Jon Gilbert during press conference

ECU athletic director Jon Gilbert addresses the crowd at a press conference.

As the fall approaches, the East Carolina University Pirate Club continues to fill positions to prepare for student’s return to campus with the addition of five new people to its staff. 

The ECU Pirate Club was started in October of 1961 when it was originally named the East Carolina University Education Foundation Inc. With all current students, the membership number sits at 17,000, according to its website. The club's mission is to fundraise for the school’s athletic program and to build connections throughout the club and campus. 

“The Pirate Club is essentially to serve as the fundraising arm of East Carolina University’s athletic program,” Athletic Director Jon Gilbert said. “Their primary function is to do capital campaigns in support of student-athletes, scholarships, athletic facility enhancements, and then other programmatic needs that they can find to help sustain and achieve a competitive athletic program.”

To prepare for the club to get back to full function, Gilbert announced five new additions to the staff on July 19. Since COVID-19 has impacted the campus, many of the positions were not filled but since the campus and athletic program plan to return to normal in the fall, Gilbert thought it was time to get permanent hires. 

With these additions to the staff, the department will be fully staffed again. The staff will be much more engaging in the Pirate Club with the Student Pirate Club and Pirate Club Members, according to Gilbert.

“They should see more engagement over this next year, and then I think, from a Student Pirate Club standpoint, we want to make sure that we're delivering service and amenities to those students that have joined the Student Pirate Club recently so that they feel like it is a valuable membership,” Gilbert said. 

Ryan Robinson will join as a dual role of executive director. Drew Moeller was named assistant athletics director of development in May. The other three additions to the staff are Carly Moore as director of development, Danielle Morrin as assistant director of development and Blaise Hudson as assistant director of development. 

Robinson became part of the athletic staff in January 2019 and has been the clubs’ interim executive director and the leader of the external relations unit since December 2019. As he joins as the permanent executive director and executive associate athletics director for revenue, it will be his third year at ECU. Robinson has been a part of different athletic administrations for over two decades with roles in the National Football League (NFL) and intercollegiate athletics.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be the caretaker of an organization with such a long history of success like the Pirate Club,” Robinson said to ECU Pirates. “The Pirate Club plays a vital role in the success of ECU Athletics and is the direct link to the local community and surrounding region.”

After Moellers’ last two years at the University of Pittsburgh, in May 2021, he joined the Pirate staff. While in Pittsburgh, he was an assistant athletic director. Prior to his move to Pitt in 2019, he was a staff member in the Pirate Club where he helped out in many different roles from 2013 to 2019. 

Moore will join the club after she spent three years as assistant director for donor relations and special events with the Mountaineer Athletic Club at West Virginia University. Her role now as the Pirate Club will be to oversee fundraising which includes annual funds, major gifts and sport-specific giving. 

Morrin will join the Pirate Cub as a former director of life skills and community service liaison for ECU Athletics. Her role will be to work with local businesses, different Pirate Club chapters and alumni to form partnerships. 

Hudson will join as a Pirate alumnus. In 2018 he received his bachelor’s degree in recreation and park management from ECU and in 2020 he graduated with his master’s degree in sports management. He will be responsible for the operations and development of the Student Pirate Club. 

The Pirate student club comes with various perks. Members have guaranteed seats at home football games, priority seats for baseball and basketball and more. The Student Pirate Club hopes to get more students to join, especially the ones who never got to experience the ECU “Boneyard” due to COVID-19, according to Hudson. 

“After last year there was pretty much no student experiences. We really want to bring it back really strong like we used to have it years ago,” Hudson said. “We want to pack out the boneyard because with the student they bring a whole different atmosphere and it really gets the crowd into it. 

The staff is excited to welcome students back to campus and ensure that everyone feels like they are part of the club, according to Gilbert. To join the club, sign-ups are on the ECU Pirates website.

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