Bobby Cremins: “We could have won the national chamionship”

   So you think you’re into March Madness, especially with the dribbling starting Thursday from Portland to Kansas City to Philadelphia? Well, you should move to the back of a growing line that is headed by the famous owner of floppy white hair in Charleston, S.C.

  There, you’ll find Bobby Cremins, the basketball coach at the College of Charleston via Georgia Tech. He prefers four play-in games to the NCAA tournament instead of the current one. He also would like to have the winner of the National Invitation Tournament receive an automatic bid to the Big Dance the following season.

  “I’ve thrown that around, and people laugh at it,” said Cremins, who nevertheless shrugs and says of this time of year, “I love everything about it. I love to watch, and I really love going to the games.”

  All you need to know is that Cremins has missed just one Final Four in person during the past 34 years. “And that was when I was going through my mid-life crisis with South Carolina,” he said, sighing over the phone, recalling 1993. That’s when he agreed to coach his alma mater by bolting a Tech program that he built into a consistent ACC force.

  Then, as Cremins likes to say, he “embarrassed” himself by returning to the Yellow Jackets three days later. He eventually resigned at Tech after his 19th season in 2000. There were 10 trips to the NCAA, including Lethal Weapon 3’s run to the Final Four in 1990. “My father died at Christmas of that year and that took something away from everything,” Cremins said. “But, you know. My only regret in coaching is that we didn’t go to the Final Four at Georgia Tech three times. If we did that, we could have won the national championship at least once.”

  Instead, Cremins was nagged by “what could have been” with the Jackets during his bored life out of coaching for six years, but then he left the beaches of Hilton Head in 2006 for the College of Charleston. His Cougars have been vibrant. They nearly waltzed into the Big Dance last week until they lost in the Southern Conference title game on the home court of Chattanooga, the eventual winner. They later accepted a bid into something called the College Basketball Invitational tournament.

  There is only one tournament that counts, though. It will culminate on April 6 with Cremins joining his coaching buddies at Detroit’s Ford Field.

  “In the old days, we could see every legendary coach at the Final Four, you know, like Al McGuire,” said Cremins, chuckling, since he has the plain-speaking, off-beat feel of the late Marquette icon who also was a New York native. “The only problem of the tournament is it’s gotten big. Those legendary coaches used to get great seats, but corporate America has taken some of their seats away. It’s important that those legendary coaches are visible and get good seats.”

  Cremins will be visible regardless. Just look for the hair. That, along with a smile as bright as one shining moment.

38 comments Add your comment

Glenn

April 5th, 2009
9:26 am

I am a UGA fan but I enjoyed watching Cremins’ teams back then. I think he’s a class act coach. Too bad he’s not at a bigger name school now.

davejaxgator

April 3rd, 2009
7:48 pm

Nothing to do with Gt and Mr. BC – great guy, and a great coach – but re Dr Warren , University of Chicago fan, and the Fermi Bowl: The first Heisman trophy winner was Jay Berwanger from, yes, the University of Chicago. So stuff your comment about the Fermi Bowl, you are not a knowledgeable fan. By the way, the first functioning atomic pile was built underneath the old U. of Chicago football field by The Manhattan Project, one of whose key contributors was Enrico Fermi. Maybe if you had referred to the Fermi Pile instead of the Bowl…

Wilbo

March 27th, 2009
2:10 pm

How could Cremins have won an NCAA basketball championship at Tech? Other coaches not showing up? That’s about what it would have taken. The floppy haired fruit could recruit but he was terribly out of his league and outcoached in every important match-up. The SC incident showed what a complete frazzled nincompoop the guy is in any pressure situation. Good riddance. Leave him alone to slip into well deserved obscurity, Mr. Moore, his 15 minutes is long done.

GT Fan

March 20th, 2009
11:28 am

Rads his name is Coach Grant….put Hewitts A@@ on the road.

Richard Fields

March 20th, 2009
9:54 am

I might be a loyal DAWG but I miss Bobby C! He was an awesome coach at Tech and one of the “Good Guys.” Tech always had good teams! Maybe the dawgs can get him!

squattingdawgsoaringbumble

March 20th, 2009
9:43 am

Cremins is the greatest. I wonder where old “Poodle Head” assistant coach, Jimmy Hebron, is now. He is a good guy too.
Big Z, the former door to door dumbell salesman, tells me that Bobby Cremins was wearing a polo shirt and shorts to Mass in Charleston on Sundays when neighbor Rita “advised” him, “Bobby, this is not Hilton Head: you’re in Charleston now. You don’t wear shorts to Mass in Charleston.”
DRad, Tech needs Bobby Cremins back to coach the bees, but if Cremins loves Charleston as much as Charleston loves Cremins, there’s no chance.

Robards

March 20th, 2009
2:38 am

Didn’t think Stinger had any info on Kresse but wanted to give him a chance anyway. Stinger, make up something that will make Kelvin Sampson blush. LOL!

Golly

March 19th, 2009
5:41 pm

Boy Georgia State should have grabbed him, instead of Barnes. This was to have been the year at GA State, What a disappointment, no wonder there are no fans at the games…