Monday, May 21, 2007

The College of Charleston wins their 4th straight SoCon Title!

The College of Charleston Cougars won their 4th straight regular season Southern Conference Title this past weekend taking 2 of the 3 game series against Davidson. The Wildcats might have our number in the hardwood but the Cougars are kings of the diamond. The Cougars finished their regular season 39-17 (20-7 SoCon). The Cougs are the defending champs of the SoCon Tourney and have won 8-straight games at the Joe this year beating (then) 2nd ranked Univ. of South Carolina and the Citadel. (The Cougars defeated the Citadel 5-4 in last year's SoCon Tourney.)

The #1-seeded Cougars will play at 1-pm at Joe Riley Stadium against the winner of the Furman v. Wofford game! (Photo compliments of CofC Sports)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Jennifer Golden (SoCon Player of the Year is named to the NFCA All-Region Team

College of Charleston's 1st base-person, Jennifer Golden, was named to the 2007 Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division All-Region second team for the Southeast on May 16.

The senior Golden, a transfer from Texas A&M from Conyers, Ga., was named the 2007 SoCon Player of the Year after finishing the season leading the league in batting average (.408), slugging percentage (.754), on base percentage (.495), runs batted in (64) and home runs (17). She was named the SoCon Player of the Week three times this season.

The 6'1" Golden started 57 of 59 games last season, leading the Cougs with .298 batting average, w/ a team high 12-homers and 36 RBIs, combining for a .545 slugging percentage from the right side of the plate. But the Southpaw's throwing arm was just as good on the defensive side of the ball with a 1.000 fielding percentage w/ 57 putouts and 6 assists.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Josh Jackson will not return to the Cougar line-up next season

This will be the last time you see Mr. Josh Jackson wearing a Cougar uniform as he has decided to transfer to another school. We will miss Josh, but he needs to do what is best for him. Although Jackson started under Coach Herrion, he did not find many starts and was briefly off the team under Coach Cremins due to Josh's attitude (or perhaps lack thereof).

It would have been something to see Josh and Jermaine ruling the paint next year as they did this last season but unfortunately, Josh needs to move on with his career. The CofC Sports Fan wishes Josh luck in all of his future aspirations.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Tom Herrion Review

I was asked by the writer at my reaction to the hype and reporting of former CofC Coach Tom Herrion as Coach Herrion is joining the Pittsburgh staff as an assistant coach. By all means, leave a message in the comments section if you would like to add on to this-it would help give the Pitt-Blather a wider perspective from alums and fans (aka: The Maroon Nation!)

Tom Herrion did have large shoes to fill after Coach John Kresse left the College, but Kresse was his biggest supporter throughout the transition the Maroon Nation was at ease because Herrion had an excellent coaching pedigree and of course, Coach Kresse did stay on as Assist. A.D. so we all felt secure in letting Herrion take the wheel. We gave Tom a chance and it was a well deserved chance.

Tom Herrion was and is a good coach
I was a fan of Herrion for the first two seasons, that is, until I saw the tide turning towards a losing record in the third season and that is when I became apprehensive about where the program was headed. When Brad and I saw Coach Herrion at the CofC/Citadel "Turn back time" baseball game last year, I didn't want to meet him. But as you know, Bobo is impetuous, and practically forced me to have my picture with him (see photo). This turned out to be a very serendipitous meeting, because before then, I had bought the hype in the papers about the "hot head" Herrion, but I was fortunate enough to have some one on one time with Coach Herrion and I could tell that he truly cared about his (our) players. One of our players had just lost his mother and we spoke about that situation and how coach was there for the player and his family. Herrion regretted, but understood it was in the young man's best interest not to return to the College of Charleston.

Reach out and touch (the) Faithful
Herrion cared about the College of Charleston players, and I am sure had every fan had an intimate meeting with Coach Herrion, he probably would still be on the Cougars' side-lines. Unfortunately, if there was one mistake Herrion made at the College, it was that he didn't lobby (stroke) the Maroon Nation enough. And perhaps that is just that he was somewhat of a greenhorn at the game: you have to be 1-part coach, 1-part salesman (recruiter), 1-part cheerleader and 1-part politician (working the crowd: the alumni, the fans and the media). In fact, if you notice the main difference between a coach like Herrion and a coach like Bobby Cremins is that Cremins has gone out of his way to leave his footprints on the bricks surrounding George Street. And Cremins loves this interaction with the fans: If you pick up the receiver Cremins will make you a believer. (Full disclosure: Cremins autographed an 8x10 glossy for Mellen, Goldfinger and myself; as well as a basketball for my Mother).

The first season Herrion notched 25-wins, the G.A.S. title and the Cougs enjoyed March with a ticket to the NIT. We weren’t “Dancing” but hey, it was Tom’s first year-give him a chance. The nay-sayers said, “Sure he had a good year, but it was with Kresse’s guys.” Herrion and the Cougars subsequently had a 20-win season in ’04, 18-win season in ’05, and 17-win season in ’06-honestly, I didn’t think Herrion's contract would be extended because of his slipping record, but to my surprise he was.

(Greg Doyle was on point with what everyone on the Charleston peninsula was thinking: if you want to act out, you better win.)
Of course, as with any relationship, once the romance has ended and we have to look at the compatibility of the other person-we better like what we see. Unfortunately, Coach Herrion made headlines for being sanctioned by the NCAA as he threw a tantrum on the side-lines--fortunately not in the hallowed halls of Kresse Arena--but on the road. And then, shortly afterwards, two of his players were arrested for fighting on King Street. Not that these things don’t happen, but this was the first time it happened at the College of Charleston. Which brought forward the question; what kind of thugs is Herrion recruiting? And when the two players went unpunished (because they were key players to winning) and the arrests were pulled from the headlines of the local paper (1-day later) people really began to talk, and it wasn’t good. Who is at the helm of the team? The coach or the players?* WTF is happening down on George Street?

In today’s businesslike world of coaching (the forcing of immediate favorable "winning" results and limited negative publicity), when there are bumps in the road, especially when living up to a beloved predecessor, things can become quite difficult and a target soon emerges from the ranks. The target was quickly (rightfully or wrongly) placed on Tom Herrion’s back.

The Maroon Nation let known their disgust in a very respectful, gentile and courteous College of Charleston manner-we didn’t renew our season tickets and the Kresse Arena (as quaint as it is) didn’t sell out. But, pass the hat to get a new coach and the checkbooks sprung open. The question was; How do we get rid of him without shameful headlines in the media that would obviously blemish the reputation of the oldest Municipal College in America? (Insert his NCAA sanction and the arrests of his players.)

Well he’s just an excitable boy!
I would have to disagree with Duke Head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski comments that (Herrion) "one of the most energetic coaches I've ever seen." His intensity and fire may not have been a good fit for the laid back city of Charleston, however, as he was seen as abrasive and alienating to some fans, who were used to the more affable Kresse”. Obviously, Coach K never watched the original Coach K (Kresse) on the side-line. Kresse was an enthusiastic General; Herrion was more of a drill-sergeant styled after Krzyzewski’s style of coaching. Nonetheless, Tom Herrion reacted and acted due to the stress and knowledge that he could possibly lose his job. These actions were permitted, but quietly disapproved of in conversation because honestly the Maroon Nation are an elite group of knowledgeable basketball fans and we don't mind seeing a passionate coach, who works their system and we all know that people do and say bizarre things when their backs are against the wall-it's human nature.

The CofC Sports Fan wishes Tom Herrion good luck at his new position in Pittsburgh. We are pulling for you Tommy! Besides, you getting a coaching job is the only way we don't have to pay you an extra $200,000 a year of unemployment. Damn you have a good agent!

*This became a very interesting question, especially considering that Coach Cremins benched key players this year for lack of discipline and enthusiasm and lost 6-games partly because of it. Yet, Cremins taught the team a lesson, turned them around and finished with 22-wins for the season-with Herrion’s guys.