<
>

Longtime college assistant will finish season

RALEIGH, N.C. -- East Carolina football coach John Thompson
resigned Wednesday but will finish the season, ending his first
stint as a head coach after only two seasons.
Since replacing Steve Logan in December 2002, Thompson is 3-18.
The Pirates (2-7, 2-5 Conference USA) play Memphis on Saturday,
then finish their season Nov. 27 against North Carolina State.
The school scheduled an afternoon news conference, where
Thompson was to discuss his resignation. His decision comes about
two months after Terry Holland was hired as athletic director at
East Carolina, which is in Greenville, N.C.

"The last three-plus years have been ones of turmoil for ECU
athletics," Holland said in a statement. "Coach Thompson and his
staff literally inherited a 'house divided.' Although they have
done everything humanly possible to heal those wounds, the lack of
success on the field has made an overwhelmingly difficult healing
process virtually impossible."

Holland indicated a
search to replace Thompson would begin at the end of the season.

"After these two games are played, we will turn our attention to
a search for a new coach," Holland said. "Our first option will be
to seek a coach with a successful record at the Division I
level."

On Tuesday, Thompson discussed the disappointment of the season
and how much he was affected.
"I realize how frustrated and how hurtful this is for the
Pirate family and the Pirate nation," he said at his weekly news
conference. "I would like nothing more than to be successful for
the loyalty and the tradition and the people that have supported
this program for so long.
"I wish nothing more for these people to get their wish and for
us to be successful. Our team hasn't accepted losing, and they
haven't accepted failure. They will not, we will not and I will
not."
Thompson was the defensive coordinator at Florida when he was
hired to take over for Logan. He has spent 20 years as an assistant
at eight schools.
East Carolina lost its first six games under Thompson and
finished 1-11 in 2003, then dropped its first four this season.
Since then, the Pirates have won two of their past five games,
including league wins over Army and Tulane.
The Pirates have struggled on both sides of the ball. They're
allowing 466 yards a game -- about 55 yards worse than last year --
and they're last in the conference in total offense.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.