
Seattle Seahawks, joins former Illini tight ends Matt Cushing
(Pittsburgh) and Ken Dilger (Tampa Bay) in the National Football League.
In addition to his
on-the-field duties, McMahon headed Illinois' discipline and conduct
control while also serving as the program's academic support staff
liaison, which resulted in a pair of first-team GTE-CoSIDA Academic
All-America selections for Whitman. Whitman also delivered the
scholar-athlete speech at the College Football Foundation's Hall of Fame
McMahon, 45, came to
Illinois in 1992 from Nevada-Las Vegas, where he spent two years
coaching offensive tackles and tight ends. He also served stints at
Valdosta State (1989), Southern Illinois (1988), North Alabama (1985-87)
and Minnesota (1983-84 graduate assistant.)
He played in two NCAA
Division II National Championship Games (1978 and 1980) as a defensive
back at Eastern Illinois, where he earned his bachelor's degree in
psychology in 1983.
McMahon and wife Linda are
the parents of two sons (Drew and Sam) and one daughter (Lisa).
McMahon joins a cadre of
assistants characterized for the most part by long coaching careers, the
majority of whom had previous connections to ECU or to Holtz's own
periods of college football experience as a player or coach. He is the
first staff appointment since
Donnie Kirkpatrick was named as the
Pirates' wide receivers coach on Dec. 20.
hires included three staffers with ties to the Pirates assistant head coach and
defensive line coach
Donnie Thompson, offensive line
Steve Shankweiler and running
Thompson and Shankweiler
list stints as assistants at ECU on their resumes, while Smith, a former star player for
the Pirates, logged his coaching experiences elsewhere.
Including Shankweiler, who was South Carolina's offensive line coach
last season, five of ECU's assistants have crossed paths with Holtz at Notre Dame, South Carolina and/or Connecticut.
"Rock" Roggeman, a player and graduate assistant at Notre
Dame in the mid-'eighties, was named last Friday as linebackers coach,
while Holtz announced last Thursday that
Greg Hudson, previously Minnesota's defensive coordinator, will
assume that same position on the Pirates' staff. Hudson played at Notre
Dame in 1986-87.
Phil Petty, a former quarterback
and graduate assistant at South Carolina, has joined the Pirates as an
offensive coach, and
Clifford Snow, who served with
Holtz at South Carolina and UConn, has been named
director of football operations.
02/23/07 11:31 AM
rights rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Bonesville.net contributed to this report. An
ECU Athletics press release was used in
compiling this report.