Bus ride blues
Ingle’s Kennesaw State squads were 6-2 against the Eagles. Waugh’s Stetson teams were 4-4.
“We couldn’t have done it without the referees,” Ingle joked, although noting Florida Gulf Coast was not the Atlantic Sun team he thought would make such a run.
And even this season, why would he or anyone else? The Eagles’ losses include fellow Sweet 16 member Duke, tournament dropouts Virginia Commonwealth and Iowa State, the Big East Conference’s St. John’s and mid-major pretenders Lipscomb (twice), Maine, Mercer, Stetson and East Tennessee State.
“If anybody predicted this, that’s like picking the guy who will win the $338 million lottery or picking the Kentucky Derby,” Ingle said. “No one predicted them, and if they did, someone needs to give them a saliva test.”
Additionally, FGCU only has been in existence since 1997. And the school’s athletics has been competing in Division I just since 2007 — and this is the Eagles’ first year since with a winning record. Waugh even had a “funny story” about FGCU’s transition to the highest NCAA division.
Waugh said Fort Myers to DeLand, Fla., where Stetson is located, is a “three- or four-hour drive.”
“Whatever year we finished third in the conference, they bused up to us the day of the game for budget reasons,” he said. “They broke down in Tampa. Normally, any Division I program will travel the night before a game, but they were making a transition and their bus broke down. So that game started two or three hours late.”
It once was a broken-down bus. Now it’s a national phenomenon that keeps rolling along.