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East Carolina Pirates
East Carolina Pirates.svg
University East Carolina University
Conference Conference USA
NCAA Division I
Athletics director Terry Holland
Location Greenville, NC
Varsity teams 14
Football stadium Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium
Basketball arena Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum
Baseball stadium Clark-LeClair Stadium
Mascot PeeDee the Pirate
Nickname Pirates
Fight song E.C. Victory
Colors Purple and Gold



The East Carolina Pirates are the intercollegiate sports teams representing East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. All varsity-level sports teams sponsored by the university compete in NCAA Division I as a member of Conference USA. In football, the Pirates, as do all other C-USA members, play in the top-tier Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.


Name origin

Pirates have long been associated with the North Carolina coast. One of the most famous pirates, Blackbeard, resided in the North Carolina coastal communities of Bath, Beaufort and Ocracoke.[1] The modern day mascot is based on the description of Blackbeard.[2] Many other pirates used the shallow coast and Outer Banks to evade capture. ECU officially became the Pirates in 1934. In 1983, a contest was developed to name the Pirates. Children from all over Pitt County submitted their ideas, and Pee Dee the Pirate was chosen. The Pee Dee River is a river along the North Carolina and South Carolina border where pirates often set up camp. The name was less than popular with ECU students, and in 1985 Chancellor Howell decided on his own to drop "Pee Dee" and be known only as "The Pirates". People still use the terms Pee Dee and Petey as the terms for The Pirates, and PeeDee is still the name of their mascot.[2]

Color origin

One of the first order of business once students arrived to East Carolina in 1909 was to decide on colors for the school. The students voted and Old Gold and Royal Purple won. The university official standardized these colors in 1916. ECU has been purple and gold ever since, though the current official colors have dropped adjectives describing the colors and now list them as Purple and Gold.

Men's basketball

The Pirates appeared in the NAIA National Tournament two years (1953 and 1954), each year losing in the first round. The Pirates combined record in the NAIA was 2-2. The Pirates have also made two appearances in the NCAA Tournament, with the latest appearance occurring in 1993 where they played the North Carolina Tar Heels. East Carolina has had four players to reach the NBA level, Theodore "Blue" Edwards, who was selected by the Utah Jazz with the 21st overall pick of the 1989 NBA Draft, Oliver Mack who was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers as the third pick in the second round of the 1979 NBA Draft, George Maynor, who was selected by the Chicago Bulls as the sixth pick in the fourth round of the 1979 NBA Draft, and Charles Alford, who was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers as the ninth pick in the tenth round of the 1968 NBA Draft.

The Pirates are currently coached by Mack McCarthy.


The East Carolina Pirates gather at the sideline as they prepare to take on the 2007 Virginia Tech Hokies football team

The ECU Pirates football team plays its home games at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on the ECU campus. Football started in 1932 and the Pirates have been to 12 bowl games. In 2006 the Pirates ended the year with a 7-5 record and were invited to the Bowl in Birmingham, Alabama. The head coach of the Pirates is Skip Holtz. Also in 2008 the pirates went to the C-USA Championship game in Tulsa Oklahoma who in which the ECU Pirates ended up beating The Golden Hurricane 27-24 Nineteen Pirate student-athletes have been honored as football All-Americans in addition to other awards. ECU has had 52 players selected in the NFL Draft since 1961. The Pirates have had at least one player chosen in 12 of the past 16 NFL drafts with two first round selections. The No. 24 overall pick in the 1992 and 2008 drafts. ECU has produced eight players who have played in 11 Super Bowls dating back to 1985. Five of those Pirates have won World Championships. In 2007, ECU was chosen to play in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl against the Boise State Broncos. The Pirates stunned the #24 ranked Broncos, quelling a late Broncos-rally, on a game-winning field goal 41-38. Running back Chris Johnson was the game's most valuable player, setting an NCAA record by gathering 407 all-purpose yards. In the 2007-2008 season, ECU produced upset victories over #17 Virginia Tech and #8 West Virginia. The Pirates rode the wave all the way to their first C-USA championship by beating Tulsa, only to lose a heart breaker to Kentucky in the Liberty Bowl. In the 2009 season The Pirates lost two early season games to North Carolina and West Virgina before going on to win the C-USA East Division Title for the second straight year. East Carolina finished the 2009 regular season at 8-4 over all 7-1 in conference play. ECU won the 2009 C-USA Conference Championship game in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on December 5th 2009 at 12 noon, upsetting the 18th ranked University of Houston, 38-32. The East Carolina Pirates are the first Back-to-Back C-USA champions since divisional play was started in 2005. The Pirates lost another heart breaking Liberty Bowl on January 2nd 2010, in Memphis, Tennessee. The Pirates lost to Arkansas 20-17 in overtime after ECU missed a game winning field goal to end regulation play. The 2010 Auto Zone Liberty Bowl tied ECU with Arkansas, Air Force, Alabama, Louisville and Mississippi for the most Liberty Bowl appearances at 4 each.

Swimming and diving

The men's team started in the 1953-54 season and the women's team started in the 1977-78 season. In 1957, the men's swimming and diving team became the first team at ECU to win a national championship. Over the years, 87 ECU swimmers and divers have been All-Americans. The men's teams were Conference Champions in 1986 and 1989 in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). The women's team won conference championships in 1995 through 1997 and 2000 in the CAA; 2001 in the East Coast Athletic Conference; and 2003 in C-USA. The head coach is Rick Kobe. The assistant coaches are Matt Jabs, Kate Gordon, and Ed Pretre; Mark Lenzi serves as the head diving coach.

ECU alternate logo


The ECU baseball team is a Division I NCAA program that competes in Conference USA. The men's baseball team currently plays at Clark-LeClair Stadium on campus. The Pirate baseball team has consistently finished with a winning record over the past several years. They have been regular season conference champions 12 times and conference tournament champions 10 times. The Pirates have gone to the NCAA Tournament 22 times, including in 2007. The Pirates have appeared in 22 NCAA Baseball Regional tournaments (including seven straight between 1999 and 2005), two NCAA Baseball Super Regional appearances, one Conference USA regular-season championship, and have won 40+ games in five of the last seven seasons. Over the years, 15 players have been honored as All-Americans, over 100 former players have played in the Major Leagues, and in 1962 the Diamond Bucs won the NAIA National Championship. The current coach is Billy Godwin.


Additional Varsity Men's teams include: Cross Country, Golf, Tennis and Track and Field. Other Varsity Women's teams include: Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track and Field and Volleyball.

External links


  1. ^ "BLACKBEARD - Ocracoke's Most Famous Visitor". Cape Hatteras National Seashore. U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service. 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-10.  
  2. ^ a b "Mascot". East Carolina Official Athletic Site. East Carolina University. 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-10.  


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