Category Archives: Athletics

ECU alumnus scores Super Bowl Championship ring

Michael Brooks

Michael Brooks

East Carolina University alumnus Michael Brooks will join the ranks of former ECU Pirate football players who wear a Super Bowl championship ring.

Brooks was on the winning Seattle Seahawks team for the Feb. 2 contest as a rookie defensive lineman.

Originally assigned to the practice squad, 22-year-old Brooks was recently promoted for game play after two players were  injured.

A native of Roxboro, Brooks majored in criminal justice with a concentration in homeland security. ECU Pirates now have five Pirates with a Super Bowl championship ring within the last four years.

Coach Rock Golf Classic set for May 13

The third annual Coach Rock Cancer Research Golf Classic will be held May 13 at Ironwood Country Club in Greenville. The tournament will benefit ongoing research in the Department of Oncology at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and the Leo Jenkins Cancer Center.

The registration deadline is May 9.

Coach Thomas "Rock" Roggeman addresses players during a 2008 ECU football game. (Photo courtesy ECU Sports Information)

Coach Thomas “Rock” Roggeman addresses players during a 2008 ECU football game. (Photo courtesy ECU Sports Information)

Funds raised at the tournament will directly benefit cancer patients in eastern North Carolina through the Coach Rock Roggeman Cancer Research Fund. Thomas “Rock” Roggeman, who died of lymphoma in 2010, served as a defensive coordinator for ECU’s football team.

“This has always been such a fun day,” said Dr. Paul Walker, who established the cancer research fund with his wife, Kathy. “People have recognized that we’re all out there for something that’s very, very important.”

The tournament features a four-person superball format with a $500-per-team entry fee. Sponsorships range from $100 to $5,000. Tournament prizes will be awarded.

Tickets also will be available at the event for a $10,000 putting contest that will benefit the Spencer Hampton Scholarship at D. H. Conley High School.

Breakfast, registration and practice begin at 7:30 a.m., with the morning flight teeing off at 8:15 a.m. The afternoon flight tees off at 1:30 p.m., after a 12:30 p.m. lunch and registration and a 1 p.m. tribute to Roggeman.

Walker, an associate professor at the Brody School of Medicine and director of the thoracic oncology clinic, said the tournament celebrates the vigor with which Roggeman coached football and fought cancer.

“We wanted to honor the legacy of a man who has been highly respected as a man and as a coach,” he said.

It also serves as an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of funding cancer research. The Coach Rock Roggeman Cancer Research Fund supports the development of innovative cancer research treatment clinical trials at ECU that are key to improving cancer care for patients throughout the region.

“Every advancement in cancer treatment comes from cancer research,” Walker said.

Current research seeks to double the cure in inoperable lung cancer and acute leukemia. Other studies are exploring how to eliminate lung cancer in lymph nodes in nine out of 10 patients and completely clear the disease in patients with specific types of breast cancer.

Other sponsors of this year’s tournament include Steele Insurance Company, Brenda Till (in memory of Bruce Till), ECU Physicians, Greenville Nissan, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, Impressions magazine and BB&T.

To register or make a donation, please contact Susan Eubanks at 252-744-1015 or

Roberts scores touchdown, touches hearts


Noah Roberts scored a touchdown and touched some hearts on the final play of the April 20 East Carolina University Spring Football game.

Roberts is 8-years-old. He has Neurofibromatosis, a neurological condition that causes tumors to grow throughout the nervous system. He has endured surgeries to remove tumors from his brain and spinal cord. Roberts will continue medical studies to search for additional tumors.

Roberts’ sister Whitney of Wilmington is a student at ECU.

ESPN and CBS stories are posted below:

Video produced by Brian Meador and Greg Pierce, ECU Athletics.

Noah Roberts walks out onto the field at Dowdy Ficklen Stadium with head football coach Ruffin McNeil. (Photos courtesy of ECU Athletics)

Noah Roberts walks out onto the field at Dowdy Ficklen Stadium with head football coach Ruffin McNeil. (Photos courtesy of ECU Athletics)

The ECU Pirates celebrate with Noah Roberts following his touchdown during the Spring Football game April 20.

The ECU Pirates celebrate with Noah Roberts following his touchdown during the Spring Football game on April 20.

ECU athlete pursues Olympic dreams


Tynita Butts (Photo by Jay Clark)


ECU student athlete Tynita Butts is aiming for a spot in the U.S. Olympics Track and Field team.  The junior All-American finished in a tie June 28 to qualify for the high jump finals, one of only six competitors to avoid a miss in the preliminary. The finals are scheduled for 8 p.m. June 30 at 8 p.m. The NBC Sports Network will provide live coverage beginning at 9 p.m.

Read more at ECU

Read an Alexandria Times story about the athlete’s Olympic goals.



ECU Club Golf Wins Back-to-Back National Championships

Members of the winning ECU team include, front row left to right, Cole Suttle and Tom Duty; back row left to right, Trey Harris, Scott Tarcy, Jonathan Hockaday, Charlie Morahan, Faheem Amod and Corey Davis.

East Carolina University’s Club Golf team notched its second consecutive national championship by defeating a field of 12 teams at the National Collegiate Club Golf Association’s Fall National Championships in Pinehurst Nov. 5.

The Pirates posted a team score of 759, five strokes better than runner-up Dayton.  The title marks ECU’s 3rd national championship in the last five years.

“To win back-to-back national titles, it’s really special,” said Jonathan Hockaday, ECU club golf treasurer. “It’s so competitive just to win one championship, so you really don’t see teams win two in a row.”

The Pirates now have won five of their last six tournaments, along with two national titles.  In addition to the team successes, several Pirates have received individual honors. Trey Harris was the 2011 Fall Nationals Most Outstanding Player; he posted a 2-round total of 145.  Tom Duty and Hockaday joined Harris on the All-Tournament Team as they both fired a 2-round total of 148.

Duty said making the all-tournament team was like a dream come true. “It’s the culmination of all your hard work paying off,” said Duty, who also serves as the team president.  “This tournament was so competitive and we were able to put it all together for two days, which is great.  It’s nice to be considered with the top players in the country.”

The ECU Club Golf Team is one of 42 student organizations housed under the ECU Campus Recreation and Wellness Club Sports Program.  Under the guidance of Gray Hodges, assistant director for Club Sports, the club has been one of the program’s strongest clubs for many years.

“The Club Sports program has been really good to us,” said Duty. “Without his (Hodges’) help and support, we wouldn’t be where we are today. We are grateful for the many opportunities that have been provided to us by Campus Recreation and Wellness.”

For more information about the Club Golf team or ECU Campus Recreation and Wellness, call (252) 328-1576 or visit


ECU Club Baseball captures first ever national championship

Members of the ECU Club Baseball team celebrate their national championship win. (Contributed photo)


East Carolina University’s Club Baseball team won its first ever national championship by defeating Florida State 10-3 on June 2 in the National Club Baseball Association (NCBA) World Series title game.  It was the Pirates’ first trip to the World Series and it will go down as a memorable one.

“It’s a moment that I will never forget,” said Joe Caracci, ECU club baseball head coach.  “I just sat there on the bench and took it all in.  It was surreal.”

Trailing 3-1 heading to the bottom of the fifth, ECU exploded by scoring eight runs against Seminole starter Kevin McCourt to take a 9-3 lead and the Pirates never looked back. In all, 12 ECU Pirates batted in the fifth inning including two game changing hits by MJ Mackey and Brian Burgess which drove in two runs each and blew the game wide open.

For his efforts throughout the tournament and in the championship contest, Mackey was named the NCBA World Series MVP.  For the series, the Beaufort County product hit an incredible .429 with two triples, 10 RBI, and nine runs scored.

Perhaps lost in the shuffle of such a wild fifth inning was the performance of pitcher Zach Woodley, who picked up two wins in the tournament including seven strong innings where he limited FSU to just three runs in the championship.

“What an unbelievable tournament for Woodley,” said Caracci. “We honestly did not know what we would get out of him in the series because he didn’t pitch in the regional due to arm and back problems. But he really came through for us in a huge way.”

ECU opened the World Series with 4-2 win over their championship opponent FSU. It was then followed by a 14-2 shellacking of the tournament’s number one seed UC-Santa Barbara. The Pirates then stumbled against UCSB in an 11-8 loss before defeating the Gauchos 12-7 in the national semifinal.

The Pirates finished their dream season 29-8 overall.

“When I took over four years ago I had a vision,” said Caracci. “All of the guys that have come and gone through this program were a part of that vision. They laid the foundation for something special. The guys on this team made sure that their efforts were not in vain.”

For more information about the ECU Club Baseball program, visit or call (252) 328-6387.


Contact:  Gray Hodges, ECU Club Sports (
Telephone:   (252) 328-1576


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