WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Dark and dreary clouds dominated the sky over UNCW’s campus Saturday morning. An accurate summation for how some fans of UNCW’s basketball team are feeling after coach Kevin Keatts took the job as head coach at N.C. State.
Alli Coleman saw the news break on Twitter Friday evening and admits she wasn’t surprised.
“After the way they played the other day, I would leave too,” said Coleman, referring to the Seahawks’ first-round exit in the NCAA Tournament Thursday. “Plus it’s a bigger name school, more benefits, just seems like a better move.”
Keatts was formally introduced as the Wolfpack’s new coach Sunday.
“It’s just a better opportunity for him so you really can’t hate on the guy for trying to make the best of the situation so good for him,” said Coleman.
Coleman moved to Wilmington two years ago, just before UNCW made its first NCAA tournament appearance with Keatts, one of many accolades Keatts’ teams achieved along with a 72-28 (.720) overall record under his leadership.
“He’s basically molded this UNCW team into something of value where before they have just been overshadowed by UNC Tar Heels,” said Coleman. “To see them actually be on a bracket is just never something I would see.”
UNCW freshman Jorge Capote walked toward his dorm, trying to process the significant news for his Seahawks.
“I’m still kind of sad he left UNCW the way he did and when he did because I feel like the program here was going strong and we could have gone places,” said Capote.
Capote ended up with the sweet end of the deal. He’s in the engineering program at and will spend the first two years at UNCW. He will finish the last two years of school at NC State.
“Which is kind of ironic because by the time I get there I think the NC State program will be turned around and their basketball team will actually be respectable,” said Capote with a smile.
Capote’s friend and fellow freshman Erik LaMay won’t be joining him at NC State. He’s disappointed he only experienced one year watching Keatts lead his school’s team.
“I knew it was going to happen eventually that he was going to be going to NC State or some other school I just didn’t think it would be happening this year,” said LaMay.
Takayo Siddle has been named interim head coach for the Seahawks. Siddle served as an assistant coach under Keatts.