Thursday, August 20, 2009

Coming Home

You can never go home again. I hate that phrase. It reminds me that I’m getting older. I don’t necessarily believe that either. Once you leave home and make adult decisions, you can go home again. Sure, things change, but they don’t have to be worse. Today, we taped the four fall sports preview television shows to air on UNC Charlotte Cable Television (TWC Channel 22, On Demand at Channel 1234, check for schedule information) and it dawned on me that sometimes, you can go home again.

I remember when I left home after college for my first full-time job out West. I do not consider myself an emotional guy, but I did shed a tear as I drove my brand new, fully packed car out of the driveway and headed from Concord to Rancho Cucamonga, California. It wasn’t that I was sad to go, rather I had a rush of feelings for my friends and family, who had supported me in what many would consider a fruitless effort to become a broadcaster. There are lots of doubters out there, but not those who are close to me.

As fate would have it, I had the chance to come back home for work in 2004 and have stayed ever since. That led me to Charlotte. Though I did not attend school here, I had been on the campus many times for many reasons through the years. I grew up going to the Mine Shaft and to basketball camps and other campus events in my younger years, so I feel a small piece of ownership in the campus. I have seen it change though my more than 25 years in the region.

Today, we discussed briefly that two new coaches on the athletics staff took jobs at their alma mater to lead teams this season. Ed Schlichter and John Cullen are graduates of Charlotte and are now in charge of leading squads hopefully to conference titles now and in the future. Schlichter is a budding young coach, who was a tremendous athlete and assistant at Charlotte just a few years ago. He helped to get the cross country and track programs off the ground at USC Upstate, in nearby Spartanburg. I asked him on the air about coming back to the Niners, and his face gave a perceptible glow as he started to tell how great it was to come back and inherit a good program and his hopes for the future.

In a similar vein, Cullen, who played here from 1989 to 1992 (easily the best stretch of men’s soccer in the history of the program), comes back to campus after a very successful stint at the helm of the Catawba College women’s soccer program. He left campus after graduation in 1993 and I could see him imagining what campus looked like at that time when he was describing the feeling he got when coming back this past spring. He also brought in Sarah Denton to the staff, who graduated from Charlotte in 2001 and has head coaching experience at nearby Pfeiffer University.

The good thing for both of these coaches is that they inherit programs that are already successful and on the rise nationally. So look for the excellence to continue.

And you CAN go home again.

--Ryan Rose, Media Relations Office

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