(Photo: Texas Tech SID)
East Carolina has
turned the helm of its football ship over to former Pirate team captain
concluded its search for a replacement for departed coach Skip Holtz
late Thursday afternoon by hiring McNeill, an ECU defensive back from
1976-79 and until recently the defensive coordinator at Texas Tech.
Committee of the ECU Board of Trustees approved McNeill's hiring and the
general parameters of a contract in a teleconference Thursday evening
and will consider contract specifics at a regular meeting next month.
the school's athletics director, announced that McNeill will be
introduced to the media at an 11:00 a.m. press conference on Friday.
interview revealed his strong commitment to doing things the right way
and his love of coaching young men to grow in every part of their lives.
“ Holland said in a statement. “His excitement for what ECU football can
become in the future was contagious and his deep and abiding
appreciation for what East Carolina University has meant to him and his
family was truly moving."
“There is no
doubt about his ability to lead ECU football to new heights and his
determination to guarantee that happens under his watch,” Holland added.
“He intends to bring new and exciting offensive schemes to Dowdy-Ficklen
Stadium, combined with an aggressive defense that will be designed to
get the ball back in the offense’s hands.”
After the firing
last month of Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, McNeill served as interim
head coach and guided the Red Raiders to a 43-31 victory over Michigan State in the
The Fort Worth
Star-Telegram reported in its online edition that McNeill will bring
former Texas Tech receivers coach Lincoln Riley to East Carolina as
offensive coordinator. Highly regarded in coaching circles as a rising
star in the profession, Riley served as interim offensive coordinator in
the team's bowl win over Michigan State. The Red Raiders compiled 579
yards of total offense in the game.
A native of
Lumberton, McNeill played for the Pirates under College Football Hall of
Fame coach Pat Dye.
playing career, East Carolina won the Southern Conference championship
in 1976 and defeated Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl in 1978. He
was co-captain of the Pirates during his junior and senior seasons.
McNeill began his
coaching career as a defensive coach at Lumberton High School from
1980-84. He landed his first college position at Clemson, where he
served as a graduate assistant working with linebackers during the
1985-86 seasons. The Tigers won the Atlantic Coast Conference title in
one-year stints at Austin Peay State and North Alabama as linebackers
coach, McNeill spent three seasons at Appalachian State, where the team
won the Southern Conference title in 1991.
He returned to
Greenville in 1992 to serve as defensive line coach on the staff of
then-first year East Carolina coach Steve Logan.
returned to Appalachian State, serving as defensive coordinator from
1993-96. The Mountaineers won the Southern Conference championship in
After working as
a summer intern with the Miami Dolphins in 1996, McNeill was defensive
coordinator and assistant head coach at UNLV n 1997 and 1998.
Leach's staff at Texas Tech in 2000. He served in various capacities
with the Red Raiders, coaching linebackers, defensive tackles and
special teams before becoming defensive coordinator in 2007.
his undergraduate degree from East Carolina in 1980 and earned a
master's degree in counseling from Clemson in 1987. He and his wife,
Erlene, have two daughters, Olivia (19) and Renata (29). Olivia is a
sophomore at Appalachian State.
20th head coach in an East Carolina football
history that dates back to 1932.