East Carolina, which missed the postseason the past two seasons after reaching the regionals four of the previous five years, has decided not to renew the contract of coach Billy Godwin.
Godwin coached the Pirates for nine seasons, compiling a 317-216-1 record, with five NCAA regional appearances. The past two seasons, though, despite the presence of Jeff Hoffman for a portion of that time, the Pirates went 31-26 and 33-26, missing the postseason. Hoffman is likely to become the highest-drafted player in ECU history this week; no Pirates player ever has been drafted in the first round.
In a statement, director of athletics Jeff Compher said he decided on making the change “after a thorough and thoughtful evaluation. I would like to thank Coach Godwin for his nine seasons of dedicated service to ECU. (He) has exhibited dignity and class throughout a difficult situation and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.”
In the interim, Compher said associate head coach Dan Roszel will continue to direct the team’s daily activities and recruiting efforts until a new head coach is hired.
Compher said a search for Godwin’s replacement would begin immediately.
Among the reported candidates are Cliff Godwin, an assistant at Ole Miss; Joe Hastings, an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Coastal Carolina; Michigan assistant coach Nick Schnabel, and Bryant Ward, an assistant coach at Loyola Marymount. All four were members of the 2001 ECU team, which tied a school record with 47 wins and won a regional before finishing two games short of a College World Series appearance.
One of the ex-Pirates, who spoke but not for attribution, said the move “was catching everybody off-guard. When things like this happen, you know somebody lost a job, and you don’t want to see that happen.
“My family bleeds purple and gold. That’s a place that’s dear to our hearts,” he added. “When you look at the history and tradition, it’s a place that can attract whatever type of coach they want.”
Virginia’s Kevin McMullan, a former ECU assistant, and North Carolina pitching coach Scott Forbes also loom as potential candidates. McMullan was an assistant on the ’01 team and was interim coach in ’02 when Keith LeClair was stricken with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Billy Godwin joined the Pirates as an assistant on June 9, 2005 before taking over the head coaching job on an interim basis four months later. He was officially named coach on Oct. 28. He got a contract extension following a 46-win season and super regional appearance in 2009.
In a statement, Godwin thanked former AD Terry Holland for giving him the job and said he had “nothing but great memories about my time spent as a Pirate.”
Those times nearly included Mike Trout, who was committed to East Carolina before becoming a first-round pick in 2009 and signing with the Angels.