GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina University Director of Athletics Jeff Compher announced Friday that head football coach Ruffin McNeill has been relieved of his duties, effective immediately.
Since the Pirates accepted membership in the American Athletic Conference in 2014, ECU has posted an 8-8 league mark, which includes a recent 3-5 ledger and fifth-place East Division finish this fall. During its inaugural year in the AAC, East Carolina was 5-3 and stood fourth behind Cincinnati, Memphis and UCF.
McNeill recently completed his sixth year heading the Pirate program following East Carolina's 19-16 loss to Cincinnati last Saturday that wrapped up a 5-7 regular season finish. He compiled an overall record of 42-34 (.553) and captured one bowl victory at ECU.
"After deliberate evaluation, the decision has been made to move our football program in a different direction with new leadership." Compher said. "We are appreciative of the hard work, dedication and contributions Coach McNeill and his staff have made to both East Carolina University and our community."
McNeill was appointed as East Carolina's 20th head football coach on Jan. 21, 2010 after serving as Texas Tech's interim head coach during the Valero Alamo Bowl. The 2015 campaign was McNeill’s 30th year at the collegiate level, which includes an earlier stop at ECU as the Pirates’ defensive line coach in 1992. In all, he has served on the staffs with eight different programs and spent a combined nine years in defensive coordinator roles at Appalachian State (1993-96), Nevada-Las Vegas (1997-98) and Texas Tech (2007-09).
McNeill, 57, was given a three-year contract extension on June 3, 2013 prior to East Carolina's final season in Conference USA, that when added to his existing agreement, ran through June 30, 2018.
The Pirates were 29-22 in their final four years as C-USA members under McNeill, falling short of a championship game appearance each season with one co-divisional title (2012), two second-place standings (2010, 2013) and a third-place finish (2011).
Compher indicated that finding a replacement to direct the Pirate football program will require an extensive national search and added he would not comment on potential candidates until the process has been completed.
"Our expectations are to compete for championships," Compher added. "Our goal will be to move expediently in the search process, and based on the outstanding support of our Pirate fan base and enhanced visibility in the American Athletic Conference, I am confident our candidate pool will be deep."
McNeill was a four-year letterman at ECU under Pat Dye from 1976 to 1979 and helped lead the Pirates to their first modern era bowl appearance in 1978.