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I got the surprise of my life when people were complaining about a DR editorial. You mean the BYH column is not the...

Houston among newcomers to Newport

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East Carolina football coach Mike Houston shows a Pirate hook during his introductory news conference in Greenville on Dec. 4, 2018.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Monday, July 15, 2019

A trio of first-year American Athletic Conference football coaches, including East Carolina's Mike Houston, heads to Newport, R.I., today for a first taste of seafood, interviews and more at AAC media days.

The other two newcomers are Temple's Rod Carey and Dana Holgorsen after his offseason transition from West Virginia to taking over at Houston.

Ronnie Woodward, East Carolina beat writer, also is traveling to Rhode Island to cover AAC media days. Read coverage in print and on reflector.com this week, and follow him on Twitter @RonnieW11 for up-to-the-minute updates in Newport from Gurney’s Resort and Marina.

Holgorsen and Carey are trying to continue recent successes at their schools, while Houston came to ECU from James Madison in December and took on a rebuilding project that very soon will transition to game action and wins or losses. The Pirates were 3-9 overall in 2018, with a 1-7 American record. ECU also was 1-7 in 2016.

Before football games kick off again in August, however, there is more time for buildup and hype in July, and in the AAC, that is highlighted by the league's New England-style summer signature clambake event. The clambake is tonight, featuring coverage on the American Digital Network beginning at 7.

Opening-day festivities also will include coaches and player representatives, which for ECU are senior receiver Deondre Farrier and senior defensive lineman Alex Turner, going through a series of afternoon media obligations such as video promotions, photo shoots and interviews.

Turner also attended 2018 American media days.

Tuesday's schedule is highlighted by the release of the league preseason poll and AAC commissioner Mike Aresco's annual public address.

Aresco is almost guaranteed to talk more about conference realignment, which for the AAC was impacted recently with Connecticut announcing it will be leaving the league to return to the Big East. The Huskies will still compete in the American this year, and veteran football coach Randy Edsall is slated to be in Newport and joined by four UConn players.

The preseason poll is likely to feature UCF and Cincinnati as frontrunners in the East Division and Memphis and Houston as the main contenders in the West.

The Phil Steele College Football Preview magazine predicted the Pirates to finish fifth in the East, ahead of only UConn. Steele picked UCF and the Bearcats tied atop the AAC East and Memphis to win the West.

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

August 25, 2019

The basics of playing receiver in football begin with catching the ball.

For East Carolina's offense this season to look like the successful and physical offenses at James Madison the last few years, however, the Pirates and head coach Mike Houston and offensive coordinator Donnie Kirkpatrick are…

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August 24, 2019

Here’s our East Carolina beat writer Ronnie Woodward’s shot at ECU football’s starting lineup against N.C. State. First-year Pirate coach Mike Houston should be releasing the team’s Week 1 depth chart Tuesday during his news conference.

Here it is:

OFFENSE

QB -- Holton…

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August 24, 2019

First-year East Carolina football coach Mike Houston has mainly established his starters and is in the fine-tuning phase of August as the noon kickoff against N.C. State in Raleigh is exactly one week away.

ECU was established as a 17-point underdog to the Wolfpack and has the task of trying to…

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August 24, 2019

East Carolina begins its first season under coach Mike Houston one week from today and is aiming to finish better than its three straight 3-9 records from 2016-18. The Pirates haven’t had a winning record since going 8-5 in 2014 under Ruffin McNeill.

Where are the wins in this year’s…

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August 24, 2019

New East Carolina football players reported to preseason camp on Aug. 1, about eight months after athletics director Jon Gilbert and football coach Mike Houston reported to Greenville as instant leaders of a new era of Pirate athletics.

It is in many ways still a rebuilding project, which Gilbert…

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August 22, 2019

East Carolina’s first athletic event of the academic year started and stopped and continued again and stopped again, then was canceled because of inclement weather.

ECU’s women’s soccer team was not able to finish Thursday night’s match against George Mason, even with the…

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August 22, 2019

First-year East Carolina defensive coordinator Bob Trott and first-year Pirate football head coach Mike Houston were similar with their words Wednesday that they think they know what to expect from N.C. State's offense, but they said preparing for an opponent during Week 1 of the season is…

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August 21, 2019

Many intricacies and focuses for East Carolina football players have changed with Monday's start to the fall semester and the N.C. State game a little more than a week away, but Pirate coach Mike Houston had no plans of intensity dipping with the transition from preseason workouts to in-season and…

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August 20, 2019

No more waiting for Holton Ahlers or the rest of the East Carolina football team or Pirate fans.

With next Saturday’s noon kickoff at N.C. State getting closer and closer, first-year Pirate coach Mike Houston officially announced after Tuesday’s practice that Ahlers will be his…

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August 20, 2019

Quarterback Holton Ahlers led East Carolina’s football team in rushing last season with 592 yards and six touchdowns on 119 carries.

New offensive principles are in place at ECU under a new coaching staff, leading to some intrigue about Ahlers and his run availability. Would this staff, led…

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