Ruffin McNeill

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McNeill and Riley redefine the old boy network

McNeill and Riley redefine the old boy network

The decade-long coaching bond linking Ruffin McNeill and Lincoln Riley is — on its surface — a typical old-boy network story. McNeill twice appointed Riley his offensive coordinator. When Riley was named a head coach, he hired McNeill.And you say, So what?Head coaches routinely...

ECU reaches out to Ruffin McNeill to honor him

ECU reaches out to Ruffin McNeill to honor him

During the offseason, East Carolina offensive coordinator Donnie Kirkpatrick went to Oklahoma to pick the brain of Sooners’ head coach and former Pirates’ assistant Lincoln Riley.But Kirkpatrick also had another assignment on the trip: Patch up the school’s relationship...

A final look back and the view that is ahead

A final look back and the view that is ahead

Flipping the calendar to 2019 seems a good time to empty my East Carolina football notebook. Here is a look back at the chaotic dismissal of Scottie Montgomery followed by the ironically efficient hiring of Mike Houston four days later. Talk about turning the tables. In the...

This is how diversity is supposed to work

This is how diversity is supposed to work

When Butler chose its new basketball coach, the candidate pool included a former Bulldogs assistant. Two days later, newly named Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley added his former boss at East Carolina to his Sooners’ staff.There’s nothing unusual about last week’s separate...

East Carolina builds strength with Connors

East Carolina builds strength with Connors

East Carolina enjoys the luxury of promoting offensive lineman J.T. Boyd as an Outland Trophy candidate. It’s an especially inspiring story from anonymous two-star prospect in the 2012 recruiting class.Back then, Boyd’s only other options were four schools that play in the lower...

Hire of Montomery calms the East Carolina waters

Hire of Montomery calms the East Carolina waters

GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina athletic director Jeff Compher limited his pool of coaches to replace the popular Ruffin McNeill when his surprise announcement 11 days ago to fire the coach was met by protests from ECU students and fans.He was fortunate, from that...

McNeill good enough for Harbaugh but not ECU

McNeill good enough for Harbaugh but not ECU

My first thought upon hearing East Carolina fired head coach Ruffin McNeill is the old college athletics expression, “You’re alma mater doesn’t love you as much as you love it.”That certainly fits Friday’s surprise announcement from East Carolina athletic director Jeff Compher....

Virginia Tech tries to avoid loss to nemesis East Carolina

Virginia Tech tries to avoid loss to nemesis East Carolina

Last week ESPN’s Michael Wilbon, a Big Ten graduate of Northwestern, said on his show Pardon the Interruption that Northern Illinois could finish fourth in the Big Ten.Agreeing or disagreeing with him (I disagree) isn’t the reason for this story. It’s to point out that East...

McNeill recognizes path Raye helped clear to Birmingham

McNeill recognizes path Raye helped clear to Birmingham

The frame of reference of today’s college football players dates merely two decades, meaning it is not necessarily unusual to see African-American Ruffin McNeal lead East Carolina into a bowl game as the Pirates’ head coach.But such a moment is significant when it's the...

McNeill remains grateful for Dantonio endorsement

McNeill remains grateful for Dantonio endorsement

The 2010 Alamo Bowl crowd roared, the Texas Tech band played and bodies swirled around Red Raiders interim head coach Ruffin McNeill and Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio at midfield following the 2009 season’s bowl game played in San Antonio. Yet McNeill remembers a...