DB's ECU Preview: The Return of Big Mack


Elite Member
Apr 19, 2009
The Rams last tilt before plunging into the thick of the CAA slate is set for the 29th of December against the Pirates of East Carolina University (est. 1907). ECU located in Greenville, is the third-largest school in North Carolina with an enrollment of 27,703 students and is the fastest growing University in the state. Distinguished alumni include actress Sandra Bullock, Jacksonville Jaguars QB David Garrard and star RB for the Tennessee Titans, Chris Johnson. Their athletics colors are Purple and Gold.

ECU Basketball History:

The Pirates hail from Conference USA, the same conference as the Green Wave of Tulane and were a long time member of the CAA for 20 years from 1981-2001. They were mediocre throughout their history in the league. The highlight of their stint in the CAA was a miracle run in the 1993 CAA tournament where they won the tourney despite a 7th-place regular season finish and a 4-10 conference record. That was their 2nd and last NCAA tournament to date. Since moving to the C-USA 8 years ago, the Pirates have averaged an 11th place finish and have not had a winning record. Despite their lack of basketball success, the Pirates have sent 4 players onto the NBA including a certain George Maynor, who was drafted by the Bulls in the 1979 draft. George of course is the father of all-time VCU scoring and assist-leader Eric Maynor.

Head-to-head, the all-time series record is 15-7 in favor of the Rams. The Rams are 8-1 against the Pirates at home (2-0 at the Siegel Center), 2-1 on neutral courts, and 5-5 at Minges Coliseum. The Rams most recently suffered a tough 93-90 overtime loss last year at East Carolina in which both Eric Maynor (who scored a career-high 35 points, along with 6 boards, and 6 assists) and Larry Sanders (16 points, 14 boards, and 4 blocks) fouled out of the game down the stretch. It was one of the worst losses the Rams suffered last year as the Pirates went on to finish 13-17 and 9th place in C-USA.

The Return of Big Mack:

The former VCU head coach makes his first return to the Siegel Center since his 4-year stint at the University in the late 90's and early part of this decade. McCarthy is probably best-known for his time at Chattanooga from 1985-1997, where he went 243-122, including a Sweet Sixteen run in 1997 just prior to coming to VCU. McCarthy's record at VCU was 66-55 overall and it was under his regime that the Stuart C. Siegel Center opened in 1999 with a great 79-74 win over Louisville, one the Great Moments in Rams' History. To reminisce or learn a bit about that game, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maeMi463BvM

Mack was known to be an abrasive and polarizing figure at VCU, often engaging in inappropriate behavior on and off the sidelines and recruiting players with questionable character and backgrounds. He often swore at his players on the court and was a cause for embarrassment for the University on several occasions. He was grossly overweight and was often maligned by opposing fanbases during his time here. He was basically told to move on or be fired at the conclusion of the 2001-2002 season, after which VCU Athletic Director Dick Sander made a risky but successful gamble on a young Jeff Capel Jr. The rest, as they say, is history...

The 2009-2010 Pirates:

ECU returns 8 lettermen from last year's 13-17 campaign. ECU has continued with it's mediocre ways starting off 5-6 this season, however even that is deceiving as the Pirates have 3 wins against non-D1 schools (UVA-Wise, Coker, and St. Andrew's)included in that tally. Their most recent win was a 5 point squeaker over Division II St. Andrew's. St. Andrew's is the new home of former VCU graduate assistant Jesse Pleasants, who graduated last year and is an Assistant Coach at the school. ECU's lone D1 wins are South Dakota State and UNC-Greensboro to date.

The Pirates are led by junior 5'11 point guard Brock Young who averages 15.1 ppg and 6.1 apg. Last year his 7.6 assists per game ranked in the top 5 in the country. Jontae Sherrod (13 ppg) and Darrius Morrow (12.4 ppg and 6.9 rpg) join him in double-figure scoring. Chad Wynn (8.3 ppg) and Jamar Abrams (9.4 ppg) round out the starting 5. Jamar Abrams is a local Richmond product who starred with current Ram Brandon Rozzell at Highland Springs, garnering 1st-team All-State honors on the way to the 3A Virginia State Championship as a high school senior.

The Pirates average 70.5 ppg as a team and average 17 turnovers a game, which bodes well for the Rams full-court pressure attack. However, the Pirates are plus-4.4 in the rebounding margin, which has historically been a weakness for the Rams. Darrius Morrow at 6'8, 250 pounds is the Pirates primary option on the inside and is joined by the 6'10 255 pound Chad Wynn at the Center position. Wynn will likely be charged with the defensive assignment on Larry Sanders. Coach McCarthy has been focussing this season on getting away from the heavy dependence on the 3 that they displayed last season and trying to funnel the offense through the frontcourt duo of Wynn and Morrow. The key subs for the Pirates are Erin Straughn, Chris Turner, and DaQuan Joyner. The Pirates are slow starters, having been outscored by their opponents 325 to 282 in the first half, while they play their opponents even in the second. It will be imperative to get off to a good start and maintain our defensive intensity through the second-half as the Pirates are a second-half team.

Injury Report:

The Pirates are a little banged up as Brock Young, Jontae Sherrod, Darrius Morrow and Chris Turner were involved in an automobile accident just hours before the St. Andrew's game. All 3 starters were able to play, but Turner was ruled out by team doctors and sat on the bench. Erin Straughn another key reserve suffered an ankle injury during their game against Clemson and sat out the St. Andrew's game as well. With 9 days to go before the game, both players should be available however.

The Prediction:
The Rams are currently 3-0 on the 'VCU Home Revenge Tour' having beaten Oklahoma, Nevada, and Rhode Island in return home games after losses to those teams on the road last year. East Carolina is the last team on the list. The Rams complete the sweep and serve up some cold December revenge on the Pirates, rolling in a relatively easy 15-point win at the Siegel Center. The win will especially be enjoyed by the C-section who will jeer McCarthy incessantly while he mutters obscenities to himself. GO RAMS!
ECU is NOT a basketball school. We should crush them.

I'd like to see Pav do a Mack look-a-like. Get an old jacket and attach Big Mac wrappers on it!
ECU has alaways played us tough and we can not take them lightly. Good opportunity to redeem a tough loss last season; Look for the Rams to win w/ our depth. Having Santil and Skeem ready to play makes us stronger. Our guards need to pick up the offense and make their shots and our big men need to rebound and keep Larry out of foul trouble. Go Rams!
Damm, did we get Kenny Stancil back? Working on his Doctorate? lol
BaNgMyPrOgRaM said:
ECU is NOT a basketball school. We should crush them.

I'd like to see Pav do a Mack look-a-like. Get an old jacket and attach Big Mac wrappers on it!

that's what I thought last year and they beat us
BaNgMyPrOgRaM said:
ECU is NOT a basketball school. We should crush them.

I'd like to see Pav do a Mack look-a-like. Get an old jacket and attach Big Mac wrappers on it!

Oh man. This.Would.Be.Amazing.

Do it Pav.

I believe Pav began working for the VCU basketball program under Coach Mack.....doubt he harbors any ill-feelings for the guy, so that probably won't be happening guys.
VCU4LIFE said:
I believe Pav began working for the VCU basketball program under Coach Mack.....doubt he harbors any ill-feelings for the guy, so that probably won't be happening guys.

Right...he was a student manager under Mack, which makes it that much more hilarious! ;)

Oh alright Pav, you don't have to do it if you don't want to.
Naw, Mack and I go way back. I'll pick on him a little, but won't give him the Blaine treatment.

Besides, me dressing like Mack would be way too easy.

I used to joke that the main reason Coach Mack kept me around was so that he would have somebody standing behind him at games (and next to him at the buffet) who made him look average sized.
Does anyone remember the game under Mack where we got called for "consternation" of the backboard?

The guy is a total low-life. Bottom feeder- as a college basketball coach, as well as a human being. A loss on our court would be humiliating, and demoralizing. But it ain't' gonna happen. Last year, on their court, well... they got hotter than you-know-what, and things happen. But not in our house. My guess is Mac wants to get in, get out, and get the heck out of town.... as soon as he hits the all-nite China king Buffet. :mrgreen:
I wasn't around for the Mac years, but I noticed last year when we started talking about the ECU game that some of the older fans don't like him at all to this day. Does any one want to shed some light on this for the newer fans? If not that is certainly understandable as well. His record wasn't the best, but not awful either although the feelings seem somewhat more personal any way.
The paragraph addressing that in DB's write-up is pretty accurate. I for one certainly liked him and think he deserves more credit than he gets for our turn-around as a program.
We were TERRIBLE prior to him coming in. I think the guys he brough in here were the guys that he had to bring in here to get us going in the right direction in the W-L columns. Sure there were some bad apples with regards to character, but we started to win pretty quickly. Bo Jones, LaMar Taylor, Willie Taylor, etc. were some of the best athletes we have ever seen in a VCU uniform.
He got us back to a certain level of respect and competitive ability, and then was asked to leave and we brought in someone who was able to take us to the next level.
Again, I really don't think Mack gets the credit he deserves for helping to bring the VCU men's basketball program back from the dead!