The Search for Stability Continues
by Chris Stansbury

East Carolina Pirate Basketball fans have been asked to endure a lot of things in the last fifteen years.  To start with, our entire basketball legacy since the guys stopped wearing shorty-shorts, revolves around one player, Blue Edwards and one team, the 1993 CAA Champions.  I was never very good in math, but that means success has lived somewhere else for the last 14 years.

Sure there were shining moments (not the CBS Final Four kind), but highlights for the program, such as Joe Dooley won 17 games in his first two years as coach in 1995 and 1996.  But, he was shown the door two years later. 

A quick coaching footnote.  Joe Dooley was the last coach to have a winning overall record at East Carolina since Howard Porter's last year in 1958-59.  Holy cow!!!  That means in the last 49 years, ECU has had one winning coach.

Now, Pirate fans have been asked again to endure another program change. 

"Right now it looks like we are in great shape from a coaching standpoint.  We've always felt we've had a strong coaching staff.  And I don't think that has changed at all and if anything it has changed us for the better," Terry Holland said July 19th on Pirate Radio's "Live at Five" with Troy D. and Ellerbe.  Monday, he announces that Ricky Stokes is being reassigned to become the associate athletics director for basketball, leaving fans with more than a few questions. 

From the release Monday, "Coach Stokes' career change will allow him to continue building a first-class basketball program here at ECU by helping us plan and finance a practice facility for our basketball and volleyball programs."  Volleyball?  I thought he was the assistant associated athletic director of basketball. 

Another paragraph read, "The important building blocks for future successes are in place at ECU because of Coach Stokes' hard work and leadership over the last two seasons."  I am sorry, but going 14-44 in your two years as head coach does not translate to building blocks for future successes.  That would be like saying we can thank John Thompson for building the future of the ECU football program by going 3-20. 

We all know that Terry Holland coached Ricky Stokes at Virginia, so they have a special relationship.  However, Holland has the most to lose in this situation.  His credibility could come into question if this doesn't play out well.  After all, in his two coaching stints at Virginia Tech and ECU (six years), he won 60 games total.  That's an average of 10 wins a season.  And now he's the associate athletics director for basketball. 

Mack McCarthy, who is a good friend to the Pirate Radio family, has the unenviable task of taking over the program less than two months from the start of camps and practice.  Not to say that the 14 players on the roster won't play well, but he is definitely between a rock and a hard place.  Giving Coach Mack some props, he has more than 300 coaching wins to his record, so he is no slouch coming in on an interim basis. People and players respond very well to him and we all hope that results in some wins this season.

Coach Holland also said in the July 19th Pirate Radio interview, "Certainly every job has its frustrations and there are days where you are pulling out your hair, but I like solving problems. " 

It shouldn't be hard to spot Coach Holland at the ECU-Virginia Tech football game; he will be the 6'8 bald guy.
Chris Stansbury