College of Charleston’s Cougars are no stranger to baseball or Texas Tech.
Behind the Spanish moss and live oaks in the coastal state of South Carolina, baseball is taken seriously, said George P. Benson, the College of Charleston’s president.
“Lots of people follow sports, particularly baseball,” Benson said. “South Carolina is a hotbed of baseball.”
The university’s website shows a list of Cougar baseball facts, which includes several years of NCAA tournament apperances, a super regional game in 2006, the second-longest game in NCAA history, and alum New York Yankees outfielder, Brett Gardner.
Now the mid-sized campus of about 12,000 students and the city of Charleston has come to life, Benson said.
“This comes at a point in time when the college needed something very positive to happen, and the baseball team came through, so we are thrilled,” he said.
As Benson spoke of the accomplishment of his university, including visits from the Today Show, CNN and Stephen Colbert, he also talked about his own memories of Lubbock.
“I’ve got a warm spot in my heart for Texas Tech, because the business school gave me my very first job offer after I came out of the Ph.D. program at the University of Florida,” Benson said.
While he did not come to Lubbock , he said, the Hub City was a close second.
“I’m excited for both teams,” Benson said. “I think it’s going to be fun to watch.”
Brian McGee said he, too, has a soft spot in his heart for the Red Raiders.
“These are two great schools, with two great baseball programs trying to get to the next level — the College World Series,” said McGee, who was an assistant professor of communication studies while at Texas Tech. McGee is currently chief of staff at College Charleston in the Office of the President.
Both Benson and McGee said they will be watching the game from home like many other Cougar fans.
The Post and Courier, a Charleston-based newspaper, states that this weekend’s game will cost the College of Charleston about $55,500.
To help cut travel costs but maintain enthusiasm, fans are encouraged to gather at The Alley Charleston for a Cougar watch party, bowling alley employee and baseball fan Eric Schneider said.
“It’s a smaller school gaining national attention so I think it’s awesome,” said Schneider. “I will be here.”