MPM Podcast

Creating a culture of mental toughness – The ECU Pirate’s Mission

by Brian Cain, MPM

Cliff Godwin is the head baseball coach at East Carolina University and one of the top coaches in all of NCAA athletics.

Godwin worked as an assistant under two national championship winning coaches in Tim Corbin at Vanderbilt and under Paul Manari at LSU.

He also was instrumental as an assistant coach in leading Ole Miss to Omaha in 2014 and has been a part of 11 NCAA Regional and two College World Series appearances.  A four-year letterman for the Pirates, Godwin was appointed as ECU’s 16th head baseball coach on June 25, 2014.
During his six years at the helm of the program, Godwin has guided ECU to four NCAA Regional berths (2018 and 2019 Greenville Regional host), two Super Regional appearances, the 2019 American Athletic Conference Regular season title, a pair of AAC Tournament crowns and a 214-113-1 (.654) overall record.

Ten players have earned All-America status, while 10 were NCAA All-Regional selections, 16 were named all-conference, while 14 were drafted by Major League Baseball teams.

In the community, the Pirates have donated over 4,500 hours working with programs in the Pitt County area such as the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, Team IMPACT, Riley’s Army, Cypress Glenn Retirement Community Flood Relief, Hurricane Relief, Red Cross, First Born Community Development Center, ACES for Autism, Make-A-Wish Foundation and the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital.
Godwin made an immediate impact in 2015 by leading the Pirates to a 40-22 record, which included a second-place regular season finish (15-9) in The American. The 2015 American Coach-of-the-Year became the first skipper in program history to win 40 games in his initial season, guided ECU to a conference tournament title in its first year in the league and directed a return to NCAA post-season play – its first since 2012 – as the No. 2 seed in the Coral Gables Regional.
He followed in 2016 with another NCAA Regional berth (No. 3 seed in Charlottesville) and a Super Regional appearance (Lubbock, Texas) in 2016. ECU, which posted a 38-23-1 record and finished second in The American (15-8-1), rolled through regional play picking up wins against No. 20 Bryant, No. 10 Virginia and William & Mary en route to claiming the Charlottesville crown – its fourth regional title. The Pirates continued their magical run, defeating No. 5 national seed Texas Tech in the opener of the Super Regional and came 90 feet away from making their first appearance in the College World Series.

How did Coach Godwin turn around his alma-mater so quickly… he would tell you in three words… The Pirates Mission.

I have know Cliff since 2012 when we worked together with Ole Miss Baseball.

He has impressed me with his energy, competitiveness and ability to connect with players and get them to play at their best, with an edge and with confidence on a consistent basis.

I remember sitting with him in Omaha after Ole Miss had been eliminated from the College World Series in 2014 and talking about the opportunity at ECU.  He wasted no time in deciding on the culture that was needed to take the Pirates to Omaha.  That culture is what he calls The Pirates Mission.

Please take a look at his introductory press conference above where he clearly communicates his vision for ECU baseball culture and the PIRATES MISSION.

After watching the video above, please download this example of the pirates mission and use it as a guide to help formulate your baseball programs mission, vision and core principles, or if you are a player reading this, do this for yourself, your brand and your career.

Also, please enjoy this podcast where Coach Godwin and I break down The Pirates Mission, The Mental Game and Coaching Mental Performance.


Thank you for listening to the Brian Cain Mental Performance Mastery Podcast on the Ironclad Content Network. If you liked this show, be sure to leave us a rating and a review and don’t forget to engage with me Instagram and Twitter @BrianCainPeak.

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