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New UAB coach Andy Kennedy braces for ‘most unusual’ basketball season

Andy Kennedy acknowledged the bizarre nature of an introductory news conference without any media in attendance.

It wasn’t even the strangest scene the new UAB coach has experienced because of the coronavirus.nfl nike jersey cheap

“We’re living in unusual times, hence a press conference with no people,” Kennedy said Monday, when he was formally introduced as the new coach of his alma mater, replacing Robert Ehsan.

UAB allowed only 10 staffers inside the Green and Gold room at Bartow Arena, with a moderator and live stream on Facebook in an attempt to minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Kennedy was introduced by athletic director Mark Ingram, and then he fielded a few questions from radio announcer David Crane, who relayed several taken in advance from reporters. The men sat at opposite ends of a small table, with their chairs pulled back and a 2015 Conference USA tournament championship trophy between them.6

Kennedy, who was living in suburban Birmingham after his 12-year run as Mississippi’s coach, jokingly noted that they might not have the full 6 feet of separation recommended by health officials during the pandemic.

It was a strange scene, but less so than what happened last week — or what Kennedy fears could lie ahead.

Kennedy was working at the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Nashville for ESPN and the SEC Network when the remaining games around the country — including the NCAA tournament and many other sporting events — were called off. Suddenly, the arenas were empty.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

“It felt surreal, like, is this actually happening?” said Kennedy. “This is certainly not the introduction that we wanted. I can’t wait for this room to be filled and to see many familiar faces.”

Normally, introductions for new coaches at UAB and elsewhere would include some fans, prominent boosters and a number of reporters and cameras.

But not this time. Kennedy was joined in the room by Ingram, media relations officials and the production crew.

Kennedy, whose hiring was announced Friday, received a six-year contract and an unconventional situation that coaches and athletic programs around the country are confronting.