Coach Ruff Talks About Nelson, Camp

GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina assistant football coach Mark Nelson, who joined Ruffin McNeill's initial staff in February, has stepped down from his position according to announcement from director of athletics Terry Holland Tuesday night.

Nelson, who served as the Pirates’ defensive ends coach and special teams coordinator, and McNeill agreed to the decision after possible NCAA violations were uncovered regarding the illegal observation of voluntary summer workouts.

"I notified Coach McNeill late this afternoon that our compliance office had been investigating concerns about violations of NCAA rules involving out-of-season practice - specifically a coach evaluating players during normal summer activities that were supposed to be strictly voluntary," Holland said. "When a coach observes these normal activities, the NCAA considers the activities to be non-sanctioned out-of-season practice.

"Coach McNeill called the coach in and they discussed these possible violations," he added. "That coach, Mark Nelson, admitted to violations which are likely to be secondary violations when a formal report is filed with the NCAA. Coach Nelson and Coach McNeill agreed that these violations would be a distraction to the team at this critical time of the year and Coach Nelson offered to step down from his position. His offer to step down was accepted by Coach McNeill pending negotiation of a severance agreement with the athletic administration and the university.

"The ECU Compliance Office will file a formal report of the violations and cooperate fully with the NCAA," Holland said.

Nelson, who brought a combined 23 years of professional and collegiate experience to the Pirate program, most recently served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (CFL) during the 2009 campaign. Among his 17 seasons of collegiate experience were earlier tenures in the Southeastern Conference, Big 12 Conference, Big East Conference and Conference USA.

Prior to rejoining the CFL, a league in which he coached a total of six seasons, Nelson was Louisville's special teams coordinator in 2007 and 2008 after spending one year at Tulsa as co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach.

He came to the Golden Hurricane from Baylor, where he spent the previous three campaigns as special teams coordinator and a defensive coach who guided the linebackers for two seasons and defensive ends in 2003.

"This is certainly an unfortunate development, but integrity will be the foundation of our program," McNeill said. "We are going to comply with the spirit and letter of NCAA rules at East Carolina. I expect my players to do the right thing, and as leaders, and I demand my coaches to do the same. As head football coach, failure to comply with NCAA rules will not be tolerated."

McNeill also indicated that he will begin a search for a new coach immediately and will also consider staff reorganization depending on who is available.

East Carolina's preseason camp will begin August 5 with the arrival of its 105-man roster. The Pirates will follow by facing Tulsa in their season opener Sunday, Sept. 5.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Jolly Roger on Aug 3, 2010 at 06:39 PM
    Dave, having read the majority of your comments on here I'll take that as half a compliment coming from you.
  • by Dave Location: Find out on Aug 3, 2010 at 12:19 PM
    If Ruffin can coach the way that he eats, ECU will be BCS bound!
  • by Jolly Roger on Aug 2, 2010 at 11:24 AM
    Hahahahaha..... you may die in peace now. No biggie, appology accepted.
  • by Re: Jolly roger on Aug 2, 2010 at 10:35 AM
    oh yes...it makes sense now! Allow me to apologize and clear the air as I do not wish to take this "epic fail" with me to the grave. I have to be honest, WT's post's were so long, dry and pompous, that I had almost lost interest and so an oversight is to be expected ;)
  • by Jolly Roger on Aug 2, 2010 at 09:32 AM
    @ "Anonymous, one more thing" If your going to contribute to the conversation please read before you post. My reference towards education was in response to "laughing"'s post on July 30 @ 7:06 and his insult toward Ruffin McNeill. Epic fail on your part, please try again :-)
  • by Sam Location: Kitty Hawk on Aug 2, 2010 at 08:41 AM
    I think "laughing" dropped out of middle school back in his day. The guy starts a sentence off with a lower case letter, which a 1st grader would know better than that.
  • by one more thing... on Jul 31, 2010 at 10:24 AM
    how does Jolly roger know so much about WT's education as he didn't mention it here in this thread at all?? And what was his major because even the premier institutions have degree programs in basket-weaving where no math is needed above college algebra and all you have to do is memorize terms and/or dates. Could we get back on topic now??
  • by Anonymous on Jul 31, 2010 at 10:20 AM
    I dont care where any of you went to school or whether you graduated or not. I have a stellar education but none of that really matters now! I know MANY who went to Wake and Duke who are not bright and I know many who went to ECU who are extremely intelligent (and vice-versa). None of it really matters...get over yourselves already!! WT seems to have criteria on what it takes to be a pirate fan and what is essential blah blah...I say drink, be merry and just go to the games and support your team and shut up about your outdated education as none really even give a poop arrrrrggh
  • by to much trashtalk on Jul 31, 2010 at 09:10 AM
    I read this stuff because I am amazed at the trash talk on here! Is there 1 decent football program in the state? I am a passive college football fan and a big nfl fan. I only follow the huge ncaa football games(top 10) and I have yet to see any teams from NC in the top 10 in football,maybe my research is wrong but UNC finished in the top 10 and coach Brown immediately bolted to Texas and ECU finished top ten in Jan. 92 and the coach Lewis bolted immediately to Georgia Tech. NC is a basketball state with juggernauts Duke and UNC these are stepping stone football coaching jobs BUT even if NC was full of top 10 programs all this trash talk is very eighth grade. Boys when you get out of high school do not choose where to go to college by the records of the football team
  • by Jolly Roger on Jul 30, 2010 at 08:18 PM
    @ laughing, I'm sure this mans education well surpasses yours with him having an undergraduate degree at East Carolina and a Masters degree from Clemson. You may want to go back inside, your ignorance is showing.
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