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The East Carolina Pirates is a college football team that represents East Carolina University (variously "East Carolina" or "ECU"). The team is currently a member of the Conference USA, which is a Division I Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
The Pirates have won seven conference championships and eight bowl games. The Pirates have 20 All-Americans over its history. Four players have their jerseys retired.
The team was founded in Greenville, North Carolina, in 1932. The team played home games at College Stadium on the main campus from the 1949 to the 1962 season. With the exception of the 1999 Miami football game, they have played their home games at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium every year since 1963. The stadium is located south of East Carolina’s main campus near the intersection of South Charles Boulevard and 14th Street.
The coaches and administrative support is located in the Ward Sports Medicine Building, which is located adjacent to the stadium. Strength and conditioning for the players occurs in the Murphy Center, which is located in the west end zone of Dowdy-Ficklen. The Pirates scrimmages at adjoining practice facilities named the Cliff Moore Practice Facility.
East Carolina began organized football in the fall of 1932. The first football coach in school history was Kenneth Beatty. They played under the nickname Teachers because the school was a teacher training school. The team played five games, with two in Greenville. They however did not score a point the whole season, while opponents scored a combined 187 points. The 1933 season started just as they left the 1932 season. The team lost the first four games not scoring a point. The first victory in school history came against Campbell on November 11, 1933. The final score was 6-0. The 1933 team lost their final game against Appalachian St. 14–0. Coach Beatty left after the season.
G.L. "Doc" Mathis was appointed the head coach after Coach Beatty left. Before the season, the school decided to change their nickname. The Men's Athletic Association wanted a nickname to inspire "more spirit and enthusiasm." The name was changed from the Teachers to the present Pirates. His first year, the team lost four games. But, they did win against Presbyterian Junior College and tied Old Dominion. The 1935 season included three wins, which was the largest total so far in history. Coach Mathis left after the season.
Bo Farley was introduced as the third head coach. The 1936 season was the first winning season in school history. Coach Farley's team won against Old Dominion, Duke Junior Varsity and Louisburg. He only stayed for one season.