Exceeding all Expectations

When I worked in the athletic department at the University of Montana, our football team played a college I had never heard of called Coastal Carolina University during the 2013 FCS Playoffs. I thought they were a team like many of the others that would play the Griz in an early postseason game and then fade into obscurity.

In 2013, I worked a blistering cold game (as a UM employee) in which Coastal Carolina University upset the University of Montana in the FCS Playoffs. (photo courtesy of the Montana Kaimin)

As fate would have it, I started working for that college I had never heard of not too long after they eliminated the Grizzlies from the playoffs. As I started to watch the CCU football team make a name for itself on a normal grass field in the FCS, I didn’t really think they would compete beyond the level formerly known as Division I-AA.

When I arrived at CCU and worked the football games in 10,000-seat Brooks Stadium, I didn’t exactly think that the Coastal football team would one day join the FBS and host College Gameday.

Working the press conference in which CCU announced it would make the jump to the FBS, I thought it would take several seasons to become respectable in the Sun Belt Conference.

In 2015 when CCU announced it was moving to the FBS, I didn’t think a half decade later it would be hosting College Gameday.

While observing the Chanticleers struggle on the “Surf Turf” during their first couple seasons as full-fledged FBS members, I thought I might have finally made a correct prediction about CCU football.

Teal turf was installed and Brooks Stadium was expanded, all signs of a program on the rise. However, I thought that the “rise” might take several years. The Coastal football team struggled its first couple years in the FBS (photo courtesy of CCU).

Now back on the opposite side of the country, I watched as the CCU football team posted convincing victory after convincing victory on the ESPN networks. As Coastal’s undefeated record stayed intact as the weeks rolled by and the fanbase started to mention a certain college football pregame show on social media, I thought no way.

I have watched Coastal Carolina football from the opposite coast during the 2020 season.

Yesterday, this happened…

College Gameday is going to Coastal Carolina University.

Tonight I want to congratulate the Chanticleer football program for attracting the most prestigious sports pregame show to its campus while proving all the doubters (including myself) wrong. Most programs will never receive a visit from College Gameday—CCU is doing it in only its third season as a bowl eligible FBS school. Well done to the student-athletes and coaches…truly amazing work.

I also want to congratulate Coastal Carolina University in general. Unfortunately, the institution has experienced some tough times as of late but the success story of the football team is a boost that CCU needs and deserves. It couldn’t have happened at a better time. I know my former colleagues are loving this ride right now!

Enjoy this, CCU!

It will be exciting to see College Gameday set up shop on the campus I spent almost six years on. I look forward to the broadcast and to seeing social media posts from my CCU friends. Just like with its College World Series victory in 2016, I know #TEALnation will savor this moment in the national spotlight. Don’t Blink.

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