So far, so good for new-look Chanticleers

So far, so good.

Heading into Brooks Stadium on the campus of Coastal Carolina University, I vowed to keep an open mind, to present the facts as they existed. Not to let personal feelings get in the way of what I might see, or feel.

That sounds great in theory, but the reality is that I, like most locals, still felt a little bitter about the way Coastal Carolina University treated the only head football coach they had known, David Bennett. Frankly, I liked Coach Bennett. I liked him as a coach, as a person, and as a member of this community.

I certainly understand that there are very passionate feelings about the fact that Bennett was fired and replaced with an unproven, but financially well off Joe Moglia. Many people feel that Coach Bennett was treated very poorly by a program that he built from the ground up. Others feel that it was simply time for a change and the future looked bright.

I remember the moment that I heard the name Joe Moglia. I was standing in Kirklands, inside Coastal Grande Mall. This was about 8 hours before we broke the story of his hiring, and my partners in GSSR and I were discussing via telephone whether the information that we had could possibly be true. Had Coastal really hired a banking executive to coach the football team? They had.

So, I’ll admit, I’ve been skeptical. Many of us have been. We don’t like change, and we really liked Coach Bennett.

Going through the summer and into the Big South media days, whenever I would speak with Coach Moglia I always tried to have an open mind. Maybe his way would work out fine. Who knows?

As I began my way into the stadium on game day, I was looking for anything negative; anything that might seem out of place. Anything that I could point to and say, “I can’t believe they are doing that.”

I had briefly stopped on my way in to partake in some food at my buddy Tony Ely’s RV. He always puts out the spread and the Socastee faithful gather around to enjoy some tailgating. One of the attendees commented to me, “Where are all the RV’s that are normally here?” I replied that I guessed they had taken their money and went home. So, you can see that I was skeptical.

As the game began, I took notice of all the empty seats on the home side, it sure seemed like there were a lot of them.

Kickoff came, and I began scrutinizing each play. Another media member had mentioned to me earlier in the day that he was attending to see if the Chants would know how to play football, or would they look like a Chinese Fire drill.

As play continued in the first quarter, I began to realize that these Chants looked like the Chants that I had come to know and love under David Bennett’s watch. The names were the same; Aramis Hillary, David Duran, Quinn Backus.

When Hillary took a 1-yard run into the end zone for the first score of the game, you could almost feel the exhale of breath as the CCU faithful realized that maybe things would be OK.

By the time the Chants scored on a 22-yard run by Jeremy Height to end the first quarter, everything seemed to be forgotten and football was being enjoyed by all.

The Chants pulled out the expected win to open the season and the Joe Moglia era has begun. It’s a new time, it’s a new period.

So what was different about this game? The Chants wore new uniforms, all black in this case, and the attendance figures were up. 9,314 fans were reported to be in attendance, while last year’s average was 8,431.

I don’t know where these Chants will go. I don’t know how the season will turn out and I don’t know how long Joe Moglia will be the head coach of the Chanticleers, but I do know that those in attendance of that first game realize that life goes on. The Chants have a new coach, and a talented and capable football team with the first win under their belts.

So far, so good.

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