12/07/05 — ECU discontinues men's soccer

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ECU discontinues men's soccer

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on December 7, 2005 2:03 PM

GREENVILLE -- East Carolina will discontinue its men's soccer program as an intercollegiate sport effective immediately, director of athletics Terry Holland said Tuesday.

After a two-month evaluation, which was conducted concurrently with thesearch for a new head coach, ECU's senior athletic administration (Holland, senior associate athletics director, senior woman administrator and faculty athletics representative) unanimously decided that the program should cease varsity competition.

"In our discussions with coaching candidates, it became clear that a significant increase in resources would have to be made available to men's soccer to improve our competitive position in Conference USA," Holland said. "The only source for the needed resources would be from the budgets of our other programs and we do not feel that any of our programs could withstand a significant budget reduction without an equally significant loss of competitiveness for the team(s) involved.

"It has become obvious to us that our current strategy has been largely ineffective in terms of on-field performance. Of even greater concern is the record against our conference opponents during a total of 23 years in the Colonial and C-USA."

Including the Pirates' 0-15-1 overall record in 2005, East Carolina has posted just one winning season in 41 years of competition dating back to 1965. Furthermore, ECU has produced a 17-151-5 league mark while a member of the CAA and Conference USA. Since joining C-USA, the Pirates have registered a 7-37-3 record and have won just two conference games during the past three seasons.

"While we all regret the effect that this decision will have on current men's soccer players enrolled at ECU, we believe that continuing the current course is just as unfair to those young men, as well as to future recruits and staff members," Holland said.

The athletics department will honor all current men's soccer scholarships as well as any grants-in-aid that have been offered by the coaching staff. In addition, ECU will assist any team members wishing to transfer by granting a release and will provide ancillary support, as permitted by the NCAA, to the men's soccer club team(s) which play under the supervision of the ECU Department of Recreational Services.

"During the next three years, it is our desire to carefully evaluate the intercollegiate soccer environment to determine if there is a realistic approach to building a men's program on a solid foundation that provides varsity competition for ECU students with a better opportunity for on-field success," Holland said.

Chad Halverson, who was appointed the Pirates' interim head coach July 22 after the departure of Michael Benn, will be retained and has been offered a reassignment to a position on the women's soccer staff under the direction of Rob Donnenwirth.

Despite the termination of the men's soccer program, ECU, along with Memphis, tops all Conference USA institutions with the highest number of intercollegiate sports sponsored with 19. Among regional competitors, the number of Pirates' programs will be consistent or higher than Cincinnati (17), Clemson (19) and Pittsburgh (19).