“Congratulations, you get your first tournament win in school history,” the sports commentator stated to Coach Ritchie McKay of Liberty University.
“What is at the foundation of this moment?”
Coach McKay’s reply couldn’t have been clearer:
“We want to give God all the glory, obviously,” he said.
“We don’t do it without a Christ-centered program.”
See for yourself:
“That was as resilient as it gets.”
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 23, 2019
And this upset victory by Coach McKay is already bringing praises and recognition across the NCAA Basketball community, ensuring his words giving God the glory have been heard countless times over the past week.
“Absolute X’s & O’s CLINIC by Liberty & Ritchie McKay,” tweeted Ohio State all-time great Clark Kellogg.
Coach McKay even received praise from Buzz Williams, assistant coach of Colorado State, the team he and his Liberty team will face next after their upset over Mississippi State.
“I’m real happy for him, and I mean that in a sincere way,” Williams said.
The two coaches had reportedly had a “bit of a tiff” in the past, but have since made up and become good friends.
“‘It wasn’t until years later that the two men reconciled while sharing a plane ride after a recruiting event in Georgia. McKay was skeptical to even be around Williams that day. ‘Make sure to check for the eject switch,’ McKay told himself as he prepared to go. ‘But we spent probably two, two-and-a-half hours on a plane, and I was like, man, I have misread the cover of this book, because he’s special.’”
Liberty’s upset victory came after a fierce battle with the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the game was well worth the watch.
After falling to the Bulldogs by double digits, the Liberty Flames rallied and fought back to victory.
According to sports writer David Lombardi, “What did Liberty coach Richie McKay tell his team in a timeout, down 10 with six minutes to play? ‘I said if we come back, we’ll go to In-N-Out Burger.’”
Apparently that was the right motivation for the team!
Caleb Homesley took the initiative and scored 30 points while Lovell Cabbil added 18, including four free throws, keeping fans engaged and energized.
“CALEB HOMESLEY CANT MISS,” tweeted Basketball Society.
CALEB HOMESLEY CANT MISS pic.twitter.com/CzEViiA1Qp
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) March 23, 2019
The amazing-to-watch comeback ended in an 80-76 win for the Liberty Flames.
As a reward for their victory, the team did indeed celebrate afterward at a local In-N-Out, taking advantage of the first-round game’s location in San Jose, California.
Although, Coach McKay didn’t join the team on this celebration saying, “When you are my weight and my body fat, you get exempted from opportunities like that,” McKay joked. “But I think the players enjoyed it, and yeah, it was good. They need to have a little fun once in a while.”