Homecoming 2009 ADA information
100 YEARS OF TREASURED TRADITIONS
Revisit some of the more memorable East Carolina events of the past 100 years.
1909 Purple and gold are introduced as the school’s colors
The colors of royal purple and old gold were first selected by students in 1909, and were officially standardized by the school in 1916.
1910 First sports teams established
Baseball is established as the first sports team at East Carolina Teachers Training School, as the institution is then named. The first teams for women are established on an intramural level in the sports of basketball, tennis, and volleyball.
1911 Poe and Lanier literary societies formed
Before fraternities and sororities became commonplace at East Carolina, students belonged to literary societies. In 1911 students formed the Edgar Allen Poe and Sidney Lanier literary societies. Others included the Jarvis (1909) and Emerson (1926) literary societies.
1925 Y-Hut built
The "Y-Hut" was presented to the college by the local YWCA and served as a place for informal student gatherings and alumni meetings.
1932 Original Wright Fountain built
Dedicated in 1932 in honor of Robert H. Wright, ECU’s first president, the fountain was built as part of ECU’s campus beautification project. In 1951, the fountain at Wright Circle was rededicated as Wright Fountain in honor of Martin L. Wright, the chairman of the Campus Beautification Committee.
1932 First Homecoming Weekend
Until 1947, Homecoming took place each spring to coincide with Founder’s Day. On March 5, 1932, the first homecoming celebration took place on campus honoring the classes of 1911, 1912, 1913, and 1914.
1934 "Pirates" becomes the official name for the college’s sports teams
Before 1934, the college's athletic teams were known as the Teachers, but Pirates was chosen due to the historical ties to piracy in the region, particularly the infamous exploits of Blackbeard.
1939 Alma Mater introduced
The Alma Mater was written and arranged by ECTC student Harold A. McDougal, director of instrumental music at Greenville High School.
Praise to your name so fair,
Dear old East Carolina.
Your joys we'll all share
And your friends we'll ever be.
We pledge our loyalty,
And our hearts devotion.
To thee our Alma Mater,
Love and praise.
1941 First homecoming parade
Although the first homecoming parade took place in the spring on March 18, 1941, the Homecoming Parade moved to the fall in 1947, and has become the anchor of homecoming weekend.
1941 Football team completes the only undefeated season
Under the leadership of football coach John Christenbury, ECTC defeats Bergen College 13–7 to finish the season undefeated. No Pirate football team, before or since, has matched that feat.
1951 Victory Bell request made
On April 6, 1951, ECTC makes a formal request to the curator of the US Navy for a ship’s bell to honor students who served in the military during World War II and the Korean Conflict. Two years later, at a ceremony during Homecoming, a bell from the USS Broome
is unveiled and christened the Victory Bell.
1952 The first issue of the East Carolinian
Formerly known as the Techo Echo
, the ECU student newspaper is still published today. After another name change in the 1970s–this time to the Fountainhead
–the 1980s saw the East Carolinian
return as an independently produced student publication.
1953 First Homecoming Queen crowned
On October 10, 1953, Mrs. Kitty Gerringer Brinson became ECU’s first homecoming matriarch.
1953 Pirate Club is formed
Now in its 56th year, the Pirate Club provides athletic scholarships and other support for intercollegiate athletics.
1967 ECU cannon
It is unclear exactly when ECU began shooting off a cannon at home football games, but it dates back to at least 1967 when East Carolina officially gained university status. In 1999, ECU introduced a scale replica of an 18th-century English cannon that is fired by a special group of Army ROTC cadets.
1971 The Jungle
Harrington field is dedicated on May 9, 1971, and with it the Jungle, a wooded area beyond the outfield fence that became a treasured place from which to watch Pirate baseball games.
1980 Barefoot on the Mall begins
For the past 30 years, ECU’s Student Union has sponsored this all-day outdoor festival. Each spring, thousands of students fill the Mall to celebrate being a Pirate with live music and outdoor activities. Past events have featured such musical artists as Jason Mraz and John Mayer.
1983 Pee Dee the Pirate becomes the official university mascot
Fin 1983, the university introduced a new pirate as the mascot. A contest was held for the elementary school students in Pitt County to come up with a nickname for the pirate. Hence, Pee Dee the Pirate was born.
1984 Pigskin Pigout Party
The purple and gold Pigskin Pigout Party began as a way for the community to celebrate Pirate football. Featuring a pig-cooking contest, live entertainment, carnival, celebrity golf tournament, and culminating with the annual spring game, the Pigskin Pigout Party continues to this day.
1996 The Cupola is dedicated
The iconic campus landmark is actually a double-size replica of the domed roof structure that once crowned the top of the original Austin Building, one of the first buildings constructed on campus. The Cupola serves as a reminder of ECU’s earlier days.
1997 ECU joins Conference-USA
It is almost at tradition at ECU to change athletic conferences. In 1947, ECTC joined the North State Conference. In 1966, the Pirates joined the Southern Conference. In 1985, all varsity sports except football joined the Colonial Athletic Association. Finally, in 1997, ECU becomes a member of Conference-USA.
1997 Polar Bear Plunge
With the opening of the Student Recreation Center in 1997 came one of campus’ zanier traditions—the Polar Bear Plunge. Each January, hundreds of enthusiastic Pirates brave the chilling water of the rec center’s outdoor pool.
2001 Pirate Palooza begins
Part of the Weeks of Welcome initiative, this annual August event is packed full of activities for the incoming freshmen class, including, live bands, the annual Walk the Plank, Slide for Tuition, a visit from Pee Dee, games, food, prizes, T shirts, and more.
2003 #23 Jersey
Since 2003, the number 23 jersey has been awarded annually to the ECU baseball player who best embodies the qualities that made former baseball coach Keith LeClair such an inspiration to so many. In only five seasons as ECU coach, LeClair compiled a 212-96-1 (.688) record to become the second-winningest coach in ECU’s history.
2005 Clark-LeClair stadium opens on campus
Named in part for legendary ECU baseball coach, Keith LeClair, Clark-LeClair stadium replaced Harrington Field as the home field of the Diamond Bucs.
2007 No Quarter/Jolly Roger flag raisings
Reflecting the pirate tradition of hoisting one’s colors before an attack, the Jolly Roger and the No Quarter flags are raised during each ECU home football game at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The Jolly Roger is hoisted right before kickoff, and the No Quarter flag is raised at the beginning of the fourth quarter, signifying that the Pirates will fight till the end and show no mercy.
Think you know all there is to know about Pirate lore? Test your wits.
1. What is Pee Dee named after?
A. Blackbeard’s parrot
B. A river
C. ECU’s first president
D. Pirate Devil
2. In which year did the football team go undefeated?
3. Before becoming the Pirates, East Carolinians were known as the…
C. Sea dogs
4. Which of these CSI Miami stars is an ECU alum?
A. David Caruso
B. Emily Procter
C. Kim Delaney
D. Eddie Cibrian
5. Which of these great women of American history did not visit ECU?
A. Eleanor Roosevelt
B. Helen Keller
C. Rosa Parks
D. Amelia Earhart
6. In what year were purple and gold selected as the school colors?
7. Which of these musicians has never performed at ECU?
A. Neil Diamond
B. Duke Ellington
C. Ozzy Osbourne
D. John Mayer
8. At some point in its history, ECU was referred to as each of the following except?
A. East Carolina Teachers College
B. Eastern Carolina University
C. East Carolina Teachers Training School
D. East Carolina College
9. Which of the following celebrities did ECU biologist Dr. Jason Bond not name a spider after?
A. Neil Young
B. Angelina Jolie
C. Stephen Colbert
D. Will Ferrell
10. How many athletic conferences has ECU belonged to?
11. Who is the only sitting U.S. President to visit ECU?
A. Barack Obama
B. John F. Kennedy
C. Jimmy Carter
D. George W. Bush
12. What is the official seating capacity of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium?
13. What jersey number did legendary baseball coach Keith LeClair wear?
14. Who was the first chancellor of East Carolina?
A. Leo Jenkins
B. Robert H. Wright
C. John B. Spilman
D. Thomas Jordan Jarvis
15. What is the oldest ECU tradition?
A. No Quarter Flag
B. Homecoming parade
C. The school colors, purple and gold
D. Changing our name
16. Which of the following “ECU firsts” happened in 1959?
A. First African-American graduate
B. East Carolina granted university status
C. First live broadcast of an ECU football game
D. Mendenhall Student Center opens
17. From what ship did the ECU Victory Bell come from?
A. U.S.S Constitution
B. U.S.S. Broome
C. Queen Anne’s Revenge
D. U.S.S. North Carolina
18. What song plays when the Pirates’ football team takes the field?
A. Purple Haze
B. Purple Rain
C. Heart of Gold
D. Purple People Eater
19. More than any other university, ECU provides North Carolina with what?
C. Allied health professionals
D. All of the above
20. East Carolina won its first basketball game in 1932. Who did they beat?
B. Campbell College
C. Elon College
21. When were the Marching Pirates established?
22. The pirate statue at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is one of the largest cast statues of a pirate in the world. Where was it forged and cast?
A. Pittsburgh, PA
B. Birmingham, AL
C. Greenville, NC
D. Milwaukee, WI
Answer key: Homecoming Pop Quiz
1. B. In 1983, a contest was held for the school children of Pitt County to name the ECU Pirate. The name Pee Dee was chosen, and it comes from the Pee Dee rivers that flow through the Carolinas. In colonial times, pirates frequently patrolled up and down those rivers.
2. B. Under the leadership of football coach John Christenbury, the 1941 ECTC Pirates finished the season 7–0, becoming one of 13 undefeated teams in the nation that year.
3. A. East Carolina’s athletic teams used to be referred to as the Teachers, but in 1934, the Men’s Athletic Association wanted a nickname with more spirit and excitement. The school decided on pirates due to the historical relevance of piracy to the area.
4.B. Emily Procter `91, stars on the hit television drama as ballistics expert Calleigh Duquesne. While at ECU, Emily majored in communication (broadcasting) and was also active in the dance department.
5.C. Sadly, civil rights icon Rosa Parks never visited ECU, but Keller (1917), Earhart (1937), and Roosevelt (1941) all did.
6.A. The school colors, old gold and royal purple, where chosen by the students way back in 1909.
7.C. Sadly, the Ozzman never cameth to ECU. Neil Diamond and Duke Ellington both performed in the 1960s, while John Mayer played Barefoot on the Mall.
8.B. With the absurd frequency that sportscasters and referees refer to this institution as Eastern
Carolina University, it’s no wonder some of you got this question wrong.
9.D. Dr. Bond has made headlines and even appeared on national television to promote his spider species discoveries and their celebrity-inspired names. Fans of Ferrell will be sad to learn that to date, he hasn’t made the cut.
10.C. ECU joined the North State Conference in 1947, the Southern Conference in 1966, the Colonial Athletic Association in 1985, and Conference-USA in 1997.
11.D. George W. Bush visited campus in 2001, becoming the first sitting president to visit ECU. Some candidates who went on to become president have visited campus during their presidential campaigns including John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama.
12.C. Dowdy-Ficklen stadium was dedicated in 1963 with a capacity of 17,000 spectators. It was expanded to 20,000 in 1968, 35,000 in 1975, and to its current capacity of 43,000 in 1998. Future expansion will put the stadium at 50,000 in the near future.
13.C. Coach LeClair compiled a 212-96-1 (.688) record as in five seasons as ECU’s baseball coach. He passed away in 2006 after a courageous battle with ALS and is remembered fondly by the Pirate Nation. Each year, one player is awarded the #23 jersey to where for the season. It is the highest honor bestowed on an ECU baseball player.
14.A. When East Carolina achieved university status and became part of the UNC system, the title of our chief executive was changed from president to chancellor. Robert H. Wright was the first president back in 1909.
15.C. Dating all the way back to 1909, the school colors—old gold and royal purple—were chosen by the first class of the East Carolina Teachers Training School.
16.C. Football has long been important to community of Greenville, and in 1959 those unable to get a ticket to the game could watch it on TV.
17.B. The USS Broome
, a 1190-ton Clemson-class destroyer built at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was commissioned in 1919. After being decommissioned after World War II, the Broome
’s bell was given to ECU. The official presentation of the bell was held on October 10, 1953, at a ceremony during Homecoming. It was dedicated to the students who served in the military during World War II and the Korean Conflict.
18.A. The football team takes the field for each home contest amid a cloud of purple as Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium rocks to this Jimi Hendrix classic.
19.D. That’s right, all of them. ECU produces more teachers, allied health professionals, and nurses than any other school in the UNC system.
20.B. We wish the answer were A, but it was actually Campbell College that East Carolina defeated for the school’s first victory.
21.A. The East Carolina Teachers College Band—which would go on to become the Marching Pirates—was organized by Mr. Dean Tabor during the winter quarter of 1938 with only 20 members. It would grow to more than 60 by the end of the first year.
22.C. Believe it or not, the statue was forged and cast right here on campus. It was commissioned by Irwin Belk and created by Jodi Hollnagel.
Your Pirate rank is:
0 out of 10: Ballast
1 out of 10: Landlubber
2 out of 10: Scallywag
3 out of 10: Bilge rat
4 out of 10: Scurvy dog
5 out of 10: Matey
6 out of 10: Privateer
7 out of 10: Buccaneer
8 out of 10: Freebooter
9 out of 10: Corsair
10 out of 10: Captain
The most treasured traditions are often our own. Send us yours, and on Friday, October 16, we’ll post the best ones.
Do you have a favorite tradition or homecoming memory you’d like to share with the Pirate Nation? If so, use the form below to tell us about it. And don’t forget to check back on Friday, October 16, when we’ll post some of the memories that we receive.
To share a memory send your name, e-mail address, hometown and homecoming memory here.
Homecoming Photo Gallery
1. The Marching Pirates warm up with a jam session before the parade.
2. Homecoming weekend began on Friday night with a pep rally downtown.
3. The student homecoming committee gives out goodies at Freeboot Friday.
4. Coach Holtz fires up the crowd on Friday night.
5. PeeDee is ready for the start of the 2009 ECU homecoming parade.
6. Members of the Delta Zeta sorority getting ready for the parade.
7. ECU’s children’s theater poses before the parade.
8. PeeDee with some young pirates.
9. Many university groups and organizations took part in this year’s parade.
10. You can always count on getting some candy at the homecoming parade.
11. Even chilly temperatures couldn’t dampen this little one’s pirate spirit.
12. Why walk when you can drive?
13. Avast, me hearties!
14. Even out of uniform, C-Bass is unmistakable.
16. Feeling the Pirate spirit.
17. ECU cheerleaders and marching band on the field before the game.
18. The 2009 East Carolina homecoming court.
19. Pirate fans cheer the team onto victory.
20. ECU and Rice go head-to-head.
21. Brandon Jackson breaks a tackle on the way to the end zone.
22. Touchdown Pirates!!!!
23. The Pirates were hitting hard all day.
24. Cheering the Pirates after a score.
25. The Marching Pirates put on quite a show at halftime.
26. Celebrating yet another touchdown.
27. Senior Patrick Pinkney led the Pirates to a great win over Rice.
28. Dwayne Harris with a kickoff return for a TD.