East Carolina football was looking forward to hosting its Military Appreciation Day game against Navy, a perfect confluence to honor the nation’s military. The anticipated pageantry of Saturday’s game, however, has been seriously jeopardized by the actions of three vandals.
Local police say that three people broke into Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium over the weekend while the Pirates were playing an away game at UAB. The vandals used Kubota utility vehicles to do donuts on the field, crash into concession stands and destroy water fountains.
ECU’s student newspaper, The Daily Reflector, says the damages total more than $35,000.
One arrest has already been made: 18-year-old William Banks (mug shot below), an ECU freshman. He lost his cell phone during the fracas with his two companions and was nabbed by authorities when he came back the next day to look for it.
Police say they expect to make more arrests, but the damage has been done.
“Dowdy-Ficklen is precious to me, having played and bled on that thing,” said ECU coach (and former player) Ruffin McNeill. “It’s really disappointing that someone would do that to our house. That’s our house, it’s all of our house. We live here.”
Here’s hoping that a massive reclamation project can salvage the stadium prior to Saturday’s game.