East Carolina introduced former catcher and team captain Cliff Godwin as its new head baseball coach Thursday inside the Murphy Center.
His hiring makes him the program's 16th coach and allows him to lead his alma mater into the American Athletic Conference next spring — an opportunity he was visibly thrilled to pursue.
"When this job opportunity arose, I was immediately interested," said Godwin, who was emotional while speaking during his news conference. "From the first second I sat down with (athletic director) Jeff Compher, I knew they wanted to compete at a national level."
Competing at a national level is something Godwin has grown accustomed to throughout his coaching career. He has been a part of seven teams that appeared in NCAA Regionals, including two that reached the College World Series.
He most recently served as the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator at Ole Miss for three years and helped the Rebels to their first College World Series appearance since 1972 this summer.
The Rebels led the Southeastern Conference in batting average in 2014 (.303.), were second in home runs (42) and runs scored (396).
The goal remains the same for Godwin at ECU — to compete nationally and one day bring the Pirates to Omaha.
"We are going to compete nationally and against anybody," said Godwin. "That's what we did when I played here and that's what we're going to do moving forward."
However, recruiting is the immediate focus moving forward for Godwin. He mentioned he has already met with some of the Pirates' commits for the 2014 class and now will work to keep them on board.
Godwin said he has already began meeting ECU's current players and plans to retain them all.
Following the press conference, the former Pirate captain was introduced to the community of he embraced while playing under the late ECU coach Keith LeClair.In honor of LeClair, Godwin has worn the No. 23 after the conclusion of his playing career, but now that he's back, he will look to continue his former coach's legacy — just with a different number on his back.