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The Pirate became associated with East Carolina
University in 1983. There was a contest to name the Pirate, where the
elementary schools of Pitt County were involved and from the nickname
Pee Dee the Pirate was derived. The name Pee Dee was believed to come
from the Pee Dee Rivers that flow through North and South Carolina.
in the colonial days there were pirates that stayed up and down the
rivers. In December of 1985, the Chancellor of ECU decided to drop the
nickname Pee Dee from the mascot's name, and to only be called the
Pirate. This was a result from ECU's student body who said that it was
unfair because they did not have any say in naming the mascot. Over the
years, people still refer to the mascot as Pee Dee "The Pirate".
Pete, by the way, is another story. Pete was an
unofficial dog mascot, but only for a few years in the mid-1970s. Pete
resembled the dog in the "Little Rascals" movies and carried the
reputation of a back-alley brawler with an intense dislike for rams (the
mascot at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and wolves
(the mascot at NC State University). During Pete's time, the defensive
players on the Pirate's football team were called the "wild dogs"
because the players performed like a vicious pack of them.
Other mascots have included students dressed as parrots and pirates. A
live wildcat was the mascot in 1930 - 31.
Pirates were sea-going bandits in the late 17th and early 18th
centuries. It has been reported that in the age of piracy, from around
1680 to 1725, there were about 10,000 pirates who sailed the high seas
in search of bounty.
Although most pirates were feared, they were not the uncivilized
roughnecks that they have been portrayed in modern times. They had many
positive features. David Cordingly, the author of "Under the Black Flag:
The Romance and Reality of Life Among the Pirates," noted some of their
Pirates observed the democratic process by electing their own captains
and voting on whether to attack other vessels. They also decided
together on when and where to sail. In most cases their loot was divided
fairly. They developed an early kind of disability payment that paid for
body parts lost in battle. Pirate ships offered equal opportunity for
blacks and whites. Sailors on pirate ships lived by specific rules.
Gambling, for example, was not permitted on ships. Pirates could smoke
on board, but not below deck after dark.
East Carolina University adopted Pirates as an athletic
namesake because the school is located near the North Carolina coast
where pirates often harbored their ships. Edward Teach, known as "Blackbeard,"
had property in Bath and on Ocracoke Island. The remains of one of
Blackbeard's ships, the Queen Anne's Revenge, was recently found near
East Carolina's athletic teams became the Pirates in 1934, according to
the late ECU historian Mary Jo Bratton. She reported that the Men's
Athletic Association wanted a name to inspire "more spirit and
enthusiasm." The football, baseball and basketball teams back then were
called "Teachers." The Tecoan, the college yearbook, introduced the
pirate motif in its 1934 edition.