While the core mission of UNCW focuses on academics and providing the most powerful learning experience for our students, athletics also plays an important part in the lives not only of our students but of the entire, broad university community, as well. I know that the search for a new head coach for men's basketball is on the minds of many people, and I would like to take this opportunity to provide you a brief update.
Since the end of the basketball season, the search committee has been identifying and reviewing potential candidates. We believed we had a firm commitment, but yesterday we learned that was not the case. To be certain, searches are complicated and complex processes, especially where contracts are involved. You might recall in the early 1990s that head basketball coach Bobby Cremins left Georgia Tech where he was extremely successful to go to the University of South Carolina. Three days later, he returned to Georgia Tech after indicating that he had a change of heart. Similarly, Greg Marshall, head coach at Winthrop, was recruited to go to the College of Charleston. He even held a press conference to announce that move, only to return the next day as coach at Winthrop. Ironically, the person who replaced him at College of Charleston was Bobby Cremins.
Why am I telling you this? We all may know of numerous other situations where an individual was recruited by multiple institutions, only to take the one with the best financial package or change decisions for personal reasons. I am providing these examples to remind all of us that, despite rumors and speculation to the contrary, people routinely change their minds during negotiations for a variety of reasons. As disappointing as that may be at times, I have been in this business long enough to know that such situations are common; I also know that in the end, we will be successful. I am working closely with our athletic director Kelly Mehrtens and our search committee to continue the process of identifying the right coach – an individual who not only will move our basketball program forward by winning championships, but who also is committed to our same values, especially when it comes to our proud tradition of having highly successful athletes in the classroom.
Meanwhile, I ask you to continue to be patient and supportive of the process, as well as the individuals who are involved in this important search. I am sure that we all want this search to yield the best person for our university. We are fortunate to have some of the best student athletes in the country who are led by a group of dedicated coaches and support staff in the Athletics Department. They are second to none, and I am extremely proud of the great work they all do every day.