ECU completes 2019 non-conference football schedule with William & Mary

GREENVILLE, N.C. - ECU has added a home game against William & Mary to complete its 2019 non-conference football schedule according to an announcement by director of athletics Jon Gilbert on Wednesday.

The contest, which is set to be played Sept. 21 at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, will be the 18th overall meeting between the one-time Southern Conference rivals who faced each other annually for 13-straight seasons from 1971 to 1983.

“One of our top priorities over the past month has been to finalize our 2019 schedule and we accomplished that today by adding a sixth home game with William & Mary,” Gilbert said. “We had talks with several FCS and FBS schools over the past month about scheduling a game. We began discussions with William & Mary’s administration earlier this month about partnering together and we are excited to have the Tribe visit Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium this September.

“We hope to receive our conference dates in the near future and then we will be able to release the full schedule with season tickets going on sale February 20. This is an exciting time for Pirate Football and I know Coach Houston, our staff and players can’t wait to get started with spring practice.”

ECU owns a 12-4-1 lead in the series, but the two programs haven't played since the Pirates used David Garrard's three touchdown passes and Leonard Henry's 111 rushing yards to defeat the Tribe 38-23 on Sept. 22, 2001 in front of 40,179 fans, which ranked as the fifth-largest crowd in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium history at the time. Of the 17 previous meetings, nine have been played in Greenville - six resulting in ECU victories.

Both programs feature first-year head coaches after the appointments of Mike London (Nov. 19) and Mike Houston (Dec. 3) to lead the Tribe and Pirates, respectively.

ECU was 3-9 last fall and stood fifth in the American Athletic Conference’s East Division with a 1-7 ledger before hiring Houston from James Madison, where he guided the Dukes to a 37-6 record, three-straight Football Championship Subdivision playoff appearances, two title game showings and the 2016 national championship. During Houston's tenure with JMU in the Colonial Athletic Association, he owned a 3-0 all-time mark against William & Mary.

The Tribe posted a 4-6 record in 2018, which included a 3-4 clip in the CAA. William & Mary, which has faced at least one Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent each season since 1998, also plays at Atlantic Coast Conference member Virginia this fall.

In addition to the Tribe, ECU's 2019 non-conference slate features previously announced games against NC State (road) on Aug. 31, Gardner-Webb (home) on Sept. 7 and Old Dominion (road) on Sept. 28. All dates are subject to change based on future television programming needs.