PHOENIX (Cronkite News) – Even 2,100 miles away, Hurricane Dorian has connections to the Arizona sports community.
Many standout athletes from the Valley have found homes at universities along the coasts of central Florida and South Carolina, which are next in line for the storm. Dorian weakened to a Category 2 Tuesday and made its turn north.
“I was telling one of my friends that it was kind of crazy to get an emergency alert last year for a hurricane,” said Coastal Carolina long snapper C.J. Schrimpf. “I’m from Arizona, and the most I ever get is a haboob alert.”
Schrimpf, who played football at Phoenix College and Tempe’s McClintock High School, is one of two Arizona athletes at the school located just miles from the coast in South Carolina. Derick Bush, a linebacker from Tucson’s Salpointe Catholic, is there, too.
Others that have paid close attention to the hurricane’s path include the Phoenix Suns’ Deandre Ayton, who still has family in the Bahamas, where he grew up. The Bahamas were hit hard by the storm, as winds and floodwaters left homes destroyed. At least five are dead and 47 were rescued from the area, the U.S. Coast Guard told CNN.
The hurricane has impacted sports schedules, too.
Several minor league baseball seasons ended prematurely. The Class A Florida State League and the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League both canceled the remainder of their 2019 seasons, including each league’s postseason.
Several college football programs have been affected. Florida State’s season opener against Boise State last Saturday was moved from neutral Jacksonville to Tallahassee.
Coastal Carolina travels to Lawrence, Kansas, this week to take on the Kansas Jayhawks.
The Chanticleers’ challenges stemming from Hurricane Dorian are far from their first tangle with nature’s elements. Last year, the Coastal Carolina team faced a similar experience with a hurricane, traversing through the effects of Hurricane Florence as they attempted to continue with their season.
That hurricane forced the rescheduling of a game against Campbell University and kept the Chanticleers out of Conway for nearly three weeks while the city and campus recovered. This year, with the team forced to relocate to Greenville, South Carolina, before their battle with the Jayhawks, they are simply hoping to return to normal as quickly as possible.
“We’ll be able to do the work we need to do to get our guys ready,” said Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Chadwell in a press conference. “The challenge more so is now they’re not in a normal routine. You work hard to get them in a normal routine and now you’re out of it. How does that affect them, because most people are creatures of habit and now there’s a change.”
Schrimpf has begun to adjust to the regular battle with mother nature.
“I think the biggest thing is all the preparation and stuff like that that goes into people who aren’t going with the team down to Greenville,” he said. “Boarding up the houses, making sure that you have enough stuff that you’re not leaving, finding a place to go. Just stuff you don’t really deal with unless you live on the coast or where it’s hitting directly.”
An estimated 244,000 people have evacuated homes in South Carolina neighborhoods that are expected to be impacted by Dorian, Derrec Becker, a spokesman with the state’s emergency management division, told CNN.