NC State

ECU chancellor tells Pirates fans to give 0-2 football team a break

If you’re concerned about East Carolina’s 0-2 start this football season, you’re not alone.

Chancellor Cecil P. Staton feels your pain. He talked about the struggles in losses to James Madison (34-14) and West Virginia (56-20) at the school’s Board of Trustees meeting on Friday.

Staton sent out a memorandum to the ECU community on Friday encouraging the fans to support the team and resist the temptation to lash out on social media.

ECU chancellor Cecil P. Staton’s memo

TO: ECU Community

FROM: Cecil P. Staton, Chancellor

DATE: September 15, 2017

SUBJ: Student Athletes and Football

At the conclusion of his remarks to the Board of Trustees on September 15, 2017, Chancellor Staton addressed the issue of ECU Athletics:

ECU loves to win. We have lots of stories we share with each other about great victories in this university’s athletic history, wins that are sometimes against extraordinary odds. We’ve learned that we can get that “W” on any field of competition – at any time — and that’s for good reason. We’ve done it before. We are Pirates, after all.

Let there be no doubt; we’re going to get back to our winning ways in football. But as we’ve struggled in recent weeks, my wife Catherine and I talk often about the unique place the two of us are in, one that most fans haven’t experienced. That’s the personal one-to-one time we have with our student athletes. It’s nothing like their time with coaches, but we’ve been on the field, we’ve traveled with them, sometimes on the bus, other times on the plane, sometimes in the hallway of a hotel. Sometimes we’re together before a game or at the conclusion of a game. And we never lose sight of the fact that it’s a rare privilege to spend time with people who work so hard to be the best they can be on the field, at the same time working hard to earn an education at a top national university. That’s a tough task, and there are very few of us who could be successful with those kinds of demands. But we have some remarkable student athletes at ECU. And I can assure you, no one wants to win more than they and their coaches do, on the field and in the classroom.

My more optimistic self knows that fans would behave differently if they knew these young people the way we do. But we live in a time when people can hide behind anonymity and say hurtful things they’re unlikely to say face to face. That’s the downside of social media and radio call-in shows. I am too often appalled at what I see and hear in these venues. And I’ve encouraged our coaches and athletes to ignore it. Unfortunately, there are times when they just can’t avoid it. And that’s a shame.

It’s been difficult for our football team and for Pirate Nation the last couple of weeks, but let me tell you what Catherine and I are going to do. We are going to put our arms around our student athletes and love them. We are going to express our appreciation and admiration for the fact that they get up each day, take classes, and still find time to work out, practice, and prepare with all their hearts to be the best they can be on the field and in class. Frankly, I don’t know how they do what they do.

I hope you will join me in loving them and appreciating them for their dedication and determination. They are undaunted, and I urge all of us to remain undaunted, as well. We want to be competitive on the field of competition. All of us do. But we also want the best for our athletes, whether it’s on the field, in the classroom or in life after college. Let’s support them across the board. And let’s be sure they know we’re supporting them.

Catherine and I are going to stand behind our student athletes – home or away, win or lose. They are family, after all. They are friends. They are Pirates. And we are Pirate Nation.

We’ll get through whatever challenges the year brings, and our fans know that. I’m pleased that they are sticking with our long-term vision, whatever comes our way. Their support, and my support, for our Southside Stadium expansion is unwavering. I salute these loyal Pirates and our athletics staff for nearly $15 million in philanthropy. I also salute the many Pirates who have stepped up to reserve their boxes and suites, far more than initial projections anticipated this far into the program. That’s what makes us Pirate Nation. That’s what makes me very proud.

Go Pirates.

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