A League of His Own

When Joe Dooley was sent packing five years ago, it was made clear by then East Carolina athletic director Mike Hamrick that a new leader was needed to take the Pirates' game to a higher level of competitiveness and consequently more wins. The choice was Drexel coach Bill Herrion.

Herrion is now midway through his fifth season at ECU, and currently sports an overall record at ECU of 56-73, including a current season record of 8-8 (0-6 in CUSA). The closest that ECU has gotten to a winning season under Herrion is a 14-14 finish in 2001 when the Pirates were still playing a Colonial Athletic Association schedule.

Sure, there have been some major victories along the way, notably two home wins against nationally ranked Marquette, and a 10-point win over perennial power Louisville. And, it cannot be denied that game attendance and fan enthusiasm is up. But, what is also undeniable is that the Pirates have yet to win a road game in its entire C-USA history, and is regarded as the conference's bottom feeder.

With C-USA losing virtually all of its basketball powers following the recent conference realignments, and replacements being the likes of Marshall, SMU, and Rice means that ECU basketball will only get worse. Gone will be the recruiting advantage of being in one of the most prestigious basketball conferences in the country. Hey recruit, picture yourself hitting that game-winning basket against the Thundering Herd.

Of course, don't tell Bill Herrion that the new C-USA make-up will be a bad thing for the Pirates. In a recent Cincinnati Enquirer article on the subject of a new, watered-down C-USA and what it will mean to ECU, Herrion is quoted as saying, "All you want is a chance to step onto the floor in the conference and be competitive." Well Bill, against the likes of SMU, Rice and who knows, Toledo, maybe you will eventually be just that. But where will that leave ECU basketball in the grand scheme of things?

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