The latest edition of “Conversations with Clayton” features my interview with Clip Brock, host of The Sports Bar from 3-5 PM Mondays through Friday on Pirate Radio 1250/930 AM, which covers East Carolina University athletics. Clip and I discuss the state of ECU football and basketball, the best places to get BBQ in Greenville, and a certain sports entertainment entrepreneur who is a graduate of ECU.
Clayton Trutor (CT): After two seasons, what grade would you give Scottie Montgomery for his efforts as East Carolina football coach?
Clip Brock (CB): 6-18 after 24 games. I don’t think things have completely bottomed out so I won’t give an F. Clearly 6-18 is well below average, so I can’t give a C. That’s how I got to a D.
CT: Despite a lack of success in recent years, ECU remains one of the best drawing football teams in the AAC. How would you account for the loyalty of Pirates fans?
CB: Pirate fans love their football. You won’t find a better game day atmosphere in the AAC. The tailgating is top notch. I host a four hour pregame show for every football game. I don’t think you’ll find many places where you have a four hour pregame show and a postgame call in show that goes on until the calls stop. It’s a sign of how important football is to the people around here.
CT: How is Michael Perry doing as interim coach for the men’s basketball team?
CB: As I type this the Pirates are coming off a 90-52 win over USF, so I’d say pretty great. But if I answered this after the upcoming Cincinnati game the answer would be different. For whatever reason, ECU has just never figured out how to be successful in basketball. The players play hard for Coach Perry, but everyone pretty much knows he won’t be here next season. There’s already a coaching search going on.
CT: What is the long term outlook for ECU men’s basketball?
CB: I could answer this better after I know who the next head coach will be. I’m interested to see if ECU brings in an older coach who has won in the past, or an up and comer looking for his first head coaching job at the D1 level. A lot of people bring up how tough the AAC is. That’s obvious. I’m more concerned with losing to Central Connecticut St, Radford and North Carolina A&T.
CT: How do Pirates fans feel about North Carolina’s other major collegiate programs, including Duke, UNC, NC State, Wake Forest, and Appalachian State?
CB: There are some ECU fans in the fall that put on their UNC, Duke or NC State shirt in the winter during basketball season. The rest of the fans despise the teams from the triangle.
CT: How did you break into broadcasting?
CB: I always wanted to do something sports related. When I realized I wasn’t good enough to play I figured I’d do much better talking about it. I got involved with a local station right out of high school. I was lucky enough to do play by play and host a sports talk show while working at the university radio station. They forced me to DJ a rock show from 10PM to 1AM in order to get the sports gigs, but it was worth it. I interned at Pirate Radio while I was at ECU and got a job here a year or so after graduating.
CT: What sports and sporting events do you most enjoy covering?
CB: A football Saturday at Dowdy Ficklen Stadium is at the top of the list. I’ve always attended ECU basketball games as a fan. And I’ve had a chance to do PA announcing for ECU baseball the last few seasons, so while I’m working the game, I’m not technically covering the game. So my answer would be a big time football game in the fall. I’m looking forward to ECU bouncing back in baseball and getting to cover a Regional and hopefully a Super Regional in Greenville.
CT: What are three things that outsiders don’t know about Greenville?
CB: I’ll use this to name a few famous folks.
WWE Owner Vince McMahon went to ECU.
Greenville, NC was the home of BMX legend Dave Mirra, and has been the home for a lot of the guys you’ve seen on the X Games.
Rapper Petey Pablo and Lee Norris aka Minkus from Boy Meets World are from Greenville.
CT: Next time I head down to Greenville for a Bearcats game, where should I eat?
CB: Obviously I’ll steer you to some BBQ. If you come with a group go to Parkers BBQ and get family style and eat until you can’t eat anymore. If you want a new school feel with an old school taste, check out Sam Jones BBQ. If you want to watch a game, there are some great locally owned sports bars. Professor O’Cools has a Cheers atomsphere. Tie Breakers has the best TV set up in town. And AJ McMurphy’s has an Irish pub feel with a solid menu.
CT: When you hear the word “Cincinnati,” you think ____________
CB: Nick Van Exel? I guess I think first of Huggins and his old teams. After that, I just think “tough”. Seems like every Cincinnati basketball team is tough as nails. I don’t think football when I hear Cincinnati. Bearcats or Bengals.
Follow Clip Brock on Twitter: @TweetingClip
While you’re at it, follow Pirate Radio 1250 as well: @PirateRadio1250
For more of the same, follow me on Twitter: @ClaytonTrutor