Tuesday, January 11, 2011

LSC Roundup 1-11

Lone Star Football Festival to be played at Cowboys Stadium - LSC Office
Lone Star Conference teams will be playing football at the greatest stadium in the world next fall as LSC officials on Tuesday revealed plans to implement a Lone Star Football Festival at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

Teams from Abilene Christian, Midwestern State, Texas A&M-Commerce, Texas A&M-Kingsville and West Texas A&M have been selected to represent the LSC in a tripleheader of games that will feature two conference contests and one marquee non-conference matchup.

The single-day event is planned for Saturday, Sept. 17, meaning the festival will occur just months after Super Bowl XLV is played at the $1.2 billion Arlington facility this February.

“The festival will provide Lone Star Conference football teams with a tremendous opportunity to gain exposure in North Texas,” LSC commissioner Stan Wagnon said. “It will be special to see our student-athletes and coaches take center stage at the greatest athletic venue in America, and we’re grateful to the Dallas Cowboys for allowing us to play this event at Cowboys Stadium.”

“We are excited to be able to host the Lone Star Football Festival at Cowboys Stadium,” said Stephen Jones, COO of the Dallas Cowboys. “Our organization is committed to hosting great football, and this event gives us a chance to showcase some of the great college football programs from around the State of Texas right here in Arlington.”

Pairings for the conference games will be Midwestern State against Texas A&M-Commerce and West Texas A&M versus Texas A&M-Kingsville. The non-conference tilt will see LSC champion ACU tackling three-time NCAA Division II national champion North Alabama of the Gulf South Conference. UNA is coached by former Auburn head coach and TV analyst Terry Bowden.

Game times are planned for 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., but the order of games has yet to be determined. A single ticket will be used for admission to the entire festival, with tickets set to go on sale in the coming weeks.

“The timing was right for an event like this,” said Wagnon, whose league will have five fewer teams next year as a result of conference realignment. “The recent changes in our membership helped to form a core group of schools whose administrators have agreed to use athletic events like this to increase visibility and promote the overall brand of their universities.”

“With the festival, our members will have a great tool at their disposal in helping to reconnect with former students in North Texas while also reaching out to potential new students in the area. It’s a great way to raise awareness not just for LSC football, but also for the LSC universities as a whole.”

“Arlington is proud to be the host city for the Lone Star Football Festival in 2011,” said Jay Burress, President & CEO of the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“Cowboys Stadium and the Entertainment District is the perfect backdrop for Arlington’s newest partner and will provide another signature event for our city. We want the teams and their fans to discover all that Arlington has to offer and create memories that will last a lifetime.”

The LSC, founded in 1931, has a proud history as one of the nation’s greatest small college football leagues. The conference made its mark in the NAIA, especially from 1969 to 1979 when four LSC schools combined to win 10 national titles in that 11-season span. The LSC became affiliated with the NCAA in 1982 and now is annually well-represented in the Division II playoffs, with more than a dozen former players currently on NFL rosters.

Currently, there are two Division II games played annually at NFL stadiums. Northwest Missouri State and Pittsburg (Kan.) State meet each year at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, while Central Washington faces Western Oregon annually at Qwest Field in Seattle.

Cowboys Stadium is the largest, most technologically advanced sports and entertainment venue in the world. Designed by HKS and built by Manhattan Construction, the $1.2 billion stadium features two monumental arches, the world’s largest HD quality video board, an expansive retractable roof and the largest retractable end zone doors in the world.

Features of the stadium include seating for 80,000 and expandable to 100,000, 300 luxury suites, club seating on multiple levels and the Dallas Cowboys Pro Shop, open to the public year round.

In addition to being the new home of the Dallas Cowboys and the annual AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, the stadium will host Super Bowl XLV in 2011and the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball Final Four and already served as home to the 2010 NBA All-Star Game and 2009 and 2010 Big 12 Championship football games. For more information on Cowboys Stadium, go to: http://stadium.dallascowboys.com.

Additional information on 2011 Lone Star Football Festival teams:

Abilene Christian Wildcats
Head Coach: Chris Thomsen; 2010 Record: 11-1; In 2010, ACU clinched the first 11-0 regular-season record in program history and also won their second outright Lone Star Conference championship in the last three seasons. Playoff History: 2-4 record, four years (2006-08-09-10).

Midwestern State Mustangs
Head Coach: Bill Maskill; 2010 Record: 8-4; MSU is coming off its fourth postseason appearance in the last seven seasons, having represented the LSC at the Kanza Bowl in 2010 after making NCAA Division II playoff appearances in 2004, 2006 and 2009. Playoff History: 1-3 record, three years (2004-06-09).

North Alabama Lions
Head Coach: Terry Bowden; 2010 Record: 9-4; UNA advanced to the NCAA Division II playoffs in 2010 for the sixth straight year and the 16th time overall. The Lions won national titles in 1993, 1994 and 1995. Playoff History: 28-13 record, 16 years (1980-83-85-90-92-93-94-95-97-03-05-06-07-08-09-10).

Texas A&M-Commerce Lions
Head Coach: Guy Morriss; 2010 Record: 3-8; In 2009, the Lions won the LSC North Division title, which was the first outright division title since 1990. Playoff History: 2-3 record, three years (1990-91-95).

Texas A&M-Kingsville Javelinas
Head Coach: Bo Atterberry; 2010 Record: 10-2; The Javelinas posted their first 10-win season since 2003 to earn a second straight NCAA Division II playoff bid. It was the 15th time in the past 23 years that Kingsville has qualified for the playoffs. Playoff History: 15-12 record, 12 years (1988-89-92-93-94-95-01-02-03-04-09-10).

West Texas A&M Buffaloes
Head Coach: Don Carthel; 2010 Record: 8-4; The Buffaloes wrapped up the 2010 season with a return appearance to the NCAA Division II playoffs, their fifth such appearance over the past six seasons, along with a sixth-consecutive winning season, matching the second-longest consecutive winning season streak in WT history. Playoff History: 3-5 record, 5 years (2005-06-07-08-10).

The Short List - Dave Henry, Amarillo Globe News
West Texas A&M's offense will be the same next football season, but the names won't. Buffs offensive coordinator Mike Nesbitt has accepted the OC job at Stephen F. Austin State. Former Muleshoe quarterback and Texas Tech recruit Garrett Riley played in 11 games for SFASU last season, going 4-of-8. SFASU plays at Baylor in September. As for the Buffs, they will have a new OC, a new starting QB, a new running back and will have to replace their top two wide receivers (Tyson Williams transferred to Tech). ... Former WT punter Mark Bounds made the jump to Tech in the early 1990s when WT dropped football.

(Former ECU coach) Todd Graham named head football coach at the University of Pittsburgh - PittsburghPanthers.com

Widely regarded as one of the finest offensive coaches in the country, Todd Graham today was named the head football coach at the University of Pittsburgh by Athletic Director Steve Pederson. Graham will be formally introduced at a news conference on Tuesday, January 11.

Graham comes to Pitt after a highly successful head coaching tenure at Tulsa, where in four years he had three 10-win campaigns and three bowl victories. He compiled a 36-17 overall record with the Golden Hurricane, including a 10-3 mark this year highlighted by a 28-27 victory at Notre Dame and decisive 62-35 win over 24th-ranked Hawai'i in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl. Tulsa's win over Notre Dame was called the biggest upset of the year by ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit.

A native of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Graham was an all-state defensive back at North Mesquite High School. He went on to play at East Central University in Oklahoma, where he was a two-time NAIA All-America defensive back and three-time all-conference performer.

Graham earned his bachelor's degree in education in 1987 from ECU before signing a free agent contract with the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals. He later earned his masters degree, also in education, from ECU.

LSC among elite conferences as NFL Playoffs start - LSC Office
The Chicago Bears will take the field in the 2011 NFL Playoffs with four former Lone Star Conference players in the starting lineup, placing the NCAA Division II conference in elite company.

The LSC is one of seven conferences to boast four or more players on one NFL team’s starting playoff roster. The other six leagues - Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, and Southeastern Conference - are each part of the Bowl Championship Series, whose football champions receive an automatic berth into one of the five BCS bowl games.

Danieal Manning, Johnny Knox, Roberto Garza and J’Marcus Webb bring LSC ties to the Bears who captured the NFC North championship and a first-round bye in the playoffs. Chicago (11-5) will open the playoffs at 12 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 16 by hosting the Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints or Seattle Seahawks.

Manning and Knox both played at Abilene Christian, while Garza hails from Texas A&M-Kingsville and Webb played at West Texas A&M.

Three leagues – the LSC, ACC and Pac-10 – each have four players starting for the Bears.

There are 11 ex-NCAA Division II players starting for NFL playoff teams including the four past LSC football standouts.

Manning, a starting strong safety, is in his fifth season with Chicago. He’s fourth on the team with 72 total tackles (59 solo, 13 assists). Manning also is the team’s leading kickoff returner with 33 returns for 816 yards (24.7 average).

Knox is the Bears top receiver in his second season. He leads the team with 51 catches for 960 yards (18.8 per catch) and five touchdowns. Knox was named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie last season.

Garza, in his 10th season, starts at right guard. He has been a key component to offensive line since coming to Chicago in 2005, starting 71-of-80 games played, including 64 straight, while the Bears have rushed for 8,512 yards. Garza is one of two offensive lineman to play in every game over the previous five seasons for Chicago.

Webb, who is the only rookie that starts for Chicago, has been a mainstay at right tackle this season.

The NFL Playoffs start January 8-9 with Wild Card Weekend. Former Midwestern State standout Dominic Rhodes is also taking part in the playoffs with the Indianapolis Colts, who play the New York Jets on Saturday. He has 31 rushes for 135 yards over the last three games for the Colts.

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Lone Star Conference

Angelo State University

Cameron University

Eastern New Mexico University


Texas A&M-Commerce

Tarleton State University

Texas A&M-Kingsville

Texas Woman's College

University of Texas of the Permian Basin

West Texas A&M University

Western New Mexico