Friday, July 30, 2010

Pirates quickly add to coaching staff

East Carolina moved quickly to replace Mark Nelson on its coaching staff, adding former Texas Tech assistant Duane Price as defensive tackles coach.

The school announced Tuesday night that Nelson was stepping down after he admitted observing offseason workouts in violation of NCAA rules. East Carolina announced Price's hiring and a re-organization of the staff today.

Nelson had been coaching defensive ends and was special teams coordinator. Running backs coach Clay McGuire, who coordinated Texas Tech's special teams in 2008 and for most of 2007, will take over Nelson's responsibilities in the kicking game.

Mark Yellock, who had been coaching defensive tackles, will be in charge of the defensive ends instead. Price served as a defensive graduate assistant at Texas Tech in 2009 and has been on the coaching staffs at Tulane and at A&M Consolidated High in College Station, Texas.

He had been retained by new Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville, coaching defensive backs during spring practice.

East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill, who had been Texas Tech's defensive coordinator, said in a statement released by the school that Price was a big part of the Red Raiders' success in 2009, when they finished 9-4 with a win over Michigan State in the Alamo Bowl.

"I know what he can offer this program," McNeill said. "He's a master technician and motivator with an unmatched work ethic."

According to East Carolina athletic director Terry Holland, Nelson decided to step down after an investigation by the school's NCAA compliance office revealed that he had been watching offseason drills in violation of NCAA rules.

Holland said the school will report the violations to the NCAA and expects them to be ruled "secondary" rather than "major."

East Carolina begins preseason practice on Aug. 6.

Ken Tysiac