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The Drive with Josh Graham Spotlight - ECU HC Mike Houston

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
August 15, 2019 6:35 pm

The Drive with Josh Graham Spotlight - ECU HC Mike Houston

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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August 15, 2019 6:35 pm

The Drive's Josh Graham interviews new East Carolina HC Mike Houston days away from the season opener vs NC State. Tune into The Drive with Josh Graham Mon-Fri 3-6pm on Sports Hub Triad!


Here we go! You're on the drive with Josh Graham, the Sports Hub at AM600 AM920. 25 years ago, our next guest was preparing for his first season coaching in football right here in the Triad at Fort Bush High School.

Right now, he's the head coach of the East Carolina football program. Going into year one, it is Mike Houston kind enough to make a return visit here on Sports Hub Triad. Do you still get butterflies before a season begins, coach?

No doubt. Since that first season, you brought back some memories there with that comment. I knew that's what I wanted to do and I've enjoyed virtually every day I went to work since then.

It's just one of those things I'm very fortunate to be blessed to do this for a living. How do the butterflies today compare to the butterflies once felt by 22-year-old Mike Houston getting ready in the Triad? They're different. Back then, I say it about our freshmen now, I was so dumb I didn't know I was dumb back then.

You don't know what you don't know, but it's still the same excitement. Now it's just making sure everybody's prepared, making sure everything is as on it as we can be. There's a lot of difference between coaching a position and running an entire program.

It's changed a good bit over the years. I'll tell you what my biggest issue is with covering spring ball into a degree fall camp. In covering camps, you'd think every team in the country coach is going to go 12-0 in the spring when you talk to coaches. Then I hear the way that you talk about your football team in just year one.

You said at every single point, essentially, that during spring and even into a degree fall camp that the team's habits right now aren't where you want them to be. Where does this candid approach come from? That's just the way I've always tried to be. I try to be real and I try to be straightforward with my approach. It's the way we try to be with the players. It's the way I try to be in relationships. I try to do right by people, but I'm not going to sit there and sugarcoat stuff. I don't want anybody to sugarcoat it with me either.

I think that's the only way you develop trust and know exactly where you are and things like that. I try to paint as real of a picture as possible at any time I'm asked a question. Most notably, last year when you were at James Madison, you talked about openly that you received an offer from Charlotte before ultimately becoming East Carolina's football coach. Has it burned anybody, though? Has it affected relationships with players, even family members, maybe administration staff, when you're so open and speaking about things publicly? It probably burned me during that deal. I could have not been as honest with the people I was talking to down in Charlotte.

I know a lot of people don't operate that way, but I try to be open about them, with them, when East Carolina contacted me and told them I was going to talk to them. The whole thing was I'd like to go back and do it over the whole deal because I was in the middle of a playoff run. But the thing was my wife and I, we had several job opportunities the year before, and we turned them all down and we kind of mapped out where we wanted to be, what would we leave James Madison for, and the consensus was we wanted to be back in the Carolinas.

There's only a few programs here that we would have left there for. I'm fortunate that it all worked out, and I do believe that all things happen for a reason. Just like back when I was 22 years old, God's kind of guided me in my path every step of the way. There's been a lot of times I thought I was going in one direction and ended up in another, but it's always worked out for the best, and I think certainly this situation did also. You said you would have done things differently, though. What would you have changed? Well, probably would have slowed everybody down a little bit.

People were really aggressive and really pushing a good bit, and I probably should have just slowed everybody down and just took my time. I wished you could keep things confidential. I thought that things were going to be kept confidential. They weren't. But hindsight is 20-20. Carolina head football coach Mike Houston with us. Things all worked out for everybody. Will Healy is now at Charlotte.

He's going to be a guest with us on tomorrow's show. Looking at your specific football team, we heard comments where you were specifically noting that the upperclassmen and the players who are returning don't have the habits that you wanted them to have upon arriving in Greenville. What specific habits do you take issue with? Well, I believe the game is meant to be played a certain way, and I think you've got practice to a degree that way in order to play that way. My standard for the way we're going to compete, the way we're going to work, the way we're going to function in every respect, and what had been the normal here were about as far off from each other as possible. And from the standpoint of if we have a meeting at 3 o'clock, then your better be in that meeting at 10-2.

I'm not going to sit there and wait on anybody running in the door at the last second. When we take the field, we're going to take the field with purpose. When we're running a drill, we're going to run at full speed. If we're thudding up, then we're going to thud people up. It's just the way you operate, the work ethic, the attention to detail, the discipline, the accountability, all those things need to be addressed.

So certainly we've worked diligently since we got here to address those things, and so many of those things have changed drastically, which has been refreshing to see. Arriving 10 minutes early, that's Lombardi time. That's a Lombardi-ism, isn't it? Well, I know this. Whatever time we're supposed to start the meeting, we never start on that time. We always start early. Every meeting we have around here starts, I would say at minimum, five minutes early. But the thing is kids are going to class. They're not missing tutoring sessions. They don't have problems with kids running the door at the last second.

They figured out pretty quick that if they were going to be a part of this, that they had to have some punctuality and they had to have some deliberateness with how they went about things. It's East Carolina head football coach Mike Houston with us here on Twitter. At ECU, Coach Houston, the opener is in Raleigh against NC State. In year one, how would you define success, Coach?

You know, I think it just depends on what all you're talking about. If you're talking about that first game, you know, the last game of the year last year between ECU and NC State was 58-3. It's not going to be that, I can promise you. But, you know, I think we're going in there to win the ballgame. And, you know, are we going to be good enough to do that?

We'll find out. But I promise you our kids are going to play differently. You know, I think we have a chance to have some success this year. I know we're going to be better. We're going to be better just because of doing all those things I mentioned to you a while ago. But, you know, I think every year you define success maybe a little bit differently. You know, my thing has always been that, you know, I hope that at the end of the year we can look back with no regrets and that we think that we achieved at the maximum level that our potential allowed us to. And I think we can do that this year. As a East Carolina graduate, I have an ECU shirt on right now. As soon as you said, it's not going to happen like the finale did last year, 58-3. I'm looking into the control room and I see our intern Nick, who is an NC State student currently. He's saying, he gave me an eye roll as if it's going to be another 58-3 win.

What do you got to say to intern Nick and the other NC State fans out there? Put some money on it. All right.

All right. That's what I'm about. From Mike Houston here. Take the spread. I love it.

Last thing. We've been talking a lot about Dave Chappelle getting a new stand-up special that's going to drop later this month. Who's a comic either current or in the past you enjoyed most?

Oh, I think you get one right there. I mean, I can remember back when I was a young coach, the Chappelle show was just kind of hitting right there. And, boy, he was something else. But I really enjoyed his stuff.

All right. You've got to give me at least one sketch, though. See, I love the Chappelle show.

Give me the sketch that's at the top of your mind right now. Oh, you've got, what, Itchy Larry? Or Ashy Larry. Ashy Larry. That was the guy. Ashy Larry.

And then, of course, you know, all of the stuff with Prince and his brother. Charlie Murphy. Charlie Murphy, Coach. Charlie Murphy.

Charlie Murphy and Prince. What is happening right now? Coach! Yeah.

What were you going to ask? No, I was just saying, you bring back a lot of memories of the times when I was a young coach then. And, you know, we had a group of guys that we were all single. And we used to sit around and watch that show and had a great time.

But, yeah, good memories. Coach, we'll put some money on the spread for East Carolina. Go get a win.

Do your best on the road. And best of luck this year against NC State and whoever else you're lining up against. Appreciate you spending time with us in the Triad. Well, thanks a lot for having me on.

And I do want to say one thing. You know, we have several players from the area that you're broadcasting in right there and just really excited about them. A couple of freshmen, Jaquan McMillan and Chad Stevens, Alex Angus. You know, those guys are representing that area very, very well, competing very well. They're going to be on the field playing for us and really excited about the future of the program and recruiting the state of North Carolina. So thanks a lot for having me on today. Right on. That's ECU head football coach Mike Houston.

Do me a favor very quickly, Nick. Check the spread for this game. ECU, NC State, the opener. If Mike Houston's telling us to bet in East Carolina's favor there, whatever the spread is, I'm going to do it.

I'd be willing to place that bet. Because Mike Houston says so. I had no idea that we were going to get to Ashley Larry at any point of that interview. Isn't that the world series of dice? Isn't that the episode where it's him and Leon Washington? Marcy, son. That was great. And Bill Burr's doing the color commentary. Bill Burr. Incredible. It is a good... I can't believe that just happened.

I really can't. Shoot that guy a follow. And let all of our guests know that you appreciate them coming on here in the Triad. At ECU Coach Houston on Twitter. What is the spread for East Carolina, NC State? The spread is NC State minus 17 and a half. I'm going to take the Pirates there.

I'm going Pirates. You heard it from him right there. How often do you hear coaches publicly saying, Pedal the game. Throw some cash down. Let's just do that.

I imagine that line is going to get closer as we get closer to the kickoff, right? He's tremendous. We need to talk to that guy more.

You got Dave Chappelle. You got him encouraging us to play some action on a point spread. But you also have him talking about what happened last year. Speaking openly about the Charlotte opening and being considered there.

Just a lot of very good stuff. Nick, you're not going to be here by the time the game is played. This is your last week as an intern on the show.

Or next week is your last week as an intern on the show. So, what's the bet that we can do here? Got to figure out what the bet is between Nick and I. That's what we need to establish. I'm down to do a bet. You just got to let me know what it is.

What, on the game? Yeah, 17 and a half. I'm not sure if Nick's comfortable doing that. I'm not going to take an intern's money. But, when week one picks come around, I can pretty much tell you right now, ECU plus 17 and a half is going to be there.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-09 21:17:02 / 2023-02-09 21:22:57 / 6

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