- Ian Livingston Brooking
Coastal Carolina to host Myrtle Beach Invitational
On Wednesday, April 11, ESPN along with the City of Myrtle Beach and Coastal Carolina University announced that the Coastal Carolina’s HTC Center will host a new college basketball tournament called the Myrtle Beach Invitational.
The tournament will be played annually in mid-November with the first year of the tournament to be played this Nov. 15, 16 & 18.
The tournament will feature eight teams with seven programs already announced as participants in the inaugural year of the tournament.
The 2018 Myrtle Beach Invitational will feature Central Florida, Saint Joseph’s University, Valparaiso, Western Kentucky, Wake Forest, Cal State Fullerton and West Virginia.
The major headline teams of the tournament are Wake Forest, whom Coastal Carolina played and beat early this past season, and West Virginia, who has made it to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament in three of the past four seasons.
Matt Hogue, Athletic Director at Coastal Carolina University, talked about what this means to the university.
“This is not only exciting news for our region, but also a testament to the attractiveness and value of CCU,” said Hogue.
Brenda Bethune, Mayor of Myrtle Beach, went into more detail about the partnership between the institution, the city and ESPN.
“The Myrtle Beach Invitational is about much more than an incredible basketball tournament,” said Bethune. “This event signifies a great partnership between ESPN, Myrtle Beach, our Chamber of Commerce and our very own, Coastal Carolina University. It will raise the profile of Myrtle Beach and Coastal and will give us global exposure.”
Last November, Coastal Carolina hosted the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip-Off after the Puerto Rico suffered extensive damage from multiple hurricanes that hit the American territory throughout September. ESPN was impressed at how the city and university was able to accommodate the teams and fans on such short notice.
“The service and professionalism that our University displayed in hosting the relocated Puerto Rico event last year left a strong impression on ESPN Events,” said Hogue. “It played a key role in earning their confidence to place the new event here on the Grand Strand.”
Coastal Carolina is no stranger to hosting big-time events. The HTC Center played hosted to the 2017 ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament and the Big South Tournament from 2013 to 2015.
Bethune talked about what the Myrtle Beach Invitational will do for the community.
“Not only will this enhance our community and all we have to offer as a premier vacation destination, but it will showcase CCU as a premier University that has so much to offer,” said Bethune. “The Myrtle Beach Invitational is a prime example of how great things happen when the right team comes together to work collaboratively.”