All access with Citadel hoops coach Duggar Baucom

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Citadel released its hoops schedule on Wednesday, and it includes trips to Butler, Air Force, and Charlotte. But more importantly, the man who will lead them on that trip is new coach Duggar Baucom.

Baucom gave Sports 4 an all-access look at the man called to coach on Moultrie Street in downtown Charleston.

At an hour that even seems early at The Citadel, before reveille is ever called, before the sun peeks over the horizon at the Edge of America, their day has begun like most every other.

"Priceless to me, it's time we can be away from electronics and coaches calling him. I'm used to that, I'm aware those are sacrifices to be the partner of a coach," said Amber Bitting, Baucom's fiancee.{}

"It's 24/7, never can turn it off, but very few people are up to call at 5 or 5:30 a.m. or late at night. So that is our time, something we can do to focus on each other, talk about our goals, our children, life in general."

A man, a coach, a father, a grandfather, and a fiance, the new beginning for each of those roles is now for Baucom.{}

"I've always been a beach guy, always wanted to live at the beach. So when the opportunity came available, we jumped at it. We said, 'If we're at the beach, let's enjoy it,'" Baucom said.{}

"Basically, four to five times a week we're down here. We've either seen a sunrise or sunset, try to take it all in, it's beautiful, we live close -- what a better way to spend your morning."

One of these days, Baucom will marry Bitting.{}

"I always tell him he was my first love, and he'll be my last love. That's the way it's meant to be," she said.

The couple's lives have comes full circle after decades apart.

"I knew her when she was 6 years old, I was 10. She was the first girl I ever thought was pretty. Four years ago, we reconnected and everything has been wonderful since then. I'm very excited, very blessed to have her in my life," he said.{}

The life they start now together is truly special for the lifetime in between, a lifetime that molded the man called to coach, the man she fell in love with.{}

For years, Baucom was a single father who raised his son Travis. In fact, his son is the main reason he came back to Charleston. He wanted to be closer to his son and now a grandson.

"There is nothing really like it. My son and I are really close, have been for 30 years," he said. "That morning that Gray was born, he came out, Travis had big tears in his eyes, ran out to me and said, 'He looks just like you Daddy.' That was a pretty surreal moment."{}

And Baucom and Bitting are reveling in the newest member of the family.

"He has a built-in babysitter because we live a mile apart. Anytime he can bring Gray over, we volunteer. The other night, we were sitting in bed. Amber had Gray on her chest, one dog on either side. I looked over and said, 'It doesn't get much better than this,'" he said.

Talk about appreciation for love and life, Baucom is reality is living a second life of sorts.{}

"I really don't think about it. I always have my defibrillator with me. If I go down, it will shock me back," he said.{}

Before he was a basketball coach, he spent nine years as a North Carolina State Trooper.

"I loved it. Every day was different, didn't know what the day held. I'm kind of glad I did it in the era I did it. I don't envy policemen in this day and time, with all that's going on. I think they have the toughest job of anybody," Baucom said.

But it all came crashing down after a heart attack which led to him learning about a heart ailment that would end his career. But it gave him an opportunity to start another.

"It's interesting, I have my monitor all the time on me. I'm always being tested. They send the feedback to my doctor; they tell me that my heart rate always goes up on game nights," Baucom said.

And that new beginning has landed him in Charleston after two decades of climbing the ladder. One of those decades he spent living paycheck to paycheck, moving and progressing, with just his son at his side.

"Makes us thankful for where we are now, especially from the tiny duplex in Mars Hill or the one-bedroom apartment in Nagidoches, to now be able for him to be here and go to every home game and have our grandbaby here," Baucom said.{}

"Twenty years ago I never thought that would be possible. Very blessed at this point in my life to have it all. I'm as close to my dream job as I'll ever get, to start coaching as late in life as I did, having another whole career, I'm very fortunate and blessed to be where I'm at. I'm glad Citadel took a chance on me and I hope I can pay them back."

He knows he already has the tools.

"My assistants get tired of me saying 'Back in patrol school.' That was my own knob line for six months in Raleigh. I feel like I've gone through a lot of what our guys go through as freshman, the discipline and structure. I'm a structured guy, I'm tough, I keep my guys accountable. I love them but want them to do the right thing," he said.{}

It's an uphill battle at The Citadel. Baucom knows that, but he embraces the challenge. He also knows his priorities, and for the first time in their life they're all within arm's reach.

"She is my rock," he says, looking at Bitting. "When I have a good or bad day she keeps me balanced. It's huge to have a partner like that to depend on and lean on, keeps me grounded. It's wonderful to start in a place like Charleston, to have our families, kids, grandkids here."

He wants to win, and he wants to do it by playing fast. He knows that will be a challenge with the Bulldogs, but Baucom is acutely aware tomorrow is never guaranteed.

That's why the sunrise is so important.

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