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Houston among newcomers to Newport


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


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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