Godwin details team's culture, core values

Ronnie Woodward
Sports Writer
The Daily Reflector

New players are not the only people bringing a different look to this season’s East Carolina baseball team.

A full bearded coach Cliff Godwin was the keynote speaker Tuesday for the first Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce luncheon of the year.

Godwin, a formerly clean-shaven ECU alum who is entering his sixth season as a leader of the Pirate baseball program, told fans and local business people in attendance that he is proud of the culture that has guided the Pirates to plenty of success on the diamond and also in the classroom during his tenure.

“Our culture is our No. 1 thing,” he said. “I know businesses have to look at the bottom line and I know I’m graded at how many wins we have, but I can tell you that the reason ECU baseball is good, and I like to say great in a lot of areas, is because we focus on the individuals and develop them to be the best versions of themselves every single day. There is failure in there, of course, but to have a team GPA of 3.4 or higher, with 35 guys, for two and a half years is because they’ve bought in to that.

“It’s a work in progress every single day, because they can be touched by so many people and social media and all the rankings and stuff you see in the preseason.”

Coming off hosting and NCAA regional in consecutive seasons, ECU is ranked No. 21 in the D1baseball.com preseason poll.

Godwin Participated in the NCAA tournament when he was a player for the Pirates from 1998-2001 and consistently now as a coach. He was hired by ECU on June 25, 2014, after serving as an assistant coach at Ole Miss from the Southeastern Conference.

He also said during his speech at the luncheon that his college choice while at Greene Central High School came down to East Carolina and North Carolina, even telling family members then that he might not go to ECU because it was too close to come, but Godwin chose the Pirates and is very proud of that decision.

“I ate those words, as most adolescents do when they tell their parents they are not going to do something, but the best decision of my entire life was choosing to come to East Carolina University,” Godwin said. It’s because of the experiences I had as a student-athlete and then throughout my coaching career to get where I am today is because I chose to come to East Carolina.”

Godwin and his players and assistant coaches will participate in their annual media day event on Wednesday (January 22, 2020).

The team typically has a motto, especially during the preseason and as it prepares for another campaign. This year’s season begins Feb. 14 with the Pirates and their “toughness over talent” motto.

“It’s not necessarily the physical, but the mental toughness to be able to show up every day and execute whatever your daily schedule is, Godwin said. “I tell our guys that success is not accidental. For two years, before (the players) go to bed, they go through their entire next day from whatever time they are waking up and in 30-minute blocks and map it out. Then the next day they wake up and just check off their list and don’t have to waste mental energy.”

“We’ve had a 3.4 team GPA or higher each of those two years and have won a conference tournament championship and a regular-season championship and hosted two regionals. That is intentional and our guys have done a great job with that and it’s important they dominate every single day.”

Article courtesy of The Daily Reflector

ECU head baseball coach Cliff Godwin speaks to attendees at the Greeenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce's January Power Luncheon.