East Carolina Join Soon-To-Be-Renamed BIG EAST

East Carolina Join Soon-To-Be-Renamed BIG EAST

Pirates will become a member in all sports for 2014-15.
-Conference USA

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Commissioner Mike Aresco has announced that East Carolina University, having previously accepted an invitation for football only, will play all sports in the soon-to-be-renamed Big East Conference, when it joins July 1, 2014.

The conference’s board of directors, by a unanimous vote of its presidents, extended the all-sports invitation to East Carolina.

“I am very pleased that East Carolina University will become an all-sports member when they enter the conference in 2014,” said Aresco. “ECU is a valuable addition to our conference. They have forward-looking leadership under Chancellor Steve Ballard and an outstanding and well-rounded athletic program. Their men’s and women’s basketball teams have enjoyed excellent seasons and their Olympic sports are strong. East Carolina being made an all-sports member is another important step in strengthening our conference.”

“East Carolina University is delighted to play all sports in this conference,” Chancellor Steve Ballard. “We appreciate the leadership of Commissioner Mike Aresco and President Judy Genshaft of the University of South Florida and chair of the Conference Executive Committee.”

Founded in 1907, East Carolina University is a public university and research institution that is nationally recognized for preparing family physicians, health care professionals and education professionals as well as for its strong performing and visual arts programs.

It enrolls 27,500 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students and is North Carolina’s largest producer of education and primary care professionals. It operates the Brody School of Medicine, a new school of Dental Medicine and a growing undergraduate Honors College in Greenville.

East Carolina competes in 19 intercollegiate sports. The school fields men’s teams in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, swimming and diving, tennis and indoor and outdoor track & field. Women’s teams compete in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track & field, and volleyball.

East Carolina placed both its men’s and women’s basketball teams in the 2013 postseason as the men’s team has reached the semifinal round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament while the women’s team played in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. The men’s team, led by coach Jeff Lebo, has a 21-12 record, which marks the team’s first 20-win season since 1953-54. The women’s team, under the direction of coach Heather Macy, finished 22-10 and made its third postseason appearance since 2007.

East Carolina has enjoyed across the board success in intercollegiate athletics. The Pirate baseball team has made 25 NCAA Championship appearances, while the softball team has made NCAA appearances in two of the last three years and plays in a state-of-the-art stadium, which opened in 2011. The men’s golf program earned at-large selection to the NCAA Championships for the first time last season, while the women’s golf team participated in the regional field for the fifth straight season. The indoor and outdoor track & field teams regularly advance individuals to NCAA Championship competition.

On the football field, East Carolina has been a consistent winner. The Pirates have made eight bowl appearances since 2000, including six in the last seven years. East Carolina went 8-5 last season, capped by an appearance in the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. The Pirates went 7-1 in Conference USA last year, tying for first in the league’s East Division. The ECU football team plays in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium that has a capacity of 50,000. The team has averaged more than 47,000 fans per game in each of the past three seasons.

Beginning with the 2014-15 academic year, the Conference will consist of the University of Central Florida, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Connecticut, East Carolina University, the University of Houston, the University of Memphis, Southern Methodist University, the University of South Florida, Temple University and Tulane University. The U.S. Naval Academy will become a football-only member in 2015.
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