Pirate Club has Family Atmosphere

by Eric Gilmore

Most Pirate fans know Dennis Young. He’s that Pirate Club guy, no not Big Guy. Young, director of the Pirate Club since 1992, opened up his house to a ragged tag group of students on Sunday night.

He and his wife Ellen grilled some delicious pork tenderloin. But more importantly, the Youngs opened their immaculate home to the Student Pirate Club Executive Board. We, as an organization (Student Pirate Club) really haven’t done much. But it didn’t matter to Young and his associates.

These guys’ job descriptions consist of constantly attempt to pry money from donors. They have to continually keep the same people happy despite athletic outcomes they can’t control. Even if they don’t like a person or their opinion, they have to respect them because of their contribution.

However, the current Pirate Club staff doesn’t have that aura about them. They appear to be honest genuine people who care about the Pirates and their success. Maybe they’ve pulled the wool over my eyes, but with the family atmosphere they have exuded, I highly doubt it.

Michael Ward has extended his hand to help the SPC. One of the newer guys on the Pirate Club staff; he has been extremely helpful in offering his experience and expertise. Ward has been instrumental in developing the SPC to a near 2,500 member organization, which is one of the largest student organizations in the state.

Having 8,000 members of the Pirate Club greatly affects the number that conference officials see. If half of the current students become Pirate Club members in the future, then Pirate athletics can grow leaps and bounds. Maybe then, we can get that indoor practice facility.

Now that the NCAA has ruled in favor of a 12th game, look for the Pirates to beef up their football schedule. Terry Holland has been ready for the rule to be passed for months. He has already contracted for the Pirates to begin a series with Virginia Tech.

The four game series will most likely start in 2006. Obviously, both teams will have a home game. However, with the ACC scheduling for the Hokies, it was easier for the athletic officials to move two of the games to Charlotte. The next two games in the series will most likely be played in Charlotte to ensure both teams can split the profits.

A series in Charlotte makes sense. It allows for the players to play in a NFL stadium, can secure a major sponsor and will sell tickets to both teams. Even if Bank of America Stadium is filled with all Hokie fans, ECU still profits from half of the proceeds.

The Pirates were supposed to play the Hokies last season in the Black Coaches Association Classic. ECU got bumped in favor the University of Southern Cal. The BCA Classic probably prevented Auburn from earning a shot at the national championship game last season.

Ohio University owes the Pirates a home game as well. Peering into the future of the schedule through 2011, gone are the West Virginias and Wake Forests. Say hello to the N.C. States and Carolinas. Also, don’t be surprised to see a renewed interest with South Carolina now that the schools are so interconnected.

Eric Gilmore