GREENVILLE – After nine seasons at the helm of the East Carolina baseball team, Billy Godwin has seen his tenure as the Pirates’ head coach come to an end.
Godwin’s contract, which was set to expire June 30, was not renewed by second-year director of athletics Jeff Compher, the AD confirmed Monday. It marks the first major coaching change made by Compher, who replaced the retiring Terry Holland in May ’13.
“After a thorough and thoughtful evaluation, I have decided to make a change in the leadership of the ECU baseball program,” Compher said in a statement. “I would like to thank coach Godwin for his nine seasons of dedicated service to ECU. He has always been a great representative of our university and an exceptional colleague in our department who has exhibited dignity and class throughout a difficult situation, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.”
Godwin ranks second all-time in baseball wins at ECU with 317, trailing only former skipper Gary Overton. Under Godwin’s guidance, the Pirates marched to five NCAA regionals and one Super Regional in ’09, though this year’s 33-26 club became the second straight to miss the postseason.
“I would like to thank Terry Holland and (assistant and former interim AD) Nick Floyd for giving me the opportunity to be the head baseball coach nine years ago,” Godwin said in a statement. “I am extremely proud of and thankful for all of the players and coaches I have worked with in that time. We have averaged 37 wins a year on the field, graduated players and have 14 former Pirates playing in professional baseball. I will have nothing but great memories about my time spent as a Pirate.”
A former head coach at Louisburg College and a graduate of Atlantic Christian (now Barton), Godwin took over the ECU team in ’05 and had four 40-win campaigns during his tenure. The Pirates played host to their first-ever regional in Clark-LeClair Stadium in ’09, defeating South Carolina before bowing out to North Carolina in the Super Regional round.
The Pirates were Conference USA regular season champions that season.
The Godwin era was marked by continued success in putting players into the pros, culminating this season with top pitching prospect Jeff Hoffman, who lured scouts and even presidents and general managers from most major league clubs to ECU before the junior right-hander was shut down for the season with Tommy John Surgery.
After being eliminated early at the Charlottesville (Va.) Regional in ’12, Compher told Godwin that he wanted to give the coach through the end of his contract this year before making a long-term decision.
The final edition of the Pirates under Godwin was characterized by its two-game sweep of UNC and a surprise 10-game winner out of the bullpen in senior Ryan Williams, but also by its early exit in the Pirates’ final Conference USA Tournament.
Needing to win the tournament title in order to make the regional round, ECU beat Southern Miss in 11 innings in its opener before conceding losses to Texas-San Antonio and the Golden Eagles to end the season.
Notable wins in the Godwin era over nationally-ranked teams included Cal State Fullerton, Houston, Louisville, Michigan, North Carolina, N.C. State, Oklahoma State, Pepperdine, Rice, South Carolina, Southern Miss, Tulane, Virginia, UCF and UNC Wilmington.