GREENVILLE — Robeson County native and former All-Pro fullback Vonta Leach was honored by his alma mater, East Carolina University, at the school’s season opener on Sunday against North Carolina A&T.
According to Leach, the school is implementing a new ceremony process in which they celebrate past “legends” at every home game this year. The honorees enter the stadium with current players during the “Pirate Walk” before the game, then do interviews at halftime.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” Leach said when discussing his feelings about being one of the first to be recognized. “I think it’ll get our former players and former greats back to the games to support the Pirates.”
Leach credits his time at South Robeson High with learning the fundamentals of the game. He says that foundation is what prepared him for the next level.
After dominating competition as a Mustang, the 2014 ECU Football Hall of Fame inductee starred as a Pirate from 2000-2003. During his tenure, Leach played a couple of seasons at linebacker, then converted to fullback halfway through his junior year. As a senior, he was voted a captain and earned the offensive MVP award of the 2004 Blue-Gray All-Star Game.
In the NFL, Leach went on to become one of the best fullbacks in his era and was named an All-Pro from 2010-12. He was also a member of the Baltimore Ravens when they took home the Lombardi trophy after winning Super Bowl XLVII.
As for the future of ECU football, Leach simply wants the program to return to its identity.
“I’m looking forward to us getting back to playing Pirate football…and getting back to the winning tradition,” Leach said.
Donnell Coley can be reached at 910-416-5165 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Sportsinmyveins.