I ran into former Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins Friday afternoon. He was in the Greensboro Coliseum stands after the two games in the afternoon sessions, waiting for an ACC official to bring him a couple VIP passes.
He said he had been in the arena for Tech’s overtime loss to Clemson Thursday night and said he was “worn out” pulling for the Yellow Jackets. It’s not what you usually see from a former coach, particularly one whose tenure at that school did not end triumphantly.
“I love Georgia Tech,” he said. “It’s like my baby.”
Coach Brian Gregory has reached out to Cremins to be something of an unofficial ambassador for the program. Cremins gave his support of the team under Gregory.
“I think the future looks bright,” he said. “But it’s a tougher league than ever. I like Brian a lot and I’d really like to see him do well, but I know it’s tough.”
Particularly from a win-loss perspective, the Jackets’ season was not to anyone’s satisfaction, but Cremins urged patience.
“I feel like they’re making progress, absolutely,” he said.
Cremins, 66, looked well. He said he is scheduled to have knee replacement surgery in April – he has already had one – which will get him back out on the golf course.
As for the VIP passes, Cremins was as I’ve heard him to be, and consistent with my handful of interactions with him. As he was waiting, he wasn’t sure if he would be given the passes and appeared genuinely grateful when they were brought to him. Never mind that Cremins led Tech to three ACC tournament titles and will forever be a part of the league’s fabric.
I think if the official had come back and said, “Sorry, can’t help you,” Cremins would have been understanding.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised or impressed when the more elevated people in this business don’t act entitled, but I am. To remain so unassuming is a gift.