Longwood professor bonds with players in class and on court

Published 6:00 pm Friday, February 10, 2023

FARMVILLE – Professor Patti Carey is superstitious.

Her lucky basketball shirt — worn to every home game — was given to her last year by one of her students, a player on the basketball team. She hasn’t attended a game since without it, and the Lancers are 15-1 at home during that span.

“As long as I wear that shirt, I feel like I’m contributing,” she laughed. “If I don’t wear that shirt, it’s going to impact the result of the game!”

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It doesn’t stop at the shirt though. She parks in the same parking spot, wears the same earrings, and makes sure to have on her Chi necklace from her days as a student at Longwood. Anything to help the team.

The basketball superfan — and executive director of the McGaughy Internship & Professional Development Center within Longwood’s College of Business and Economics — attends every home game with her husband, cheering on the same students she sees daily in class.

“Basketball is my favorite sport,” she said. “There’s a lot of action, and a lot of the players are College of Business and Economics students, so I feel a strong connection to the team. My husband and I just love being in that atmosphere.”

They love it so much that this year, Carey bought two courtside season tickets for her husband’s stocking–a present that puts them right in the middle of the action.

The team loves her back.

Carey is part of a group of professors that will be honored at halftime of Saturday’s men’s basketball game against Presbyterian for the impact they have made on the athletes’ educations. Several team members picked Carey as their favorite professor at Longwood.

“I’m excited when the players are in my class,” she said. “I like to take pictures with them, and talk about the games with them. But you know what I’ve found is that all of them are really good students. They bring their A game to class, they are respectful, and they show up and participate. It’s a joy to teach them.”