GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina University's request for a sixth year of eligibility for quarterback Patrick Pinkney was granted by the NCAA Friday, Pirate head coach Skip Holtz confirmed. That means Pinkney, who missed the entire 2005 season due to a shoulder injury and subsequent multiple surgical procedures, will return as a senior in 2009.
"I consider myself very blessed with the opportunity to enjoy another year with my teammates and coaches, and play one more season at East Carolina," Pinkney said. "To be a part of this program's first conference championship in many years last season was rewarding and I'm looking forward to being in a position to help contribute to a new set of goals in 2009. Obviously, ECU is a special place for me and my family, and I'm thankful for the NCAA's decision to allow me to get one year back."
Pinkney, who has played a key role in the Pirates' combined 17 victories and pair of bowl appearances in back-to-back seasons, led East Carolina to a Conference USA championship in 2008 - the program's first league title since 1976. He opened 13 of 14 games last fall and completed 223-of-363 passes for 2,675 yards and 13 touchdowns, which included a season-high 296-yard effort against Kentucky in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
Pinkney also established a new school single-game completion percentage standard with a 19-of-23 (82.6) performance against Virginia Tech Aug. 30 to guide ECU to a 27-22 win before turning in a 22-of-28 effort a week later against West Virginia during the Pirates' 24-3 triumph. A year earlier, his 406-yard performance in a 34-31 victory against North Carolina Sept. 8 stands as the second-highest single-game passing total in program history - falling just eight yards shy of David Garrard's school-record 414-yard effort against Memphis in 1998.
"We're all excited for Patrick and our program that he'll be with us another year," Holtz said. "It's nice to see his resiliency and ability to face adversity on and off the field rewarded in some respect. I know it was disappointing for him to fight through the injuries and start at the bottom of the depth chart, but to his credit, he continued to work hard and remain positive during his climb back up the ladder. Patrick has already earned his undergraduate degree and has been a role model in our community, so I'm not sure there's a better way for anyone to represent our program in a first-class manner than that."
For his career, Pinkney is currently fifth in the ECU record books with 4,033 passing yards and sixth in completions with 344. In 27 overall games and 18 starts, he has also delivered 24 touchdown throws while suffering just 11 interceptions in 563 total attempts. In addition, Pinkney has rushed for 356 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 169 carries during his Pirate career, which spans back to the fall of 2004 but didn't include any varsity competition until three years later.