Billy Godwin: Should he stay or go?

A huge decision looms for new athletics director Jeff Compher on whether or not to retain the services of head baseball coach Billy Godwin.

East Carolina is a school that takes great pride in the baseball program, which has resulted in lofty expectations over the years. Fair or not, the Diamond Bucs missing out on a NCAA tournament bid for only the third time in nearly a decade has led to many calling for head coach Billy Godwin's head.

There are strong arguments that swing both ways, but regardless of what happens, it's the first substantial decision facing new athletics director Jeff Compher.

Argument 1: Termination

If Compher chooses to go in a different direction, it will certainly satisfy the hundreds (maybe more) of fans that have clamored for the move on message boards and social media sites for many months.

From the AD's perspective, Godwin isn't the head coach he hired, thus an opportunity is presented for him to make his first hire and give the program a new, fresh face that could provide a spark for the team moving forward.

There are plenty of numbers that work against Godwin. ECU's 31-26 record in 2013 is the programs-worst during his eight-year tenure. Also, the Pirates poor showing in the Conference USA Tournament – losing all but the meaningless pod-play finale against Southern Miss – left a sour taste going into the offseason.

If Godwin is relieved of his coaching duties, ECU would undoubtedly be a job that appeals to a high-market replacement with past success. This thought alone has Pirate fans dreaming ‘what could be' in a state that is a hot bed for college baseball.

Argument 2: Retention

Despite a slow start to the season and a nightmarish midweek record, ECU was still in contention for the C-USA regular season crown and an at-large bid going into May.

In a remarkable turnaround, ECU won six consecutive series in-conference to close the season, while Godwin and hitting-coach Ben Sanderson turned an offensively inept club into one of the league's most-dangerous at the plate.

Following the suspension of left-hander Tyler Joyner in January, the Pirates had no returnees from the 2012 weekend rotation. T hough Jeff Hoffman, David Lucroy and Ryan Williams filled the void nicely, a drop-off was to be expected.

No matter the sport or level of competition, whenever a head coaching change is made, a transitional period always follows. If Godwin isn't retained, ECU will likely lose promising a promising recruiting class, which could setback the team in 2014.


Compher won't be pressed to make a decision until after next season as Godwin still has a year left on his contract.

Ideally, any other coach in this situation would prefer "a vote of confidence" going into the last year of his contract; a commitment from the school that he's "the guy" moving into the future.

Compher just began his tenure on the first of this month, meaning a larger sampling-size – the 2014 season – might be required before he makes any type of decision.

Until then, tweeters will tweet, message boards will be active and a monumental amount of speculation will be made before the Pirates take the field next February.

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