East Carolina has an old friend as its new football coach. Ruffin McNeill is a Robeson County native who played defensive back for the Pirates in the late '70s. The school introduced McNeill today to replace Skip Holtz, who left for South Florida last week.
McNeill spent the past ten seasons as an assistant at Texas Tech. He served as the team's interim coach when Mike Leach was suspended then fired last month.
McNeill says the job is a dream come true.
"I don't need anyone to tell me about the academic excellence here at East Carolina," he said. "I'm a witness. My wife is a witness. She's got her masters degree. My brother graduated from here. My sister-in-law graduated from here. My brother-in-law graduated from here. So we have a lot of ties to greenville and this university. And I can't begin to repeat how I am to be your next coach."
McNeill called East Carolina "a destination job" and said he planned to be at the school for a long time.