The Darkest

I remember vividly sitting in a cold rain on November 6, 1993 watching the Pirates getting blown away by the Tulsa Hurricane.The game mercifully ended with ECU taking a 52-26 beating.

East Carolina's only bright spot on that nasty day 10 years ago was an outstanding 282-yard rushing effort by Junior Smith.It was the last home game of a miserable 2-9 year for the Pirates. Of course, the very last game that year was a 34-14 blowout at the hands of the Cincinnati Bearcats. It was also Steve Logan's second season as head coach at ECU. Logan's combined record for '92 and '93 was a dismal 7-15.

Now, why did I choose to take you down this historical path? The answer is that it is always darkest before dawn, and unfortunately for Pirate fans the darkest has once again arrived for ECU football.

The Pirates' performance in its season opening loss to Cincinnati leads me to believe two things. First, the new Pirate coaching staff has a long way to go in implementing its system. Secondly, Steve Logan's recruiting efforts in his final two years were lacking. In Logan's defense, recruiting in North Carolina was hindered by the decision to play Friday night C-USA games. The resulting backlash extended across the state. However, it seemed that Logan was less than enthusiastic about the program during those periods, and it showed on the field last year and again in this year's first game.

New Pirate head coach John Thompson will have to play this year with the hand dealt by Logan. Unfortunately for him it is a losing hand. The 2003 Pirates may be able to equal the 2-9 record of a decade prior, but I wouldn't bet on it. It's entirely possible that under Thompson's direction, ECU will rise to even greater heights than any of those of the Logan years, but that dawn is a long way off.


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