GREENVILLE, N.C. – Cary Godette, an East Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame inductee who has spent 33 seasons on coaching staffs at the high school, collegiate and National Football League levels, has been appointed director of football administration at ECU according to an announcement from first-year head football coach Ruffin McNeill Monday.
Before reuniting with McNeill by accepting his offer to join the new Pirate staff in an administrative capacity, Godette (guh-DETT) served a one-year stint at Florida International as defensive line coach.
"The amount of experience Cary brings to the table at three different levels is immeasurable," McNeill said. "He's a Pirate who has a passionate understanding and appreciation of this program and what it stands for. He's been a part of my life since 1976 when I was a freshman East Carolina and he took me under his wings as a senior."
McNeill indicated Godette will oversee on-campus recruiting, program marketing and day-to-day staff administrative affairs, while also providing an ancillary support role with the athletics department's student development division.
Before accepting the FIU position, Godette was defensive line coach at Big East Conference member Rutgers from 2005 to 2007 and helped the Scarlet Knights produce one of the most formidable defenses in the nation. In 2007, Rutgers ranked fifth nationally in pass defense, 12th in sacks, 16th in pass efficiency defense, 17th in total defense, 20th in tackles for loss and 30th in scoring defense.
In all, Godette coached at the collegiate level for 24 years and helped eight teams to bowl game appearances. He also spent a total of eight years in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers (1995-96), Miami Dolphins (1996-2000) and Arizona Cardinals (2003-04).
His collegiate playing career included four letter-winning years at ECU, where he received various honors for his play on the defensive line in 1972, 1973, 1975 and 1976. After being named the Pirates' Most Outstanding Freshmen in 1972 and picking up the first of three all-conference awards, he bounced back from major knee surgery that sidelined him in 1974 to earn back-to-back all-state selections, the 1975 Team MVP and Best Defensive Player-of-the-Year trophies. In addition, the two-time co-captain was an honorable mention Associated Press All-America choice in 1975.
Godette again received All-America recognition following the 1976 season after recording 54 stops, which included 10 sacks and 16 tackles for lost yardage. During his East Carolina career under coaches Sonny Randle and Pat Dye, the Pirates compiled a 35-9 record and won three Southern Conference championships. His accomplishments also earned him an invitation to the 1976 American Bowl in Tampa, Fla., and induction into the school's athletic hall of fame in 1997.
He initiated his coaching career at ECU following graduation as defensive line coach for three seasons before following Dye to Wyoming, first as defensive line coach (1980) and then as linebackers coach (1981-82). In 1983, Godette began a six-year stay at the University of Cincinnati where he coached the Bearcats' defensive ends (1983), outside linebackers (1984), tight ends (1985–86), and defensive line (1987–88) in addition to handling recruiting and game operations responsibilities.
After one season as an assistant at Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville, N.C., in 1989, Godette returned to the collegiate coaching ranks, beginning with two seasons at East Carolina (1990–91) and Georgia Tech (1992–93) under Bill Lewis, and another at North Carolina State (1994) before moving on to the NFL.
Following five years in professional football, Godette rejoined the Wolfpack program for two years beginning in 2000 before spending the 2002 campaign at Western Carolina as assistant head coach and defensive line coach. Prior to joining Greg Schiano's staff at Rutgers in 2005, he was assistant defensive line coach with the Arizona Cardinals.
A native of Havelock, N.C., Godette earned his bachelor’s degree in health and physical education in 1976 from East Carolina. He is married to the former Ruby Lee Williams.