We as a
fan base are an amazing bunch. It has been a wild ride for a
program with a proud history (to the depths of college football and
back to bowl eligibility in a 2 year span). Can we allow
ourselves to enjoy this new success? Heck no. We are East
Carolina. Unless we are worried and fretting about something we
don’t feel like Pirates.
With the recent success in football comes the obligatory free ride on
the coaching search carousel. Each year in late November coach
firings and hirings dominate college football talk as we feed our
football hunger waiting for bowl season to kick in.
It’s come to this: if you make a bowl you immediately become a target
to be hired away. If you miss a bowl you immediately become a
target to be fired (let's face it- essentially everyone should make a
bowl in this watered down system). So where does that leave East
Carolina? We as a fan base always must have something to be in
pain over. If we lose it's terrible. If we win it's
terrible. Why? Because we now lose sleep worrying if we
keep or lose our coach! The horror. News flash for you
folks, Skip Holtz isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, much less another
UNC System coaching job (NCSU).
While getting to a game above .500 is a marked improvement over the ECU
predecessor, there was essentially nowhere to go but up for this ECU
football program. Skip Holtz and his staff have provided the
stabilizing force with essentially the previous coach’s talent and some
new young blood to bring this program back to respectability.
In terms of losing Skip, let’s remove the purple tinted sunglasses for
a second and take a deep breath. Is Skip Holtz the new golden boy of
college football and should we be losing sleep over the possibility of
him being courted away? I’ll interject thoughts from an anonymous
Board of Trustee member on a search committee for an “anonymous”
university (70 miles to our west) and give his assessment. He
says, “ECU hasn’t really made any waves that would indicate sustained
success in college football…yet. You just closed out your season
against a 3-9 team to squeeze into bowl eligibility. There are guys who
lose their job for that threshold of performance all across America in
Let’s face it. In college football today most coaches keep the
moving vans on speed dial. I've always thought we could count on
Skip for 4 years as long as things were on track and progressing,
anything beyond that would be bonus time. That is Pirate
football: we re-establish him, he re-establishes this program, on track
for potential Big-East inclusion. If he's recognized for it and
gets a perennial top-tier job, good for him. We have a great
program in place, a great fan base and a lot to sell to the next guy-
as long as we have savvy leadership making the hire.
So Pirate Nation, enjoy our return to success. Don’t worry about
the coaching status. You’ll drive yourself crazy.
It's never as bad as it seems and we are never as good as our most
vocal accolades. Most importantly we now have USF to focus our
attention instead of this coaching soap opera. As we get closer
to the bowl game, we set dead aim on USF. The Pirates are due to
settle an old score from 2 years back (reference the phantom touchdown
in D-F Stadium).
Time for some payback shots on USF. Let's focus on the task at
hand, and not Skip’s home address. Win the bowl game, the rest
will take care of itself. If our problem is “winning too much”
that my friends is a great problem to have.