The Byrd Cage

The Byrd Cage

In Game Posts on February 6, 2015 at 12:13 pm

To those who have followed the Byrd Cage for the past 4 years, you may have noticed that blog posts have been sporadic and coverage has been lacking for the better part of the last year.  If you haven’t, we have- and we want to tell you that as of February 7th, this website will no longer be functional.

It is sad to write this, as a Belmont fan, and as a guy who started a random blog four years ago for the team I love. The Byrd Cage grew up considerably since I first wrote the post about a Belmont team that could beat Duke (we lost by one point in the season opener).  I quickly realized that there were a considerable amount of people that loved Belmont basketball, and that knew quite a bit more than me about the sport, and about the team.  So I reached out to a great group of people for help.  With all Belmont alumni at the helm, the ByrdCage started rolling.  From serious statistical breakdowns of games and players to the ever-popular Twitter-trolling of Mort and Hugs, we formed a nice little community.  I think I finally realized how wide the readership and appreciation was of this website when the ByrdCage hosted a March Madness watch party at Sportsman’s Grill and had 150 people present.

As Kyle Williams took over the Editor role, and Nick Broadhead took over as Director of Content, our website traffic jumped to the highest traffic we experienced at the Cage, topping out a 6000 page views in one day.  Pretty great stuff for a little Belmont blog.  I basically sat back and did nothing, watching the team and readers take it to the next level.  Matt Sherrill, Jono Broadhead, Brian Dunn, Steven Lefebvre, Ben Smith, and Ryan Hurd all offered unique content with quality writing styles that made us an entertaining, yet newsworthy source of information for Belmont fans.  Joel Schlichtemier utilized his talents behind the camera and gave us some awesome photos during some great Belmont moments, and some guest writers offered insights from around the country on how important Belmont basketball was to them.

All in all, I learned a ton and had a blast.  I’d like to thank Belmont athletics for giving us access to interviews, particularly Greg Sage who allowed us to be such a close part of the action.

Finally, i’d like to thank Coach Byrd.  I got the opportunity to talk to him a few times, and he was legitimately interested in this guy who had a little blog.  He spent 15 minutes with me in an interview the day before they left to go to the NCAA Tournament.  His phone was lighting up, his staff hovering outside the door- yet Coach Byrd looked me in the eyes and asked what I studied at Belmont and what I was doing now.  We were done with the interview, but Coach Byrd intently looked at me, asking about my life in what was probably his 50th interview of the day.  He actually cared about the individual across from him.

And that’s what i’ll take from this, I think.  A blog like this might think Coach Byrd’s success comes in wins, in navigating a team from the NAIA to the NCAA Tournament, in beating Lipscomb or Murray State, or in getting that first win in the NCAA Tournament.  And yes, Coach Byrd probably thinks that has some to do with it, but ultimately I get the feeling that it is about the people around him.  Even though I have probably spent 30 minutes total with the Coach in my lifetime, he left a mark on me.  And I could feel that in the players I interviewed, and Kyle interviewed- and we have heard it from countless others, Coach Byrd is a quality person that truly cares about the individuals around him.

Alright, the website is done and I must go.  I no longer have the time to commit to deliver a quality product, and I won’t try to halfway do something and tarnish the reputation of the Cage.  That being said, while the website may be done, the Twitter handle will still be active.  Follow that for some hot takes.

And who know’s what is next?

Stay tuned, and thank you for everything.


-Brett McReynolds


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