Game Time Tour: Torbush content to stand on his record for now

Joe Avento • Apr 28, 2014 at 9:31 PM

KINGSPORT — Halfway through a 10-stop tour promoting East Tennessee State athletics, Carl Torbush is realizing the benefits of being undefeated — even if it’s because he’s yet to coach a football game for the Bucs.

“We haven’t lost a game yet and everybody loves a winner,” Torbush said Monday at the Kingsport Farmers Market. “So right now, everybody likes me pretty good.”

Torbush, whose resurrected program doesn’t begin playing until the 2015 season, joined other ETSU coaches for the fifth stop on the school’s “Game Time Tour,” an ambitious series of get-togethers that give ETSU fans a chance to interact with the school’s coaches and athletic administrators. It began April 10 in Chattanooga and will end May 22 in Bristol.

“It’s been overwhelming, the amount mof support we’ve received,” women’s basketball coach Brittney Ezell said. “People want to shake our hands, ask questions. They do love this university. It’s kind of opened my eyes to how much this university means to this region. It’s awesome.”

Ezell has plenty to talk about these days, especially since she recently signed Science Hill’s star guard Tianna Tarter.

“The response has been amazing,” Ezell said. “That’s what we have to do. We have to get the kids who aren’t going to Tennessee or aren’t going to Clemson and make ETSU a more desirable location.”

Men’s basketball coach Murry Bartow was glowing about his latest recruit as well. Desonta Bradford, Tennessee’s Mr. Basketball for Class A, signed to play for ETSU two weeks ago.

“He’s good,” Bartow said. “I’m excited about him. He’s a neat kid. He’s smart, knows how to play. We recruited him all year.”

Bradford is a 6-4 guard who averaged 21.7 points a game for Humbolt High School as a senior. He’ll be joining a list of returnees that is heavy in the backcourt, but he was one recruit Bartow couldn’t afford to let go regardless of his position.

“We obviously need some size,” said Bartow, who has two scholarships left. “We’ve had some guys in. We’ve got some more coming in. It’s a little bit of a waiting game with some of them.

“We don’t think our need is just limited to size. We need the best available players we can get that also match the whole profile.”

Torbush has enjoyed having the opportunity of promoting his fledgling team to potential fans around the region.

“It’s been a lot of fun for me,” he said. “Right now, I haven’t had the pressure of trying to win a ballgame. We’ve got a long way to go, but we’ve got time to get it done. We don’t play a game for a year and a half.

“We have to make sure we keep the excitement.”

The tour has also had stops in Sevierville, Greeneville and Morristown. Upcoming events include Knoxville (May 6), Abingdon, Va. (May 12), Johnson City Country Club (May 15), Atlanta (May 20) and Bristol (May 22).

“It’s been good to get out and spread the word a little bit, about not only basketball, but ETSU athletics,” Bartow said. “We’ve met some interesting people that I think will be good acquaintances as we move forward.”

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