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Former Hokies coach Stokes replaces Herrion

East Carolina has turned to South Carolina assistant Ricky
Stokes to try to turn around a men's basketball program with a long
history of mediocrity.

Stokes is the former head coach at Virginia Tech; he also played
under East Carolina athletic director Terry Holland at Virginia in
the early 1980s. He takes over a program that didn't have a winning
season in six years under Bill Herrion.

Herrion announced his resignation last month, but coached
through the end of the season.

Holland said his 5-foot-10 former player is the right choice for
East Carolina, which has only two NCAA Tournament appearances in
school history.

"Ricky has spent his whole life proving that it does not matter
what your size may be or what other people think, as long as you
believe in yourself and do things the right way," Holland said at
a news conference announcing the hiring.

Stokes wasted no time assembling a staff, announcing immediately
that former Chattanooga and Virginia Commonwealth coach Mack
McCarthy will be his associate head coach.

McCarthy coached the Mocs to the round of 16 in the 1997 NCAA
Tournament.

The announcement came during a break in the NIT schedule for
South Carolina, which beat Miami 69-67 on Tuesday night. The
Gamecocks next face the winner of the Arizona State-UNLV matchup.
It was not immediately clear whether Stokes would remain on the
staff at South Carolina through the end of the team's NIT run.

Stokes was an assistant to South Carolina coach Dave Odom at
Wake Forest from 1989-97, before spending four seasons coaching the
Hokies. He led Virginia Tech to a 46-69 record from 1999-03 before
being replaced by Seth Greenberg.

Greenberg credited Stokes for helping the Hokies transition from
the Atlantic 10 to the Big East Conference. Virginia Tech moved to
the Atlantic Coast Conference this season, and finished 8-8 in the
league with several players recruited by Stokes.

"There's no doubt that the foundation Ricky laid has enabled us
to enjoy the success we have now," said Greenberg, who was named
ACC coach of the year this week.

As a player at Virginia, Stokes was part of Cavalier teams that
played in four NCAA Tournaments and two Final Fours. He began his
coaching career as a graduate assistant during the 1984-85 season,
joining Odom on Holland's staff.

Herrion's last team finished 9-19, giving him a 70-98 record at
the school.