The Pirate Athletics Director from 1975 to 1980, Bill Cain has been the only ECU alumnus to serve in that capacity. Cain's relationship with East Carolina spanned more than four decades as a student-athlete, coach, administrator, and educator. An offensive and defensive end for the 1957-59 Pirate football teams, Cain served as co-captain on the 1959 squad, earning All-Carolina's conference honors.
Cain earned both a bachelor's and master's degree at East Carolina. After coaching and teaching in the high school ranks, Cain returned to ECU in 1968 as head freshman football coach and recruiter. Over the next several years he held various coaching and administrative positions within the athletics department and was named Director of Athletics in 1975.
Under Cain's leadership, Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium underwent a major expansion project in 1977-78, boosting capacity from 20,000 to 35,000 and adding a modern scoreboard. Cain also played key roles in the development of the ECU Athletics Hall of Fame and the Pirate Club.