Changin' Times in Minges

Things are a-changin in Pirateland. The little down-east school that has always called itself a football school, that in reality has historically been a baseball school, is undergoing a strange awakening. ECU's win over Louisville has students, alumni, & casual fans talking about basketball. No, not ACC basketball, but ECU basketball.

Outside of past visionaries such as Walter Williams, Jack Minges, etc, very few have dared to dream about ECU success on the hardwood. I am guilty for being slow to get behind the basketball team, though I can say I am ahead of the many who are jumping onboard now. During my ECU years of 1988-1992, I never voluntarily missed a home football game, and I haven't since. But my travels to the basketball arena were infrequent, aside from the occasional trip to see David Robinson, Reggie Lewis, or our own Blue Edwards play.

In my opinion, the transformation occurred when the 1993 Pirate squad went to the CAA torney as a subpar 10-16 basketball team & returned with a trip to the NCAA's. I could not make the trip to Greensboro to watch ECU face #1 seed UNC, but it made me a regular in Minges the following year and ever since.

With that NCAA trip also came a 3-4 year run of respectable basketball for ECU. Unfortunately our tentative success made our coach a comodity, and his departure led to more dissappointment on the court. Both coaches that followed have found the going rough. ECU also upgraded its high-school type gym into the cosy arena we play in today, but that did not provide the boost we needed either. It took the carrot known as CUSA basketball to finally bring the potential for excitement. Now keep in mind that the arena, football team, and the tireless work of countless behind the scenes individuals made the CUSA entry possible. And our current coach had to endure two years of CAA purgatory as well as players not sharing his intense style, in addition to the frustration from us, the relatively few fans that cared at the time.

But it all has the chance to come together now, as this one win over Louisville has given us a taste of something we always wanted but were scared to ask for or expect. Sure, we may still be a year or two from talking about NCAA brackets and seedings, but the key ingredients are in place: the modern arena, a tireless and intense coach, improvements in recruiting, and finally, a hungry fan base.

As a proud ECU Alum, Pirate Club member, and yes, a ECU basketball supporter, I can speak for many who will say we are NOT going to let this opportunity slip away. We have waited too long for this, and we are happy to have the new-found fans join us for the enjoyable part of the journey. Let's continue to make it happen.


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