On March 20, 1992, Tulane played in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for the first time, defeating St. John’s 61-57 at The Omni in Atlanta.
Twenty-four hours shy of 25 years to the day, the Green Wave’s coach will again be on the bench for an NCAA game … but his former athletic director will be rooting for the his current employer, which just so happens to be the opposition.
Perry Clark, now in his fourth year as an assistant coach at South Carolina, knows very well the drill of the quick turnaround from a first-round win to second-round preparation. In all three trips to the NCAAs with Tulane, the Green Wave won to advance to the round of 32.
Sunday night in Greenville, South Carolina, the Gamecocks will face No. 2 seed Duke. The athletic director in Durham these days is Dr. Kevin White, who was the AD at Tulane for five of Clark’s 11 seasons, including all three NCAA trips.
White likely won’t be in attendance, however, as he is in his second year as a member of the NCAA men’s basketball committee and is handling administrative duties at the first and second round games in Indianapolis on Sunday.
If the Gamecocks can pull the upset and advance to the Sweet 16, Clark would become the third member of the 1991-92 Tulane team to reach the tournament’s second weekend. His longtime assistant at Tulane, Ron Everhart, is an assistant coach at West Virginia, which advanced Saturday with a victory over Notre Dame, and the starting point guard on that team, Greg Gary, is an assistant coach at Purdue, which moved on Saturday night over Iowa State.
Besides Everhart and Gary, two other New Orleans connections have already punched tickets to the Sweet 16.
White’s oldest son Mike, a 1995 Jesuit graduate who played point guard for the Blue Jays, is now the head coach at Florida and has reached the second weekend in his first NCAA appearance as a head coach.
New Orleans native and former University of New Orleans head coach Joe Pasternack, now an assistant at Arizona, also is in the Sweet 16.
So if you’re counting, half of the eight schools who punched a ticket to the Sweet 16 on Saturday have a New Orleans connection on their coaching staff. That number can grow on Sunday.