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Coach Cary Godette Back in the Game

Healed up from knee surgery, former ECU stalwart joins Rutgers staff

Former East Carolina star Cary Godette, pictured above during his coaching stint with the Miami Dolphins (1996-2000), has taken a position a position as defensive line coach at Rutgers. Godette was an All-America defensive lineman himself in his playing days at ECU (1972-76). [Photo submitted]
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By Ron Cherubini

Try as he might, former East Carolina star Cary Godette could not find a way onto the John Thompson or Skip Holtz football staffs.

During a year off from coaching, his first since he started, the one-time All-America defensive lineman inquired about opportunity, but it was for naught.

So, the coach did what a coach does when he is available: He took the next best thing and when he arrived on the campus of Rutgers University a couple of weeks ago to join coach Greg Schiano’s staff, Godette saw a lot that reminded him of his alma mater.

“You know, this program is very similar to East Carolina when they were struggling,” Godette — who will coach the defensive line — said from his new confines in New Brunswick, NJ. “There are talented athletes here but they just haven’t done what it takes to take that next step over the threshold and get to a bowl game. They will have a good win and then come up short against a team they should have beaten. Then, they will beat a team they shouldn’t have.”

Godette, who spent last year rehabilitating his knee after surgery, was set to take over as head coach at Athens Drive High School in Raleigh, when Schiano — former Pirates great Dave Alexander’s son-in-law — came a calling.

“I was teaching at the high school there in Raleigh,” Godette said. “But, the opportunity arose (to go to Rutgers). The secondary coach, Chris Demarest had worked together before at ECU in 1990-91 when he was a GA (graduate assistant coach) there. We worked together again at North Carolina State… he gave me a call.

“Chris mentioned to me that the defensive lineman at Rutgers are going to look better than the ones that I coached at North Carolina State and I thought, ‘Those guys (at NCSU) went to three bowl games in a row. But, when I got up here, he was right.

"The linemen here did look impressive and they can run, but they haven’t got it done here and had a winning season and gone to a bowl game. Why? Don’t know yet, but we will find out this spring. They certainly do not lack the physical ability.”

You can sense that Godette sounds like a guy relieved that he is back on the sidelines and confident that it will be for at least a few years at Rutgers. Schiano is well liked and respected, despite a disappointing season last year, has made monumental strides in the recruitment of players.

“They have nice facilities here,” Godette said of just one of the accomplishments under Schiano’s watch. “By the same token, Coach Schiano has upgraded the talent level and they are at the point now where they’ve got size and athletic ability.

"They have been pulling some of that talent back from Syracuse and Penn State. After having been at N.C. State and ECU and being successful with kids that were in those programs, I believe these guys have the tools to get it done. They have to go out and get it done now. Where the ECU and State kids did got it done, the kids here haven’t yet.”

As expected, Godette has made a seamless transition back into coaching. He has already watched plenty of film on his players and has settled into his office. If anything has been difficult, it has been off the field.

“Honestly, we’re still trying to find a place to stay… to live here,” he laughed. “My wife is in town and we are in culture shock here (in the Northeast). The cost of homes… it is crazy. Not comparable to any place we’ve ever lived before. So we’re looking around.”

Though he will be too busy to watch or get to any ECU games this year, Godette sends a clear message to the Pirate community about his loyalties.

“Oh yes, we will be following ECU with a lot of interest,” he said, adding: “Plus, you never know what the future will hold. Maybe we will play some day in the future.”

We can only hope that the day the Pirates square off with Rutgers in a Big East matchup is sooner rather than later, and maybe, with Godette on the ECU sidelines.

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Page updated: 02/23/07 02:05 PM

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