Cremins Comments On Return To Columbia

While South Carolina was beating the College of Charleston on the court Tuesday night, a major subplot paced the sidelines. Former Gamecock great Bobby Cremins made his coaching return to Columbia for the first time in twenty years.

Cremins coached in Columbia once before, but that was before he briefly accepted the job as head coach at Carolina in 1993. He quickly changed his mind and returned to Georgia Tech, where he remained until 2000. Cremins came out of retirement to take over at the College of Charleston. After the game, an exhausted Cremins spoke candidly about his return to the place that made him famous, and the challenges he faces in Charleston.

"This has been quite an experience for me. It's been a wild ride, absolutely and totally a wild ride. I've been back before, but it was a great experience. Everybody was wondering how I was going to be received. I was not wondering about that. I've been back here several times, and I expect some hecklers. It doesn't bother me, as long as they don't hit me. I was treated royally once again. My main concern was that we come in here and compete.

"I got a little emotional today. I almost broke a trophy case over there at the Carolina Coliseum. I went and walked around there, and I saw the ACC championship trophy, which is a special trophy. That trophy needs to be guarded very carefully. I used to coach in the ACC for years, and it used to annoy me when they would talk about the great plays in the ACC, and they never mentioned that game. It was fine until [I saw the runner up trophy from my senior year], and I got really mad then. I wanted to get that trophy out of that case and go in the bathroom and smash it to pieces. I really did. It's hard to believe that I played here 40 years ago. Everybody was great. I just couldn't have been treated better. Dave [Odom] was great, the luncheon today was great, everybody was great. I feel like we competed.

It [the bad feelings from 1993] has been put away, it really has. A lot of people do that. Of course, I'm the president of the flip-flop club. Look at the irony about me getting back in, with Gregg Marshall pulling a Bobby Cremins. [Marshall briefly accepted the job at College of Charleston last summer, before returning to Winthrop the next day] John Kresse did the same thing. Kresse accepted the Davidson job while he was at College of Charleston. I think he stayed there longer than I did here, and he turned back. It's a common thing in our business. That was the roughest time of my life. I got through it, and a lot of people here helped me get through it. I live a crazy life. I thought I had peace and tranquility living in Hilton head, now look at me today. I don't know what to tell you. It's a wild world out there. I'm back in the game and I've learned a lot.

Everything in my life is great, except we are 3-6 now. I'm back in the rat race; it's been an incredible ride. My life in Hilton Head seems like it was 20 years ago," said Cremins. " I love being in this game, but I have a challenge in front of me. I'm just going to do the best that I can. I don't know where it's all going to go."

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