At the special request from one of the Buzz’s biggest fans – Andre Bernardi – I have dusted off the keys and will pound out (literally, those who’ve seen me type know the unmerciful abuse I subject my computer keyboard to) the Crusader post-football almost Christmas, finals grading, end of the year Buzz:
My sister Nancy has always been my travel agent, but after utilizing Sepko Travel to Mississippi last weekend, my loyalties will be tested. Micah handled everything from air travel, NCAA entanglements, hotel reservations, buses, meals, shopping, getting two vehicles 10 hours west from Tigerville, and many other myriad tasks that made our trip to the Delta a memorable occasion. Nice work there boss!
Those of us that were blessed to be on the chartered Air Tran plane from Greenville to Greenville (true story – Greenville, SC to Greenville, MS) snickered at the hilarity of the many players who raised their hands on takeoff for the roller coaster ride of their lives. Many of the players hadn’t ever been on a plane, but few of them bought into the joking as to how scary the ride would be.
Prayer in the playoffs – Those of us who work at and attend North Greenville understand that God has put us here for a reason. We found out why during our football playoff run. After being told by NCAA reps that we ‘could not pray’ before our home game against Albany State, to the ‘sort of almost’ prayer at Mars Hill, to the no prayer at Delta State, we discovered that Christianity is under attack by the world, and we must stand strong against the enemy’s onslaught.
How fun was it to see Dr. and Mrs. Jimmy Epting, Melvin and Dollie Younts, Sam Kelly, Mike Batchelor, Wayne Landrith, Dr. Wilson Nelson, Keli Sewell and many others with us on the trip. They all got to see first-hand the culmination of years of hard work by our players and coaches!
Speaking of standing strong, if you weren’t at the Albany State game, you missed perhaps the strongest, ‘I believe in the power of Jesus’ prayer ever at Younts Stadium. Dr. Wilson Nelson, Director of Major Athletic Gifts at NGU, who was scheduled to deliver the pre-game invocation, thankfully did not follow the ‘script’ required by the NCAA (God doesn’t do scripts). He began his powerful intonation to the Lord with, “In the name of Jesus Christ!” Works for me.
Cleveland, Mississippi’s local newspaper proclaimed “North Greenville who?” prior to the game last weekend. They know now. Yes, the Statesmen were a very good, experienced team, which should win the NCAA II national title. They did what they needed to do to win in the fourth quarter, but NGU accorded itself well in a difficult situation.
I had some very good ‘Fried Okra’ leads ready for the post-game story following the Delta game, but couldn’t quite trot them out. The student body of DSU unofficially adopted the ‘Fighting Okra’ as their mascot back in the 1980’s. I wish I had time to get one of those shirts. Be nice to wear in my garden next summer. Why the Okra? If you could have seen that wonderful black soil in the Delta region, you’d understand. Even I could grow crops in that. Thank God for our nation’s bread basket!
I really hated seeing our seniors’ final game being played in Mississippi.
Coach Jamey Chadwell was interviewed by the NCAA News for a story last week, and he was asked if he had to make a choice between winning a national title and seeing one player saved, his answer was a no brainer – “Saved!” he said clearly and strongly. Coach – whatever you need from me – it’s yours. (check out the story on the NGU athletics website; worth the read).
Speaking of coverage, Spartanburg Herald Journal 1, Greenville News 0. Herald sports reporter Will Rothschild wrote one of the best journalistic pieces I’ve read in many years, in his introspective on the career of Willy Korn last week. Good to see there is actually some quality reporting going on in the GSP area. Oh, the Greenville News neglected to run the story of our narrow quarterfinal loss to Delta State in the Sunday paper. Oops …
I was pleased to see the outstanding work of Matt Jones, Assistant A.D. at Delta State. He ran a first class sports information operation, and best of all, he had downloaded my doctoral dissertation for review. The man pays attention. I’m a fan.
Congrats to Willy Korn for being named Second Team All Super Region II! He is only the second NGU player to earn All Region honors. Interesting thing is, NGU finished in the top eight in the country and landed only one player on the All-Region team. The team is voted on by the region’s SID’s … Hmmm?
Need to pull out the record books, but I’m wondering if Delta’s 8,000+ stadium was one of the largest venues NGU had ever played in.
Congrats to the two Kaitlyn’s … Kaitlyn Pierce and Kaitlyn Harris on finishing up solid careers for the NGU volleyball team!
Was actually hoping the NBA season wouldn’t happen so that more folks would focus on the NGU basketball teams. The men have what is arguably one of the best groups in many years, and the women pulled off their first Conference Carolinas win against Belmont Abbey. Lots of games coming up, so download a schedule from www.ngcrusaders.com.
Chad Gfeller led the NGU men’s soccer team to its first Conference Carolinas playoff berth in the fall. Many more to come eh coach?!
Wish we could have transported the crowd of 800+ Crusader fans who traveled to the Mars Hill playoff game the weekend of Thanksgiving to Mississippi last weekend. Almost had as many as the Mountain Lion faithful.
Hey Sepko – how many TSA screeners does it take to check you out?
Coach Jamey Chadwell and his staff had a great game plan for the Delta State game, and you have got to have nothing but admiration for a coach who gives so much of himself for his players, and displays the kind of emotion he did after the Delta game.
Extremely proud of my advisees Nick Rosamonda and Asa Wright for finishing their football careers on a high note. Next stop – graduation!
Can’t wait to see the web site hit numbers during our NCAA II football playoff run. I have to believe people from Kansas to Connecticut were trying to figure out which North Greenville and from which state.
Five former NGU sport management grads played significant roles with the NGU football team – Joe Novatosky (D line), Andre Bernardi (D line/linebackers/strength and conditioning), Andre Woolcock (grad assistant offense), Dustin Fuls (game op/statistics), and Robbie Gawrys (all print and online graphics, photography, Chadwell show filming and editing, and website upkeep). Fuls and former student Tomas Kurhajec will receive their MBA’s from NGU Thursday! Nice work this semester by sport management grad. assistant Emily Pittman, and interns Cory Guinn, Leah Ward and Kaitlyn Joseph.
My favorite football game of the year – Senior Day and Military Appreciation Day Nov. 12 . It took over six hours to put together the script and timing for the day, and the actual speaking part was under 20 minutes. Phew – but, you talk two groups who’ve earned our praises at North Greenville.
Did you know that NGU broke school records for most wins in a football season (11) and most consecutive wins (9) in 2011?
One certaity for 2012 – the NGU volleyball team WILL be a CC threat if Coach Greg Mosely has anything to do with it.
Favorite road trip: the Wingate trip in the Sepko mobile, the stunning Crusader win, and Hibachi Grill afterwards.
Best description of the NGU sports information office: (by Carson Newman SID Zeke Beam: “You all do the sports information part by ‘committee.’” True story. NGU has no full time sports information person, but an eclectic group of over 15 that combine to do the job.
Toughest part of football season: Trying to figure out the numbers on the gray road jerseys: “Was that an 8 or a 9 on the last tackle?”
“Represent us well, be responsible, go to church and thank God for giving you the privilege of playing at North Greenville!” (Coach Jamey Chadwell after every football game to his team).
Discussion fodder – SAC Alliance Champions (in reality, no such animal; to NGU …)
Best press box of the year – Presbyterian College!
Another ponderiscious thought: prior to 2011, NGU had not beaten a single SAC team. After the 2011 season, The Crusaders had beaten them all.
A record that might take a few years to beat: 145 unanswered points from the first quarter of the Wingate game, through the Notre Dame contest, to the second quarter of the Albany State playoff game. Wow.
New head baseball coach Reggie Reynolds will put a loaded squad on the field in the spring. Think Conference Carolinas will be ready?
Softball coach Sarah Hall will be adding a new little shortstop to her ‘team’ in March. She and her husband are expecting a little girl right at the beginning of the season.
Willy Korn will be the guest speaker for the Greenville Touchdown Club next Monday night. Now that is respect!
D2football.com message board … and we’ll have fun, fun, fun ...
Basketball season! Now we can talk about different type of field goals at Hayes Gymnasium.
Hey ESPN … Coach Chadwell and I are ready for our world debut!
To all of the Crusader fans who have loyally following our teams this fall, traveling en masse to many games and contests, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2012. Keep following NGU Crusader Athletics at www.ngcrusaders.com!