An Update From AD Jon Gilbert – Gameday Recap

Pirate Nation:

Thank you for showing up on Saturday and making your voices heard inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. You created an electric atmosphere. You could feel the energy early in the morning with the packed tailgates, purple and gold chants from all the parking lots, the Pirate Walk and the noise just reverberated throughout the game.

We appreciate the 8,000-plus ECU students who showed up in the Boneyard to support our coaches, student-athletes, and staff.  You make a difference, and we need you.


I want to address the substantial gameday challenges we had on Saturday with concessions, food and drink supply. We have heard from many of our loyal fans and Pirate Club members via phone and email the last 48 hours.


We appreciate all feedback. You deserve to have a first-class experience and your voice matters.


Bottom line, we must be better, and we will be better. The long lines at the concession stands and the inability serve 40,000-plus fans is not acceptable.


I would like to give a little background into how our gameday operations work. In addition to our ECU Athletics staff, we employ approximately 400 part-time employees on football gameday to assist with concessions. Almost a third of those employees, approximately 122 people, did not show on Saturday. Call it a labor shortage or whatever you want to call it, you don’t need excuses.


We didn’t have enough staff to cover all the needs on gameday. We are currently reaching out to local groups to check their availability to assist us moving forward. The proper adjustments will be made before we host Charleston Southern on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 6 p.m.


Please accept our apologies and understand we are evaluating every level of our gameday operation to make it a better experience. This has been a challenging 18 months and we have worked diligently to navigate through unchartered waters. Pirate Nation deserves the best and our expectations will not change. Customer service and safety of our spectators is our top priority.


Season Tickets For Men’s And Women’s Basketball On Sale Thursday

Men’s and women’s basketball season tickets go on sale Thursday, September 16. You can purchase tickets online at or call the ECU Athletics Ticket Office at 252-737-4500. The priority deadline for purchasing tickets is Friday, October 15.


The men’s team led by head coach Joe Dooley will play eight home non-conference games beginning with three consecutive games in Minges Coliseum with South Carolina State (Nov. 9), Canisius (Nov. 12) and Western Carolina (Nov. 14). Coppin State (Nov. 27), Old Dominion (Nov. 30), Gardner-Webb (Dec. 4), North Carolina A&T (Dec. 7) and Southern Miss (Dec. 21) will also visit Greenville before opening conference play. The Pirates will host UCF, Cincinnati, Memphis, South Florida, Temple, Tulane, Tulsa, Wichita State and SMU in conference action. We are hopeful the conference schedule will be released in coming days. 


On the women’s side, head coach Kim McNeill and the Pirates open the home portion of their schedule on Nov. 15 against Gardner-Webb. The Pirates battle Hampton on Nov. 18 for a 11 a.m. tipoff, the annual East Carolina Education Day. Other non-conference home games include Coppin State (Nov. 23), Campbell (Nov. 28), Towson (Dec. 4), North Carolina Central (Dec. 6) and Maryland Eastern Shore (Dec. 21). In AAC play, the Pirates will host Cincinnati, Memphis, SMU, Temple, Tulsa, Wichita State, UCF, and South Florida in Minges Coliseum.


Big 12 Adds Three Members Of American Athletic Conference

The AAC was in the news last week after Big 12 Conference presidents and chancellors voted to accept Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF into the conference.


For the immediate future, we will continue to compete against Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF during conference play. I have been on several calls with Presidents, Chancellors and Athletic Directors from the remaining AAC schools to discuss next steps with AAC commissioner Mike Aresco. We will continue to have dialogue on what is a fluid situation moving forward.


Our goal at ECU is to continue to compete in the AAC. We must continue to invest in resources for our programs to have success on and off the field. There’s a lot of variables in play when you look at what is next for the AAC and the possibility of adding teams. We will continue to monitor the updates from the conference and Commissioner Aresco.


Pirate Volleyball Team In Action At Home This Weekend

After beginning the 2021 season with six road games, the Pirate volleyball team will open the home portion of their schedule this weekend with the Pirate Invitational on Friday and Saturday in Minges Coliseum. Gardner-Webb, UTRGV and Appalachian State comprise the two-day tournament field that will compete with ECU. Admission is free for all fans.


Here’s a look at the tournament format: Appalachian State vs. UTRGV (Friday, 11 a.m.), ECU vs. Gardner-Webb (Friday, 1:30 p.m.), Gardner-Webb vs. Appalachian State (Friday, 5 p.m.), ECU vs. UTRGV (Friday, 7:30 p.m.), UTRGV vs. Gardner-Webb (Saturday, 12 noon), ECU vs. Appalachian State (Saturday, 3 p.m.).


Soccer Begins Conference Play

Our women’s soccer team is off to a 4-4 start and opens conference play Thursday evening at South Florida at 7 p.m. on ESPN+. We would love to have Pirate Nation in attendance on Thursday, Sept. 23 when the Pirates host SMU at Johnson Stadium for a 7 p.m. start.  Admission is free for all fans.



Women’s Tennis Team Underway

Head coach Kirstin Burgess will lead the Pirate women’s tennis team in five tournaments this fall. Five newcomers join senior Alisa Diercksen on the squad. The Pirates opened the fall season at the Liberty Invitational last weekend and will compete in the Elon Fall Invitational on Sept. 17-19. 


Thank you for your continued support of the Pirates.


All the best –




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