crowdHave you ever heard a song that takes you back to a moment in time? For example, every time I heard the song “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion, I think back to my first middle school dance and having the last dance with Amanda Harris. Yeah, I know. It’s cheesy.

But basketball is like that song that takes you back to a moment in time. As we approach mid-March, childhood memories flood back. As I sit at home and watch the ACC tournament, my mind goes back to sitting in school on rainy March days watching basketball. It was the best week of the school year. For one week, everything was on hold – pop quizzes, tests, homework – none of that stuff mattered during the ACC tournament. Teachers would allow us to bring drinks and snacks and we would all gather to watch basketball. If you caught the right teacher at the right time, they might even order pizza for everyone. I miss those days.

Here’s the thing. I want that for my kids. I want my kids to get excited to go to school and having a few days where the stress of school is irrelevant and they enjoy bonding with other people over basketball. But I don’t care for them to necessarily cheer for Duke, Carolina, NC State or Virginia. I want them to cheer for a different kind of school. I want them to be cheering for Liberty.

I’m not saying that in the next 18-20 years that Liberty will be in the ACC. But in that time frame, they should be dominant. Imagine a generation of fans who have seen Liberty teams compete in the Final Four. Imagine a program that is so successful that teachers have to pause in the middle of the week to watch a basketball tournament that Liberty is a part of. That’s why the next few weeks prove critical for the future of Liberty basketball. As it stands now, there is no excitement on Liberty Mountain for basketball, just apathy – sad, desolate apathy. Most everyone agree Dale Layer was a great guy, a model coach you would want at Liberty, except for one thing: winning. Losing doesn’t create excitement, and losing won’t get the university and the athletic department near the goals they want to achieve.   If Liberty is “FBS Ready”, then we need a coach who will take us to the next level.

I attended all but two Liberty home games this year. When I moved my family back to Lynchburg late last year, I looked forward to having the chance to take my son to Liberty games. I want him to be able to remember going to the games with his dad and cheering for Liberty. When I step into the Vines Center, I remember finding a spot at the front of a crowded student section to be a part of something exciting. I want my son to be a part of the generation that witnesses a special Liberty basketball program. I want my son to have those experiences that take him back to special moments in time.

Will Matthews is an Ethics student at SEBTS, a graduate of Liberty University (’07), was the first Sparky mascot, and writes blogs about Theology and Wrestling at He often tweets at @DidLibertyWin