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Lynn Hickey newsletter

The AD's Corner — Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013

Rice Crowd Best In Conference USA
UTSA Football is blessed with such great fan support. Saturday’s crowd of 25,272 at the Rice game was the largest to watch a Conference USA game this past weekend. The next largest was 22,158 at the Tulsa/UTEP game in El Paso. With an average of 32,912 for its three home contests this season, UTSA currently ranks second in the league behind East Carolina (44,075) and 74th among the 128 Football Bowl Subdivision schools in average home attendance.

2013 Conference USA Average Home Attendance (as of Oct. 12)
East Carolina             44,075
UTSA                          32,912
UTEP                          27,999
Marshall                    27,434
Southern Miss          23,810
Middle Tennessee    21,371
Tulsa                          21,009
North Texas              19,298
Louisiana Tech         19,204
Tulane                       19,074
Rice                           18,677
Florida Atlantic        16,836
FIU                            15,492
UAB                           10,021

Here’s one other bit of perspective on the strength of UTSA’s home football crowds. Tulane is building a new on-campus stadium that will be completed in time for the 2014 season. The Green Wave have played in the Superdome and other off-campus venues since 1980 when Tulane Stadium was demolished. When plans for the new $70 million Yulman Stadium were announced, residents around the proposed site questioned why the new facility was being built so large. It will will hold 30,000, which is nearly 3,000 less than the Roadrunners’ season average through the first three games. The Alamodome houses 65,000 fans, so there’s still plenty of room to grow. After a week off, the Roadrunners will return to action at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, against UAB. It’s homecoming, so gather up the family, friends and neighbors and come watch your Roadrunners in a key C-USA contest.        


Annie Kunes mug shotMcKenzie Adams mug shotVolleyball Returns Home To Face Intra-State Rivals
The Roadrunners split a pair of matches on the road last week and they return home this weekend to take on intra-state rivals Rice and North Texas. UTSA (13-7, 5-1 C-USA) saw its five-match winning streak snapped with Sunday's sweep at Middle Tennessee and the Roadrunners now are a half match behind Tulsa (16-4, 5-0 C-USA) atop the league standings. UTSA began last week’s road trip with a 3-1 victory at Southern Miss. Rice (6-14, 3-3 C-USA) visits the Convocation Center at 7 p.m. on Friday and North Texas (12-10, 4-2 C-USA) will come to town for a 1 p.m. contest two days later. Entering this week’s matches, the Roadrunners lead the circuit in hitting percentage (.320), opponent hitting percentage (.138) and blocks (2.92 per set). Senior outside hitter McKenzie Adams (pictured left) leads the league with 5.31 kills per set and sophomore defensive specialist Annie Kunes (right) is second with 4.97 digs.


Soccer To Host Southern Miss, Colorado College
Conference USA West Division opponents Southern Miss and Colorado College will visit UTSA this weekend at the Park West Athletics Complex. Yes, Southern Miss in the West Division and Colorado College in C-USA. The Golden Eagles (6-5-4, 0-3-2 C-USA) and the Roadrunners (3-10-1, 2-2-1 C-USA) will square off at 7 p.m. on Friday. Southern Miss is in the East Division in football, but Charlotte and Old Dominion push them to the West in soccer. West Division-leading and defending league champion Colorado College (10-3-0, 5-0-0 C-USA) will come to the Alamo City for a 1 p.m. tilt on Sunday. The 2,000-student liberal arts college in Colorado Springs is in its seventh season competing as an affiliate member of C-USA.     


Basketball Offering Sneak Preview In New Braunfels
A year ago, the McKenna New Braunfit Gym in New Braunfels contacted the Kids Sports Network (KSN) to help form a youth basketball league. KSN worked with the men’s and women’s basketball programs to help form the Junior Roadrunners Basketball League. More than 300 second- through eighth-grade boys and girls now compete each week wearing their blue and orange Junior Roadrunners T-shirts. Head men’s basketball coach Brooks Thompson will take this Saturday’s practice and intra-squad scrimmage on the road to McKenna, which is located at 801 West San Antonio in New Braunfels. The practice and scrimmage will begin at 9 a.m. and be followed with an autograph session at 11 a.m. The scrimmage and autograph session both are open to the public. Those attending also can pick up information on the newly-created UTSA Women’s Basketball Rowdy Runners Kid's Club. Free memberships offer an official T-shirt, wristband, player pen pal, pizza parties and much more.


Softball To Host Fall Games This Weekend
The softball team, under the direction of first-year head coach Michelle Cheatham, will continue its fall schedule at Roadrunner Field this weekend. UTSA will host Alvin Community College at 4 p.m. on Saturday, followed by an 11 a.m. contest against I-35 rival Texas State the following day. The program will conclude fall play at 6 p.m. on Tuesday against St. Edwards. All games are open to the public.


The Alamo Invitatonal logoUTSA, Briggs Ranch To Host The Alamo Invitational
Fifteen of the top women’s golf teams in the country will tee off at The Alamo Invitational, which is scheduled for Oct. 27-29 at Briggs Ranch Golf Club. This is the only home event of the year for the Roadrunners and admission is free to one of the top women’s collegiate tournaments in the country. Arkansas, Baylor, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Louisville, Oklahoma, SMU, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas State and Tulane join UTSA in the tournament field. The action begins at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 27, 8:30 a.m. the following day and 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29. For the fifth year in a row, UTSA24 founding member John Kauth will sponsor the tournament in memory of his mother Maryb Kauth, an outstanding player and staunch women’s golf advocate. UTSA24 is a group of business men and women who support the UTSA men’s and women’s golf programs with their time, talents and financial resources. Briggs Ranch will be the host course for a 2014 NCAA Men’s Regional in May and a NCAA Women’s Regional in 2015.


Baseball Welcoming Back Former Players
Baseball will hosts its inaugural Former Players Weekend from Nov. 8-9 with an agenda designed to honor and entertain those who have worn the UTSA uniform. Activities begin at noon on Friday, Nov. 8, with golf at Fair Oaks Ranch Golf & Country Club. Later that evening, former players will have a chance to relive past glory with batting practice at Roadrunner Field. Former players and their families are invited to a pregame tailgate party the following day at the Alamodome before the Tulane football game. Former players will be admitted free to the football game and additional tickets for family members can be purchased for $17 apiece. Players and their families also will have access to a suite during the game. For more information and to make ticket and golf tee time reservations, please contact Associate Head Coach Jim Blair at (210) 458-4805 or james.blair@utsa.edu.


Tyler Wood mug shotJeromie Hill mug shotBasketball Players Recruiting Marathon Participants
UTSA men’s basketball players Jeromie Hill (pictured left) and Tyler Wood (right) are part of an on-campus group of students recruiting volunteers for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon, which is scheduled for Nov. 17 in downtown San Antonio. The senior basketball players are asking Roadrunners supporters to sign up to work on Nov. 14 at the setup for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Expo, Nov. 15-16 for Expo shifts, Nov. 16 for the ING Kids Rock outing and Nov. 17 for a variety of race-day assignments. Click here to register as a volunteer and receive more information on Marathon work crew assignments. Click “Volunteer” on the left side of the menu and “Race Crew Information” to determine shifts that best fit your schedule. Finally, click the blue “Race Crew” button to sign up. Type “Rowdy” as your organization, so that Jeromie and Tyler get credit for recruiting you as a volunteer.


SAAC Food Drive adSupport Conference USA “Let’s SAAC Hunger!”
Members of the UTSA Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) are joining other C-USA SAAC members in a conference-wide food fight. SAAC members began collecting food donations this month to be donated to area food banks. The C-USA contest to see which SAAC can raise the largest amount of food continues through Dec. 15. Click here if you would like to purchase food to be donated in UTSA’s name. YouGiveGoods will deliver the food to a food bank organization and email a tax receipt for your donation. Roadrunners fans also may redeem three canned food items for one free ticket to Friday's Southern Miss volleyball match at the Convocation Center (7 p.m.) or at Sunday's Colorado College soccer match at the Park West Athletics Complex (1 p.m.). You also may bring three canned food items between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. to the University Heights Ticket Office located at 5710 West Hausman Road, Suite 101, to obtain one ticket to the UAB homecoming football game, which is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Alamodome. Please spread the word by sharing this information with others via email and social media.


Final Thoughts
The 2013 football schedule provides at least a two-week break between each home game. This week’s open date is welcomed by our football players and coaches, but maybe more so by our staff. With soccer and volleyball at home two times apiece this weekend and men’s basketball scrimmaging in New Braunfels, our staff needed the gridiron hiatus, but the Roadrunners still are playing this weekend.

Speaking of football scheduling, Kansas State broke the news last week that we are canceling our game in Manhattan next season. Most of our non-conference games for the next several years were scheduled four years ago when it appeared we would be a Football Bowl Subdivision independent. Once we entered Conference USA with an eight-game league schedule, we had too many games in 2014. We worked for the past year to accommodate every scheduled game. Earlier this month, it became obvious that a game had to be cancelled. Kansas State has been understanding and gracious. We’re disappointed about the 2014 game buyout, but at this time, we’re still playing the Wildcats in San Antonio in 2015 and will travel to Manhattan three years later.

I’m continually amazed by the resiliency and positive outlook of our student-athletes. Last week, following the narrow football loss to Rice, quarterback Eric Soza was asked what UTSA has to play for since it has two C-USA losses.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Soza said while turning to his two teammates, safety Nic Johnston and running back David Glasco II, on the podium. “Do y'all still want to play?”

It was a great answer and both replied with, “Yeah, we still want to play.”

Once again, my heart burst with pride for what Coach Coker and this young program have achieved in such a short time.

“We’re still playing” this weekend even though football has an open date. Come out and watch volleyball and/or soccer on Friday or Sunday, or spend Saturday morning with the men’s basketball team at the McKenna Braunfit Gymnasium in New Braunfels.

It will energize you to see our student-athletes working hard and competing at such a high level.

Go Runners!

Sincerely,

Lynn Hickey
Director of Athletics

Ben Pucci presentation

Former NFL Players Association members (l-r) Darrell Hogan, Eddie Hinton, Rance Olison, Gary Cutsinger and Priest Holmes present a framed jersey to Rise Flagg, daughter of former Cleveland Browns tackle Ben Pucci, at Saturday's game against Rice. Pucci participated in NFL Former Players Association autograph sessions at UTSA games and became an avid Roadrunners fan before his death this past summer.


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