One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for September 13, 2015.
My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.
On Friday at work I was conducting screening interviews over the telephone for a position at the university. Sometimes it is amazing how a series of random facts leads you to think about someone. That happened to me this week when interviewing candidates I heard Georgia Tech, Appalachian State, and Hilton Head, SC. All three of those locations made me think about Bobby Cremins.
In 1980 when I arrived at Western Carolina University I immediately learned that Appalachian State was our rival. The fan base at WCU wanted to beat App State plain and simple. The fans also disdained and hated anything connected to Boone, NC. The two schools at that time were both part of the Southern Conference but today that conference relationship doesn’t exist. The football teams used to play for a trophy called the mountain jug.
What I found hard as assistant coach was how to hate the Head Coach at Appalachian State. Bobby Cremins was App State head basketball coach and he was likeable. He was likeable because he was naïve, authentic, and funny.
In 1981 at Reid Gym at Western Carolina University in the final regular season basketball game Appalachian State came to town to try to clinch the regular season SoCon championship. Reid Gym was packed and WCU defeated App State that night.
Photo below of Reid Gym
The game ended and the crowd rushed the floor. The WCU Chancellor at the time was H.F “Cotton” Robinson. Bobby Cremins was trying to get off the floor after his team lost and Chancellor Robinson wearing an oversized raincoat, large glasses, and his hair disheveled approached Bobby to shake his hand. Bobby thinking it was a fan that was going to taunt him gave Chancellor Robinson the finger. He later had to apologize for not knowing who the Chancellor was. That was vintage Bobby Cremins.
If you want more Bobby Cremins stories go to link below:
Bobby was the head coach at App State from 1976-81 and posted a won-loss record of 100-70. He started coaching at App State at the age of 29. I had known Bobby from my days as an assistant coach at East Carolina University and really got to know him during the 1980-81 basketball season as I crossed paths with him a lot in recruiting and scouting. In 1981 he went to Georgia Tech and coached there for 19 years. In 2000 Bobby stepped down at Georgia Tech and moved to Hilton Head, SC to play tennis and become a TV color analyst for college basketball . In 2003, Georgia Tech officially named the basketball court at Alexander Memorial Coliseum “Cremins Court.”
In 2006 Bobby came out of retirement and coached at College of Charleston for six seasons. He stepped down in 2012 with an overall coaching record of 579-345.
Today Bobby lives in Hilton Head, SC and is backing doing color commentary for college basketball games. He has been married to his wife Carolyn since 1975 He and his wife, have three children: Liz, Suzie, and Bobby, III, and a daughter-in-law, Jennifer.
Bobby good friend is former Assistant Coach Kevin Cantwell
The Friend-BOBBY CREMINS
The Friend of the Friend-KEVIN CANTWELL
The New York Duo
Kevin Cantwell and Bobby Cremins are synomous in the world of college basketball.
Kevin grew up in Queens Village in New York City and attended Monsignor McClancy High School. Kevin is one of ten children of Bill and Jeanne Cantwell. Kevin married his wife Cathy in 1974, they have two children, Michaela and Kevin Todd.
During his time at McClancy Kevin demonstrated his love for the game of basketball and he went on to make a career of teaching the game. While at McClancy, he captained the team for two seasons, was named to the All-Queens team, and was an honorable mention All-New York City selection.
From 1967-1969, Kevin attended Gardner-Webb Junior College. For two seasons, Gardner-Webb was ranked in the top five in the country. He completed his playing career at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. Shortly after finishing up at UNC Asheville Kevin joined Bobby Cremins as an assistant coach at Appalachian State in 1975.
In 2001, Kevin completed a stellar coaching career, which began in 1975 at Appalachian State as an assistant to Bobby Cremins and then as the head coach at ASU for five seasons. in 1986, he became the Associate Head Coach at Georgia Tech with Bobby Cremins. In his 16 years at Tech, they won the ACC title three times, appeared in 12 post-season tournaments, and in 1991, made it to the Final Four. Kevin was recognized as one of the best recruiters in the nation, continuously getting high school All-Americans like New York standouts Kenny Anderson, and Stephon Marbury, and three times he successfully recruited the number one high school player in the country. He coached in over 800 college games and recruited and coached 21 future NBA players.
Today Kevin lives in Maggie Valley, NC very close to Rick Miller who was an assistant coach at Western Carolina University with me in 1981. Kevin recently spent time coaching a local prep school called Carolina Day in Asheville, NC.
Kevin in middle.
I have on my bucket list to get together with Kevin and Rick one day soon. Hopefully WCU fans won’t hold that against the three of us as we listen to Kevin tell us about Bobby Cremins stories.