When Rutgers fans took over MSG — Former coach remembers tourney
Coaching college basketball is all about character and former Rutgers basketball coach Gary Waters, who coached the Scarlet Knights from 2001-2006, has written a book called Ten Principals of A Character Coach. Waters took his teams to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) three times. His greatest memory of Rutgers came when they went to the NIT Finals playing Michigan at Madison Square Garden in 2004.
"It was a great run because you had to win four games just to get to that game," Waters told me during a phone interview. "Our first game was at Temple, coached by the late John Chaney, and we had to win that to move forward. Once we got to the finals, it was at Madison Square Garden, which seats about 22,000. I'm telling you, the trains going from New Jersey to New York that day were filled with. I mean all the trains with Rutgers people, they put Rutgers paraphernalia all over the walls ceilings everywhere, all they did was sing songs."
Water didn't get to see this but his wife did.
"My wife came on the train so she knew she told me all about it she said it was unbelievable," Walters continued. "So I get to the arena, as soon as I walk out the 20,000 people there are 15,000 Rutgers fans. It was unbelievable."
That day gives Waters hope for Rutgers's future.
"That tells you once they get this thing going which they are, they're doing a great job now, once they get it back, they've got a fan base that is unbelievable."
Waters book, Ten Principals of a Character Coach is actually part of a three-part series. The second book is going to be called Coaching Millennials from a Character Perspective underneath it says, "The Rutgers Experience."
Waters said, "That's going to be all about Rutgers and all the millennials I coached there and everything else. I had a great time at Rutgers."
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.