“Coach Bobby Cremins has an announcement he would like to make,” said College of Charleston athletic director Joe Hull this afternoon on the floor of the TD Arena.
It was clear from the round of applause that followed head basketball coach Bobby Cremins up to the podium, that Charleston deeply supports their gregarious, stark-white haired, Bronx, N.Y. native.
“With the blessings of my family, my team, staff, and friends and the College of Charleston, I have decided to retire as our coach,” said Cremins.
This retirement comes after six years of dedication to the College’s athletic program and it is obvious these years contain special significance to Cremins.
“Being able to come back here and coach again for the College has truly been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” said Cremins. “In 2006, after being out of coaching for six years and assuming that I would never coach again, I came here not knowing what to expect.”
What he did not expect turned into an overall record of 125-68 – the third-highest total of any CofC men’s basketball coach – three appearances in the Southern Conference title game and a run to the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament last season.
“It didn’t take Carolyn (his wife) and me long to fall in love with the College, our incredible city and the wonderful people who live here.”
Cremins acknowledged, on multiple accounts, what it has been to be accompanied by so many great names throughout his career such as Frank McGuire, who brought him to the University of South Carolina in 1965, as well as fellow New York native John Kresse.
“Being able to coach the last game in Kresse Arena and the first game in TD Arena on Coach Kresse Court was really special,” said Cremins, before going on to acknowledge the sixth player on the court, the fans. “Our students and fans give us a great college basketball atmosphere in the house that John built.”
Of course Cremins would never boast of his exceptional genius in the game of basketball or his genuine character, however College of Charleston president George Benson eloquently regarded what Cremins has meant to the College and how his accomplishments on the court and his attitude on life have had a growing ripple effect on the entire College’s presence.
“Our basketball success under both John Kresse and Bobby Cremins has helped to boost the exposure of The College and helped it become the national institution that it is today. We receive more than 14,000 applications for about 2,300 freshman and 750 transfer spots. We enroll nearly 11,800 undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and 65 countries,” said Benson. “Bobby Cremins is in many ways the face of this institution.”
Benson went on to say what Cremins has meant to his personal career decisions.
“Bobby signed his contract in July of 2006; I signed my contract on Nov. 1st, 2006. We both had relative turnaround situations to deal with. (Bobby) knows all that,” said Benson. “What he doesn’t know is that I may not have joined the College of Charleston if it were not for Bobby Cremins.”
Thanks, praise and support were seen for Cremins while at the press conference, and Cremins reciprocated that to his friend, family and fans.
“The silver lining was that my staff, led by Mark Byington, my team and my school had my back and responded in a special way. Our president, Dr. Benson, and athletic director, Joe Hull, were very understanding and supportive,” said Cremins. “I also want to thank everybody for their beautiful notes during this time. My coaching buddies made me very proud to be a coach with their encouraging calls.”
Hull bookended the press conference with what Cremins has meant to the College and life around the athletic department these past six years.
“Working with Bobby these past several years has been one of the genuine privileges of my professional career,” said Hull.
After the season of great accomplishments, such as beating Clemson of the ACC and Tennessee of the SEC, there is still one last task for Cremins this season: seeing his one and only senior, Antwaine Wiggins, graduate in May.
“I look forward to attending Antwaine’s graduation this spring,” said Cremins. Looking over to his senior Cremins asked with joy, “You’re graduating in spring? Can I come?”