The coronavirus pandemic ground the College of Charleston athletic season to a screeching halt this spring. But it hasn’t stopped the College’s coaches from supporting their student-athletes, recruiting the next class of Cougars and preparing for when their teams eventually return to the field of play.
Everett German, the voice of the College of Charleston Men’s Basketball Radio Network, sat down with some of CofC’s head coaches for the video series “Chatting With The Cougars” to talk about how their sports were impacted by the pandemic, a look back at the past season and what’s next. The series was sponsored by the Charleston Athletic Fund, the primary fundraising arm for the Athletics Department. Full episodes of “Chatting With The Cougars” can be viewed at the CofC Sports YouTube channel.
Coaches featured include volleyball Head Coach Jason Kepner, equestrian Head Coach Natasha McCarthy, baseball Head Coach Chad Holbrook, women’s golf Head Coach Jamie Futrell, men’s tennis Head Coach Jay Bruner, softball Head Coach Linda Kalafatis, women’s tennis Head Coach Angelo Anastopoulo and men’s golf Head Coach Mitch Krywulycz.
Many of the coaches say it was incredibly disappointing to have their seasons cut short, but that they see the challenges the pandemic has caused on the sports world as an opportunity for their student-athletes to grow in mind and spirit.
“It was tough to look at the seniors because, at that time, we didn’t really know what was next,” recalls Holbrook of having to pull his team off the bus as they were getting ready to depart for a game in March. “We didn’t know, one, if there was going to be any games left in our season and, two – for the seniors who had given a lot to this program – we didn’t know if their career was over. It was very, very difficult to look in their eyes at that point in time, but I told them to keep their head up, that something good was going to come out of this.”
As for the future of their teams, many coaches say that, because the NCAA is allowing eligible seniors to return for another season, they are poised to have full rosters should their teams be able to compete during the 2020–21 athletic season. That is especially true for the men’s golf team, where all four seniors will hit the links again as Cougars.
“I think them all returning is a testament to the College,” men’s golf Head Coach Krywulycz told German. “It shows everyone how great of a place it is to go to school and how supported they feel. Once they got that extra year of eligibility, it was just a question of individually how can we make it work.”