All it really took was the ring on Cleveland State basketball coach Gary Waters’ hand. Norris Cole, a senior at Dunbar High School at the time, heard the coach’s words when he visited Cole and his family in East Dayton in 2006, but the ring spoke louder. It silently told the story of Waters’ success at Kent State, where he’d led the Flashes to two MAC championships and two NCAA tournament berths — including the shocking 2001 upset of No. 4 seed Indiana.
Sure, the CSU Vikings were in the midst of a season in which the team went 10-21, but Gary Waters had a reputation for reshaping programs.
That ring, that flashy memento of accomplishment, promised, “I’ve done this before and will again.”
Three years later, Cole remembers that day well. “I was wearing my [high school] state championship ring, and he was wearing his ring.”
And you wanted one too.
“Well, yeah. But not just one. More.”