If you asked someone about sports at East Carolina University, their thoughts would probably go straight to football.
Pirate football has amazing support at ECU and in Greenville, despite two disappointing 3-9 seasons under head coach Scottie Montgomery. Pirate baseball has also enjoyed a lot of attention over the last few years due to the success of the team under head coach Cliff Godwin, including hosting a regional tournament this season. Even men’s basketball, which saw coach Jeff Lebo step down this year after seven seasons with the team, enjoys large public support at ECU.
Supporting these teams is great and shows how passionate Pirate Nation is about their school, but it is time for the smaller sports at ECU to get the recognition they deserve. Sports such as tennis, cross country, track and field and golf are hardly talked about, yet they continue to succeed, often more so than the “big three” sports of football, baseball and basketball. These smaller sports continue to build a winning culture most students at ECU will rarely hear of.
ECU men’s tennis is coming off its best season ever this spring, which saw the team compile a 22-5 record and a 12-1 record at home. Track and field sent seniors Stefano Migliorati and Galissia Cause to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon where they competed against the top 20 competitors in their event. The women’s track and field team placed second in the conference. Women’s golf finished second in the conference and earned a trip to the NCAA regionals. Men’s golf saw junior Blake Taylor qualify and compete in his first PGA event at the Greenbrier classic.
These accomplishments are huge for their respective teams and show the hard work these programs have put in. It’s time for the students at ECU and the Pirate fans in Greenville to recognize these achievements and show their support for these smaller sports.
Unlike football, basketball and baseball, the game and matches of these smaller sports are mostly free to attend, and these teams crave support from fans at their events. The athletes and coaching staffs are putting in hours of hard work each week to achieve the results they are getting, and it is time they get the recognition they deserve.
While we should not abandon the struggling football or basketball programs this fall or stop celebrating the baseball team’s success, it’s time for Pirate Nation to show its support for the smaller programs at ECU, and to share in the hard-earned success with them. Students and fans alike should find a program that interest them, and go out and cheer as loudly as if they were in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.