East Carolina University

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The East Carolina Pirates are the sports teams representing East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. The Pirates compete in the NCAA's Conference USA of Division 1, along with Rice University, the University of Houston, Tulane University, the University of Tulsa, Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas at El Paso, the University of Southern Mississippi, the University of Memphis, Marshall University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the University of Central Florida. The conference is split into two divisions, with East Carolina competing in the 6 team East Division.

While the school is not well-known for its athletic prowess, it has produced a number of conference championships and National Finals appearances. The men's baseball team has enjoyed the most success of any of the school's divisions, winning 12 regular season titles and 10 conference championships, and appearing in the NCAA tournament 22 times. Over 100 current and former Major League baseball players called East Carolina home. Baseball was also the first sport established for play at the school, back in 1910.

The nickname Pirates comes from the state's location along the east coast of the United States. The area was famous for pirate activity, including forays from legendary pirate Blackbeard, who lived along North Carolina's coast in a number of communities over the years. The logo of a grizzled pirate with bushy beard, eye patch, and bandanna is based off of Blackbeard himself. The mascot, Pee Dee the Pirate is very much akin to the Pirate's logo, usually brandishing a large cutlass when out and about cheering on the Pirates.

The East Carolina football enjoyed a good amount of success in 2008, winning the conference championship after a 32 year drought, and played in a bowl game for the third consecutive year, losing to Kentucky 25-19, despite holding a 16-3 lead at the half. It was a disappointing end to the year for the squad, though one that has them optimistic for the future after their third straight improved season. The football squad plays their home games at the 43,000 seat Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

East Carolina has enshrined over 100 players into their hall of fame, as well as retiring the jersey numbers of over half a dozen players. Notable athletes who hailed from East Carolina include John Jett, Keith Leclair, David Garrard, Pat Watkins, and Dave Alexander. And while the wrestling entertainment industry straddles the line between being considered sport and fantasy, noted WWE chairman Vince McMahon, as well as his wife Linda, the current CEO if the WWE, both graduated from East Carolina also, with degrees in business.

Like Colorado State, East Carolina also fire off a cannon to signify scoring plays during their football games, the cannon having an obvious connection to the Pirates nickname. East Carolina has numerous other traditions surrounding their sports teams that connect with their Pirates name. They recently began hoisting their flags up before the start of each game, much like pirates would do to declare themselves to enemies on the high seas. They also read a poem entitled The Ghost on the Wind before each game.

Writer and editor, Freddie Brister, is a former high school football coach of 25 years. His love of the game of football is reflected in his words and memories of growing up in the South and playing football in the back yard with his brother, cousins and neighborhood friends. His biggest thrill is watching former high school players he has coached play at the college level. His favorite pastime is watching college football on tv and attending the games in person every chance he gets. Freddie Brister is a huge fan of college football. Check out his East Carolina Gear or his Cal Golden Bears Store

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