Wednesday's college roundup
Compher named new ECU athletic director
GREENVILLE — East Carolina has hired Jeff Compher from Northern Illinois as its athletic director.
The school announced his hiring Wednesday and says he agreed to a five-year contract worth $415,000 annually plus performance bonuses and will begin May 1.
“Jeff Compher is a proven leader in moving an entire athletic department forward,” Chancellor Steve Ballard said.
Compher is a former assistant AD at North Carolina State and athletic director at Western Carolina who is in his fifth year at Northern Illinois.
“I believe ECU is poised for greatness and I am thrilled to be a part of the Pirate Nation,” Compher said. “North Carolina has always been home for our family and the city of Greenville holds a special place in our hearts.”
He will oversee the Pirates’ transition from Conference USA to the Big East in football in 2014. The destination for their other sports has not been determined.
Coincidentally, the football coach he hired at NIU — Dave Doeren — left before the Huskies’ Orange Bowl appearance to take the top job at N.C. State, located roughly a 90-minute drive east of Greenville.
He is replacing 70-year-old Terry Holland, the former Virginia basketball coach who has been the school’s AD since 2004. He said in December that he would become an athletic director emeritus once a successor was found, and will stay in that position until his contract expires in December 2014.
Blazing, Perrin named NFHCA scholars of distinction
DURHAM — The academic accolades continue to roll in for Duke field hockey, as sophomore Lauren Blazing and freshman Kendra Perrin were named 2012 Gladiator by SGI/NFHCA Division I Scholars of Distinction as announced by the organization Wednesday.
North Carolina sophomore Loren Shealy, who takes classes at UNC and Duke, also was named a Scholar of Distinction.
Blazing, a former Durham Academy star, and Perrin receive the honor just days after Duke garnered the 2012 Gladiator by SGI/ NFHCA Division I National Academic Team after earning the third best collective GPA in the country (3.52).
In order to be named to the Division I Scholars of Distinction, student-athletes must have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.90 or higher through the fall semester of the 2012-13 academic year. Despite being in the midst of a challenging schedule, Blazing and Perrin managed to excel in the classroom as well as on the field.
NCCU closes regular season on road
DURHAM — The N.C. Central men’s basketball team wraps up its regular-season schedule in the MEAC at Hampton tonight (8 p.m., NCCUEaglePride.com).
The Eagles (21-8, 14-1 MEAC) are catching the Pirates on the night when their seniors get honored, and Hampton (14-15, 11-4) will be fighting to hang on to third place in the league as both ball clubs get ready for next week’s conference tournament in Norfolk, Va.
Hampton is a game ahead of Savannah State, the only team in the MEAC that has managed to beat NCCU.
The Pirates made it to the 2011 NCAA Tournament, while NCCU coach LeVelle Moton will try to get the Eagles there for the first time in school history by winning the MEAC Tournament.
Tar Heels fall to VCU
CHAPEL HILL — Despite singles wins by Brett Clark and William Parker, the North Carolina men’s tennis team fell to Virginia Commonwealth by a 5-2 score on Wednesday afternoon at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.
VCU (12-4) claimed the doubles point with an 8-3 win by Michael Voscek and Max Wennakoski at the No. 2 spot. VCU’s Alejandro Argente and Jamie Vazquez were down a break at No. 3 doubles before rallying for an 8-6 victory over Oystein Steiro and Andrew Gores of UNC (7-4).
O’Donnell wins pro event
WINTER GARDEN, Fla. — Catherine O’Donnell, a former North Carolina golfer, captured the championship at a SunCoast Ladies Tour event played at West Orange Country Club.
O’Donnell fired a 6-over 219, including a 1-over 72 in final round Wednesday, to grab the title of the three-day event.
O’Donnell, who played at UNC from 2009-12, finished three strokes ahead of Karlin Beck and Song Yi Ahn who finished with 222 totals.
NCAA investigator wrote letter on Shapiro’s behalf
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — One of the investigators who worked on the NCAA’s inquiry of Miami athletics wrote a letter on behalf of former booster and convicted felon Nevin Shapiro just days before he was sentenced two years ago.
In the same letter, dated June 3, 2011, Ameen Najjar even suggested that the NCAA could eventually hire Shapiro.
Najjar, who is no longer with the NCAA, told U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton that college sports’ governing body could have utilized Shapiro “in the future as a consultant and/or speaker to educate our membership.”
Najjar also said that Shapiro assisted the NCAA with investigations involving a number of schools. Najjar did not specify the schools — not even Miami, where Shapiro is the central figure in the scandal that has dogged the Hurricanes’ athletic department for at least two years.
“Throughout the course of our interactions, it is my belief that Mr. Shapiro possesses a unique depth of knowledge and experience concerning representatives athletics interest (‘Boosters’), agents and the provision of extra-benefits to student-athletes,” Najjar wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.