Armstrong: Houston comes in hot at ECU

Mark Armstrong Image
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Mike Houston unveiled at ECU on Tuesday
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Mike Houston is unveiled at ECU on Tuesday as the new football coach.

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Without question, it's been a desperately long and desperately dark (with a couple notable in-state exceptions) few years for ECU football. Mike Houston has landed in Greenville to change all that.

Houston said his mission is to "make ECU football relevant again" and he certainly feels he's the man for the job.

"We are going to be a hardnosed, physical, fundamentally sound football team ... we're gonna play with tremendous intensity, we're gonna play with passion, play with fire."

From the buzzcut down to his battle-hardened nose, Houston looks every bit a ball coach. His track record suggests he knows what he's doing too. A national champ at James Madison, he's got a formula for success he's planning to implement at ECU.

"It's centered on the relationships w/ the players, it's centered on work ethic, it's centered on doing things right."

Houston spoke Tuesday of driving his players harder in the weight room than they've ever worked before. He spoke of player accountability -- though that did lead to his one slip up...

"Your last name is JMU ... oops excuse me, I've been saying that for three years ... your last name is ECU! That's very important to me," he said.

Born and raised in North Carolina, the Pirates' new head man got downright feisty when talking about fighting for in-state players.

"We are going to recruit the state of North Carolina very aggressively, we will not back down from anyone," he declared.

The end goal being...

"We are eastern North Carolina's football program," Houston said. "In time, we'll be North Carolina's football program."

That kind of sentiment is destined to rev up a Pirate fan base that's lost more than a little of its moxie these past few years. It's also certain to reach the ears of the folks in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Durham. To which Houston would likely say ... "bring it."

"I can promise you, there will be no quarter, ever, from ECU football," he said. "Go, Pirates!"