Friday, June 8, 2012

Change Coming to Pfeiffer's Conference

I read a report last week in the Charlotte Observer from David Scott, talking about the announcement posted on the South Atlantic Conference website on Wednesday that Queens and Coker are leaving Conference Carolinas starting with the 2013-14 season.

As a PA announcer for basketball at Pfeiffer (a member of the conference since 1960) for part or all of 17 seasons, this really saddens me to see two teams that have been good competition for the Falcons over the years.

Coker has been a treat over the years on the hardwood to see, particularly because of one man: Dan Schmotzer.  His fiery persona on the court belies a man that always shakes my hand when he sees me. Coach always finds a way to bust my chops and does it so well that I can't do anything but sit there and laugh.  The conversations he has with officials border on stand-up comedy, and that loud raspy voice is one that I would recognize anywhere in the world. If Coker was not so far away from here, I would pay my hard-earned money to see Coker play and watch him coach.

When you talk about rivalries with Pfeiffer, one team has always been at the forefront: Queens.

The Pfeiffer-Queens rivalry has provided fans at the old "Oven" in Charlotte and Merner Gym here in Stanly County some intense, emotional moments. The heated exchanges between fans of both schools mirrored the spirited action on the courts and fields of competition.

I remember a T-shirt that the Pfeiffer bookstore used to sell that had three teams listed on it with the following phrases next to them:  The Good (Pfeiffer), The Bad (Queens) and the Ugly (Belmont Abbey).

I am sure that the two school might still play games against each other, but personally, it would not be as good without the implications of being in conference play. It would be like the New York Jets leaving the AFC East Division; they may still play my Dolphins, but it would not mean as much as if it were in division play (look what happened to the long-standing Colts-Dolphins rivalry; when the Baltimore Colts moved to Indy and then to the AFC Central, the games lost some of their importance and rivalry).

All Division II conferences are required to have 10 teams, and losing Queens and Coker will drop Conference Carolinas down to 10 teams, meaning that one more school out and the conference would have problems.

I also read in Scott's story that one of the reasons that Coker and Queens were accepted into the SAC was that they will consider fielding football teams in the future.

I admit that I was initially against the idea of adding new college football teams locally, like UNC-Charlotte or elsewhere, just from the standpoint that it would dilute the current D-II programs in the area, but I have changed my mind. More teams mean more chances for local players to play football in this area without having to give up the dream of playing in college.

It would be awesome to think that somewhere down the line I could find myself announcing football games for my alma mater, but if not, I still love my time at the basketball scorers' table.

But I will miss Coker and Queens.

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