GREENVILLE, N.C. – As the calendar turns to a new month, the East Carolina baseball team (players, coaching staff and support staff) will once again participate in Mustache March to raise money and awareness for ALS Research and the Jim “Catfish” hunter chapter.
This year, the Pirates will team up with the Pitt Community College (PCC), Memphis and Michigan baseball programs to help fight and strikeout ALS with a goal of raising $10,000.
As most of Pirate Nation knows, the ECU Baseball program has been greatly affected by ALS as former head coach and ECU Hall of Famer Keith LeClair was diagnosed with ALS while coaching in 2001. The Pirates continue to follow the mission, vision and characteristics that made Coach LeClair such a tremendous leader, father, friend and coach. Current PCC Head Coach Tommy Eason coached under LeClair from 1998-2005, Michigan Head Coach Erik Bakich and Assistant Head Coach Nick Schnabel both played for LeClair and were teammates of ECU skipper Cliff Godwin from 1999-2000.
Starting Tuesday, March 1 and running through the end of the month, the Pirates will grow mustaches to continue raising money for ALS research which over the last four years has raised over $36,000. With the additional support from ECU Dowdy Student Stores, the four-year total has eclipsed $57,000 in total donations.
The 19th Annual Keith LeClair Classic (https://ecupirates.com/sports/2017/11/17/keith-leclair-classic.aspx), which is scheduled to start Friday, March 4, the Pirates will welcome in Indiana State, Michigan and No. 21 Maryland for the three-day event. Pirate fans can make donations online by clicking here (https://donate.onecause.com/mustachemarch2022).
LeClair, who was named the 13th head baseball coach at ECU in July of 1997, was passionate and determined in setting an ultimate goal for the Pirates to make it to Omaha, site of the NCAA College World Series, and win a national championship.
He became the second-winningest coach in program history (currently fourth) in just five seasons at ECU, compiling a 212-96-1 (.688) record. LeClair, a 2002 ECU Hall of Fame inductee, led the Pirates to four-straight NCAA Regional appearances, three Colonial Athletic Association championships and one Conference USA title.
LeClair passed away at the age of 40 on July 17, 2006 after a five-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly referred to as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He officially relinquished his coaching duties in June 2002, two weeks after leading the Pirates to their fourth consecutive NCAA Regional appearance before finishing with a 43-20-1 record. LeClair remained with the ECU Department of Athletics as a special assistant to the director of athletics until the time of his death.
He was survived by his wife, Lynn, and two children, Audrey and J.D.