Success of Last Chance U Basketball Turns ELAC into New Tourist Attraction
by Cerwin D Haynes
(photos by Stephen Morales)
When Virginia resident (and Los Angeles native) Ben Herman was planning a family trip to back to LA, he figured his sons Cooper and William would have such famous locales as Hollywood, Universal Studios and the beaches at the top of their wish list in between visiting with family.
Naturally, when he asked his sons where they want to visit first in LA, they both replied: "can we go see ELAC?"
It would normally be considered unfathomable for a community college to become a top tourist attraction in any city. However, with the enormous success of this past season's Last Chance U series - which featured the 2019-2020 ELAC's men's basketball team - head coach John Mosley and his coaching staff has been inundated with requests from tourists to visit the him and the gym where his team plays. The story of the team's journey has resonated with so many viewers throughout the country and beyond.
One such group of viewers were the Hermans. Ben took the initiative to email head coach John Mosley to request a visit. Mosley forwarded the request to Athletic Director Bobby Godinez, who directed his staff to connect with Ben to schedule the visit with Mosley. The department prepared for the Hermans' arrival.
"This is amazing," Ben told Coach Mosley. "We found you so inspiring on the show, and your players [too]."
Ben asked Mosley about the success of the players featured on the show, as well as how he managed coaching the players through the challenges illustrated on the show. Mosley also gave insight on some of the players not featured prominently on the show. And he even threw in some basketball learning pointers for Cooper and William, who are both guards.
The Hermans were also given a tour the Athletics Department office along with a visit inside Weingart Stadium and the field. They were treated to individual items such as bottled water and snacks, and they also came away with some souvenirs: exclusive ELAC basketball t-shirts, courtesy of Coach Mosley (the shirts were produced for the team's journey to the CCCAA Championships last year before Covid forced those games to be cancelled).
Athletic Director Bobby Godinez welcomes the opportunity for those tourists who are Last Chance U fans to visit the campus and meet those involved with the team. "It's definitely a unique opportunity for us," says Godinez. "We love the fact that tourist from all over are now considering us as a must-see stop for sightseeing when they're in town. It's just more evidence of the kind of far-reaching impact Last Chance U has provided us."