Tuesday, August 7, 2007

ECU's move only first step

The timing – five months after the end of East Carolina’s season – was the only odd thing about Monday’s news that Ricky Stokes is finished as the Pirates’ basketball coach.

Stokes was 14-44 in two seasons and clearly wasn’t getting the job done. Former associate head coach Mack McCarthy will serve as interim coach in 2007-08 now that Stokes has been moved to associate athletics director for basketball.

East Carolina athletics director Terry Holland has coached Virginia to two Final Fours, so he certainly has his own ideas about how to revive the program.

Here are some things the program needs and Holland should keep in mind as he searches for a new coach:

D.C.-area recruiting. Greenville is just 4 ½ hours from Washington, D.C., but has just one player on its roster (freshman Jamar Abrams of Richmond) from remotely near that fertile recruiting area. The new coach can build a stronger talent base if he is successful recruiting the D.C. area.

Stronger scheduling. Some people thought Holland overscheduled when he put coach Skip Holtz up against numerous ACC schools and West Virginia in football. Then the Pirates defeated Virginia and N.C. State last season to reinvigorate the program. East Carolina’s only intriguing basketball games outside Conference USA last season were against N.C. State and Wake Forest. The Pirates should find a way to play at least four ACC/Big East-caliber schools every season.

Commit to a style. Whether it’s fast paced or tough and physical, the new coach needs to come with a style and philosophy that can give him an edge in recruiting the type of players he wants.

This still is a difficult job because East Carolina basketball has little winning tradition and the high school talent level in North Carolina is in a swoon. But particularly with Holland running the department, the Pirates can and should do better.

– Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

ECU needs to erase the mistakes of the last 2 years and pick up where Herrion was taking the team before he left. 5 years ago this team was headed to better things with back to back years of beating a top 10 team (Marquette) with a big name (Dwayne Wade). The football program made the same mistake with John Thompson and as of now corrected the error with Holtz. Lets see if they can right the ship. And that does not bring in another one of Holland's boys.

Joe said...

Very insightful recommendations for ECU.
What better way for ECU to recruit in the DC-area than to have its games shown on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.

MASN is already carrying 9 ECU football games.

The Observer really owes it to its readers to look at Time Warner's blackout of MASN.

Anonymous said...

ECU needs a basketball coach who can keep his paws off of other members of ECU's athletic department. Holland hired a supreme scumbag.

Anonymous said...

One cannot think that this will not eventually happen at ECU. If Davidson, UNCC, and others can play basketball at a high level surely a 23,000+ university can also. I personally think Holland will make his mark to be remembered the most at ECU. Maybe not quite to the highs he did in UVA's biggest days, but he is touching people most do not see. The "Spirit of the East" is lucky ot hav him at the helm.

Anonymous said...

#1 D.C.-area recruiting- Stokes did recruit DC. In the 3 classes Stokes recruited he signed 2 recruits from DC including a DC all Metro guy that failed to qualify and a JUCO All American that was a bust.

#2 Stronger scheduling.- This year NC State and Clemson both come to Greenville and ECU plays Wake Forest on a neutral site (they come to Greenville next year). ECU also play USF (Big East), Richmond (A-10) and George Mason/UNCW (CAA).

#3 Commit to a style- The new coach has 16 years of head coaching experience and 309-177 record with 5 NCAA's and 2 NIT's and a Sweet 16. Hopefully he has that one figured out by this point.