Memories of Kimbel: From the ruins, a University rises

Tonight’s 2011-12 season opener, the final year the Chanticleers will play in Kimbel Arena, marks the start of the 19th year of my involvement with Coastal Carolina University.

At the time, I was working the radio broadcast with the longtime voice of the Chanticleers, Bo Graham, and relative newcomer on the scene, Allen Smothers. Bo was there when the Chants went to the NCAA Tournament. Bo was also there when the phrase “moon shot” was being used to describe an outside shot by Dave Mooney. It was Bo’s “Catch phrase” while Mooney was there. Bo’s other catch phrase was “From the land of three”, and when Allen agreed to begin doing the games , Bo continued to use the phrase on air. For three or four years, the three of us traveled the country doing the games on the radio for the newly separated school from USC.

The “gym” that all games were played in is located in the same location as the current “Arena”. Kimbel Gym was small and the bleachers that pulled out did indeed make it look like a high school gym. There were complaints about the size even then. In reality, if you traveled to some of the other gyms in the Big South Conference, things didn’t get much better at that level. UNC Asheville might have been even worse.

The players, the teams, the uniform styles, and the coaches have all come and gone during the 18-year period, but Kimbel has always provided the constant. At any game, you’ll see the faithful Chants wearing their teal, you’ll have the administration standing on the floor near the doorways, Wayne White will be sitting at the scorer’s table, Andy Hendricks will be around, Buddy Sasser will be shaking someone’s hand, and over the last 14 years, Matt Hogue has been at the media table with a headset on.

Some may criticize the job various coaches have done, but they seemed to all do the very best they could with the situation they were faced with. We’ll start with Russ Bergman. Standard story, he took a small school to the big time, was accused of cheating and resigned in March of 1994.

Michael Hopkins was hired with restrictions on the program that made it very difficult to have success with. He endured, and got the program through. Some say he was hired just for that reason, to maintain. Problem is, Mike is very competitive, and he believes in what he does.

Pete Strickland rolled into town next and continued building the programs. I say programs, plural, because Pete was directed to play a lot of “Money Games”. That’s when you play a much better team, knowing you’re going to get killed, but that your school is going to make a lot of money on the deal from the host school. Pete was building the basketball program, and the future football program with the funds that were generated.

Big-time Buzz Peterson  came to Myrtle Beach with a lot of fan fare. As a close friend of Michael Jordan’s, former Tennessee coach, and a protégé of Dean Smith and Roy Williams, the time was right for the program to kickstart. Peterson did just that, with flair. If you were to peek into Peterson’s home  closet you’d only find very nice suits or gym pants and polos. I don’t think I ever saw him in anything else.He seemed aloof to many, but he got the job done and in reality, I just think a lot of people wanted to be associated with him because of his past. Everywhere he went people wanted to say hey, or shake his hand, or get a picture, or get him to sign something, you get the idea. We all knew that he was short term though. Buzz was using the Coastal job as a spring board and everyone knew it.

And now Cliff Ellis. Number 8 on the list of winningest active coaches. Among those above him on the list, Roy Williams, Coach K, Jim Boeheim, Bob Huggins, and Jim Calhoun. Coach Ellis is in some elite company. Last year’s team was one game away from the NCAA tournament, going 28-6 on the year and leading the conference at the end of the regular season. His teams have provided excitement and at times drama. They are fun to watch, and he has taken the program to the level of the days of Russ Bergman.

When this all began those 18 years ago, Coastal was a small school trying to become a university. They took the name and applied it to their school, and began the growing process. The school now has an exciting football program, successful baseball team, currently Top 10 soccer team, and a basketball team that has returned to prominence. It’s certainly an exciting time to be a Chant.

Kimbel Gym is the last holdout. The expectation was to move into the new Arena, or as they call it “Convocation Center”, at the start of this season. That won’t happen. Some would say it’s a shame. I see it as a second chance.

If you’ll remember back to March 15th of last year. The Chants were the regular season champs. They would be taking on UNC Asheville for the right to go to the NCAA Tournament. The Chants were expected to win this one, but they came out flat. By halftime, it was close to finished, the Chants were down by that much. So, the opportunity to close Kimbel Arena with one last win was missed. Fans went home disappointed and ready for next year.

Now that the Convocation Center is not ready, the Chants will play one last season in the old place. One last season, and one last chance to take that building out in style. Should the Chants take it to the finals of the Big South tournament again this year, I can assure you that there will be three other constants there to witness it. That will be the three men that sat beside each other 18 years ago and began the  start of the 1993 season, the year after the last visit to the NCAA tournament. Bo, Allen, and I have since witnessed the downfall of Bergman and the rise of a University.

Comments

comments

CCU baseball makes solid showing in preseason poll

CCU baseball makes solid showing in preseason pollCoastal Carolina, the defending 2018 Sun Belt Conference regular season [more]

All-County Girls Tennis: CA star Harrelson rises to top

All-County Girls Tennis: CA star Harrelson rises to topTatiana Harrelson's path into tennis was a predictable one, but [more]

Coastal makes late surge, battles past pesky Eagles

Coastal makes late surge, battles past pesky EaglesSenior forward Zac Cuthbertson scored a game-high 23 points and [more]

Solomon's pick-six helps South take it to the house

Solomon's pick-six helps South take it to the houseIn a game full of turnovers, Kenney Solomon had among [more]

Hoops: MB downs Conway; Socastee wins HTC tourney

Hoops: MB downs Conway; Socastee wins HTC tourneyJust 24 hours after a lackluster effort allowed Carolina Forest [more]

All-County Golf: Anderson follows Knaffle's footsteps

All-County Golf: Anderson follows Knaffle's footstepsSelecting the MyHorryNews All-County Girls Golfer of the Year should [more]

Hoops: Panthers flip script on Seahawks in rematch

Hoops: Panthers flip script on Seahawks in rematchA leaky roof at the Myrtle Beach High gymnasium forced [more]

All-County XC: CF's Mohr, NMB's Spickler lead pack

All-County XC: CF's Mohr, NMB's Spickler lead packRunning is more than a hobby for Michael Mohr; it’s [more]

Hoops: Unbeaten Conway secures sweep of Wilson

Hoops: Unbeaten Conway secures sweep of WilsonThe Conway High boys basketball team proved that last month's [more]

Change is name of game for North-South All-Stars

Change is name of game for North-South All-Stars The wholesale changes to the 2018 South Carolina football season [more]

Hoops: Saints fall despite double-double from Green

Hoops: Saints fall despite double-double from GreenThe Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach boys basketball team suffered [more]

Hoops: Tigers, Sharks post big wins over county rivals

Hoops: Tigers, Sharks post big wins over county rivalsThe Conway High boys remained undefeated on the season with [more]

Chants on break for finals week after loss to Terriers

Chants on break for finals week after loss to TerriersSophomore Tre Brown had a career and team-high 24 points, [more]

CAC swimmers post hot times at Snowflake Invite

CAC swimmers post hot times at Snowflake InviteThe Coastal Aquatic Club (CAC) spent the weekend in Rock [more]

Knox's triple-double lifts Seahawks past Panthers

Knox's triple-double lifts Seahawks past Panthers Myrtle Beach High sophomore Emorie Knox hit a major milestone [more]

CAC's Steele captures gold at Winter Junior Nationals

CAC's Steele captures gold at Winter Junior NationalsCarolina Forest senior and Coastal Aquatic Club standout Taylor Steele [more]

SEAHAWKS STORM PAST GREER FOR STATE TITLE

SEAHAWKS STORM PAST GREER FOR STATE TITLE Over the summer, the Myrtle Beach players were gathered inside [more]

Green Sea Floyds captures first state championship

Green Sea Floyds captures first state championshipFacing fourth down and a sneaker, Green Sea Floyds coach [more]

Hoops: Sharks beat buzzer, Warriors on late foul shots

Hoops: Sharks beat buzzer, Warriors on late foul shotsThe St. James High boys basketball team won a thriller [more]

Schools send football team to state with Seahawk Walk

Schools send football team to state with Seahawk WalkThe Myrtle Beach High football team received a hero's send-off [more]

Hoops: Myrtle Beach boys double up rival Socastee

Hoops: Myrtle Beach boys double up rival SocasteeThe Myrtle Beach High boys basketball team doubled up rival [more]

Seahawks' strange season takes a final twist to state

Seahawks' strange season takes a final twist to stateMickey Wilson has led his team to state championship games [more]

Hoops: NMB boys, CF girls fall short in comeback bids

Hoops: NMB boys, CF girls fall short in comeback bidsWhat appeared to be a pair of lopsided affairs turned [more]

MB's shot at state crown moved to Friday afternoon

MB's shot at state crown moved to Friday afternoonGame time has been moved up a day for the [more]

Socastee product Renfrow titled nation's top walk-on

Socastee product Renfrow titled nation's top walk-onThe Burlsworth Foundation announced Monday that wide receiver Hunter Renfrow [more]

CCU baseball makes solid showing in preseason poll

CCU baseball makes solid showing in preseason pollCoastal Carolina, the defending 2018 Sun Belt Conference regular season [more]

All-County Girls Tennis: CA star Harrelson rises to top

All-County Girls Tennis: CA star Harrelson rises to topTatiana Harrelson's path into tennis was a predictable one, but [more]

Comments are closed.

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