ECSU athletics endures another down year
The Vikings overall struggles is No. 9 story of 2017
By Malcolm Shields
Saturday, December 23, 2017
It was another difficult year for Elizabeth City State athletics both in and out of competition.
Starting from the end of the winter season in February to the end of the fall season in November, ECSU men’s and women’s basketball, softball, women’s tennis, football and volleyball all had losing records.
The men’s basketball team finished the 2016-2017 season with a 2-23 record.
The Vikings defeated Mid-Atlantic Christian for an 86-59 on Nov. 22, 2016, but ECSU does not count the game for a third win.
The women’s basketball team posted a 5-20 record.
Both the men and women lost opening round games at the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association basketball tournaments in February.
In the spring, the Lady Vikings posted a 4-26 overall record in softball, while the women’s tennis team had a 3-11 team record.
After a respectable 5-5 season in 2016, the ECSU football team slipped to 4-6 in 2017.
ECSU finished the 2017 campaign on the gridiron with three consecutive losses.
Volleyball posted a 2-24 overall recorded this fall.
The past year saw turnover in the coaching ranks.
Mike Pierce (interim softball coach), Lou Grimsley (interim men’s basketball coach), Katron Greene (assistant men’s basketball coach), Myra Blow (senior woman’s administration/cross country coach), Montario Hand (assistant football coach), Johnny Johnson (assistant football coach), Daniel Turner (assistant women’s basketball coach), Christopher Holmes (assistant football coach) and Will Marable (assistant football coach) exited the ECSU athletic department.
The men’s basketball head coaching job was filled by ECSU women’s basketball coach John Hill, while Antonio Davis was selected to lead the women’s basketball program. Dwayne Saunders (assistant men’s basketball coach) and Daphnie Johnson (women’s basketball, senior woman’s administration and cross country coach) have filled coaching duties for their respective programs.
Megan Chapman is the softball coach, while a handful of student assistants were used to fill in the football coaching staff this season.
There were some bright spots in competition for ECSU.
In cross country, Hyshem Staten was an all-CIAA performer for the men’s team in October, while Jana’ Boyd was selected a the league’s bowler of the year in March.
Men’s basketball player John Maynor was picked to the conference’s all-rookie team in February, while Tyler Futrell was picked to the all-league team in men’s golf in April.
The ECSU football team had all-conference selections from linebacker Vincent Thomas (second team) and quarterback Daquan Neal (honorable mention).
Away from competition, it was a year that some associated with the athletic department might want to forget.
Some run-ins with law enforcement by those associated with ECSU that occurred in 2016 came to resolutions in 2017.
The first was in March when former ECSU men’s basketball coach Alico Dunk had a charge of assault on a female dismissed by the Pasquotank County District Attorney’s Office.
Court documents cited the alleged victim, Sandra Sharon Sutton, did not want to proceed with the case.
Dunk was arrested in charged in October 2016 from an incident in September 2016.
Dunk did not coach during the 2016-17 season as Grimsley served as interim men’s basketball coach while Dunk was on leave from the team.
Sutton was also charged with simple assault against Dunk from the same September 2016 incident.
The assault charge against Sutton was also dismissed in March.
Since the dismissal, Dunk was not retained as the men’s basketball coach and exited the university.
Dunk is now the women’s basketball coach at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
In April, a driving while impaired charge against ECSU athletic director Derrick Johnson was dismissed.
The district attorney’s office noted the reason for dismissal due to the stopping officer “is not available and never will be.”
Johnson was stopped and arrested in the early morning on November 24, 2016 and was measured to have a blood alcohol level of 0.13, which was nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08 in North Carolina.
Barron Shaw, a defensive lineman on the 2016 ECSU football team, was arrested on Jan. 24 and charged in connection to an armed robbery on campus.
According to court documents, Shaw entered 12 months supervised probation in early October.
Shaw appeared in nine games in 2016 and was credited with 17 1/2 tackles with a sack.
Assault charges against two members of the 2015 ECSU football team were dismissed this summer.
Charges against Elijah Washington and Timothy Marsh were dismissed on June 1.
The charges stemmed from an alleged assault in August 2016.
ECSU football player Jason Fields was also charged with assault from the same incident, but it was dismissed in November 2016.
Court documents note there was not find enough evidence to continue Fields’ case in district court.
The district attorney’s office has the option to reconsider resubmitting Fields’ case.
District attorney Andrew Womble did not respond to an emailed question from The Daily Advance last month asking if the district attorney’s office would resubmit Fields’ case.
For Marsh and Washington, court documents state there was insufficient evidence to warrant prosecution against both in superior court because the victim could not be reached.
On the football field, Washington had a productive 2015 season with the Vikings.
The defensive tackle from Pittsboro was named to the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association all-rookie team in 2015.
Marsh and Fields were both receivers that did not see much playing time.