ECU Pirates :: Traditions

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Historical Highlights
1909A student committee establishes old gold and royal purple as the official school colors.
1910Baseball is established as the first sports team at East Carolina Teachers Training School, as the institution is then named. The first teams for women are established on an intramural level in the sports of basketball, tennis, and volleyball.
1920The first athletic facilities are developed on the Greenville, N.C., campus. They include an outdoor basketball "ground" and six tennis courts.
1932On January 12, the first intercollegiate basketball game is played as East Carolina Teachers College (ECTC) defeats Campbell College. In addition, the first football team is formed. Ken Beatty of Greenville serves on a volunteer basis as the institution's first football coach. The team does not win a game; in fact, it does not even score a point. There are a total of 75 male students at ECTC of which 25 participate on the football team.
1933On November 11, the football team makes history by recording its first gridiron victory over Campbell College.
1934The nickname "Pirates" is adopted.
1941While the Japanese are preparing to bomb Pearl Harbor, the Pirates are making sports history. Coach John Christenberry leads the Pirate football team to a perfect 7-0 record. There are a total of 13 undefeated football teams in the United States in 1941.
1947East Carolina Teachers College joins the North State Conference (Appalachian State, Atlantic Christian College, Lenoir-Rhyne College, Elon College, High Point College, and Western Carolina).
1953East Carolina College wins its first and only North State Conference football championship, finishing with a perfect 6-0 record in league play. The Pirates finish the regular season 8-1, but fall short in their second-ever postseason game as they suffer a 12-0 loss to Morris Harvey in the Elks Bowl on January 2, 1954.
1957Dr. Ray Martinez's swim team wins the NAIA National Championship.
1961Coach Jim Mallory leads Pirate baseball to an NAIA National Championship. East Carolina College is accepted into NCAA membership.
1963Ficklen Stadium, a 17,000-seat facility, is dedicated during a football game against Wake Forest University where the Pirates defeat the Demon Deacons by a score of 20-10.
1964East Carolina is admitted to the Southern Conference (The Citadel, Furman, Davidson, Richmond, George Washington, and William & Mary) on probationary status.
1966East Carolina becomes a full member of the Southern Conference and attains recognition for a football championship in the first year of full membership.
1968With a seating capacity of 6,500, Minges Coliseum is dedicated on January 27.
1971Harrington Field is dedicated on May 9.
1972East Carolina captures the first of five-straight Southern Conference wrestling championships on the way to a 9-1-1 record. One of the victories was a 49-0 shutout of North Carolina.
1973The Pirates' wrestling program completes the campaign with a perfect 13-0 mark and captures four tournament titles - Thanksgiving Open, N.C. Collegiate, Maryland Wrestling Federation and Southern Conference.
1974ECU's wrestling team keeps its unbeaten streak alive with a 7-0 ledger and posted notable wins against Old Dominion, NC State and William & Mary, while also winning titles at six different events, including the SoCon Championships.
1975East Carolina produces third consecutive undefeated wrestling season with 13-0 record, clinches Southern Conference trophy and sends seven individuals to Nationals.
1976The Pirates post 10-2 wrestling record, suffering lone two setbacks to nationally-ranked Oregon State and Lehigh. Six athletes advance to Nationals after helping ECU capture fifth and final Southern Conference championship.
1975Ficklen Stadium is enlarged to seat 35,000, and the East Carolina football team defeats North Carolina by a score of 38-17.
1976East Carolina withdraws from the Southern Conference after winning, five times in an 11-year membership period, the Commissioner's Cup, an award symbolic of the most successful overall athletic program in the conference.
1978East Carolina defeats Louisiana Tech 35-13 in the Independence Bowl on Dec. 16 in what is recognized as the Pirates' first bowl appearance in the modern era. Pat Dye's squad posted a 9-3 mark in their second full season as a NCAA Division I-A member and concluded a four-year run that produced a program-record 34 overall victories.
1980ECU retires Rosalyn "Rosie" Thompson's #10 jersey after she becomes ECU's all-time leader in scoring and rebounding.
1983The ECU football team is nationally ranked.
1985ECU joins the Colonial Athletic Association (American University, U.S. Naval Academy, James Madison, and Richmond) in sports other than football. In football, ECU chooses to compete as a Southern Independent.
1987All-American sprinter Lee McNeill wins three gold medals as one of the top sprinters in the world.
1989Theodore "Blue" Edwards becomes ECU's first NBA first-round draft pick when selected by the Utah Jazz.
1990Baseball finishes its season as the NCAA statistical champion with a 47-9 record.
1991Baseball wins its third consecutive Colonial Athletic Association title.
1992The ECU football teams goes against NC State to bring home a 37-34 Peach Bowl victory. The team finishes the season ranked ninth in the nation. All-America linebacker Robert Jones is one of three Butkus Award finalists. Track student-athlete Brian Irvin earns his sixth All-America honor at the 1992 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship, becoming the most decorated athlete in ECU track and field history.
1993The ECU men's basketball team wins the CAA Championship and takes on the University of North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament. Baseball takes its fifth CAA title. Gaynor O'Donnell is the NCAA Division I women's basketball assists leader.
1994The Pirate golf team wins its seventh CAA title in eight seasons. Dava Rhodes becomes ECU's first female track All-American finishing eighth in the nation in the 10,000 meters. Michelle Ward, the ECAC Player of the Year, leads ECU softball to its second ECAC Championship berth and sets new NCAA season and career stolen base records. Women's soccer is added as an intercollegiate sport.
1995ECU's football team wins the St. Jude Liberty Bowl over Stanford University. Renovation of Minges Coliseum is completed and Williams Arena, with an expanded seating capacity of 7,800, is dedicated.
1996Lady Pirate softball begins its first season as a member of the Big South Conference.
1997The women's swim team captures its third consecutive CAA title, a first in ECU history. Pirate football completes its first year as a member of Conference USA.
1998The ECU baseball team wins the CAA title and ranks, for the first time ever, in all three national top 25 polls. Lady Pirate softball wins its conference tourney and earns its first-ever NCAA regional appearance. Women's track and field standout Michelle Clayton earns All-America honors in the hammer throw at the NCAA Championship meet.
1999The Pirates boast three CAA team champions (women's swimming and diving, women's track and field, and baseball) for the first time since joining the league in 1986. The ECU softball team becomes just the 13th team in NCAA history to hit the 60-win plateau as the Pirates set a school record with a 60-17 mark. ECU accepts the invitation to join Conference USA in all sports beginning with the 2001-02 season.
2000The East Carolina baseball team caps off a record-setting season by advancing to its first-ever NCAA Super Regional while tying the school record for wins, 47. The Pirate football team makes its second consecutive bowl appearance and defeats Texas Tech in the Bowl, 40-27. Both the women's swimming and softball squads win East Coast Athletic Conference championships.
2001The Pirates enter their first season as an all-sports member of Conference USA. The women's cross country team wins its first East Coast Athletic Conference title. Football makes its third straight bowl appearance, this time at the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
2002Pirate baseball claims the school's first-ever C-USA title by winning the conference tournament, hosted by ECU in Kinston. Men's track turns in one of its most successful seasons ever with seven Pirates earning All-America status. And for the 26th straight year, the track team is represented at the NCAA National Championships. The new $13 million strength and conditioning center is completed and dedicated as the Murphy Center. Cross country becomes the first ECU sport to host an NCAA postseason event in Greenville as the Pirates compete in the NCAA Southeast Regional at Overton's Lake Kristi.
2003Kyle MacKenzie named C-USA Cross Country Male Athlete of the Year. Penny Perrot named C-USA Women's Soccer Co-Defenisve Player of the Year. Diane Parker won her first of three consecutive C-USA Swimmer of the Meet awards.
2004The baseball team won 50 games for the first time in school history and advanced to a NCAA Super Regional for the second time. Ryan Jones was named C-USA Player of the Year; Greg Bunn was named C-USA Pitcher of the Year. Adrienne Millican became the first Pirate golfer, male or female, to compete in the NCAA Championships. Terry Holland named Director of Athletics. Surpassed the five million mark in attendance at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Pernell Griffin, Kyle MacKenzie, Adrienne Millican and Diane Parker named to the C-USA All-Decade Team in their respective sports.
2005LaShawn Merritt named Conference USA Male Indoor Track Athlete of the Year. Moussa Badiane sets the C-USA men's basketball career record for blocked shots. Clark-LeClair Stadium is opened and dedicated on March 4, 2005. ECU defeats Michigan in the first game played at the new stadium, 2-1. The baseball team made its seventh consecutive appearance in an NCAA Regional. The Pirate softball team recorded the 1,000th victory in program history.
2006The women's golf team won its first Conference USA Championship and Lene Krog claimed individual medalist honors during the championship tournament. Krog was named C-USA Freshman of the Year. Jake Smith was named the school's first recipient of the Johnny Bench Award, which is given annually to the nations top collegiate catcher. The Pirates received a bid to Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
2007The women's basketball team won its first Conference USA title and earned the second NCAA Tournament bid in school history. The largest crowd ever to watch a college baseball game in the state of North Carolina packed Clark-LeClair Stadium on March 3 as the Pirates hosted the NC State Wolfpack in front of 5,523 people. ECU hosted the C-USA Baseball Championship at Clark-LeClair Stadium. The men's basketball team won its first-ever game over an ACC opponent, defeating NC State 75-69, on December 8 in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. ECU defeated Boise State to win the Hawaii Bowl.
2008The football team wins its first Conference USA championship, defeating Tulsa on the road after forcing seven Golden Hurricane turnovers. With a 3-2 double overtime win over Marshall in the season finale, the soccer team produces an unbeaten conference ledger to claim its first C-USA regular season championship. Chris Johnson, who led the NCAA in all-purpose yardage during the 2007 season, was selected in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans with the 24th overall pick. Corey Kemp was named C-USA Player of the Year in baseball, while Abbey Bools was named Player of the Year in women's golf. Other C-USA baseball honors included Justin Bristow being named Newcomer of the Year and Seth Maness earning Freshman of the Year recognition. Kevin Williams was named women's golf Coach of the Year for the second time in his career (2003) and Amber Littman was named C-USA Freshman of the Year. The softball team received its first-ever at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
2009With a 38-32 victory over No. 18 Houston at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, the football squad claims its second-straight C-USA title and second consecutive Liberty Bowl appearance. After posting a 42-17 record during the regular season and conference tournament, C-USA regular season champion ECU is selected to host a NCAA baseball regional as the top seed. Needing to defeat South Carolina twice to claim the regional title, the Pirates won the first game 8-6 before rallying from a late three-run deficit in the if necessary game. Devin Harris hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning and delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th to down the Gamecocks. The women's golf team was awarded a spot in an NCAA regional for the second-straight campaign, falling just one stroke shy of advancing to the national championships.
2010A crowd of just over 50,000 packed newly-renovated Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium for football's season opener and witnessed a hail-mary touchdown pass on the last play of the game as the Pirates downed Tulsa 51-49 in head coach Ruffin McNeill's sideline debut. East Carolina also made its fifth consecutive bowl appearance with participation in the Military Bowl. After winning its first Conference USA regular season championship, the softball team swept through the league tournament allowing no earned runs to capture the title - also a first for the program. The Pirates traveled to Austin, Texas for the NCAA Tournament and knocked off No. 7 national seed Texas 1-0 to eliminate the Longhorns on their home field. The women's basketball squad recorded 23 wins, the second most in a single season in the program's history, and earned its first-ever bid to the post-season WNIT (at-large selection). The Pirates rallied from a 16-point second-half deficit on the road at Drexel in the opening round to claim an overtime victory before falling at Maryland two days later. Five members of the track and field program won individual C-USA titles while freshman Tynita Butts garnered All-America honors by placing seventh in the high jump at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Oregon. A second-place finish at the C-USA Championships propelled women's golf to its third consecutive appearance in an NCAA regional.
2011New head coach, Jeff Lebo, leads the men's basketball team to its first winning season in 14 years. ECU knocks off UCF and UAB in the C-USA Tournament to post its first-ever wins in the event. As a result of a 18-15 record, the Pirates are selected to host Jacksonville in the first round of the Tournament. The new ECU Softball Stadium opens with a contest against in-state rival UNC Wilmington. A venue-record crowd of 844 is on hand in May to see East Carolina win its second-straight league tournament crown as the Pirates topped Tulsa 4-1. The squad is then placed in the College Park Regional and knocks off the host institution for the second time in as many seasons with a 2-0 win over Maryland and reaches back-to-back regional championship games. The baseball team also enjoys a solid season, winning 41 games and making its 25th overall NCAA Tournament appearance. On the links, both men's and women's golf squads earn at-large selection to the NCAA regionals for the first time in program history. Fanny Wolte is named C-USA Freshman-of-the-Year while a pair of men's golfers, Harold Varner and David Watkins, earn top-100 national rankings from Golfweek. A program single-season record 15 track and field athletes qualify for the NCAA East Preliminary Round competition with four women grabbing bids to the NCAA Outdoor Championships - the most in a year for the women's program. Freshman Aiesha Goggins places 10th overall in the 400-meter dash and garners Second-Team All-America accolades while also participating in the 4x400 relay event.
2012The ECU women's track and field team captured its first Conference USA indoor championship with Curt Kraft being named Coach-of-the-Year. Dennis Allotta was named C-USA Men's Outdoor Track & Field Athlete-of-the-Year. The men's golf team finished second at the NCAA Athens Regional to earn its first-ever trip to the NCAA Championships in Santa Monica, Calif. Harold Varner was named C-USA Men's Golfer-of-the-Year. Beth Keylon-Randolph became the fourth head coach in the 35-year history of the softball program. The Pirates received an invitation to join the Big East Conference as a football-only member.
2013Jeff Compher was selected to succeed Terry Holland as Director of Athletics just weeks before the Pirates were invited to join the American Athletic Conference as an all sports member. The East Carolina men's basketball team won over 20 for the first time in 48 years as a Division I school and captured the 2013 CIT postseason tournament title. The women's basketball team received its second WNIT bid in four years under coach Heather Macy, who was named C-USA Women's Coach-of-the-Year. Julie Torbett took over as head volleyball coach. Frida Gustafsson Spang became the first women's golfer in C-USA history to be named Freshman and Player-of-the-Year. Joran Vliegen and Colin Roller became the first ECU men's tennis players to be invited to the NCAA Championships and competed as a doubles tandem. During the fall, Vliegen was the first ECU tennis player to win the ITA Carolina Region singles title and advance to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships. The Smith Williams Center opened and gave ECU its first dedicated basketball practice facility. The football teams rolled to a 10-3 record, which included wins road wins over North Carolina and NC State, before it capped the season with a win over Ohio in the Beef O'Brady Bowl. Shane Carden was named C-USA Most Valuable Player.
2014 ECU officially joins the American Athletic Conference on July 1. Head Swimming & Diving Coach Rick Kobe wins his 500th career dual meet, becoming the sixth coach in NCAA history to win 500 dual meets. The women's swimming and diving team completes the first undefeated season by an ECU women's program in school history going 11-0. Rokas Cepulis and Megan Sellers each qualify for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, giving ECU a representative at both the men's and women's Division I championships for the first time. Tennis Coach Tom Morris wins his 300th career match at ECU. Joran Vliegen is named Conference USA Men's Tennis Player-of-the-Year and becomes the first ECU player to compete in the NCAA Division I Singles Championships. The women's track and field team captured the Conference USA Outdoor Championship. Pitcher Jeff Hoffman is taken with the ninth overall pick in the First-Year Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. ECU alum Cliff Godwin is named head baseball coach. The Pirates posted back-to-back wins on the gridiron over Virginia Tech and North Carolina to open the season with a 6-1 record. ECU racked up a school-best 789 yards of offense in a 70-41 win over the Tar Heels, setting the program record for most points against an FBS opponent. Quarterback Shane Carden is named American Athletic Conference Offensive Player-of-the-Year. Wide receiver Justin Hardy sets the NCAA record for career receptions (387) and is named Third-Team Associated Press All-America.