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Houston on AAC coaches' minds

Harvey
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Evacuees walk along a median of Interstate 610 covered in floodwaters in Houston on Sunday.

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BY RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

It is not easy for a lot of people in Texas right now as they battle the flooding and aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and the American Athletic Conference coaches can feel that because part of the league’s roots are in the Lone Star State.

The first AAC coaches teleconference of the season began Monday with veteran Ken Niumatalolo of Navy offering support to Houston first-year head man Major Applewhite before he even mentioned his team’s matchup at Florida Atlantic. The struggles in Texas were a theme throughout the rest of the teleconference.

“It is so saddening to see what is happening down in the coastal area of our state, but yet it’s rewarding to see the people coming together,” SMU’s Chad Morris said.

Morris is a Texas native and former high school coach in the state. He has offered help to Houston and to Rice, which is coached by David Bailiff, and Morris described Bailiff as one of his best friends in the profession.

“It’s just a time of need right now and we all have to come together,” Morris said.

Houston’s players and coaches have been in Austin since late last week and been able to use the Texas’ Longhorns facilities. UH assistant athletics director for communications David Bassity said during the teleconference that an emphasis during the weekend was for all players to contact their families and assure their safety, which was able to happen.

The Cougars are scheduled to play Saturday night at Texas-San Antonio, but the team is having to take a day-to-day approach to the week for now.

“We just continue to monitor the situation and obviously it changes rapidly,” Bassity said. “You can go back to Wednesday when it looked like it was just getting remnants of a tropical storm and 48 hours later, it was a Category 4 hurricane.”

East Carolina had to go through a similar situation last fall with Hurricane Matthew. It caused schedule changes and required flexibility by coaches and players.

“When parents can’t get to their kids, there is a lot of angst with it,” Pirate coach Scottie Montgomery said. “At the end of the day, it’s all about patience and family. … It’s bigger than football and is bigger than school — these are these kids’ lives.”

Thursday primetime

The biggest opportunity for an American team this week likely comes with Tulsa’s trip to Oklahoma State set for Thursday night.

OSU is considered by some pundits a serious national championship contender. Tulsa had a breakthrough 10-3 record last season, but also hasn’t won in Stillwater since 1951.

“You have good feelings about your team, but until you actually tee it up for real, you just don’t know,” Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said. “We go against each other all the time and now we finally get a chance to go against a new opponent.

“It ought to be a great game and we’re looking forward to it. Hopefully we can represent our conference and our university well.”

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

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

ECU

February 15, 2019

A total of 21 runs by East Carolina powered the Pirates to a college baseball opening day sweep of Radford at Clark-LeClair Stadium on Friday.

Spencer Brickhouse’s go-ahead, two-run home run keyed a 6-2 win, then ECU used a 16-hit barrage for a 15-9 victory in Game 2 of the doubleheader…

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February 15, 2019

CATCHER

Jake Washer, junior: Washer is back as East Carolina’s starting catcher after receiving Major League Baseball draft interest following his breakout sophomore season. In addition to showing power with six home runs and 40 RBIs a year ago, Washer posted a smooth .287 batting average.…

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February 15, 2019

Equipped with All-American Bryant Packard ready to serve again as East Carolina’s leadoff man in the batting order and a stable of proven pitchers who battled during the preseason for lead rotation spots, ECU is ready to face an opponent and begin a new season.

Radford’s visit to Clark-…

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February 15, 2019

WEEKEND ROTATION

FRIDAY

Alec Burleson, sophomore: Burleson will be a frequent player at designated hitter and first base in the lineup, but his main focus in the season opener versus Radford will be on the pitcher’s mound. The left-hander, who was the American Athletic Conference rookie…

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February 15, 2019

One of baseball’s many adages is that good teams need to be strong “up the middle,” a reference that focuses on important defensive positions from catcher to middle infielders at shortstop and second base and then into the outfield with a center fielder.

This East Carolina team is…

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February 14, 2019

East Carolina’s 64-54 women’s basketball win at SMU on Thursday night gave the Pirates consecutive victories for the first time since December.

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February 14, 2019

East Carolina’s baseball season will begin Friday at Clark-LeClair Stadium with a doubleheader at 2 p.m. and from there the series schedule versus Radford will be fluid.

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Revised Weekend…

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February 13, 2019

Joe Dooley has warned about these funks, especially on the offensive end, that East Carolina’s basketball team has been prone to lately.

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February 13, 2019

Dorthea Forbrigd shot a career-low 54-hole score of 209 (7-under-par) to claim a share of first place at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic this week.

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February 12, 2019

East Carolina baseball has four left-handed pitchers and two of them, Alec Burleson and Jake Agnos, are set to be the Pirates’ first two starting pitchers of the season.

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Burleson, a…

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