A season of change is something everyone can relate to this year. With the world constantly changing around us with a pandemic and social justice issues being brought to light, everybody has had to make changes. College sports have been one industry that has tried to push through to bring us closer even though there have been many setbacks.
On Oct. 15, Charlotte's men's basketball coach Ron Sanchez sat down with one of ESPN’s top reporters and storytellers Tom Rinaldi to have a talk about what Charlotte has been doing to help fight these issues and stay safe in such a crazy time. The conversation via Zoom was titled, "A Season of Change." UNC Charlotte Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber handled introductions and a question and answer session was facilitated by Student Body President Tahlieah Sampson.
Sanchez first had to go back to the day that the college basketball season was canceled and that the world started to change for good.
“This has been a season of change,” said Sanchez.
Sanchez went back to the day that the college basketball season was cancelled and that the world started to change for good.
“It began to unfold when the NBA canceled their season,” said Sanchez. “I got the look from a fellow staff member Katherine Palmer and I knew it was the last time that we were going to be together as a team.”
Sanchez went into depth about how hard it was for him to tell his players who had worked so hard to get to the C-USA conference tournament. He specifically pointed out that at a time when the team could have given up the seniors such as Amidou Bamba continued to lead.
“Bamba said that we needed to enjoy the moments in front of us because he thought that he had more time with not just his team, but his brothers,” said Sanchez.
Sanchez also talked about the precautions that have had to be taken to allow the Niners and other colleges teams to play this upcoming season. The coaching staff has had to find new ways to stay in touch with players and keep them prepared when it is time to come back and play.
“We decided to take advantage of our great institution,” said Sanchez. “We went through a seminar of how to teach our players online because we felt that we had to engage the mind over the body.”
Sanchez is hopeful to be back on the court soon. Another change that Charlotte has made is in the fight for social justice. The basketball coaching staff have encouraged students to have these tough conversations with law enforcement through the United in Gold initiative.
“We hope that there has been a new premium on listening,” said Sanchez. “We have to educate and protect our athletes.”
Sanchez talked about his personal experience with being pulled over on his way back to college as a young student. He said that what he has gone through himself is the reason why he feels so strongly about these issues. Some tough conversations that he has had are with his 11-year-old son.
“I had to set my son down and tell him he may go through situations when he is older because of his skin color,” said Sanchez. “I told him that some things need to change with our country”
Sanchez wants to encourage his players to make their voices heard and that is exactly what he is doing. Sanchez was able to give an insight of what the program is doing to fight these issues. It was all brought to light with his season of change interview.
“We are planting seeds on this campus that will grow into something greater,” said Sanchez.