Changing Plans

Sometimes weather can really screw things up. With a Southern tropical storm threatening to hit the Myrtle Beach/Conway area this Saturday, a decision had to be made early this evening. Would our 2015 Coastal Carolina graduates distinguish themselves as the first class to graduate on our beautiful new teal turf or would the implementation of our severe weather plan be necessary?

Score this one for Mother Nature.

With the storm report worsening for our area, our President had to put the kibosh on commencement exercises taking place in Brooks Stadium. While we were set to continue as planned in rain, when you throw in the possibility of severe weather you must err on the side of caution.

Preparations had already started to make Brooks Stadium ready for commencement.

Preparations had already started to make Brooks Stadium ready for commencement.

Of course making the most logical move still stings a little bit, especially for the students. Many looked forward to the unique graduation setting for a long time so I do understand the frustration of going from the Surf Turf to indoors.

Instead of one general ceremony in the football stadium on Saturday morning, four ceremonies spread out on Friday and Saturday will take place in the HTC Center, our on-campus arena. The individual ceremonies will be grouped according to specific colleges (business and science on Friday, humanities and education on Saturday). Although the implementation of the alternative plan will heavily impact the travel itineraries of many visiting families, you must keep people safe.

Graduation will now take place in the HTC Center, our on-campus arena.

Graduation will now take place in the HTC Center, our on-campus arena.

My role in all of this? Well, it took a unified effort by our University Communication team to get out news of this major change today. As the final meeting to decide where and when commencement would take place, we had both scenarios ready to roll. The social media front went fine, much quieter than what I had anticipated. My bigger part in all of this will come on Friday and Saturday. Instead of working one ceremony, I will be working four. No matter to me though, I will have much more content to share as opposed to if it was just one ceremony.

Like I mentioned, I know this wasn’t the outcome our students wanted. But I ask them to look at the situation in a positive light. Each graduate will now have the opportunity to walk across the stage in a more intimate, shorter ceremony. Students who graduate on Friday will have the whole weekend to spend with their families without the hassle of attending a ceremony on Saturday. The first group of students on Saturday (humanities) will have the pleasure of listening to the commencement speaker. The second group will most likely enjoy the most organized and flawless ceremony ever…after the fourth time it is pretty much down to a science, right?

Graduation will still go on, diplomas will still be awarded, and memories will still be made. Don’t Blink.

The Best Turf in College Football

I know I might be a tad bias, but I feel that Coastal Carolina University now has the best looking field in college football. Throughout my blog I have consistently given you updates on the teal turf project from the initial sketches to the grass removal to the early stages of the turf installation. Minus some hash marks and the Big South Conference logos, I can now present to you the final product.

I present to you the teal turf at Brooks Stadium.

I present to you the teal turf at Brooks Stadium.

I am oozing with pride about this. In my opinion, it turned out beautiful. Many of the original critics of the turf now feel the same way I do as most have conceded it looks much better than what they thought. Of course the nay-sayers were vastly outnumbered to begin with. For the most part, the Coastal Carolina community was behind the project. We all recognized that the turf would bring our athletic program a higher level of safety, efficiency, branding, and national exposure.

Here is a photo I snapped from the end zone.

Here is a photo I snapped from the end zone.

It only took the laying of the first strip of turf for the realization of the latter benefit. Immediately upon the first pieces of teal and bronze hitting the surface, various national organizations ran stories on the new rug inside Brooks Stadium. Respected media outlets such as NBC Sports, USA Today, and Yahoo Sports all reported on it. Football fans from all over the nation swarmed to message boards to discuss it. Local media crews had an absolute “field” day.

Me hanging out on the turf. I love how it looks!

Me hanging out on the turf. I love how it looks!

Of course our social media channels here at Coastal Carolina won big with the turf as well. The images and video I put on our main accounts garnered massive engagement. The main Twitter account of Chanticleer Athletics (@GoCCUSports), however, was the big star. Many of the national organizations used the account’s tweets in their stories. You can’t beat that exposure.

Another angle of the field, affectionately referred to as "The Surf Turf" (photo courtesy of Jada Bynum).

Another angle of the field, affectionately referred to as “The Surf Turf” (photo courtesy of Jada Bynum).

Already nicknamed “The Surf Turf,” the Coastal Carolina football field has a brand all its own. Much respect to our athletic department for taking a chance and going with something very unconventional. The initial result is nothing short of gorgeous and I can’t wait for all the additional publicity that will come during the 2015 football season when teams actually start playing on it. What a big victory for our University! Don’t Blink.