East Carolina Pirates tickets owners gather at Dowdy- Ficklen Stadium to watch some football every time the home team plays there. The venue opened in 1963 and was capable to hold 10000 people, through the years and several expansions it is now possible to have a crowd of 50000 spectators that enjoy modern amenities as well as young athletes busting their moves on the turf.
Basketball crowd gathers at Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum where the Pirates play their games. The venue opened in 1968 and was further renovated in the nineties and there can be now 8000 spectators enjoying some college hoops.
East Carolina Pirates football program started in 1932 a year later after the basketball. The Pirates are located in American Athletic Conference, NCAA Division I (FBS for football), East.
The programs’ colours are purple and gold and the mascot is known by the name of PeeDee the Pirate. The college’s main rivals are NC State Wolfpack, Virginia Tech Holies and UCF Knights.
Football program has been the conference champions seven times and they were champions of three different conferences in their history due to several conference changes during their existence.
The Pirates went to 20 Bowls and won nine of them, last successful one occurred in 2013 when they beat Ohio in Beef ‘O’ Brady Bowl. One of their most memorable appearance was in Tangerine Bowl, in 1964 where they shut out Maine 31-0. It was their 3rd out of five consecutive wins in their Bowl run.
Without so much of overall success it’s quite a good result to have 63 players to be drafted by NFL teams. The very first was Roger Thrift, picked in 1951 by the Browns.
The most accomplished Pirates among the NFL ranks are Earnest Byner and Chris Johnson, a pair of explosive running backs. Byner played for several teams but the most success he reached with the Redskins where he won Super Bowl with them, as well as two Pro Bowls nods. After retiring from playing he went into coaching jobs and he even earned himself Baltimore Ravens Ring of Honor (played for a season and coached for five years there).
Johnson had his best years early in Tennessee Titans. After being drafted by them in first round he only needed one season to acclimatize to NFL and in 2009 he broke NFL record of 2509 scrimmage yards in a season and he became the only seventh player in the NFL history to rush for over 2000 yards in a season that won him rushing champion title that year as well as AP NFL offensive player of the year and NFL Alumni Running Back of the year award. He was also picked to appear in three Pro Bowls.
Basketball on the other hand is still trying to find its long lasting identity as the Pirates appeared in only two NCAA tournaments and won two conference tournament championships in their history.
There had been only four players to be drafted by the NBA clubs with “Blue” Edwards being the latest, from 1989, and most accomplished as during ten seasons in NBA he was selected to NBA All- Rookie second team.
There isn’t a long history of team success but the East Carolina does produce a gem once in awhile that is worth waiting for.