ACU junior thrower Nick Jones has been named the NCAA Division II National Field Athlete of the Year, according to the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association.
Johnson C. Smith senior sprinter Leford Green was chosen as the organization's National Track Athlete of the Year.
Jones, a junior and native of Amarillo, Texas, helped ACU to a national outdoor team title with an NCAA individual title in the discus and adding second-place points with the shot put. In the discus, Jones won the national top spot for the third time, becoming the first three-time winner of the event since Northwest Missouri's Clint Prange (2002-2003-2005).
In addition, Jones caught two meet-record tosses, claiming 198-10 (60.62m) on his first attempt before throwing the 199-3 (60.75m) on his third to win by nearly 15 feet. In the shot put, Jones placed second with a throw of 62-¼ (18.90m). Jones was also the Lone Star Conference's champion in both the discus and shot put this year.
Jones joins former Wildcat distance great Nicodemus Naimadu as national winners honored by the USTFCCCA. Naimadu was named the organization's National Track Athlete of the Year after the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
Green, a senior from St. Catherine, Jamaica, finished the season undefeated and won the NCAA title at 400 meters. In this year's outdoor championships, Green clocked 45.74 in the open event, topping the nearest competitor by a full second. In 2010, Green won the 400 hurdles at the NCAA meet, and finished sixth in the national final of the event this season. Green was also the third leg of Johnson C. Smith's winning 4x400 relay that clocked 3:07.59 for a second-plus win. Green was also on the 4x100 squad that placed fifth nationally.
Biggest prizes elude ASU, but athletic year a success - Nathan Wright, San Angelo Standard Times
Last weekend's NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships marked the end of another successful athletic year for Angelo State.
The Rams and Rambelles didn't play for any national titles, but they were near the top of the Lone Star Conference in just about every sport, competing in four conference tournaments and just missing out on two more.
McCasland fills out staff - ACU BasketballACU head men's basketball coach Grant McCasland began putting his stamp on the program Wednesday with the announcement that he has hired two coaches to fill out his staff.
McCasland hired former Midwestern State assistant and Wichita Falls Rider High School head coach Rob McIlhaney as his top assistant and former Utah graduate assistant Brian Burton to the same position at ACU.
"It's important to me to put together a staff that cares about our mission at ACU and knows how to win championships," McCasland said. "I'm thrilled to have these guys join our ACU Wildcat family."
McIlhaney – who played at Midwestern State before transferring to Howard Payne – was an assistant coach at MSU for former head coach Jeff Ray from 1997-98 through the 2008-09 season, helping the Mustangs to three Lone Star Conference championships.
After sitting out the 2009-10 season and going into private business, McIlhaney got back into coaching last year at Rider High School. McIlhaney led the Raiders to a 10-16 record in 2010-11 before resigning to take the ACU job.
"Coach McIlhaney is not only an outstanding basketball coach but a great friend," McCasland said. "I tried to get him to stay on board when I took over at Midwestern State two years ago and this time it worked out. He knows everything that is involved with running a successful program at this level. His experience from NCAA Division I, Division II and as a head high school coach in the state of Texas really provides a great resource for our program."
Burton is a graduate of Plano East Senior High School. He spent two years at St. Edward's before transferring to UT-Dallas where he was a two-year starter. He earned his bachelor's degree in May 2005.
In his first season at Utah (2010-11 season), Burton's primary duties included coordinating video scouting.
"Coach Burton is a big-time recruiter and really specializes in student-athlete development on and off the floor," McCasland said. "He's got a great basketball mind and will help us in taking our program to new levels."