Each week www.uncabulldogs.com will do a feature on a former Bulldog student-athlete or coach and find out what they're doing since they left Asheville. This week's feature is on former baseball player Chuck Vestal. Chuck is the Director of Winston-Salem's Joel Coliseum Complex.
If you've ever watched a sporting event or been to an event at Winston-Salem's Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, you can thank former Bulldog baseball player Chuck Vestal for making it happen.
Chuck is a proud 1987 graduate of UNC Asheville. He began his collegiate career at St. Andrews Presbyterian College before transferring to UNC Asheville in the fall of 1985. He played for the Bulldogs for two seasons before getting his degree in Business Management.
For the past 15 years, Chuck has served as Director of the Joel Coliseum complex.
"My job has two areas to it," commented Vestal in the middle of another busy day. "I direct the day-to-day operations of the Coliseum area. We oversee the housekeeping, electricians, security, HVAC and set-up and breakdown of events. We also work with the catering and concessions to make sure those areas are covered, as well.
"The other part of the job involves event services. Once we book an event, we work with the staff that's coming to town and make sure that all their needs are met," added Vestal. "For example, we have Alan Jackson coming soon for a concert. We have been on the phone with their people to figure out stage dimensions and anything else they need to make his concert go well."
More than 60 events a year are held at "The Joel" (as it is known locally) - more than one a week which keeps Chuck and his staff hopping.
"Our primary tenants are the Wake Forest men's and women's basketball teams," explained Vestal. "We work with them not just for games but their practices as well. It can get a little tricky when you have a concert and then Wake wants to practice the day after or before. However, Wake's staff is great to work with and we make it happen when we can."
While Wake Forest plays the majority of games at Joel Coliseum, there have been some other memorable experiences, as well.
"For two straight years, we hosted a Marilyn Manson concert and both times they were held on Good Friday which didn't make some of our citizens very happy," stated Vestal. "We managed to keep the peace but it was certainly memorable.
"One of my favorite events we've ever hosted is an exhibition called "Walking With Dinosaurs," added Vestal. "We had to make room for a 60-foot replica of a dinosaur and it was awesome. We had to move the scoreboard a little higher for it but it was really amazing to see."
Vestal has great memories of his days as a Bulldog. He played on the second and third teams to ever play baseball at Asheville.
"We played our home games at McCormick Field and every time I see Bull Durham I think back to my playing days," declared Vestal. "It was a neat experience to be on the first baseball teams at UNC Asheville. I made some great friends during that time."
Vestal also liked the education he got at UNC Asheville.
"I got a great education at UNC Asheville," said Vestal. "I wouldn't be doing what I am doing today without my education. There isn't a day go by that I don't use something that I learned from UNC Asheville. I am very proud to say I'm a Bulldog."
Chuck visited UNC Asheville last spring to give some advice about the opening of the new North Carolina Center for Health & Wellness and Kimmel Arena.
"I couldn't believe the way the campus has grown since I left. It's a beautiful campus in a beautiful setting," commented Vestal. "The new building looks just great and is going to be great for the campus and the Asheville community.
"I was very impressed with Janet Cone (UNC Asheville's Director of Athletics and University Enterprises) and the folks we met with," added Vestal. "You can tell they're organized and know what they're doing to get the building going."
Note - If you know of a former Bulldog student-athlete who you would like to see profiled, contact Mike Gore at firstname.lastname@example.org.