By LARRY VAUGHT
What makes the first few days of the NCAA Tournament so special — or a Final Four run like Chicago Loyola had last year — is the Davids of college basketball can dream of slaying the Goliaths. Every year a few Davids get a win or two, too.
There’s also a big difference in the coach. Kentucky plays Abilene Christian Thursday night. Kentucky coach John Calipari has won a national title, been to Final Fours and is one of the nation’s highest paid coaches.
Abilene Christian coach Joe Golding doesn’t even have a second suit to wear in the NCAA Tournament — if he needs one. He ripped his suit pants celebrating his team’s conference tournament win that got it in the NCAA for the first time .
“The suit got ripped when I jumped up and hugged our associate head coach. He’s been on this journey with me for seven years. He took a chance on me. He left a really good program where he had a ton of success and they made the NCAA Tournament at Stephen F. Austin to come here and build this with me, and man, it has not been easy. It’s been the hardest thing we’ve ever done. It was an incredible embrace that we had the last eight seconds,” Golding said Wednesday.
“Unfortunately I ripped my pants. So I get back to Abilene — I haven’t got my bonus (for making the NCAA Tournament) yet, either. I just found out I don’t get that until June 1st, I think. I heard somebody was going to start a GoFundMe page; I would appreciate it, any help I can get.”
Wait. The story gets better.
“We’ve got one suit place in town, that’s it. One suit place, and they couldn’t get it done. I guess you’ve got to alter and do some stuff. So I’ve got one suit,” Golding said.
Wait again. There’s another nice twist.
“I had two suits when the year started. I left one in an airport, true story. Had to go when we played Nicholls State and buy a suit or khaki pants and a shirt,” Golding said.
“I’m coaching them all in my baby blue suit, and I’m going to have a hole in my butt, man. So it is what it is, man. We’re going to be who we are and go out there and embrace it.”
Admit it. If Abilene Christian wasn’t playing Kentucky, you would have to pull for a team that has a coach “with a hole in my butt” on the sideline for his first NCAA game.