Doin’ The Charleston: Jay Marsh
One of the most familiar faces at George Mason and almost certainly the man who has seen more men’s basketball games than anyone else is senior associate athletic director Jay Marsh. Jay, who played for the Patriots from 1970-72 and has been with the program since, took a moment to share his impressions of Charleston and the trip thus far.
We’ve had great weather and the welcome reception last night was very unique on the USS Yorktown. I’d never been on an aircraft carrier — it was amazing just seeing how big it was. They also have a Medal of Honor Museum on board and that was very interesting to see.
This is the first time I’ve been back to Charleston since we played here in the 1980-81 season. That game was against Charleston Southern (then known as Baptist), who won 84-67.
Travel has definitely changed since those days. Unlike the 1.5-hour flight that the team took, we rode a bus down here. Meals were always with the team, but the quality of meals the team gets now is much better. Our players now have much better overall accommodations. We didn’t have a director of basketball operations back then, so as part of my responsibilities as assistant athletic director, I wore many hats.
This is the third straight year I’ve gone with the team to an ESPN-run tournament after Orlando (2008) and Puerto Rico (2009). I’ve been very fortunate to go to some very nice places and Charleston is no different. You have the opportunity to play some great teams at these tournaments and it is great for the team.
One of the fun things about traveling with a team is getting to know the staff and fans who follow the team religiously a little better. Last night we celebrated the birthdays of academic coordinator Michael Ouellette and one of our most staunch supporters, Kathy McKay.
My wife Carolyn and I have also been fortunate to travel to more George Mason away games than anybody – she has probably attended more than I have!
As for the game against Charlotte tonight, I’m looking forward to it and I think, with our talent, Mason has a good opportunity to win the game. It’s always a challenge to play the last game of the day at a tournament – everybody is waiting all day to get the game in but we’re happy our fans in Fairfax and beyond can watch it live on MASN. I know that if I hadn’t been lucky enough to make this trip, I’d be at Brion’s Grille for the official watch party tonight.