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Coaching search heating up

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Florida Gulf Coast coach Joe Dooley talks to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (Jerry Larson/Waco Tribune Herald via AP)


The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

As the college basketball season is nearing its end for East Carolina and other teams across the country, coaching searches are becoming more in focus.

The Pirates, who are the No. 11 seed for the American Athletic Conference tournament in Orlando, Fla., this week, are being led by interim coach Michael Perry, and he remains a permanent option, but work has progressed in identifying outside candidates.

According to sources, East Carolina athletics director Jeff Compher spent part of last week traveling and focusing on the coaching search as some leagues were conducting their conference tournaments. The Pirates are looking for a head man for the future after Jeff Lebo ended his tenure with ECU early in his eighth season on Nov. 29, 2017.

Here is a look at potential emerging candidates:

Joe Dooley: Dooley makes sense as a lead candidate given that he was head coach of the Pirates for four seasons during the 1990s, highlighted by a 17-10 record in 1996-97 and was linked to ECU’s vacancy in the past. He has been at Florida Gulf Coast for five seasons and the Eagles won the Atlantic Sun regular season this year, but they lost in the conference tournament championship game Sunday to Lipscomb and are not projected to make the NCAA tournament with their 23-11 record. FGCU went 26-8 last year to tie the school’s Division-I single-season wins record.

Mark Gottfried: A high-profile option comes in the form of Gottfried, who is a scout for the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA and could be looking to get back into the college game as a head coach. He had success in the NCAA tournament during his tenures with Alabama and N.C. State, including making the Sweet 16 with NCSU in 2012 and ‘15, but he was let go by the Wolfpack in 2017 after consecutive losing seasons. Gottfried also has reportedly been associated with the FBI's investigation into college basketball corruption and recruiting.

Bobby Lutz: Like Gottfried, Lutz is a former college head coach in North Carolina who is currently working in the professional ranks as an assistant coach for the Windy City Bulls of the NBA Gatorade (developmental) League. According to one source, Lutz is interested in coaching the Pirates. He led the Charlotte 49ers from 1998 to 2010 and made the NCAA tournament in five of his first seven seasons. Charlotte slipped from there and the Hickory native was fired by the school in 2010 and later joined the N.C. State staff as as a lead assistant for Gottfried.

Michael Perry: Perry is a natural candidate as the current coach for the Pirates, and he has publicly made a pitch for his role to become permanent. That seems like a longshot now as East Carolina has scuffled in the American Athletic Conference once again -— finishing 11th out of 12 teams — and enters the league tournament on a five-game losing streak. Perry has been at East Carolina since 2007 and has prior head coaching experience from five seasons leading Georgia State.

Wes Miller: Similar to Lebo in that he once played guard for the North Carolina Tar Heels, Miller is gaining momentum in the coaching ranks and having a banner season in his seventh year as head man at UNC Greensboro. UNCG won at N.C. State this year, took the Southern Conference regular-season title and is NCAA tournament-bound after Monday night’s SoCon tournament championship victory. Miller is 35 years old and a leader among a group that also includes College of Charleston’s Earl Grant, if East Carolina tries to secure a young coach from a smaller conference.

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


Humans of Greenville


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


June 19, 2018

The time just after former East Carolina pole vaulter Brie Berkowitz completed her master’s degree at ECU was defined by a series of internships.

She did broadcasting for football camps, coordinated travel for various teams with the Miami Hurricanes and worked in sales and marketing for the…


June 18, 2018

The consistency shown by East Carolina football coaches was key during the recruitment of Farmville Central rising senior defensive lineman Keziah Everett and that led to Everett verbally committing to the Pirates on Monday.

He chose ECU over North Carolina and Virginia. The Pirates were the first…


June 17, 2018

The United States team completed a dominant run at the FIBA Americas U18 basketball tournament in Ontario, Canada, on Saturday night with a 113-74 victory against the host Canadian squad to take the gold medal.

East Carolina first-year coach Joe Dooley helped pick the team, which was led…

dooley (1).JPG.JPG

June 16, 2018

East Carolina sophomore outfielder Bryant Packard earned his school-record seventh All-America honor after being named a first-teamer by the American Baseball Coaches Association on Saturday.

Packard led ECU in seven offensive categories, including batting average (.406) to rank seventh nationally.…


June 15, 2018

East Carolina first-year coach Joe Dooley played in part in assembling the roster for the USA Basketball U18 National Team that could be on a collision course to face host team Canada this weekend in the championship game of the FIBA Americas tournament.

Dooley was a court coach during…


June 14, 2018

To many in the world of women’s basketball, Anne Donovan was a giant. And not just because she stood 6-foot-8.

She won a national championship at Old Dominion, two Olympic gold medals as a player and another as a coach in her storied career. She died Wednesday and people in Greenville…

Obit Donovan

June 13, 2018

Anne Donovan, the Basketball Hall of Famer and former East Carolina women’s head coach who won a national championship at Old Dominion, two Olympic gold medals in the 1980s and coached the U.S. to gold in 2008, died Wednesday of heart failure. She was 56.

On her rise to prominence, Donovan…

June 12, 2018

Reality set in for East Carolina shot put standout Galissia Cause during her hotel check-in last week in Eugene, Ore., for the track and field NCAA Outdoor Championships.

She competed at the NCAA East Regional meet in all four of her seasons, but only this year did the senior make it past…


June 10, 2018

There is a group text message involving some recent East Carolina baseball players.

They are great friends, and it is during these messages about jobs or social plans when Evan Kruczynski is reminded how lucky he is to be a professional baseball player.

There is a grind associated with the day-to-…


June 08, 2018

Galissia Cause already was the East Carolina record holder in the outdoor shot put and she ended her collegiate career Thursday night in All-America fashion, placing 10th in the shot put event at the NCAA Outdoor Championships held in Eugene, Ore. Taking 10th place garnered her second-team All-…

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