ATHENS — Tom Crean’s first road trip as Georgia’s basketball coach didn’t get off to a flying start.
Due to a runway mishap at Anderson (S.C.) Regional Airport, the Bulldogs were unable to get off the ground Monday night on their charter flight to Philadelphia, where they are to face Temple on Tuesday night. The team will spend the night in Anderson instead and then leave for Philadelphia on Tuesday morning.
A UGA spokesman confirmed the situation after DawgNation called to check on reports of a possible accident.
“The University of Georgia men’s basketball team’s travel to Philadelphia was delayed by weather,” the school explained via a statement read over the phone. “The team was scheduled to depart from the airport in Anderson, S.C. at 5 p.m. The team boarded the plane at approximately 6:15. While the plane was taxiing on the tarmac at a slow rate of the speed, it drove off the concrete and became stuck in mud. At 9 p.m. it was determined the plane would need inspections that would not allow it to be used Monday night.”
Eyewitnesses reported that the team and members of Georgia’s traveling party had to de-plane and then sit on a bus on the tarmac for a couple of hours while airport personnel attempted to tow the plane out of the mud.
UGA charters its flights through Elite Airways. Normally the Bulldogs fly out of Athens-Ben Epps Airport but were unable to do so Monday due to a runway paving project. The team will fly back to Anderson from Philadelphia immediately after Tuesday night’s game on the Temple campus.
Georgia is in its first season under Crean, who was hired to succeed Mark Fox last April. The Bulldogs are 1-0 after defeating Savannah State 110-76 this past Friday. Temple is 2-0. The teams will tip off as scheduled at 7 p.m. Tuesday night. (TV: ESPN3; Radio: WSB 750-AM, 95.5-FM).