Planes, trains and automobiles….well maybe not trains, but Old Dominion athletics is spending much more time traveling now that they have joined Conference USA. “Getting on the road is a fun thing.”
After all these years traveling, ODU men’s basketball coach Jeff Jones still enjoys the road trips. “The players get a chance to interact and get to know one another better so I think its a chance for them to get some chemistry and to bond.”
Jones comes from the Patriot League where most trips were made by bus. Jones says, “This is absolutely not a bus league. You have to spend a lot of time in airplanes.”
This weekend, the Monarchs are playing in South Florida. At the end of the month they will play in Mobile, Alabama and then Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Next month its a trip to Texas and Oklahoma and they end the season back in El Paso, Texas. Kieran Donahue is the special assistant in charge of travel. “Buses to food, to tickets to bags, making sure uniforms are packed. Making sure that everything is packed so the coaches can coach and the players can play.
It is Kieran Donohue’s job to make sure all of the Monarchs travel arrangements are made and itineraries followed. Between coaches and players he’s in charge of roughly 25 people and only asks but so much. “Bring your sneakers and a good attitude and we will do the rest.”
“As long as your organized on the front end that it runs pretty smoothly. But you occasionally run into the hang up. You show up at a restaurant and they don’t have your food ready. You show up at a hotel and there is a wedding going on and its louder than you expect. You just have to roll with it.”
Of course, packing light is important, but everybody has that one item they can’t do without on long road trips. Jones says, “The IPad, I have a lot of books on there.” Freshman guard Jordan Baker says, “My headphones, my phone and some candy. Did you say candy? Yes I have to have gummy worms.’
Of course the only thing sweeter for the Monarchs is the return trip after a victory.