GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Jeff Charles, known as “The Voice of the Pirates,” passed away Friday while he was on a road trip in New Orleans with the men’s basketball team.
East Carolina University and all of Pirate Nation are now reacting to his loss.
“Growing up, all I would hear was Jeff Charles on the radio either coming into town or leaving town,” said Jared Plummer, ECU alumni. “He was a staple in my life.”
“His voice and him as a radio personality is synonymous with this community, East Carolina athletics, the university and I would even say all of Eastern North Carolina,” said ECU Director of Athletics Jon Gilbert.
Those who knew him said he knew what it meant to be a Pirate, whether over the radio waves or just in life.
“His level of passion for ECU athletics and just the way he carried himself on game day, putting on a football and basketball game is second to none,” Gilbert said.
“Him as a great broadcaster one, but also him as a great human being is what I’ll take away from knowing him,” said Corey Gloor, the broadcasting director at Tulane. “He made sure he lived every day to the fullest. You could hear it in his calls and every time you talked to him.”
Gloor worked at ECU for six years covering baseball. He was eager to see Charles on the call in New Orleans when he heard the news.
“It was a gut punch,” he said. “I was incredibly eager to see him, but I mean you can walk around Greenville and just say the voice and everyone knows who you’re talking about. It’s because he was a person first. The true kindness, to fans, to student-athletes, to people who worked there, to fellow broadcasters.”
Charles’ kindness was felt by so many as an outpouring of love and support from social media came in over the weekend. On Monday, with a quiet Dowdy Ficklen Stadium showing its tribute to the broadcaster, everyone said “The Voice” will always be remembered loud and clear.
“It is Jeff Charles territory,” Gilbert said. “He had a tremendous impact, and it is being felt today and it will be felt for a very long time.”
ECU Athletics said they’re working with the Charles family to set up details on how his legacy will be honored and celebrated. Funeral arrangements have also not been announced.