ECU, Blackbeard, and Pee Dee

   East Carolina University used to be East Carolina Teachers' College.  Their athletic teams were called "The Teachers."  This was supposed to be reference not only to the fact that it was a teachers' college, but also to Blackbeard the pirate, whose given name was Edward Teach.  Very few people caught on to this reference, so, in 1934, the university decided to change "The Teachers" to "The Pirates."  The Pirate motif was introduced in the 1934 Tecoan, the year-book.  To the right is a picture of the pirate from that yearbook.  The image of the mascot has changed over the years.  When I was a student at ECU in the 70's the ECU pirate was a scary looking unkempt pirate.  While I was a faculty member at ECU he was given a haircut and his body was changed to resemble an upside-down pyramid.  More recently he has been redone again, with this awful shit-eating grin, apparently to make him less scary to children.  Such transformations have been common lately, as with the Purdue boilermaker.  Personally, I wish ECU would restore the pirate mascot more faithfully to depict Edward Teach, as in the picture to the far right.

  1934 Pirate Blackbeard

    Also while I was on the faculty at ECU, the university decided that the mascot needed to have a more child-friendly name.  They held a contest among grade-school children in Eastern North Carolina to create a new name.  The name selected was "Pee Dee."  The students at ECU were not asked for their opinion.

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This page most recently revised on 15-September-2019.