East Carolina ready for conference move
Posted July 11, 2013
Updated 4:58 p.m. Thursday
Greenville, N.C. — East Carolina will spend one more year in Conference USA, then it's off to their new home, formerly known as the Big East, currently called the American Athletic Conference.
"The American Athletic Conference is going to be a very strong conference for us. It's certainly better than where we were," said Terry Holland, Former ECU Athletic Director. "We got a lot of mileage out of C-USA, but C-USA continued to hemmorage members."
Former AD Terry Holland led the charge to change conferences. He saw a need to upgrade ECU's facilities to be more attractive to a new league. Holland also understood the need to produce a better product on the basketball court. That started with the hiring of former North Carolina guard Jeff Lebo after he was fired by Auburn.
"The only blip is a minor part of his career at Auburn. You sit there and say, 'Why did they fire him?' was the first question. Then I said, 'Thank God they did'," said Holland.
Lebo is 56-44 in 3 seasons at ECU and year by year he has seen progress on the court and in the stands.
"We had a sold out sign out here," said ECU basketball coach Jeff Lebo. "I went out and took a picture of it before the game. people were asking me 'Coach, you have a game here in about half an hour.' I said 'I want a picture of this sign out here'."
This past season the Pirates won their first postseason basketball game in school history. They didn't stop until the final game of the College Insiders.com Tournament, beating Weber State for the National Tournament title.
"I think that will help elevate our program as far as exposure," Lebo said. "It will help elevate our program in the area to make it a little more fashionable to come to play at East Carolina.
"Obviously the NCAA tournament is where we want to be and that's our goal. But we broke through some barriors that have been holding this program back."