Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Coach Crows as Charleston Surprises Maryland 75-66

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Coach Crows as Charleston Surprises Maryland 75-66

Article excerpt

As caffeine and euphoria percolated through John Kresse's 53-year-old body, a little boy oozed out.

His 12th-seeded College of Charleston team had just beaten fifth-seeded Maryland 75-66 in the first round of the NCAA Southeast Regional on Thursday at The Pyramid, and here he stood at the pinnacle - for now - of a 33-year coaching career.

"I'm so excited, I'm so excited," he said, hugging his wife as he bounced out of the postgame news conference. The celebration, though, would be fleeting, as he tried to convey in a beaming, breathless monologue that included these observations: * "We're not really Rodney Dangerfield. We're for real." * "We defended like our lives depended on it." * His players "fly the Concorde, while I serve the soda and chips. . . . Today, they walked with kings." Forgive the hyperbole from Kresse, who is suspected of taking coffee intravenously and was still waiting to exhale an hour after the game. His team entered the tournament with a 22-game winning streak, a 29-2 record and a 101-16 over the past four seasons - the fewest losses in Division I basketball the past four years. And, sure, the Cougars had received ample attention the past few days, including a major spread in USA Today on Thursday. "Everybody knows now that the school opened its doors in 1770," Kresse said, "and that a couple of our guys signed the Declaration (of Independence) and a couple other of our guys signed the Constitution." But his "guys" were known mostly for being a good secret and never had won a game in the NCAAs. At least partly that was because the school left the NAIA for the NCAA only in the 1990-91 season - at the administration's insistence but over Kresse's objection. "I had great trepidation about the move to NCAA Division I . . . " Kresse said. "So many teams had to spend a number of years in purgatory (because of transition rules). …

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