GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina University Director of Athletics Jon Gilbert and Pirate Club Executive Director Ryan Robinson announced that the Clark Family has made a $2 million investment to support the Pirates Unite Campaign for Comprehensive Excellence, the third-largest gift in ECU Athletics history. The investment was made by the Clark Family which is comprised of Bill Clark and his sons, Hunter, Heath and Lance.
The Clark’s gift will support the funding of a proposed multipurpose indoor facility located within the current athletic footprint that will benefit all sports programs. A portion of the gift will also assist the funding of a new baseball building expansion down the left field line at Clark-LeClair Stadium. An investment of $90,000 will be made to the nine Pirates women’s programs to provide an immediate and direct impact on operational needs.
“This incredible gift to the Pirates Unite Campaign by Bill, Hunter, Heath and Lance is another illustration of the vision, generosity, commitment and leadership by the Clark Family,” Gilbert said. “An investment of this magnitude allows ECU Athletics to catapult forward and continue to transform the experiences of our current student-athletes and future Pirates for years to come. The Clark Family and Bill Clark Homes are passionate about the Pirates and have made an unmeasurable impact on ECU Athletics. During our discussions, it was important for the family to have an impact on our female student-athletes by providing a direct impact on each individual women’s program through their restricted fund.”
The Pirates Unite campaign is a $60 million fundraising campaign that was initiated in May 2022 to create an opportunity for donors to partner and invest with ECU Athletics and the Pirate Club. This campaign will provide critical funds, essential training spaces for student-athletes and make an impact on all programs’ ability to succeed. The campaign has received immense support over the first four months.
“We are so appreciative and grateful for Bill, Hunter, Heath and Lance,” Robinson said. “The Clarks are a family that cares deeply about their community, first and foremost, and their investment in ECU Athletics recognizes the momentum we have right now as a department. Bill Clark Homes has played a monumental role for so many past and current student-athletes through the Pirate Club.”
“Our family and Bill Clark Homes are fortunate to have the opportunity to make a difference as ECU Athletics and the Pirate Club continue to make great strides under the leadership of Jon Gilbert,” the Clark Family said in a statement. “We have a deep passion for this community, the university and the Pirates. Our family has so many positive memories from attending ECU Athletics events over the years and we are looking forward to creating more. We have assembled a group of coaches that need our support and understand we are on the journey with them. From all of us, Bill, Hunter, Heath, and Lance Clark, we hope our investment inspires others to give so we unite and move the Pirates forward.”
Bill Clark Homes has a long history with the Pirate Club. Clark-LeClair Stadium was named after Bill Clark and former Pirate baseball head coach Keith LeClair. Bill Clark Homes made a significant leadership gift to the “We Believe” Fund created in 2020 by the Pirate Club which raised nearly $1 million to offset costs during the pandemic. ECU Athletics and the Pirate Club partnered with Bill Clark Homes prior to the 2021 football season opener to distribute 6,000 tickets to frontline workers, first responders, military members and health care workers.
ECU Athletics and Bill Clark Homes established the Bill Clark Homes Military Bowl Fund in December 2021 to assist the athletics department with expenses incurred from the cancellation of the 2021 Military Bowl. Bill Clark Homes made a lead gift of $200,000 to cover bowl rings for the football team and remaining funds were applied toward bowl expenses.
ECU FOOTBALL HEAD COACH MIKE HOUSTON
“This is an incredibly exciting day for ECU Athletics and our football program. We have tremendous optimism and alignment beginning with Chancellor Rogers and Jon Gilbert and today’s announcement is a great way to kick off the football season. The Clark Family has continued to step up and make a difference during my time in Greenville, whether it was assisting the department financially during the pandemic, purchasing tickets for the South Carolina game, or rewarding all our young men, staff and coaches with Military Bowl rings. They are true servant leaders in every sense of the word with a simple goal of propelling the Pirates forward in all aspects. I’m very appreciative of all our generous donors who have stepped up to help build a state-of-the-art indoor practice facility.”
ECU BASEBALL HEAD COACH CLIFF GODWIN
“We are extremely grateful for the leadership and generosity of Bill, Hunter, Heath and Lance. I am fortunate to have a close relationship with the Clark Family and their passion and commitment for the Pirates is second to none. The one constant about ECU baseball is Bill Clark sitting behind home plate and I don’t know anyone who bleeds purple more than Bill does. It’s an honor to call the Clark Family friends and I am very thankful for their continued support of our program.”
ECU SOCCER HEAD COACH GARY HIGGINS
“On behalf of our entire program and all ECU Athletics programs, we thank the Clark Family for their commitment to our student-athletes and our individual programs. My family and I have only been here a short time, but we quickly realized how united and passionate this community is about the Pirates. We are looking forward to having the Clark Family out to the pitch sometime soon to meet our young women.”
ECU WOMEN’S TENNIS HEAD COACH KIRSTIN BURGESS
“As a former Pirate student-athlete, we are extremely thankful to the Clark Family for their continued loyalty to ECU Athletics and the Pirate Club through the years. Bill Clark Homes is synonymous with our local community and surrounding region, and I know how much this gift will impact our program. The collegiate landscape changes daily and costs continue to rise so continued investments in all our programs support our operating budget for recruiting, travel costs and meals.”