Sometimes, Giant Steps come in the form of big games, and big wins! For the past few days, I have been in Asheville watching our Spartan teams compete in the Southern Conference basketball tournament. UNCG’s blue and gold has been proudly, boldly displayed around town and in the arena. Our students, families, friends and alumni have represented our university with enthusiasm, energy and tremendous spirit. This event is an opportunity for us to compete at a championship level athletically, but it also serves as a potentially transformative moment for our university because we get to put so much of what makes UNCG great on display in front of a huge local, state and national audience.
Already, our women’s team played with spirit and poise to close out their season. Led by Coach Trina Patterson, the SoCon Coach of the Year, they showed grit on the court and demonstrated class throughout the event.
Meanwhile, our top-seeded, regular season champion men’s team is playing for a title TONIGHT, at 7 p.m. LIVE on ESPN. That is the “mothership” – the biggest, most important sports network in the nation. And it is a chance for our student athletes and our UNCG family to shine!
For those who can join us live, I urge you to grab your best UNCG gear and come to Asheville today! We will have buses leaving from the baseball stadium (off Kenilworth) on campus at 2-2:30 p.m. (We expect to accommodate everyone who wants to take advantage of this offer, but it is subject to availability.) Or, come on your own and join families, friends, students and alumni at the Bier Garden (46 Haywood St.) for pre- and post-game festivities.
If you can’t make the trip, you can still watch the game with your fellow Spartans. Alumni in Greenboro will gather at Old Town on Spring Garden starting at 6:00 p.m. There are also watch parties for UNCG alumni at the Carolina Ale House on Glenwood Ave. in Raleigh, and Rock Bottom Brewery on N. Tryon in Charlotte. Students will have a watch party at the Cone Ballroom in the EUC. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Plus, you can follow everything on our many social media channels to get behind the scenes and up close to the action before, during, and after the game.
The university experience is made up of so many different and distinctive moments. Tonight can be a very special one for UNCG. We can all be united in cheering on our team, in celebrating our achievements and in uniting around a shared moment. Win or lose, I know our team will compete and fight, they will represent us with grace and sportsmanship, and they will make every Spartan – past, present, and future – proud of who we are and where we are going together. A big game and a giant step forward await us. I hope you will join the fun. Go Spartans!