Spring Reminiscing
by Brian North

Saturday's spring game gave all who attended a chance to check out the newest edition of the gridiron Pirates. But it was also a chance to catch up with former ECU football players who make the annual April pilgrimage back to Greenville. The most familiar faces were those who are still playing football. Former quarterback David Garrard was on the sidelines of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium looking fit and trim and ready for the upcoming season. He is not sure where his career will take him after his contract runs out in Jacksonville, but once football is done, DG expects to return to Pitt County and live with his wife who is from Robersonville. Leonard Henry caught up with fellow Clinton alum and current A.D. Terry Holland.  Leonard, who just signed a free agent contract with the Jets, said he wants his high school jersey retired just like Mr. Holland, but Terry is the only one in school history to have that honor. Former ECU star Jaris McPhail would also be in line for a retired jersey at the Sampson County school if they ever decide to add to the Darkhorses trophy case.

Vonta Leach was taking a short break from off season training in Green Bay to return to ECU. Leach was the most talkative former Pirate, and was regaling his old teammates with comical stories. Terrence Copper took a flight from Dallas so he could watch the festivities. The Washington native loves being back in the area so he can see friends and family.  Brian Rimpf, Devone Claybrooks, and Damane Duckett were also taking a break in training from Baltimore, Dallas, and New York respectively.  Ernest Byner was also in town. The former Brown and Redskin running back is now an executive with Washington.

There were many other former Pirates in attendance this weekend. Those who have gone on to become lawyers, doctors, businessmen, and coaches.  All were able to reminisce and talk about the good old days. How they had it tougher than today's players. What they would do if they were coaching this edition of the Pirates. There was one thing they all agreed upon, they all want the football program to return to greatness. That way there will be more great stories to be told every April when the Pirate pilgrimage returns to Greenville.

Brian North