WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Opposing coaches have always said the fans at Trask Coliseum give the UNCW Seahawks a huge home court advantage.
Tuesday, University administrators decided to take pandemic precautions and not allow fans in the seats for games in November and December. First-year head coach Takayo Siddle says his team will need to find a new advantage.
“I compared it to sparring in boxing,” said Siddle. “So, that’s what we talked about...creating our own energy, not focusing on who’s there and who’s not there...just going out and playing with passion. That’s the most important thing to us.”
A spike in COVID-19 cases across the state has the head coach doubling down his message for the players.
“It is simple. If you want to have a season and you want to play games, you have to do the right things,” said Siddle. “They are all excited about playing. They all want to play. To a man, I think they all are holding each other accountable.”
Players and staff on the men’s basketball program are now tested three times a week for COVID-19. Siddle admits those test days can be more stressful than actual coaching.
“Because you never know when you’re going to get that call or text from your trainer that somebody tested positive,” he said. “Or, somebody’s not feeling well. Or, you have to put the program on pause. Or, are you done for 14 days. It’s difficult but like I say, we just try to take it one day at a time. Because, in this climate that we’re living in right now, I think that’s the best way to do it.”
UNCW opens the season on the road November 25 against Western Carolina at the Mako Medical Classic in Asheville at 1 p.m.