Hope and Hair At The Beach

By Ian Guerin - October 09, 2007

CONCORD, N.C. -- Just before Cliff Ellis was hired at Coastal Carolina in July, he said he was comfortable playing in a small arena.

After all, he'd spent time at smaller schools Cumberland and South Alabama before hitting the big time at Clemson and Auburn. But what he appears to have at Coastal -- more than 30 years after his time at Cumblerland ended -- can't be what any coach hopes for.

Plans for a 7,000-seat, on-campus arena are dying quick, according to multiple reports out of Myrtle Beach. It was an issue that frustrated former coach Buzz Peterson, not to mention fans and community leaders waiting for it to take shape.

Still, Ellis said during Tuesday's Big South basketball media days he expects some relief from playing in tiny 1,100-seat Kimbel Arena, a building where a full house breaks the posted fire code at the front door.

"The arena is something that, I think, is needed, and I think it's going to happen," Ellis said. "It's going to happen. It's going to happen. It will happen during my time.

"Now, I'm hoping it's going to happen soon."

So far, the project's triad of power -- the city of Conway, Coastal Carolina University and an independent group -- have made strides to move a road, clear trees for the proposed tract of land and even sell the naming rights to a Charlotte-based tech company.

However, the project has snagged, leaving folks on the Grand Strand wondering if the deal will ever be completed.

Until something happens, Ellis said he has plans for Kimbel Arena.

"We're going to make it a Cameron Indoor, where it's on top of you," Ellis said.


In the three months since Ellis was hired, one of the most shocking revelations is the fact that none of his players have transfered.

Two incoming freshmen -- 6-foot-10 center Jon Pack and 6-foot-8 power forward Bryant Wallace -- originally said they would take a wait-and-see approach.

On top of that, Internet rumors suggested rising sophomore Josh Mack (reknowned for a streaking, game-winning layup againt Liberty that found it's way into a SportsCenter) was on his way out. Even more spectacular was the thought that All-Big South shooting guard Jack Leasure was contemplating taking off.

Ellis confirmed that all of those players at least explored that option before meeting with him and members of their inner circles and deciding to return to Coastal.


Looking at the new headshots of Coastal Carolina players, it's clear the new coach has at the very least suggested to his players to clean things up a bit.

Joseph Harris' increasingly mushrooming afro has been tightened up considerably. Logan Johnson -- jokingly called Sunshine, for his likeness to the character in the movie "Remember the Titans" -- has trimmed his locks to just below ear-level.

And Leasure has shaved his head, earning him a strong resemblance to professional poker player Gus Hansen (and thankful for Jack, not yours truly).

Posted by Ian Guerin at 02:56 PM on October 09, 2007
Comments (2)


That new arena will never be completed. People need to move on and forget about it.

I'm glad the players had to get hair cuts. It's important to understand how important your appearance is.

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