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Pirates draft up record GPA

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East Carolina head baseball coach Cliff Godwin watches a fall scrimmage at Clark-LeClair Stadium on Nov. 10, 2017.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Cliff Godwin is best known for being East Carolina’s baseball coach. He also is a commissioner, per se.

ECU baseball turned in a program-best 3.52 team GPA during the fall semester, which Godwin recently attributed to numerous factors. One of them is a lot of communication between players, coaches and support staff.

The commissioner part comes into play at the beginning of the semester when Godwin oversees the Pirate assistant coaches holding an academic “draft,” which is like a fantasy draft during which the coaches select which players they will be monitoring academically for the semester. It’s a key part of the team’s accountability aspect in the classroom.

“It’s about having a culture and having a standard, but then talking about it and holding people accountable,” said Godwin, who was a two-time academic All-American during his ECU playing career from 1998-2001. “It’s like anything else in this world in that if you want to be better at something, then talk about it. So it’s something we talk about.”

As much as the draft and oversight might be present, at times it is simply the players in charge of motivating each other.

“It’s like peer pressure in a positive way,” Godwin said. “Sometimes in school you could get made fun of for having like a 4.0 or something, but these guys are like, ‘Hey, good job man because you are pulling us up.’ But it’s talked about amongst our guys and they know that the coaches are (watching) and that we have academic teams.”

The Pirates’ fourth-year head coach pointed out that the team-wide commitment to academics was a big factor in the overall 3.52 mark. ECU had 36 players on its roster in the fall and no player had a GPA less than 3.12.

“It’s not something that you love or are excited about, but what school teaches is that you have to do some things in life and in the real world and there is a timeline and a deadline for when you have to have it done,” Godwin said. “I tell them that some of the stuff you do in college you’ll never have to do it again in your life, but you had to problem solve and get in a group and work in a group and come up with a plan and have a deadline. Whatever the concept was, you had to figure it out, and that’s what the real world is all about.

“If you are great in that, then when you come out to the baseball field or the weight room then that’s like recess. You can come out here with your best friends and, yes, you are taxing your body, but that’s recess and I think our kids get that.”

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

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

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