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Editorial: Mike Culp

Posted: April 12, 2018 3:39 p.m.
Updated: April 13, 2018 1:00 a.m.

As a man who had a keen wit and a self-deprecating sense of humor, Mike Culp rolled with a joke as well as anyone.

So, when the late girls’ basketball coach at Camden High School was, posthumously, honored by the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association by being selected to the organization’s Hall of Fame more than seven years following his passing, the easy-going Culp probably looked down, shook his head with that familiar smile and said, “It figures.”

If there is a down side to Culp’s being inducted into the SCACA Hall of Fame it is that when his name is called at the ceremony in July, he will not be there to accept the honor. We would have loved to have been in Charleston that night to hear his speech. If his days with us are an indication, he would have started off by thanking his wife, B.J., and his sons, Michael and Kevin, for their patience and support during his 34 seasons as head coach of the Rockettes.

After that, he would probably try and go through every girl, assistant coach, administrator, friend and colleague who ever came out to watch and support one of his teams. If an ‘I’ or ‘me’ happened to slip into his speech, it would surely be by accident and he would backtrack to make sure you knew it was unintentional because that is the way Mike Culp was wired.

Mike Culp was never someone who craved the spotlight. That, he would tell you, should be saved for the players. His job, he would say, was done while nobody was looking. The lessons he taught in an empty gym on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons after school, put people in the seats on Tuesday and Friday nights … game nights. It was on the court where players won games and coaches lost them.

That drive and devotion to doing what he loved could also be said of Mike Culp the teacher. For those students who had the chance to be part of his social studies classes at Camden High, they quickly discovered his passion for history which he mixed in with a good bit of wit. And nobody -- student, player or friend -- went away without getting a little University of North Carolina basketball history lesson from the Tar Heels’ ultimate fan.

While Mike Culp would have used his Hall of Fame platform to thank all those people who helped both he and his girls along the way, we will use this space to simply say ‘Thank you, Mike’, on behalf of all of us who knew, loved and respected you for what you meant not only to your players but in the community in which you worked to make a better place for many a year.

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