GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — East Carolina football season ticket sales for the 2022 season increased by 15% from the year before, Director of Athletics Jon Gilbert said in his most recent “From the Helm” update.

Gilbert said the Pirates finished the season with 15,835 season tickets sold. He noted that the Pirates sold the most tickets in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium history for the season opener against NC State (51,711) and set a single-game record in the opener for student tickets distributed (13,100.)

“Pirate Nation really stepped up and made a difference,” Gilbert said. “As a staff, we have discussed internally getting to 16,000 season tickets sold in 2023. We know this is possible, but we need everybody to be a part of this journey. It is imperative that we reengage former season-ticket holders, recruit new individuals and bring the atmosphere in Dowdy-Ficklen to another level.”

The Pirates ended the season on a positive note, defeating Coastal Carolina 53-29 in the Birmingham Bowl. ECU finished the season 8-5 overall and 4-4 in American Athletic Conference play.

The Pirates made what Gilbert called “tremendous strides” in their fourth year under head coach Mike Houston, tallying their most wins since 2014 and achieving bowl eligibility for the second straight season.

ECU now has some major roles to fill following the graduation of several key contributors, including quarterback Holton Ahlers. Some players have entered the transfer portal, and a few others — including running back Keaton Mitchell, receiver C.J. Johnson and offensive lineman Noah Henderson — have announced their intent to declare for the NFL Draft.

“It is always bittersweet to see the young men leave our football program whether it is entering the transfer portal or following their dreams to the NFL,” Gilbert said. “Every situation is different, and those individuals will always be Pirates.”

The Pirates are now looking ahead to the 2023 season, which starts with a road game at Michigan on Sept. 2.