Gulf Coast forced to postpone its opener due to COVID issues

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 10:09 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -The Gulf Coast men’s basketball team is having to postpone its season opener thanks to some COVID.

That means Head Coach Phil Gaffney and his Commodores will not be hosting Florida Coastal Prep on the 20th as originally scheduled.

The team, which made it through months of fall workouts and continued practicing after the holiday break, has to put everything on hold for now, which includes postponing that opener, thanks to some positive COVID tests within the team.

“We got a couple of players with COVID in our program.” Coach Gaffney told me via Zoom Friday afternoon. “So we’re just following all the protocols, making sure we do everything we’re supposed to do with quarantining and contact tracing. Unfortunately it means we won’t be having our first game of the year, which was supposed to be Wednesday versus Florida Coastal Prep. We’ll probably push that game back. and then we’re going to have to see about the following weekend’s games. We are supposed to play St. Petersburg College and Pasco Hernando next Saturday and Sunday. Whether we will have those or not we’re just going to have to wait and see.”

Gaffney went on to tell me they were prepared for this kind of thing.

“We have contingency plans, we have COVID protocols and we have all the things we need to guide us in the right direction. And we’ll follow those. We knew this was going to happen so we’re more than prepared for it. And I think it helps us with the mindset as well of there’s going to be setbacks, there’s no doubt about it, we all know it. So when they come up, and we know it’s going to happen I think it makes it a lot easier.”

Still, having to push back the season opener, after going through so much last March, including missing out on a trip to Nationals, well that’s a bit of a punch to the gut, the coach admits.

“Yeah definitely it is kind of tough because we haven’t played, me personally I haven’t coached in a year. Because I had the heart attack and I missed the end of the season last year. So I didn’t get to do that. So we’re all frustrated all the way around. But we also were expecting this. We know in the era of COVID this is happening in colleges and high schools and pro sports all over the place.”

The coach says next weekend’s games down in the Tampa area are on hold for now, the decision on making that trip, or not, will have to wait several days.

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