Since Coastal Carolina University announced last week that its men’s basketball team would visit Cuba in August for an exhibition trip, Chanticleers athletic director Matt Hogue said the response has been strong for the school.
And with the progressing relations between the United States and Cuba making news again Wednesday, he feels the Chants’ historic trip only takes on more significance.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro each announced Wednesday that the countries have formally agreed to restore diplomatic relations effective July 20 and that embassies in both countries could reopen at that time.
The Chants will depart for Havana, Cuba, on Aug. 6 and play three exhibition games against the Cuban national team before returning Aug. 14.
“For me, that seems like a positive step. I think there are a lot of advantages that can come with that, and certainly it adds more significance to our trip,” Hogue said in response to the news.
Obama and Castro first announced plans to move toward restored relations in December. The Chants, meanwhile, have billed their trip to Cuba as historic by claiming to be the first NCAA Division I basketball team to play games in the isolated Caribbean island nation.
“The response has been very positive. We’ve seen news coverage and a lot of interest that we’re making the trip, so I think from a public relations standpoint it’s once again allowed us to utilize the athletics platform to promote the university and who we are,” Hogue said. “That’s always important because this is how we promote the university, this is how we use athletics to spark people’s interests and curiosity in the university. I think it’s been a great response since the news came out.”
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318 or on Twitter @RyanYoungTSN.