Brevard, N.C. - The Inaugural Tornado Tip-off started with Dr. Drew Van Horn welcoming friends and family members to the Brevard College basketball opener and ended with Van Horn and Director of Athletic Kim Pate, squared off against Coaches Michael Jones and Shannon Reid in a battle of rubber chicken chucking at center court in Boshamer Gymnasium as the Tornados opened up the 2009-2010 season in style.
The evening started with a meal provided by Sagebrush Steakhouse as the parents, friends and families of the student-athletes, listened to Dr. Van Horn’s opening remarks as he recognized the parents and trustees in attendance. Jack Schneider, president of the Tornado Club, followed Dr. Van Horn with a welcome of his own to the Tornado Club members and encouraged all in attendance to join the booster club in support of over 350 student-athletes at Brevard College.
Following the introduction, Kim Pate recognized and welcomed women’s head coach Shannon Reid to the podium to preview the 2009-2010 basketball season and introduce her team.
Coach Reid opened her remarks with a description of the South Atlantic Conference as a whole, recapping last season as one which proved how difficult and balanced the league was. However, she did recap how the team started to turn it around last year, especially in January when the team started to click together, fighting against eventual SAC Champion Lenoir-Rhyne before falling by eight.
Before she turned the podium over to her seniors, Coach Reid had one final thought on the team and left saying, “The girls are a really hungry group, eager to please, and ready to win.”
The two 2009-2010 seniors Samantha Winn and Millie Wharton both spoke, giving their thanks to the Coaching staff for their hard work and dedication, while also commenting on how blessed the team was to have the depth this season with 16 players on roster after struggling down the stretch last year.
Men’s Basketball Coach Michael Jones took the stand following the women’s team and recognized his senior class of seven, commenting on the fact that four years ago they were brought in as freshmen, took their lumps, and now are the leaders on the team.
He also took a moment to talk about Jonathan Whitson and the accolades Whitson received last season, earning 1st Team All-SAC honors, as well as 2nd team All-Region Daktronics and NABC honors
Coach Jones also went on to recognize the impact of recruiting in Western North Carolina has had in the program, with over half of his roster supplied by players from around the area, before leaving with this statement, “I believe this is the most talented team I’ve had here in my time at Brevard.”
Whitson followed Coach Jones and repeated what Wharton and Winn said about giving thanks to the crowd for coming to the event and then encouraged the fans to come out during the season and provide their support to the Tornados, commenting on the fact it is more exciting for the team to play in a packed gym, before turning the microphone over to fellow senior Sam Carlisle to introduce the 2009-2010 men’s basketball roster.
Following the meal, the teams took to the court, for a period of warm-up drills as the fans filed in to Boshamer Gymnasium.
After a brief introduction of the night’s festivities by Matt Mabe, all but two spotlights went out in the gymnasium, cloaking the fans in darkness as Justin Jefferson started the festivities with the team introductions, including several unique nicknames assigned to players throughout the years.
The Tornados men’s and women’s teams played in a pair of 15 minute running clock scrimmages which showed off the diverse talent and skills of the players.
The remainder of the evening saw the BC Cheerleading squad lead the fans through a series of cheers and the Brevard College pep band played throughout the night as fans, faculty members and students participated in half court challenges, a tic-tac-toe free throw challenge, the Jets Jersey Dress Shot, the Aramark Around the Arc contest and the K-Mart Hot Shot Challenge. The evening also saw a dance routine choreographed by several of the Brevard College football players and Round II of the rap battle between MC Confusion and Black Thought.
The night culminated in the Zaxby’s Chuck-A-Chicken contest in which Pate and Van Horn teamed up against Reid and Jones in a battle with the loser having to do the Chicken Dance in front of the entire population of the crowd.
However, Jim Rogers, owner of the local Zaxby's, intervened as the teams prepared to dance and invited everyone down to the floor to do the dance for a free chicken sandwich and over 100 students, faculty members and staff, danced on the court until the conclusion of the event.
The Brevard College Athletic Department would like to extend an official thank you to the following businesses for their support and donations to the Tornado Tipoff: K-Mart, Cielito Lindo, Co-ed Theater, Zaxby’s, Sagebrush, Jets Pizza, Aramark, Burger King and Sonic.