ECU Athletics and the Pirate Club announced today the launch of “Pirates Unite: The Campaign for Comprehensive Excellence.” The $60 million fundraising campaign will provide critical funds and essential training spaces that will transform the experiences of Pirate student-athletes and make an impact on all 18 sport programs and their ability to succeed. The campaign reinforces the vision of ECU Athletics to create a world-class experience for the 450-plus student-athletes on campus while sustaining the long-term viability of ECU Athletics.
The campaign officially rolled out Thursday evening at an event in Harvey Hall attended by Pirate Club members, ECU Chancellor Philip Rogers, ECU Director of Athletics Jon Gilbert and several head coaches.
“We have an opportunity to unite and invest in our student-athletes so they can reach their full potential on and off the field,” Gilbert said. “This campaign will allow us to get on a level playing field with our peers as we strive for competitive excellence within all sport programs. We are working to modernize our venues and create new facilities that will benefit all student-athletes.
“Thanks to the generosity of our Pirate Club members, alumni, family and friends, we have persevered and battled through unprecedented times and have built a solid foundation to take the next step as a university and athletics department.”
The campaign includes several facility projects and renovations for the athletics department, which include:
- A newly constructed swimming locker room in Minges Natatorium.
- A state-of-the-art Multipurpose Indoor Practice Facility which includes a full-length football field to be used by all sport programs.
- A Williams-Harvey Teams Sports Building expansion to enhance the overall footprint for Olympic sports.
- Renovations to the lower bowl of Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum including additional premium seating options and a hospitality space.
- Expansion of the current baseball footprint including an enlarged locker room and team space with a designated area for premium seating.
- A Sport Programs Restricted Fund and Athletics Excellence Fund to emphasis sport-specific giving and designated support in areas of priority.
ECU Head Football Coach Mike Houston addressed the group Thursday about the importance of the campaign.
“Tonight, is bigger than football,” Houston said. “This is about our athletics department under the leadership of Jon Gilbert taking a step forward as the collegiate landscape continues to change. This is about all the young men and women who choose to attend school here and be Pirates. This is the start of something transformational.”
The $60 million campaign is the most ambitious fundraising effort in Pirate Club history with critical funds being used to ensure a bright future for the Pirates by investing in the long-term health of the department.
“This campaign is an open invitation to every member of Pirate Nation to get involved at any level,” ECU Pirate Club Executive Director Ryan Robinson said. “We have alignment from the Chancellor’s office to the athletics administration, our head coaches and student-athletes. Our event last night confirmed that we are aligned with Pirate Nation at its core. The time is now for us to unite. Pirate Nation stands strong.
“We are creating hope and optimism that investing in our student-athletes right now is the path to sustained success. As they have each time before, we know Pirate Nation will answer the call to provide this support. I truly believe it’s going to be a rewarding journey for all of us.”