Honoring Profs

May 12, 2017

It's fairly common to see the abbreviation "MVP" used in sports terminology, and usually, it symbolizes the very best.
 
While the East Carolina University Department of Athletics certainly has its share of outstanding student-athletes, the recipe for unparalleled success in life extends far beyond the playing venues and into the classroom.
 
The Pirates launched their innovative MVP (Most Valuable Professor) program during the 2016-17 academic year and the initiative has been a rewarding experience for both teacher and pupil. Five ECU varsity sports teams - women's soccer, women's volleyball, women's basketball, softball and baseball - were inaugural participants and generated such positive feedback that the endeavor likely will be expanded to include additional squads.
 
Each student-athlete of the participating sports was asked to complete a certificate to invite their favorite professor to join them on the field or court for their team's pre-game intro video and national anthem. As a bonus to receiving complimentary admission into the contest, each professor was afforded the opportunity to purchase additional tickets via a discounted rate with their ECU One Card.
 
Sophomore midfielder Nichole Smith invited mathematics instructor Gerry MacLeod to join her and the Pirates' women's soccer team for their American Athletic Conference game against Connecticut at Johnson Stadium on October 30, 2016.
 
"I am so honored by this," MacLeod said. "Not to mention that we live and breathe soccer in our household."
 
Most recently, faculty members joined the baseball team on Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium on April 13 as part of ECU's Employee Appreciation Day when the Pirates squared off against American foe UCF. Senior second baseman Charlie Yorgen selected Laurie Eakins, who teaches in East Carolina's School of Business, as his MVP.
 
"I am so honored that Charlie invited me," Eakins said. "I have had a lot of the baseball players in my classes over the years and I think they are tremendous young men. I love Pirate sports. I've been teaching here for 25 years and this is just so much of a treat for me."
 
As a testament to her loyalty and dedicated years of service, Eakins was quick to offer a unique fact that she taught current ECU skipper Cliff Godwin.

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