Bart Lundy says he was just a kid when he first started coaching the Queens University of Charlotte basketball team at the age of 25 in 1997. Over the next six years, he fell in love with the school and the program as he led the Royals to four regular season conference championships and the 2003 Division II Final Four. He was 115-41. He told himself hed be happy to work at Queens for the rest of his life.
Then he left.
After the 2002-03 season, he took an offer to coach at Division I High Point.
When I left it was a sad time for me because I really had grown to love Charlotte love Queens and I was very content with where I was in life.
A decade later, hes coming back. Lundy was officially announced Wednesday as the replacement for former coach Wes Long, who left this spring for an assistant coaching job at Chattanooga.
Now 41, Lundy says he wishes he knew in 2003 what he knows now.
Its where I want to be and where I want to stay, Lundy said. I want to emphasize how happy I am to be coming home.
Lundy came back to campus last week and had lunch with former colleagues. He says there were a lot of tears.
Athletics director Jeannie King said the desire for Lundy to return was mutual between the ex-coach who reached out to King when the job opened up this offseason and the school that has been unable to return to the heights Lundy achieved.
He has the opportunity to come in and hit the ground running much faster than someone who is new to Queens, King said. Its gonna be a fun experience.
At High Point, Lundy was 96-87 over six seasons. He was fired after finishing last in the Big South in 2009. Since then, he has served as an assistant at Marquette and North Texas.
This year, the Royals will join the South Atlantic Conference after competing in Conference Carolinas for more than 15 years. Queens will also play in a new gym, the 2,500-seat Levine Center.
On Lundys emotional final day at Queens in 2003, then-Board of Trustees member Hugh McColl said it was a shame Lundy wouldnt be able to work in the new arena that was being discussed at the time. That comment stuck with the coach for more than a decade.
Now here we are 11 years later and Im coming back and they are opening up a new facility, Lundy said. Maybe it was preordained.
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