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Lynn Hickey newsletter

The AD's Corner — Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014


Seniors, Original 18 To Make Final Appearance On Saturday
They came seeking an opportunity to play major college football and an outside chance to enter the National Football League.

All 36 seniors making their final appearance for Saturday's season finale against North Texas at the Alamodome fulfilled their wishes.

The original 18 players from head coach Larry Coker’s first recruiting class will be joined by 18 others from later recruiting classes in a pregame Senior Day celebration beginning at 10:30 a.m. A victory against the Mean Green will mean a 23-23 career record for those who have been with the program since the 2011 inaugural season.

Fans attending the game will receive a free commemorative “Original 18” poster and be allowed on the field after the game for photo opportunities.

As for that dream of playing in the NFL, 24 of the 32 NFL teams have been to the UTSA campus this fall for a first-hand look at college football’s largest senior class.

If you already have your tickets and parking pass, Alamodome parking lots will open an hour earlier than normal at 7 a.m. so you can begin preparing your post-Thanksgiving tailgate feast.

If you do not have tickets and don’t plan to tailgate, DOCUmation and the San Antonio Business Journal have teamed up to offer Roadrunners fans a taste of the suite life. For just $15 per seat, your group of eight or more can purchase club level seats, gain access to one of three hospitality suites and enjoy free refreshments.

Call the UTSA Ticket Office at (210) 458-UTSA (8872) or click here to order your Sweet Suite group or individual game tickets today.

Original 18 poster

UTSA Ready To Hoop It Up This Weekend
The UTSA men’s and women’s basketball teams will satisfy the appetite of even the staunchest basketball junkie this weekend.

The women begin their annual two-day, four-game Thanksgiving Classic at 2:30 p.m. on Friday against Drake. That game will follow a noon matchup between Fordham and Incarnate Word. Admission is free to both Friday contests.

Following a day off on Saturday, both the men and women will participate in a basketball tripleheader on Sunday. The purchase of one ticket will provide access to all three Sunday games.

The men begin the hyperextended hoops action at noon on Sunday against Southern Utah. The women then will take the stage next, as Drake and Fordham will face off at 2:30 p.m. and that will be followed by a battle of crosstown foes UTSA and Incarnate Word at 5 p.m.


Jessica Waldrip vs. Charlotte

Rice Eliminates Roadrunners From Conference USA Tournament
UTSA was eliminated by Rice in Saturday's semifinals of the Conference USA Tournament. The regular season co-champion Roadrunners saw their season end with a 20-9 record unless a surprise at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament is delivered by the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Committee during its selection show at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday on ESPNU.

UTSA own a pair of regular-season victories against Rice, another win over eventual C-USA Tournament Champion Western Kentucky and non-conference triumphs against Baylor and Texas A&M.

Head coach Laura Neugebauer-Groff and her staff led the team to back-to-back conference titles that included a conference-record 22-match win streak spanning the last two seasons. This fall, UTSA overcame a 3-7 start by reeling off 15 consecutive wins, including a perfect 8-0 mark in the month of October.


Larry Coker mug shot Brooks Thompson mug shot
Larry Coker Brooks Thompson

Ticket 760 AM Features UTSA Head Coaches
UTSA head football coach Larry Coker will hold his final weekly radio talk show at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Buffalo Wings & Rings (203 North Loop 1604 West). Listeners on Ticket 760, as well as those in the audience at Buffalo Wings & Rings, are invited to ask Coach Coker questions throughout the show.

UTSA head men’s basketball coach Brooks Thompson has begun a weekly segment on The Mike Taylor Show at 8:30 a.m. on Fridays throughout basketball season. Last week, Coach Thompson was joined in the studio by senior forward Jeromie Hill.

Thompson and program host Mike Taylor will take off this week for the Thanksgiving holiday, but they will resume their weekly conversations next Friday, Dec. 5.


UTSA, Whataburger Holding Food Drive At Alamodome
UTSA Athletics and Whataburger will hold a food drive prior to Saturday's season finale against North Texas at the Alamodome.

Fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to drop in donation bins in Rowdy Town on the north side of the facility prior to the game. Monetary donations also will be accepted. All donations will be given to the San Antonio Food Bank.

Anyone who donates a minimum of two non-perishable food items or makes a monetary donation will receive a free Whataburger coupon while supplies last.


Men’s Basketball Signs Two High School Forwards
This week, head coach Brooks Thompson announced the signing of two high school seniors during the NCAA early signing period.

Nick Allen, a 6-foot-7 forward from Willow Canyon High School in Surprise, Ariz., and A.J. Cockrell, a 6-foot-8 forward from Tulsa Memorial High School will join the Roadrunners this summer and for the 2015-16 season.

Click here to read more on the two early signing period commitments.


Learfield Sports logo

Learfield Names New Sponsorship General Manager
Bobby Jordan has accepted the position as general manager of Learfield Sports Properties at UTSA. The Houston native will oversee all UTSA sponsorship sales and manage operations for Learfield.

Jordan comes to UTSA from Texas A&M where he was associate general manager for Learfield. He also worked with IMG Sports Marketing at Ohio State and was assistant director of marketing at Baylor.

Jordan will begin work at UTSA on Dec. 8. Anyone interested in a UTSA Athletics sponsorship opportunity should call (210) 458-8035 to arrange a visit by a Learfield representative.


Final Thoughts
This Thanksgiving season is about gratitude, defined as “a feeling of thankful appreciation for favors or benefits received, thankfulness.” I hope you are spending Thanksgiving surrounded by family and friends, and each one of you is in an attitude of gratitude.

The first thing we have to be thankful for is another successful season by our volleyball team. They have had an outstanding run in C-USA the past two years and have brought home two regular season conference championships. It is very difficult to play a good team three times in a row and come out the victor each time, but that was the situation we were in with Rice at the tournament this past weekend.  Regardless of how the conference tournament ended, our team’s conference record and the manner in which they represented UTSA has been nothing short of amazing.  

When the turkey is wrapped in sandwiches and the pies have long since disappeared, I hope that you will remember to attend Saturday’s season finale against North Texas at the Alamodome. The game marks the end of the beginning; the end of our fourth season and the last game for 36 young men who helped start the program, but it’s only the beginning of a great program. Eighteen of these young men have been here since that first year when we could only practice.

The magnitude of what this year’s last football game means to our program hit me really hard when I saw the posters that we are giving away at the game this Saturday, depicting the “Original 18.” When I looked at the picture of those young men in uniform, I once again was reminded of all the things we should be thankful for.

It’s hard to imagine another group of young people ever having as much of an impact on a city and a college campus. These original players’ entire existence has been one of emotion. What they have brought to us has been much more than a game.

So many people thought having a football program at UTSA was impossible. There certainly could never be an Football Bowl Subdivision program playing the likes of Arizona and Oklahoma State, let alone a full Conference USA schedule by the third year.

From their first day of practice with the first game still more than a year away, these young men have been greeted by a mixture of cheers and tears, like it’s almost unbelievable that they even exist.

These 36 seniors helped make a dream come true and captivated us with their overachieving on the field and in the classroom. They have brought a visibility to our campus and city that no one anticipated. This group of young men, who were not the most highly recruited, took on a huge challenge with national media scrutiny and became heroes to kids and brought emotion and hope to adults.

They have not been perfect, but these 36 young men started a major college football program and brought it to the highest level of competition faster than any in history. They deserve our attendance and applause in pregame ceremonies on this Senior Day.

Watching this program being built has reassured me that when you have a group of people that really believe in their mission, success can occur even when the odds are against them. The other value that has been reaffirmed is the importance of unity and family, which this program has helped us institute across all of our 17 sports and with our fan base. Through this building experience we will continue to prioritize building a strong “Roadrunners Family.”

Building an athletics program of this magnitude is a process. Head coach Larry Coker often says, “The race we are running is a marathon, not a sprint, and we just started the race.” As proof of that, season ticket holders will find 2015 season ticket information in their seats on Saturday. Additionally, Coach Coker and his staff will head out on the recruiting trail not long after the final whistle blows on Saturday afternoon. This game is only the end of the beginning.

My Thanksgiving wish for our teams, staff, campus and fans is that this weekend allows us to put aside win-loss records and celebrate the season as a Roadrunners Family together in the Alamodome.

Amidst cheers and tears, let’s have fun and show our gratitude to a group of 36 seniors who started America’s next great football program. This team is leaving a legacy, which only will continue to grow as our program matures.

Thank you for all you do for UTSA Athletics. We hope you and your family have a very blessed Thanksgiving Day.

See you at the Dome.

Go Runners!

Sincerely,

Lynn Hickey
Director of Athletics

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