New Assignment Reacquaints Me with Old Friends

Jim Patterson Stadium and Coach McDonell's Cardinals played host to one of the 2013 NCAA Regionals.

Jim Patterson Stadium and Coach McDonell’s Cardinals played host to one of the 2013 NCAA Regionals.

For the 11th consecutive year, the NCAA appointed me to serve as a site representative for a baseball regional.

Selfishly, I was hoping for a trip to UCLA or Oregon, but when I was informed that I’d be going to Louisville, I was thrilled.

Most Citadel fans know that Dan McDonnell ’92 is the Cardinals’ head baseball coach and he’s assisted by longtime friend Chris Lemonis ’93. Both were successful assistant coaches to Fred Jordan.

Coach Dan McDonell ('93), along with assistant coach Chris Lemonis ('94) were both successful assistants to longtime Bulldog coach Fred Jordan.

Coach Dan McDonell (’93), along with assistant coach Chris Lemonis (’94), both worked under longtime Bulldog coach Fred Jordan.

Once I got the word that I was Kentucky-bound, I texted Dan who quickly called and enthusiastically congratulated me as I did the same to him. We had laughed throughout the years that one day we’d work together again. As if I needed to, I reminded him that we both had serious jobs to do, but it was going to be great working side-by-side … again.

It was terrific to see their wives (Julie McDonnell and Jill Lemonis) and families once more (and, yes, the kids grew), and Dan’s mother and stepfather were also in attendance.

While in Louisville, I ran into former Citadel assistant media relations director Patrick Walsh (currently the football SID at Louisiana Tech), who was visiting his hometown. Though I didn’t see him, I did speak with Louisville assistant football coach Kenny Carter ‘90, who coincidently addressed the baseball team on Sunday morning.

My week in Louisville was splendid. Their department of athletics is a “fun” one, and they certainly had a successful year with the football team winning the Sugar Bowl, the men’s basketball team capturing the national championship and their women’s basketball team appearing in the Final Four. The baseball team’s accomplishments have yet to be finalized as they visit Vanderbilt in Nashville for a Super Regional this weekend.

Among the more interesting things I witnessed while in Louisville – and there were many including Churchill Downs being two blocks from the baseball facility – were watching Coach McDonnell and Coach Lemonis during the National Anthem.

As former Citadel cadets, they stood at full attention – as did their team – and had their hands at their side, as if they were holding a roll of coins.

And what a thrill it was for me to be among the first to congratulate both Dan and Chris on winning the regional that I was in charge of.

-Andy Solomon-
Associate Athletic Director/Marketing

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