Monday's Note 1/28/02

What little glimmer of encouragement that still remained in the hearts of the ECU hoops faithful following the Pirates' one C-USA win was effectively squashed by the Charlotte 49ers on Saturday.

The 87-52 pummeling was a vivid illustration of just how far the ECU program still has to go to reach a competitive level in C-USA. Following ECU's emotional win over Louisville, the Pirates have dropped their last three games by margins of 13, 22 and 25 to St. Louis, DePaul and Charlotte respectively. A berth in the conference tournament seems just a pipe dream at this point.

Pirate coach Bill Herrion thinks the Louisville win may be at the root of his team's recent demise. Quoted by Steve Andrews in the Greenville daily Reflector Herrion said, "I'm a little bit concerned with the Louisville win," Herrion said. "It was obviously a great moment for East Carolina basketball. But you know what, I don't know if maybe these guys haven't gotten a few too many slaps on the back since that game. I'm a little bit concerned about that. And like I said before, I've been kind of feeling that something like that was right around the corner."

Dee Stokes Resignation

Maybe there is hope after all that the ECU athletic department will be held accountable for forthright answers in at least one controversial situation. Following is an excerpt from an article by Woody Peele in this morning's Greenville Daily Reflector:

Friday night, I was told by one source who asked not to be named that Stokes had offered monetary inducements to players for meeting certain on-court performance standards, such as taking a charge or reaching a certain number of assists. The source said the offer was made earlier in the season while the team was on the road.

No player, however, received any money from Stokes or anyone else, the source said. Since then, I've been told by others close to the program that this was the reason ECU sought Stokes' resignation.

I commend Woody on his dogged determination to get the facts in this case. This is not the swirl of controversy surrounding Stokes during her tenure at ECU. Several months back, rumors and speculation abounded regarding an alleged improper relationship between Stokes and one of her players. spoke with coach Stokes by phone and by e-mail with the student-athlete (who at the time was not a member of the ECU team) about the rumors. Both women emphatically denied any impropriety or violation of university policy. Lack of any substantiated evidence prompted us to cease any further investigation.

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