Saturday, February 4, 2012
By Woody Peele
charts return to coaching
By Woody Peele.
All rights reserved.
Thursday night when East
Carolina’s women’s basketball team entertained Tulane, I had the good
fortune to visit with former Lady Pirates coach Cathy Andruzzi, one of
the top women’s coaches in the program’s history.
seasons, 1978-84, Andruzzi’s ECU squads won 105 games, second best among
all Lady Pirate coaches and the most by a non-AIAW coach. Halfway
through Andruzzi’s reign, East Carolina’s women moved from the AIAW
umbrella to the NCAA as it took over women’s athletics in 1981. Under
AIAW rules, scholarships were not allowed.
the Lady Pirates advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time.
They’ve been back only once since then, under Sharon Baldwin-Tenner in
2007. In 2010, Baldwin-Tenner’s final team played in the Women’s NIT.
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left East Carolina after the 1984 season, going into private business as
a Domino’s Pizza franchiser. She sold her seven stores in the late ‘90s
and went back to coaching, serving as an assistant at Rutgers, then at
Seton Hall. She followed that up as the head coach at Fordham.
Now on a
“Sabbatical” as she called it, she’s interested in returning to the
coaching ranks once more, preferably in the South. She’s spending the
current season visiting a number of schools to get herself into the
picture where a vacancy might occur.
was at ECU, she was a proven recruiter, attracting a number of
outstanding players, among them Mary Denkler (Shoof), the only
All-America player the Pirates have produced.
Pirates lost to Tulane for their 12th consecutive loss, we talked about
the problems the team had. Among them are the loss of an all-state
incoming freshman who was sent on to a junior college following a false
report of an assault; the loss of a returning starter from a knee
injury, taking a redshirt year; the loss of a 6-5 player to academics;
and the suspension of the team’s leading scorer following a DWI arrest,
who only returned to play late in the Tulane game.
problem for the remaining players is their inability to hit the basket.
A number of times against the Green Wave, the Lady Pirates got open
shots only to miss them, including a number of layups. Turnovers also
played a key role, a number of them unforced.
managed to outrebound the taller Tulane team, 44-38, and played decent
defense, holding the Green Wave to 38.9 percent from the floor.
Lady Pirates shot just 28.8 percent themselves, despite 17 offensive
present coach, Heather Macy, admitted that shooting was a key in the
look back at the season’s stats would show that 40 percent is a base
that needs to be exceeded. Of the six games the team has won, ECU shot
more than 40 percent in four of them. But in the 15 the Lady Pirates
have lost, they failed to shoot 40 percent in all but two, just cracking
that line against North Carolina and in a Conference USA game at
Otherwise, the Lady Pirates have shot in the 30s in eight games and in
the 20s in five going into Sunday’s game at Southern Mississippi.
Tulane game also probably finished off ECU’s hopes of a winning season.
Now at 6-15 overall, they have eight regular season games remaining,
plus at least one in the C-USA tournament. To have a winning season, the
Lady Pirates would have to reach the championship game.
losing season came in the 2007-08 campaign, at 13-17.
Pirate record for consecutive losses also looms ahead at 16. That came
in the 1993-94 season when they closed out the year having won only
twice that year. The streak ended with the first game of the 1994-95
Lebo's challenge: Breaking the historical pattern
I’m on the subject of streaks, the men’s basketball program, going into
Saturday’s game with Rice at Minges Coliseum’s Williams Arena, the
Pirates had won two in a row to end a funk they were in, boosting their
record to 11-10.
chasing a second-straight winning season, but that may be difficult to
achieve. Even second-year head coach Jeff Lebo admitted that earlier
this year, noting that people are more ready for the improved Pirates
than they were a year ago.
look at the ECU men’s history would confirm that statement.
Carolina moved from the minor leagues into the majors in 1964, joining
the Southern Conference and the NCAA. In the 47 seasons since then (not
counting this year), the Pirates have posted but 14 winning seasons, but
they have strung together two or more consecutive winning campaigns on
only there occasions.
Quinn, who took over the Pirates the year they officially entered the
Southern, struggled at first, then went 17-11 in 1968-69, 16-10 the
following year and 13-12 the next — three in a row. That’s the most for
any single coach since 1964.
Ironically, the following year — after nearly being fired following the
70-71 season — his team went 14-15, but won the Southern Conference
Tournament championship, sending the Pirates to their first NCAA
73-74 team, his final at ECU, went 13-12, and Dave Patton, who took over
for the 74-75 season went 19-9, earning a spot in the postseason
Collegiate Commissioner’s tournament. (That was the final year that only
conference champions advanced to the NCAA field.)
next 19 years, only three winning seasons were recorded, none
back-to-back. It wasn’t until the 93-94 season that Eddie Payne’s team
went 15-12 and followed that with an 18-11 mark the next year.
then left for the West Coast, turning the reigns over to assistant Joe
Dooley, who went 17-11 and 17-10 his first two years.
96-97, the Pirates haven’t had another back-to-back.
hopes are still high for this year, but even Lebo knows it’s not going
to be an easy task.
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02/04/12 02:38 AM.