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Godwin staying with Pirates

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East Carolina baseball coach Cliff Godwin during Sunday's game UNC Wilmington at Clark-LeClair Stadium. Sunday, June 3, 2018.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, June 7, 2018

East Carolina baseball coach Cliff Godwin had been linked to the Mississippi State head coaching position this week, but Godwin confirmed Thursday that he is staying with the Pirates.

This is the second Southeastern Conference school that has shown interest in Godwin, who is an ECU alum and former Pirate catcher with a 154-91-1 record in four seasons leading the Pirates. He also was a leading candidate at Alabama in 2016 after ECU made a run to the NCAA super regional round and won a super regional game for the first time in school history.

“Each of the past three seasons has generated interest from Power 5 programs,” Godwin said. “There is too much unfinished business here at ECU. I love this team and program.”

The connection to Alabama in 2016 led to Godwin signing a new contract that included pay upgrades for him and his staff and detailed facility improvements to Clark-LeClair Stadium, including a new indoor hitting facility that is still under construction. That contract runs through June 25, 2022, and in it his base salary reaches as much as $295,000 for 2021-22.

Godwin, a Snow Hill native, was a successful assistant coach before taking over the ECU program in June of 2014. He worked at SEC schools Mississippi and LSU and went to the College World Series with both of those teams, but also has publicly talked about his passion to get the Pirates to Omaha for the CWS for the first time ever.

The Pirates hosted a regional this year in their 29th NCAA tournament appearance. South Carolina won the tournament to advance to a super regional.

Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell and TCU’s Jim Schlossnagle also have been linked to Mississippi State and also reportedly are staying with their teams.

Mississippi State coach Andy Cannizaro resigned Feb. 20 amid reports of an investigation into allegations of an extramarital affair. The Bulldogs have been led since then by interim head coach Gary Henderson and won the Tallahassee Regional as the No. 2 seed.

MSU is playing at Vanderbilt this weekend in a super regional series. It has been to the College World Series nine times, the last coming in 2013 when it finished as national runner-up.

The Pirates went 44-18 this season, and it was 2-seed South Carolina that took the Greenville Regional title by winning all three of its games. The Gamecocks gained control of the double-elimination tournament with a 4-2 win over the Pirates on Saturday night.

It marked the second time ECU has hosted a regional at Clark-LeClair Stadium. The other was in 2009.

A core of this year’s Pirate team was in the sophomore class, led by Greenville native and All-American outfielder Bryant Packard and talented pitchers Trey Benton, Jake Agnos and Tyler Smith, and East Carolina should start the 2019 season on the national radar once again.

ECU has been to four super regionals, including when Godwin was a player in 2001.

“You can do things the right way on and off the field and have a lot of success in our program,” Godwin said Sunday night when the Pirates’ season came to an end with a 9-7 loss to UNC Wilmington. “Our culture is the No. 1 thing in our program and the thing that means the most to me. I can lay my head down every night knowing that our kids do it the right way. They are not perfect, but they do well in school and they play hard and they compete and they are good citizens in the community and make East Carolina proud.”

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

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