Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Several folks have been asking me, “where’s the Buzz?”  The only answer I could safely muster without cracking a smile is, “I’ve been Bee-zie.”

We’ve reached what I call the overlap time of the year where basketball is winding down its prodigious season and all the spring sports spring into action.  An exciting time of the year for fans, but the period that tries the spirit of the college athletics staff. 
What an exciting basketball season it’s been for the Crusader men and women.  Coach Chad Lister’s squad has had us on the edge of our seats with the roller coaster ride they’ve been on.  They’ve had some high points, but the guys have also had us grasping the chair with tight knuckles.  One of the best was the last second win on a play drawn up in the huddle against Southern Wesleyan.  Trailing by one with two seconds left, Zach Babbitt hit Paul Harrison under the basket from half court as he hit a layup win it.  Wow.
The NGU men’s basketball team will host the NCCAA South Regional Tournament March 9-11 at Hayes Gym, so put that one on your calendar.  The pot of gold for the Crusaders will be a trip to Oakland City, Ind. March 19-21 at Oakland City University.
NGU participated in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s “Pink Zone” promotion to draw continued awareness to the dangers of breast cancer.  The NGU women’s team and cheerleaders wore pink socks and numerous members of the crowd wore pink to support research for a cure to this deadly killer on Tuesday, Feb. 9 and will again on Saturday, Feb. 14.
Dr. B and his wife had a chance to have lunch with new head football coach Jamey Chadwell, his wife Solmaz and his parents, Jim and Cindy last Friday.  What a delightful young coach he is and my ‘B’ instincts drawn from many years in college athletics say that Coach Chadwell will be a special talent for North Greenville.
If you were unable to attend the press conference announcing Coach Chadwell’s joining the NGU family, check it out at wwwngcrusaders.com.  All three area television stations, including Geoff Hart from WYFF Channel 4, Channel 7 and Fox Channel 27 were in Tigerville, along with representatives and a photographer from the Greenville News.  Kudos to Micah Sepko and his entourage of SID folks who put on a super organized press conference.
I can’t wait for the season opener for Coach Travis Henson’s baseball team.  Henson comes to NGU from Landrum High School, and he has set an immediate tone of excellence for his young team.  The home season opener is Wednesday, Feb. 11 at 2:00 p.m.
A familiar face is back on the sidelines for the NGU softball team.  It’s Crusader Director of Athletics Jan McDonald who has been called back into service (where she was for many years before taking the AD’s reins), and will be the interim coach for the 2009 season.  The sudden death of head coach Buster Sturke early last year shook the team and McDonald will add needed leadership and guidance for the ladies.
Traditionally, the NGU men’s tennis team has been the strong one, but in the early going, it’s been Coach Mark Elliot’s women’s squad who’s pulled the surprises.  Granted the men have played a really tough schedule (and they’ll be back in the W column soon), but the women have jumped out to a 1-1 record with a win over Shaw University.
Junior Brad Caldwell was tied for third after the first round of one of the toughest early season NCAA Division II tournaments at the Outback Steakhouse Classic in Panama City Beach, Fla. recently, but the second day of play saw temperatures plummet and scores skyrocket.  The Crusaders under Coach Jeff Pittillo finished 7th and are setting themselves up for a run in the NCCAA tourney this spring.
Division I sports information directors … eat your hearts out.  The NGU sports information machine, directed by Micah Sepko, has been cranking out more YouTube videos, highlights shows, coaches programs and game stories than ever before.  Sepko’s menagerie has Dr. B hosting the Jayne Arledge and Chad Lister’s shows for basketball, senior sport management major Tyrell Davis out front for the Travis Henson baseball show, and freshman soccer player Leah Ward has been stunning in her new role as the host of the weekly Crusader sports update.  The Jan McDonald show will come on line soon to go with various football, basketball, cheerleading and other sport highlights pieces.  The cost … negligible.   The exposure … priceless!  Check them out at www.ngcrusaders.com
I would like to have seen the smile on Andre Bernardi’s face when he received his award at the Orangeburg Touchdown Club’s annual All-State football team awards dinner in early February.  To go with a myriad of All-American awards, he was one of the four defensive linemen named to the All-State team (as named by the State Newspaper in Columbia) alongside the top Division I-AA and other small colleges.  Clemson mentor Dabo Swinney was the guest speaker.  The good news – He’ll be back for Coach Chadwell next fall.
Keep an eye peeled for March 24 when three former NGU football players will participate in Furman’s annual NFL pro scout day tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, March 24.  Matt Moore, Brandon Dobbins and Rashad Cummings will showcase their ample athletic talents with hopes of attracting the eye of some 20-30 professional scouts.
Hard to believe this, but died in the wool FSU grad Dr. B was actually rooting for Clemson in basketball the other night.  Clemson has had a magical season, but the Seminoles rode the wave when the Tigers pushed the cruise button too early. 
Seeing triplicate … did you know that the NGU baseball team has a set of triplets – Mark, Matthew and Michael Benjamin, all sophomores from Greenwood, SC (Greenwood Christian).  Talk about blurry vision for hitters!
It was proposed that we broadcast home baseball games (or at least some of them).  Good idea.  Better idea … let’s find a sponsor to underwrite it; that way, it’ll be simple.
I tried to find the origin of use of the term “money” in sports to mean ‘guaranteed.’  I couldn’t locate an original source.  Perhaps someone reading the Buzz could help me out (students – that means extra credit).  With that, freshman guard Karly Stache on the women’s basketball has been certifiably ‘money’ with her shooting the last games (17.6 ppg, 49.3% FG and 22-53 3’s for 41.5%).  Good numbers for a frosh.
Special thanks to Jason Ross in the NGU Alumni Office for providing Dr. B with snazzy Crusader tie to use on the basketball coaches shows.  Not only did I look so much better, but it’s a nice way to plug the alumni office’s drive to raise its profile with our grads.  Remember – your degree is only as valuable as you make it, and that means getting involved with NGU, raising funds, and sending us new students.