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Former East Carolina assistant comes back as new DC

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East Carolina defensive coordinator Brian Mitchell was released earlier this month following a season where the Pirates allowed 31.6 points per game, 90th in the country in that category.

ECU hopes to do better — much better — under new DC Rick Smith. The university announced today that the former defensive backs coach for South Florida would succeed Mitchell.

“Before beginning the search process, I established specific criteria for this position – 1) experience as a respected defensive coordinator, 2) experience as a respected secondary coach, 3) experience as an effective recruiter and 4) a fit for East Carolina Football and the University,” Ruffin McNeill (pictured) said in a statement. “After conducting a thorough national search and reaching out to my contacts from both the college and professional ranks, it became very clear that Rick represented those values and more.

“When I completed the telephone and in-person discussion phase, he fit those qualities to certainly reaffirm that he was the right choice. We are excited to welcome Rick and Barbara back to the Pirate Nation.”

Smith coached defensive backs at ECU from 2005 to 2009 under former Pirates coach Skip Holtz.

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