GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Jeff Lebo informed his players that he was resigning from his post as the men’s basketball head coach at East Carolina following the team’s film session Wednesday afternoon. The news caught the players by surprise and it hit the seniors especially hard.
“It hit me right in the heart. I’ve been with coach Lebo since I was a freshman which was in 2013, he was the man that gave me that chance when I thought I didn’t have one,” said senior guard BJ Tyson. “It’s very tough for me. Now we got Coach Perry and now we have to get ready for the game tomorrow. I’m praying for whatever it is with Coach Lebo and I love him to death.”
“It’s unexpected, out of no where. It sounds like it is the best situation for him to move on, and I guess, live his life a little and just take some time off,” said senior guard/forward Kentrell Barkley. “I’m just sorry about the news, but I mean, we have to keep moving forward and try to get this basketball program on another direction.”
Michael Perry will take over as the interim head coach for the rest of the season. Perry is not new to leading the Pirate program as he helped lead the Pirates to six wins last season while Lebo missed time following hip surgery. Perry has been a part of coaching changes both as a player and an assistant coach. He says that in his experience the timing of these kinds of situations is rarely ideal.
“There is no perfect time, sometimes it happens during the season, middle of the season, beginning of the season. But typically it does not happen as you expect it to for a guy that has been in the business a long time. So, I was surprised but not completely over whelmed because he has been in the business for awhile and when it’s time, it’s time and he felt like it was time.”
Perry and the Pirates don’t have a lot of time to let the news set in as they take the court on Thursday when UNCW comes to Minges Coliseum with tip-off set for 8 p.m.