Storin: Cremins feeling good and staying busy

storapse@aol.comMarch 14, 2013 

It was just a little over a year ago when the college basketball world was surprised by the mid-season resignation of Bobby Cremins as coach at the College of Charleston.

There were rumors that this coaching icon had a life-threatening illness. Thankfully, that proved to be unfounded.

"It was exhaustion, plain and simple," Cremins reaffirmed in a telephone conversation this week. "I am feeling just great now."

The part-time Hilton Head Island resident was en route to Asheville, N.C., for the Southern Conference tournament final -- where his former team lost to Davidson on Monday night -- when I caught up with him.

Just a couple of days prior, Cremins was in Miami working for Atlantic Coast Conference TV network as an analyst. This weekend he'll be in Greensboro, N.C., for the ACC tournament.

This is a very busy, zealous man who, at 65, has not ruled out another coaching stint. "I just don't know," he said.

Cremins still has ties to the College of Charleston and Georgia Tech, where he led the Yellow Jackets to nine NCAA tournament appearances.

"I'm an ambassador for those schools," Cremins said with a touch of pride in his voice.

"My No. 1 responsibility is helping in any way I can. I'm trying to do ambassador-type stuff with places that mean a lot to me and stay out of people's way. I like staying on the move."

This is Cremins' favorite time of the year and he has his finger on the pulse of March Madness.

"I don't think I have ever seen a year quite like this," he said in discussing the NCAA tournament that begins next week. "It's wide open."

Like most experts, Cremins feels the Big Ten is "far and away the best conference."

Going into this weekend, he picks Indiana, Gonzaga and Duke or Miami as three of the top seeds in the NCAA tournament.

There are those who feel the conference tournaments are a waste of time for colleges that have already sewed up NCAA bids. Not Cremins.

"Teams take these games very seriously because the results are so important to the final seedings," he said. "A high seed gets a big advantage in its first two games. You can bet that Duke will go all out this weekend."

Asked if a team like Liberty University, which has already earned a berth by winning its conference despite losing 20 games, belongs in tournament, Cremins said: "Absolutely."

As usual Bobby is right on top the of the issue.

"They had a lot of injury problems early in the season (losing their first eight games), but they came on strong at the end. They had to win five straight and they did it."

If Cremins had his way, the tournament field would be boosted from 68 teams to 96.

"Unfortunately that is a dead issue now," he said.

As if he didn't have enough on his plate, Cremins is now a candidate to serve as a member of the NCAA committee on infractions. Cremins was approached along with another retired coach, Michigan's Lloyd Carr, early this year. The new additions would be part of the changes to the NCAA compliance efforts.

"I am not officially on the board until I go through the process next month," Cremins said. "If I get named, I am going to do all I can to give them the coach's perspective on cases that come before the board. Too often they don't look at the coaches' side of things.

"One thing for sure, I don't want them to put a muzzle on me."

Those who know Bobby Cremins are sure that will never happen.

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