ECU shows its heart
Published 10:27 pm Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Nothing can erase the loss caused by a gunman who lashed out and killed 32 students and teachers at Virginia Tech in April.
Terry Holland, East Carolina University’s athletics director, knows that, but he also knew that the Pirate Nation had to do something. The week of the shooting, Holland pledged that ECU’s athletic program would donate $100,000 to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund.
On Saturday, ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard, Holland and other ECU officials presented that check to Virginia Tech officials and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. The check-presentation plan started shortly after the shootings, when Holland challenged ECU fans and Pirate Club members to generate the funds to cover the pledge.
And they did.
The donation is one of the largest from another university to Virginia Tech, according to published reports. Holland knows that’s no accident.
That’s a sign of class, and something Pirate fans need to appreciate.
The fact that ECU would be the Hokies’ first football opponent since the shootings wasn’t lost on the Pirate football team.
At the same game where ECU made its $100,000 donation, the Atlantic Coast Conference made a donation of its own. The 12-team conference, of which Virginia Tech is a member, gave $300,000 to the fund.
While we don’t mean to diminish the ACC’s donation, remember ECU and Virginia Tech aren’t regular rivals. Including Saturday’s game, the Pirates have played the Hokies on the gridiron a grand total of 13 times in 51 years.
The gesture by the Pirates was not lost on some Virginia Tech students.
In a column published in The Collegiate Times, the Virginia Tech school newspaper, Amie Steele wrote:
And some Hokie fans did just that. Their screams of “Thank you” after ECU’s check presentation were very bit as loud as any Hokie cheer throughout the close three-hour game.
Virginia Tech fans answered the call. Now, we think many of them and a national TV audience know what it’s like to be a Pirate both on and off the field.