We’ve waited 21 years for this. Tonight, we are back!

tylerWatkinsRoamingThe Coastal Carolina Chanticleers are set to play in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament tonight at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC. It’s a night that we’ve been waiting on for 21 years.

When Coastal last visited the tournament, the expectations were high that Coastal would be back, and soon. With a new name, new colors, and a team that would return for the 1994 season, things looked promising for the school that had just broken away from the University of South Carolina system to form their own, Coastal Carolina University. And then the rumors began. CCU was being investigated for NCAA violations. While the team was on the road at Radford University, it all broke loose. The season would end on a sour note, and head coach Russ Bergman would leave the program. A new coach would take over and the Chanticleers would serve their punishment and attempt to rebuild.

It would be a slow process, and we would wait. Through head coach Michael Hopkins 6-20 first season, we sat and watched. It was a struggle, and I remember it well. As part of the radio broadcast team that year, we traveled with the team, and sat through each loss. After the probation was over, we’d say, things would improve.

During the 1995-1996 season, the Chants would do even worse, going 5-21. But we waited.

David Sides, Andy Hendrick, Wayne White, Chad Smith, Bo Graham, Allen Smothers, Stan Parker, Buddy Sasser, Lori White. All faces you would see in the crowd every game supporting their team. And of course, Coach Jess Dannelly always standing by the door on the side of the benches.

Year after year, coach after coach, we waited for that return trip to the NCAA tournament. None of us knew that it would be 21 years.

Through the four years of Michael Hopkins. Through the seven year Pete Strickland era, we had hope that this would be the year. Seven win seasons, 8 win seasons back to back and still, we came as fans and alumni and media, and faculty. We waited.

Remember the Buzz Peterson era? It began with a 20 win season but didn’t produce a conference championship or a return trip to the NCAA tournament. We’d just have to wait.

We sat there as Winthrop won four straight titles, twice. We sat through the 2006 Big South finals, where Winthrop beat us by one, 51-50. We sat through another finals loss in 2010 to Winthrop. And, with the Chants playing what was expected to be their final game ever in Kimbell arena, the 2011 Big South finals against Asheville should have set the stage for a magical send off into the HTC Center. Coastal should have won that game, but they didn’t. We’d have to wait. Next year, we’d say.

We sat through all Americans Torrey Butler, Pele Paeley, Jack Leasure, and Chad Gray. We watched Rodney Depre’, Moses Sonko, Joseph Harris, Anthony Raffa, and Kierre Greenwood give us their all, and fall short. Next year, we’d say.

We sat through a 28 win season with head coach Cliff Ellis, and then amazingly another one the following year, 2010-2011. Still, we waited to return to the NCAA Tournament, always falling short.

Tomorrow the Chanticleers take the floor in Raleigh, NC against the Virginia Cavaliers in the NCAA Tournament.

Most of the players on this team weren’t even alive the last time the Chanticleers went dancing. But, they’ll represent us. They’ll represent the season ticket holder that sat there year after year. They’ll represent the last coach to take our team to the tournament. They’ll represent KeKe Hicks, the guard on that team 21 years ago. They’ll represent the fans, the alumni, and the faculty.

The waiting is over. Tomorrow, we’ll all gather around our radios or televisions, slide into our seats in the stands, or our seats along press row at the PNC Arena. Tomorrow, the wait ends. The Chants are back. Regardless of the outcome, it’s a celebration. The destination has been achieved.

They say that life is a journey, not a destination. But tomorrow, we’ll celebrate the destination. It’s taken 21 years, but we’re back.

Comments

comments

Green Wave surges past Chants in road-trip debut

Green Wave surges past Chants in road-trip debutZac Cuthbertson tied his career-high with 31 points, but it [more]

Mohr brothers take major leap at Junior Olympic XC

Mohr brothers take major leap at Junior Olympic XCA pair of Grand Strand brothers made strong showings at [more]

NMB rises to the top with Class 4A volleyball crown

NMB rises to the top with Class 4A volleyball crownAfter losing a hard-fought first set in Saturday's Class 4A [more]

Coastal will host inaugural Myrtle Beach Bowl in 2020

Coastal will host inaugural Myrtle Beach Bowl in 2020ESPN Events is adding a new bowl game to its [more]

National champs highlight Chants' baseball schedule

National champs highlight Chants' baseball scheduleThe Coastal Carolina baseball team and head coach Gary Gilmore [more]

Coast FA teams post solid showings in NC tourneys

Coast FA teams post solid showings in NC tourneysCoach Joel Banta’s Coast 07 Red first received high praise [more]

Chiefs charge back, claim Class 4A volleyball crown

Chiefs charge back, claim Class 4A volleyball crownThe North Myrtle Beach Chiefs went to the Class 4A [more]

Red Wolves leave Coastal one win short of bowl bid

Red Wolves leave Coastal one win short of bowl bidArkansas Red Wolves totaled 454 yards of offense on their [more]

Panthers' gamble pays off in OT win over Lexington

Panthers' gamble pays off in OT win over LexingtonMarc Morris had already showed his hand. The Carolina Forest coach [more]

Seahawks, Green ground, pound Devils in first round

Seahawks, Green ground, pound Devils in first roundIn what could have been the final home game of [more]

No. 10 NMB hits the road, runs past Thoroughbreds

No. 10 NMB hits the road, runs past ThoroughbredsThe No. 10-ranked North Myrtle Beach High football team had [more]

River Bluff pulls the plug on Conway's football season

River Bluff pulls the plug on Conway's football seasonAfter the lights went out, the Gators turned it on [more]

Coastal holds off Howard, loses to Panthers in semis

Coastal holds off Howard, loses to Panthers in semisA change in venue did not squelch the excitement in [more]

Seahawks, Chiefs may reap rewards of rigorous region

Seahawks, Chiefs may reap rewards of rigorous regionMickey Wilson didn’t use the term directly. But the Myrtle Beach [more]

Panthers prepare for tough first-round playoff test

Panthers prepare for tough first-round playoff testIn the last five years, Carolina Forest coach Marc Morris [more]

Chiefs dethrone Seahawks as Lower State champions

Chiefs dethrone Seahawks as Lower State champions The North Myrtle Beach High volleyball team had this date [more]

Clemson's Renfrow named semifinalist for top walk-on

Clemson's Renfrow named semifinalist for top walk-onThe Burlsworth Trophy selection committee announced today that Clemson wide [more]

Coastal men, women cruise to season-opening victories

Coastal men, women cruise to season-opening victoriesSenior forward Zac Cuthbertson scored 18 points to lead six [more]

Local runners make strides at state cross country meet

Local runners make strides at state cross country meetMissing a month of the high school cross country season [more]

Mountaineers top Chants; Norman makes donation

Mountaineers top Chants; Norman makes donationCoastal Carolina’s football team put up a strong fight, but [more]

College hoops hit Strand with CCU, MB Invitational

College hoops hit Strand with CCU, MB InvitationalThe college basketball season tips off in earnest this week [more]

Knights knock off Tigers, top Panthers for 6-5A title

Knights knock off Tigers, top Panthers for 6-5A titleThe Conway High football team went into Friday night's regular [more]

Region 6-5A: Panthers run past Braves; Sharks falter

Region 6-5A: Panthers run past Braves; Sharks falterCarolina Forest kept its slim hopes at a Region VI-5A [more]

Hartsville hammers Myrtle Beach for Region 6-4A title

Hartsville hammers Myrtle Beach for Region 6-4A titleThe No. 3 Myrtle Beach High football team went into [more]

Chiefs shut out Bulldogs, capture third playoff seed

Chiefs shut out Bulldogs, capture third playoff seedThe North Myrtle Beach High football team had to have [more]

Green Wave surges past Chants in road-trip debut

Green Wave surges past Chants in road-trip debutZac Cuthbertson tied his career-high with 31 points, but it [more]

Mohr brothers take major leap at Junior Olympic XC

Mohr brothers take major leap at Junior Olympic XCA pair of Grand Strand brothers made strong showings at [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2018 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach