GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — East Carolina University and head football coach Mike Houston announced that offensive coordinator Donnie Kirkpatrick will leave his position after this Saturday’s home finale with Tulsa.
“Donnie Kirkpatrick and I met this morning and we have mutually agreed to part ways and go in a different direction offensively at the conclusion of the season,” Houston said in the statement, released just after 11 a.m. Sunday. “I have a lot of respect for Donnie as a person and a football coach. We appreciate his leadership and commitment to our football program.”
The Pirates (2-9, 1-6 AAC) fell to Navy, 10-0, last Saturday. It was the first time ECU was shut out in 322 games, going back 26 years to Oct. 4, 1997, at Syracuse.
The Pirates were held to just 189 total yards against Navy (5-5, 4-3 American Athletic Conference), were intercepted twice and fumbled the ball away twice. Most of the Pirates’ yardage came in closing moments against a tough Midshipmen defense.
Kirkpatrick has 39 years of college coaching experience, 10 as a coordinator. He rejoined the Pirates’ staff as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on Dec. 7, 2018, after Houston was named head coach. He was with Houston at James Madison as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2016-2018.
According to ECU Sports Information, during his 16 overall years on the ECU staff (2005-15, 2019-23), he has been an integral part of offensive units that have posted seven of the Top 10 scoring averages in program history (2013/40.2, 2010/36.8, 2014/35.8, 2022/32.5, 2012/31.5, 2007/31.0, 2020/30.2) and helped the Pirates earn bowl eligibility status on 10 occasions.
That includes last season, when the Pirates finished 8-5 overall, winning the Birmingham Bowl.
ECU will host Tulsa on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Senior Day.