Five years ago, Bobby Cremins had a profound realization.
“I had lost purpose,” he recalls while sipping his favorite morning drink, green tea, from a cushy chair at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas.
The tough guy from South Bronx, who’d learned hardscrabble hoops on New York City’s playgrounds, was at that time earning his bucks commenting on televised college hoops games. But he wasn’t happy. He had departed his coaching gig at Georgia Tech in 2000 after two straight losing seasons. And he knew – somehow, and soon as possible – he had to get back to the bench.
To return to game he missed, Cremins now acknowledges, “I was getting to the point where I would have gone anywhere. But Charleston was a perfect fit. The time. The type of school. This job was a godsend.
“I wanted to be called ‘Coach’ again. I wanted to build a team. To teach.”
In his first season with the College of Charleston Cougars, Cremins’ squad won 22 games. That was in 2006-07. His boys have racked up more than 20 wins during each of the past three seasons. In 2011, Charleston is 3-0 with a road upset over Clemson. Some experts think the Cougars will raise a real ruckus at the Battle 4 Atlantis. They open against the University of Central Florida at 2 p.m. Thursday.
“We’re not there yet, but we’re close,” Cremins said of his team. “We’ve got something in the works.”
At age 64, however, Cremins has one more reality to face. He’s not the spitfire he was in his Tech days.
“I was exhausted after the Clemson game,” he admits. “If we had another game to play a day later, there was just no way.”
In the Bahamas, that’s exactly what he faces: three times over. Each team plays three games in three days.
“That third day,” Cremins said, “it’s a war. People want to go home or win.”
But not long after his chat with HDNet, Cremins coached himself into a way to find his second wind for afternoon practice and the day’s media crush.
– Bill Briggs
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SEE EARLIER BLOG COVERAGE OF BATTLE 4 ATLANTIS:
The Stage is Set!: Battle 4 Atlantis
Arrival of the Fittest
We’re Here & We’re Ready to Play Hurt: Battle 4 Atlantis
ATLANTIS: THE PERFECT TOURNAMENT AIRS ON HDNET
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