Baseball article with a football twist

These folks understand what it’s like to be the stepchild and are attempting to do something about it.

[QUOTE][B]CCU or Clemson? Locals face tough choice[/B]
By Josh Hoke - The Sun News
June 2, 2007

MYRTLE BEACH – The challenge was issued earlier this week, and today Coastal Carolina finds out if any Clemson fans will be trading in their orange for teal.

Local Clemson fans have had the luxury of fence-sitting for decades - they could support both schools equally and rarely have they seen conflicts arise. That changes today when the schools meet in a key game of the NCAA baseball regionals at Coastal Federal Field.

[B][COLOR=Blue]Although a partisan crowd wearing orange and purple is expected, Coastal coach Gary Gilmore challenged the Grand Strand earlier this week to throw its support behind the local favorite instead of the all-time favorite.[/COLOR][/B]

For some fans, choosing sides just isn’t that easy. Many of them, including Myrtle Beach’s Mark Talbot, a Clemson graduate and Coastal supporter, split their loyalties and color schemes on Friday.

“We look at it like, ‘How can we lose?’” said Talbot, who graduated college in 1979 and played baseball for two years for the Tigers. “We can win either way.”

Talbot rushed to his car after Clemson beat St. John’s to exchange his orange for teal. Other fans joined him, turning Coastal Federal Field into one big changing room.

[COLOR=Blue][B]The cities of Conway and Myrtle Beach partnered to pay for the printing of 1,000 teal T-shirts for fans. The hope was that Clemson fans would slide on teal to support the Chanticleers.[/B][/COLOR]

“We’re trying to get green in the stands to fight against all of this orange here,” Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes said.

Clemson fans are “going to have to make a big decision. We’re going to keep an eye on all those local people and make sure they don’t flip that orange back over.”

It remains to be seen what exactly fans will do today when Coastal and Clemson meet at 4 p.m. Talbot plans to wear both teal and orange, something he did earlier this year when the two squads met in Clemson.

[COLOR=Blue][B]“The loyalty between schools goes a lot deeper than a baseball game,” Coastal Athletic Director Warren Koegel said. “A lot of people in the stands were Clemson graduates, but we are hoping if they aren’t so attached to Clemson that they’ll be rooting for us.”[/B][/COLOR]

The schools have rarely faced each other outside of regular-season battles. Although their baseball programs play yearly, the schools’ football programs aren’t scheduled to meet until 2014.

A near sellout crowd is expected for today’s game. Coastal coach Gilmore would be happy if half of the fans are cheering for his Chanticleers, but he is just looking for the community to support its local university.

“All I want out of this thing is if we have 2,500 loyal Chanticleer fans out there then I hope they show up,” he said. "I’m not worried about matching [Clemson] man for man.

[COLOR=Blue][B]“This is bigger than baseball at our school, to be honest with you. This is about our university becoming a legitimate university. Are we going to stand up as a community and be proud of what we have at this school?”

Coastal has often fought for respect as a major school in a state dominated by South Carolina and Clemson graduates.[/B][/COLOR]

Even schools like Winthrop and the College of Charleston tend to keep more graduates in the state than Coastal, which has a large percentage of students from northern states.

[COLOR=blue][B]Plus, Coastal has fought the stigmas that have been associated with the university for decades while it was a two-year school affiliated with the University of South Carolina.

“There are a lot of people in the Pee Dee area who are starting to realize that this isn’t a junior college anymore,” said Tom Towns, a 1978 Coastal graduate who studied his first two years at Clemson.

“It’s a process. You can’t snap your fingers and expect that any one thing will do it But in the next five to 10 years, you are going to start seeing things coming together.”[/B][/COLOR][/QUOTE]

That’s a great read. Coastal Carolina > Clemson

I am beginning to be more and more impressed with Coastal Carolina.