NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - To quote the late, great Sam Cooke, “It's been a long time coming,” and for the Tulane Green Wave, change came Monday with the wave securing their first NCAA regional bid since 2008.
"These guys have never been a part of something like this. They had no idea how to really react." said first-year head Coach David Pierce, who said he expected his Wave to be in the post season this year. "This is our first step in terms of rebuilding the program.”
It's quite the rebuild for a program that enjoyed a ton of post-season success under former head Coach Rick Jones. The Green Wave made it to a regional 10 times since 1998. Included in that run is a pair of trips to the College World Series in 2001 and 2005.
Sandwiched between those two trips to Omaha is the last time the Green Wave played in the Baton Rouge regional. Back in 2003, Tulane lost two of three games, including a game-two defeat by LSU, who, like this year, was a number-two national seed.
After dropping two of three games in the American Athletic Conference tournament, the Green Wave , with their 34 and 23 record, were a clear bubble team. And throughout today's selection process, there were plenty of anxious moments.
But, Green Wave players believed that they'd done enough to warrant their first post season bid in seven seasons.
"It's been nerve wracking, senior Garrett Deschamp said. "Last year, we didn't even get a chance to be in this situation. We knew we put together a great season. We had some good wins and we felt confident but we were still a little nervous that we'd get in."
The regional will have a déjà vu feel to it for the Green Wave who'll open play Friday night against a UNC-Wilmington team that they beat the last time they were in the Baton Rouge regional.
Tulane also beat the Dolphins earlier this season and another win could pit them against LSU on day two. The Wave have yet to beat the Tigers in two tries this season.
But, Coach Pierce, who'll be coaching in his 15th-straight regional this weekend said his teams first NCAA experience should be one to remember.