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ECU Football Tradition Is Lacking
by Jonathan Ellerbe

East Carolina Football has 7 bowl championships, 12 bowl appearances, over 75 players that have played professional football and over a dozen players that have been recognized with some sort of  All-America selection.  Yet when you go to a home game it is very hard to find the tradition and history of East Carolina Football showcased in and around Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. 

I understand that ECU’s resume is not that of Ohio State or Texas with National Championships, Conference Championships, Heisman Trophy Winners, etc., but it’s certainly more rich than teams that just started football like South Florida and UAB.  ECU has been playing football since 1932 and should be proud of their past teams and players accomplishments and should honor them all over the stadium for everyone to see (that being fans, former players, recruits, visitors, television audiences, ect…).  ECU may not be able to be a top 25 team on the field every year and have overflowing trophy cases with awards and championships, however they can market themselves as if they were.

Laugh at them on the field all you want now, but at least Duke has signs around Wallace-Wade showcasing that at one time they played in a Cotton Bowl and won an ACC Championship or two.  Every time North Carolina State is on television, at some point in the game there is a close up on Phillip Rivers name showcased on the upper deck of Carter-Finley and the announcer goes on and on how great he was and where he is today (starting quarterback with the San Diego Chargers). 

When fans show up at Dowdy-Ficklen, they should not be disappointed or focus on the fact that ECU has not been to a bowl game or had a winning season since 2001.  Instead fans should be reminded of the Liberty Bowl & Peach Bowl Championships and former great players such as Terry Long, Ernest Byner, George Koonce, Robert Jones, Jeff Blake, David Garrard & Rod Coleman.  Fans are smart and won’t forget the recent dark days of Pirate Football, but when they show up at Dowdy-Ficklen they should be in a place that makes them feel proud and a place that reinstates the positive history of ECU Football. 

Tradition and history are created on the field but tradition and history only live on if you preserve and market it to future generations of the Pirate Nation.  Dowdy-Ficklen is just the shell for Pirate Football, it’s what’s inside it that makes it special.  It’s time to hang some signs, jerseys and names at Dowdy-Ficklen and celebrate the Pirate Football tradition before we forget.

Jonathan Ellerbe