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Jeff Gravley

ECU celebrates at home

Posted December 5, 2009
Updated December 7, 2009

Winning a championship is the primary goal, not where you win one. Last year East Carolina captured the C-USA title in Tulsa. That was rewarding.

But nothing like winning a conference title at home.

The Pirates got to celebrate back-to-back titles in front of their faithful fans on a cold, drizzly day at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Fans cheered loudly as Skip Holtz lifted the C-USA trophy high overhead. Then the coach took the microphone and invited all fans to make their way to the field to join the celebration.

It wasn't unruly.

It wasn't out of control.

It was incredible.

It was a large group of fans getting to share the feelings of being a champion with the men who provided it.

Senior defensive back Van Eskridge, who made the game clinching interception, bounced up and down with Pirate fans.

"This is what we wanted to do," yelled Eskridge. "Win here in rowdy Dowdy with our fans."

Senior quarterback Patrick Pinkney was engulfed by fans as he left the championship stage. But Pinkney didn't mind being sacked by Pirate fans. This was the exit he was looking for. The first ECU quarterback to win consecutive conference titles.

In his postgame press conference, Skip Holtz spoke about how awesome it was to stand on the stage and inhale the moment of his players in celebration and the fans joining right in.

"I've got some mental pictures that I'll go to my grave with," Holtz said. "Standing down there just seeing the people in the stands and the student section and the electricity."

Then there was ECU director of athletics, Terry Holland. He stood silently like he didn't want to disturb the moment. But Holland couldn't keep the smile off of his face watching the rewards of a master plan he helped put together.

East Carolina is a championship football school ... back-to-back.

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  • me2you Dec 7, 10:54 a.m.

    Woo Hoo! Go Pirates. I hope they can bring home a win in Memphis too!

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