Warren Peper // Marketing and Communication // 03.14.2017
Charleston Southern University associate head coach, BJ McKie, is more than just mildly interested in this year’s NCAA tournament. Not only has McKie’s alma mater, the University of South Carolina, make the big dance, but his son, Justin, is a senior guard on the team.
A large McKie contingent will be in Greenville Friday night to see the Gamecocks take on Marquette in the first round of the NCAA basketball championship tournament. Juggling the duties of coach and dad have been challenging these last four years. BJ and Justin talked after every game. “I’ve been blessed,” the coach admits, but it’s the dad who confesses, “…I’m most proud of the man Justin has become.”
Coach McKie says Justin also was a good sounding board when Charleston Southern struggled early this season. BJ’s Bucs didn’t have near the success Justin’s Gamecocks enjoyed. It was a ‘Family First’ approach though, preached by CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh, that allowed his top assistant to sneak away to Columbia, on occasion, to see his son play. Those moments were special, for both dad and son.
When BJ finished his career at South Carolina, he was the school’s all-time leading scorer and he played professionally overseas. When Justin’s playing days are done, he’s already announced his intentions to enter South Carolina’s law school.
BJ is excited that his alma mater will represent the Palmetto State in the tournament. McKie’s already emotional thinking about the excitement of the fans who have waited for Gamecock basketball’s return to the national tournament. He’s also proud that his son was part of the effort that “put South Carolina back on the map.”
What kind of fan is Coach McKie?
“I’m pretty calm, but sometimes I might get a little vocal,” he said.
In the end, there are other considerations. “Justin understands where he is in life and knows he’s been blessed,” says BJ. That sounds like the coach and the dad have laid out a successful game plan.
Founded in 1964, Charleston Southern University is a private, four-year liberal arts college. CSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. The university's vision is to be a Christian university nationally recognized for integrating faith in learning, leading and serving.