I know comments from a soccer coach aren't what folks are trolling Carolina web sites for at the moment – yes, Larry Fedora has accepted the football coaching job and there's a press conference tomorrow – but this AP article caught my eye. UNC's top-ranked men's soccer team will be playing in their fifth College Cup this weekend, starting with a game on Friday against UCLA. They'll be doing so under a first-year coach, Carlos Somoano, who took over after the coach of 22 years, Elmar Bolowich left.
But Bolowich didn't retire. He left to be the coach at Creighton, another College Cup team UNC might just meet in the finals.
Bolowich, who coached at UNC for 22 years, seems very happy at Creighton, and the New York Times story on him really emphasizes the primacy that soccer can have on a college campus without a football team. And I appreciate that; I went to grad school at a place that drop football in 1992, and won a soccer title in 2006. (Fans stormed the empty field, grabbed the soccer goal, and threw it of the bluffs.) And they drew pretty good crowds, but I saw the same sort of crowds and big Carolina soccer matches, too. But what bugs me is this:
At North Carolina, he had to share his facility with the men's and women's lacrosse and track teams, and the grass field was used for summer football camps. The facility was open all day every day so faculty members could run on the track.
"That was always a thorn in my eye," he said, "because we were the only facility in the ACC that was not secured and locked up."
Frankly, UNC is a public university, supported by students and the citizens of North Carolina. Less facilities should be locked up. I liked being able to run around the track at Fetzer Field. I liked playing ball in Woolen Gym, and that you could cut from there into Carmichael Auditorium. You used to be able to walk onto the field at Kenan too, although I'm sure that's locked up. I understand you want the soccer program to not be dwarfed by the football program, but the answer to that is not to elevate another program out of the reach of the students, or to lock more of the university away from those attending it.
Ah well. I'm glad Bolowich is happy at Creighton. I'm sure he's happy with his $13 million dollar stadium with luxury suites, where no mere student can trespass. It's a shame; I remember running the bleacher steps at UCSB's championship-producing stadium without any hassle. Best of luck to you, Elmar.
Until the finals, at least, when UNC can crush you in the College Cup.
UNC plays UCLA Friday at 8:30 in Hoover, Alabama. The game is on ESPNU, as is the Creighton game prior.