Loading...
BYH, a hamberder is like a hamburger, except served cold on a silver platter by an idiot....

Benkert leaves with no hard feelings

031716ECUpractice-1

ECU quarterback Kurt Benkert starts to throw a pass during the first practice of the year on March 16, 2016. (Joe Pellegrino/The Daily Reflector)

Loading…

By Nathan Summers
The Daily Reflector

Monday, May 2, 2016

In his three years at East Carolina, Kurt Benkert’s eyes were trained to scan receivers amid heavy coverage, to find open running lanes and to skirt oncoming tacklers as he prepared to become the Pirates’ next starting quarterback.

Now those eyes are fixed firmly on the University of Virginia, new Cavaliers coach Bronco Mendenhall and a brand new opportunity. A week ago, the rising junior passer announced he was leaving the Pirates after a difficult tenure that saw Benkert injured on the cusp of his first season as the Pirates’ starter last August.

As Benkert spent a painful year rehabilitating his surgically repaired knee and playing the waiting game, head coach Ruffin McNeill was fired and replaced by Scottie Montgomery. The change, as is often the case in college football, was ultimately not compatible for Benkert, a Cape Coral, Fla., native who never saw his first start at ECU.

“We just weren’t on same page with everything moving forward, and I felt like with me having a couple of years left to go out and play right away and not have to sit, it would be in my best interest to explore other options and give myself an opportunity to have a better future,” said Benkert, who will graduate from ECU this week and will be immediately headed north to Charlottesville, where coincidentally McNeill landed as a defensive staffer.

Benkert said he made his final decision to transfer ”about four or five days” after the Pirates’ April 16 spring game, likely after Montgomery revealed that senior former transfer Philip Nelson, with whom Benkert battled for repetitions throughout spring ball, would likely be the team’s starter this season.

But Benkert emphasized that the coaching change and QB situation were ”not the reason that I made my decision,” but rather that an opportunity for a better situation arose.

“When it got released to the public, I had a number of schools call, and I was really looking forward to hearing from Virginia,” he said. “Going on a visit there was definitely a no-brainer in terms of academics and football and everything they’re doing, especially with a new coaching staff. They’ve always had the facilities and everything, just not winning games has been the problem.”

Benkert hopes he can help with that.

He said he was sold quickly on Mendenhall, the former long-time head man at BYU who Benkert noted went to 11 straight bowl games with the Cougars, and who also topped ECU in the teams’ first-ever meeting last year in Utah. That was a big deal in the decision, Benkert said.

Despite having the former head coach who signed him at ECU now on staff at UVa., Benkert said the transfer to the Cavs would likely have happened regardless, especially knowing he and McNeill will have little on-field contact being on opposite sides of the ball from one another.

Benkert initially gave his commitment to former ECU offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, who left ECU two years ago to take the same position at Oklahoma.

“Just having that in with the coaching staff definitely helped right away,” Benkert said of McNeill. ”But a lot of it has to do with the system they run. They run the same system I’ve been in for three straight years, and I know it like the back of my hand, so it’s really just a terminology change. It’s the same concepts and, honestly, it’s a little more catered to my style and the quarterback they had before at BYU.

“I kind of see it as what we were turning into before the coaching staff got fired here, if I hadn’t gotten hurt.”

 

Contact Nathan Summers at nsummers@reflector.com, 252-329-9595 or follow @NateSumm99 on Twitter.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

ECU

January 16, 2019

East Carolina football head coach Mike Houston and his family are closing on a house this week and making the full move to Greenville next week.

Houston has made Greenville home basically since he was officially hired from James Madison on Dec. 3 to be the 22nd coach of the Pirates. He has been…

011219football-4.JPG

January 16, 2019

East Carolina football has started its winter workouts with a heavy focus on the weight room under guidance from director of strength and conditioning John Williams Jr., but first-year head coach Mike Houston also has other plans for the Pirates as they continue to stride toward beginning spring…

011219football-5.JPG

January 15, 2019

Shawn Williams was the 2018 American Athletic Conference basketball rookie of the year, and this season he has seen East Carolina teammate and freshman Jayden Gardner firmly put himself in position for a Pirate to potentially win the award for the second straight year.

Gardner’s outstanding…

010619basketball-11.JPG

January 14, 2019

Jayden Gardner continues to thrive as a freshman basketball player for East Carolina, including recently taking over as the American Athletic Conference’s leading scorer, and his praise continued Monday when he was lauded again by the AAC.

Gardner was named the league’s co-freshman of…

010619basketball-10.JPG

January 14, 2019

Ryan Robinson had a family member at the 2014 North Carolina-East Carolina football game, when the Pirates beat UNC 70-41 in front of an ECU record crowd of 51,082 at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, and he received rave reviews about that afternoon in Greenville.

As Robinson is entering Week 2 in his role…

092114ECUFootball22-68.jpg

January 14, 2019

College baseball banter picked up Monday morning with the release of the D1baseball.com preseason Top 25 rankings, which had East Carolina at No. 11.

ECU, which was already picked as the preseason favorite in the American Athletic Conference and also last week was ranked No. 11 by Perfect Game, was…

100718ECUbaseball-8.jpg.jpg

January 13, 2019

Jayden Gardner’s massive game for the East Carolina basketball team was not enough for the Pirates in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday.

The freshman post player posted an incredible double-double of 35 points and 20 rebounds while his team surged to outscore Central Florida 39-38 in the second half,…

010619basketball-12.JPG

January 13, 2019

Jayden Gardner’s free throw routine begins pretty basic. He dribbles a few times, mixed in with a couple of spins of the basketball.

Then he goes off script.

One dribble to the far right is followed by Gardner’s body regrouping to the center, and he rises up to shoot as his feet leave…

010619basketball-10.JPG

January 12, 2019

The East Carolina women’s basketball team tip-toed out of the gate against Tulsa on Saturday afternoon.

The visiting Golden Hurricane roared out, taking a 14-0 lead and never relenting in an easy 75-55 victory in American Athletic Conference action in Minges Coliseum.

The loss for the Pirates…

011319basketball-5.JPG

January 12, 2019

East Carolina and Tulsa occupy two of the top five spots in the American Athletic Conference women’s basketball standings heading into their matchup today in Minges Coliseum.

The game will provide a solid opportunity for ECU (10-5, 1-1) to record a quality win and to add to its 8-1 home…

011019basketball-7.JPG
291 stories in ECU. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 30
        Next Page»   Last Page»