Thursday, March 10, 2011

LSC Roundup 3-10

Leading by example - Lance Lahnert, Amarillo Globe News
Smiles, not frowns, are a way of life for West Texas A&M senior starting forward Jacquiese Holcombe.

"Why be the other way?" Holcombe said. "I'm alive. Enjoy it."


WT faces old foe before LSC play - Terrence Hunley, Amarillo Globe News
Through 18 games, the No. 6 West Texas A&M softball team has one loss.

During those 18 games the Lady Buffs have scored less than five runs just three times. They've given up more than five runs just once: In the fourth game of the season, they scored just four and allowed seven.

The only team to beat the Lady Buffs will be waiting when WT hits the diamond today. WT takes on St. Mary's (14-11) at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. today at San Antonio.


No national track title, but champs will compete - Nathan Wright, San Angelo Standard Times
With only four athletes competing, the Angelo State University women's indoor track and field team won't win a national title this weekend at the Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M.

The Rambelles will, however, have a chance for a couple athletes to add to their national championship medals haul and will get a second chance to end their illustrious track and field careers.

ACU's Jackson looks for his first track title - Joey Richards, Abilene Reporter News
The Abilene Christian University men's track team is sending four athletes to the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships, which begins Friday in Albuquerque, N.M. Of those four guys, only one — Desmond Jackson — doesn't already have an individual national title.

Think that's not on Jackson's mind?

"Trust me, I thought about it plenty," Jackson said. "I try not to let it be on the forefront of my mind. I've just got to go in there and do what I know I can do, and the results will show."



Baseball Weekly Release: Tarleton leads league - LSC Office
The Lone Star Conference baseball season continues with Tarleton State leading the league at 10-2 and 14-3 overall. This week includes several conference and non-conference match-ups as Abilene Christian looks to extend its six-game winning streak.

Click here for the complete release


Cameron Bankston, Abilene Christian University, SR, Outfield, Burleson, Texas, Burleson HS
Bankston provided a spark for the Wildcats as he helped ACU to a 6-1 record over the weekend including four come from behind wins … Bankston hit an incredible .577 with three doubles a triple and 5 RBIs … the senior outfielder also drew 5 walks for a .645 on base percentage and a .769 slugging percentage … Bankston hit perfectly in two games over the weekend going 4-for-4 in the second game Saturday afternoon and 3-for-3 in Sunday night’s day-night double-header …

Chase Larsson, Cameron University, JR, CF, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Larsson had another fantastic weekend on the diamond for the Aggies as he posted a .667 batting average after hitting for over .700 just a week ago. At West Texas A&M, Larsson was 8 for 12 at the plate including a pair of home runs and doubles to lead the Aggies in on base percentage (.692), slugging percentage (1.333), batting average (.692), runs (5) and hits (8). The No. 14 Aggies return home this weekend to host Newman in a three-game series.

Cameron Watten, Abilene Christian University, SR, Pitcher, Coppell, Texas, Coppell HS
Watten got the Wildcats back on the winning track as he pitched a complete game shutout to start a nine-game home stand for ACU … Watten went the distance scattering four hits over seven innings while striking out 3 and walking one … the senior limited the Dustdevils to a .160 batting average and held his ERA to 1.23, third best in the LSC.

Miguel Ramirez, Tarleton State University, SR, Pitcher, Gallup, N.M., Gallup HS
Ramirez had another amazing performance by pitching his second complete game, shutout of the season. The difference in this game though, was that Ramirez struck out 10 batters while only allowing a single hit in the game. He also had control of his pitches, not issuing a walk in all seven innings of the game. Ramirez continues to lead the conference in a number of categories and with a 5-0 record, he has helped No. 15 Tarleton to their first national ranking in school history


Hays bringing 'air raid' offense to Tarleton State
Sports Editor

Lee Hays says Tarleton State University and the community of Stephenville have always intrigued him.  So has the idea of working with Tarleton head football coach Cary Fowler.  Now, Hays has the opportunity to get to know Tarleton, Stephenville and Fowler better than he ever imagined.

Hays, who played at Texas A&M-Kingsville in 1996 and has spent the majority of his coaching career at either TAMUK or West Texas A&M, is bringing his version of the "air-raid" offense to Tarleton as offensive coordinator.

The hiring became official just recently, after long delays associated with hiring limitations on campus.  Now that Hays is under contract and hard at work preparing his offensive staff and players for the upcoming spring ball, Fowler is breathing a sigh of relief.

"It was big for us to get him in here before spring ball not just so he can start implementing his system, but so he can be here to communicate with these kids, developing relationships and building trust with them," Fowler said.  "He's one of the best recruiters this league's ever seen," the head coach continued. "I remember recruiting against him, and you knew if you were going heads up against him for a kid, whether he was at Kingsville or WT, you knew you were going up against the best.  Then you research the offense he took to WT.  Even when he didn't have a lot to work with they were putting up big numbers, then in 2005 they just took off."

Hays' offensive unit led WT to its best season in 55 years in 2005. The Buffaloes won the LSC championship and reached the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs, thanks largely to impressive averages of 40.3 points and 477.2 yards per game.

"This offensive system was originally studied by Hal Mumme and Mike Leach at BYU, then they took it to (Division II) Valdosta State and had success," Hays said. "So they took it with them to Kentucky, then Leach went to Oklahoma (as an assistant) and had success there before he got the (Texas Tech) job.  You spread the field and set up the run by throwing," he continued. "It's a flexible system that can be changed from year-to-year based on personnel. That's what I like about it. That and it pressures the defense both horizontally and vertically."

He says as complicated as the system looks, it is surprisingly simple.

"It's a very simple system that has a lot of checks based on what the defense does," Hays said. "It's based on the repetition of a lot of simple routes. The concept is simple, yet you can do it out of multiple formations so it adds a lot of stress to the defense."

Hays took off to the Division I ranks after WT's big 2005 season, serving as offensive coordinator at Baylor in 2006 and 2007. The 2006 Bears averaged 23.6 points per game, their best in a decade. Baylor broke virtually all its single game and season passing records that season, finishing third in the Big 12 and 11th nationally with 275 passing yards per game.  Even with all the passing records, Hays values the ability to run the ball.

"We're going to have some good backs here," Hays said. "I've been studying some of the things Nevada and Tulsa do with their running games (out of similar offenses), and I like what I see there."

Hays was offensive line coach at Sam Houston State in 2009 and served as an offensive assistant at the University of Houston last fall.  Prior to playing for TAMUK, Hays served in the United States Marine Corps from 1987-1996. He completed Marine Coprs Sniper School and rose to the rank of staff sergeant.

"He's a former Marine, and that's the type of discipline he demands," said Fowler. "He has exactly the kind of discipline and character I want on my coaching staff."

Hays replaces Scott Carey, who resigned in December to take a similar position at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. He has since left Coffeyville, choosing instead to return to Colorado School of Mines, where he served previously.  In addition to serving as offensive coordinator, Carey also coached the offensive line at Tarleton.  Hays is currently splitting time between helping with the offensive line and the offensive skill players. The long-term plan is to hire an offensive line coach so Hays can coach quarterbacks and 2009 quarterbacks coach Justin Carrigan can lead the receivers.

Spring ball begins March 23 at Tarleton, the third day students will be back from spring break.  That's when preparations for the 2011 season will take another leap in intensity. In the meantime, Hays has enjoyed reacquainting himself with Stephenville and the Tarleton campus.

"The last time I came here was for the (de facto) conference championship in 2005," Hays said. "When I first got here and drove through campus, I hardly recognized the place because they have made so many changes.  Stephenville is the type of place where you want to raise a family, the type of place you hope to stay until you retire.  You think about those things when you have (two young children)."

Hays, 43, and his wife, Roxanne, have a daughter, Shanlee, and a son, Cade.

"The quality of living here is great," Hays said. "And at Tarleton, they have done a great job of making everything as close to Division I as you can get in a Division II environment. I've always been intrigued by Tarleton."

And Hays and Fowler have always been intrigued by one another.

"I've always known about Coach Fowler from afar," Hays said. "I've known for a long time what kind of defensive coach and recruiter he is.

"As a coach you always want to work with coaches who have the same beliefs and philosophy as you do," he continued. "Our beliefs and philosophy are definitely on the same page."

Fowler couldn't agree more.

"We were watching film of (WT in 2005) the other day and one thing we noticed was how hard his kids play for him, and that's how hard my defensive kids have always played for me," Fowler said. "We've decided to put those systems together and see what happens."

WEATHERFORD, Okla. – Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s football team gets back to the basics on Thursday, March 10 for the first of 14 spring practices leading up to the Annual Blue-White Spring Game set for Saturday, April 16.

The Bulldogs are entering their third season under head Coach Dan Cocannouer and are hoping to continue building from the improvement made from last season’s squad.

“Spring practice is a time for coaches to be excited. It’s what many of us enjoy the most,” Cocannouer said. “You get to coach technique and fundamentals and all kinds of things that are basic to the game of football. You don’t get to do this as much during the season because you spend so much time focusing on your opponent that the fundamentals get pushed aside.”

All eyes during the Bulldogs’ 15 spring sessions will be turned towards who will take over at quarterback. Five players, including Dustin Stenta and Mike Van Deripe who shared starting assignments last season, will be among those vying for the job.

“I think offensively, most of the pieces are there and I am excited to mix in some newcomers. We have to find that trigger guy and make the adjustments that we can to make sure that our system fits what he does well,” Cocannouer said. “

In addition to finding a quarterback, the focus will be on a defense that got progressively better over the course of the season.

“We have to continue to develop depth defensively,” Cocannouer explained. “If you look at our numbers last year, we were a good team statistically. We were banged up at some positions and some of our guys had to play a lot more snaps than what we would’ve liked. What we have to do is find good back-ups, develop depth and then get our starters better. We have a lot of returning people with experience, now they have to go out and get better at what they do. I am excited to see how those guys react to a new challenge given to them.”

All spring practices are open to the media and to the public and are expected to be held at Fast Lane Field unless otherwise announced.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – It is official. The Great American Conference is coming. The new league, which is comprised of nine schools from the states of Oklahoma and Arkansas, received the official “thumbs up” by the NCAA to begin intercollegiate athletic competition starting in the fall of 2011.

Plans for the GAC began earlier last summer when the schools’ presidents and athletic directors began laying the initial groundwork at a formal meeting. The member schools are: Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, East Central University, Harding University, Arkansas Tech University, Ouachita Baptist University, Henderson State University, Southern Arkansas University and the University of Arkansas-Monticello

“We are excited to learn of the NCAA’s support of the new Great American Conference,” SWOSU president Randy Beutler said. “We believe the GAC will enhance the overall student-athlete experience at our institutions, expand post-season opportunities, while creating a focus on sportsmanship, fair play, moral integrity, and competitive and academic excellence.”

The creation of the GAC effectively means that there are now 23 recognized NCAA Division II conferences. The conference applied for membership last December and was not affected by a moratorium on new NCAA membership that was established at the January 2011 Convention.

“This is an exciting day,” Todd Thurman, director of athletics said. “We have positioned ourselves with a conference that will provides both a competitive schedule and an opportunity for our student-athletes to compete for championships . The NCAA’s announcement today solidifies what we’ve worked hard to make happen in the formation of a strong conference of quality schools with similar ideals.”

The actual regional assignment for the GAC has yet to be determined. The Division II Championships Committee recommended a regional assignment for 2011-12 at its February meeting. The Division II Management Council will consider that recommendation and make a decision at their April meeting.

The league will be headquartered in Russellville, Ark. and is under the direction of Will Prewitt, who previously served as an assistant commissioner for a NCAA Division II league in West Virginia.

Prewitt said the NCAA application deadline actually fell on his first day (Dec. 1) as commissioner. He praised the work of the conference’s presidents and athletics directors in framing the application, adding the (application) process was helpful to the conference as it starts its operations.

“It was really very beneficial for us,” Prewitt said. “The process has helped us hone in on Division II’s identity, our principles and to really incorporate those into our working documents and how we structure things. It really was a great exercise for us because it helped us work through those things. We want to embody all of the attributes in the Division II platform.”

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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