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Grand Basileus Tony Knox

Giving Honor to God and My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

When there is a plan for an injustice it usually doesn't turn out the way you expect. You have read about the injustices that have been happening to young men and women of color, usually regarding violence and the justice system. However there are some injustices that need to be called out that are not about the justice system. The one that has caused the most serious concern is the injustice done to Ruffin McNeil the Head Football Coach at East Carolina University. Ruffin is a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., and one that we can all be very proud of. I was present in November when he was the guest speaker for the Wilmington NC Community Boys and Girls Club great Futures Fundraising Dinner. Coach not only used his celebrity status to help raise funds, but contributed as well himself to the great cause at hand.

A couple of weeks ago Coach McNeil was relieved of his duties as Head Football Coach. The Athletic Director Jeff Compher said he wasn't doing it for popularity because he knew it wouldn't be a popular decision, but it was about Pirates chance for success and the opportunity to win championships under Coach Ruffin. At East Carolina Coach Ruffin went to 4 Bowl Games in 6 years and was 3 points away from another. He was 5 and 1 the last two years versus the ACC, A Power 5 Conference. He beat Three ACC Bowl teams, even soundly beating UNC in Chapel Hill. He had a 10 win season in 2013. When was the last time an ECU coach had a better record. Other factors that you would think favored Coach McNeil is that he is a former ECU Player that shed his blood, sweat and tears in Pirate Stadium. He had a reputation of treating all of his players like his son's and driving them to graduation and to being productive citizens once there playing days are over. I have heard from alums and others and the AD was right; it was not a popular decision to those who shed their blood, sweat, and tears in Pirate stadium. It was not a popular decision to those who care about the athletes as student athletes and, not popular to many that respect Coach McNeil as not just great Coach, but a man of character, a man of faith, that was always willing to help his players and others in need. But I do believe that there was at least one, who thought it would be popular and agreed with the decision, because I don't think Jeff Compher had the authority to act alone, and buy the contract out.

Coach McNeil has landed on his feet and is the Assistant Head Coach at the University of Virginia a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. However we all know that the ECU job was the job he wanted and loved most. Being the professional that he is, he will do a great job at UVA.

I will say congratulations to new Head Coach Scotty Montgomery, An African American Coach as well, and a very good coach. Even though, I bet my last dollar that he was not the intended person for the job, when the bad decision was made to terminate Coach McNeil; it does however, give another African American a chance to prove that he can be successful. He just has to remember that success may be measured in a different way for him.

And if the AD was really serious about measuring success and being in a position to win Championships, Basketball Coach Jeff Lebo must be spending many sleepless nights right now. Probably and unintended consequence, but the road just got rough!

Coach Ruff, keep your head up and keep teaching! We are one!


Antonio F. Knox Sr.
40th Grand Basileus

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