Now, Let All Roadrunners Run, Jump and Throw
The men's track & field program entered last weekend’s Conference USA Indoor Championships riding a streak of eight consecutive league titles. With a team depleted by last year's graduating class that won four straight titles, the Roadrunners finished seventh in the team standings with 66 points (UTEP claimed the league championship with 123). Meanwhile, the women competed with a veteran squad that finished in second place, 15 points behind champion East Carolina.
Armed with a plan to win the 2014 C-USA Outdoor Championship and place in the top 10 at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships, head coach Aaron Fox redshirted 10 of his most productive male student-athletes during the 2013 outdoor season. All-Americans Keyunta Hayes (hurdles), Keith Benford (high jump) and Richard Garrett (shot put), as well as stand-out performers Nate Burnette (sprints), Mike Medrano (middle distances), Taylor Reed (pole vault), Ronson Small (triple jump), Phil Steinert (hammer), Tyler Williamson (long jump) and Darryl Wyrick (sprinter) sat out last spring preparing for their inaugural C-USA outdoor campaign.
Now, it’s time to let all the Roadrunners run, jump and throw. UTSA will be back in action next weekend when both the men and women open the outdoor season on Saturday, March 15, at the Cactus Cup in Kingsville. On March 21, the Roadrunners will christen the new Park West Track & Field Stadium with their first on-campus home meet since 1995. The two-day UTSA Texas Challenge Invitational will include athletes from Houston, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Texas Tech and UTSA.
The two remaining home meets this spring will be the UTSA Invitational (Saturday, April 19) and the Roadrunners Invitational (Friday, May 2).
Baseball, Softball To Open C-USA Seasons At Home
The baseball and softball teams open their 2014 Conference USA seasons at home this weekend with two of the circuit’s hottest hitters on display.
Jesse Baker extended his current hitting streak to 10 games (now at 11 after Tuesday's contest against Incarnate Word) and he posted a 1.000 slugging percentage last week en route to being named the C-USA Hitter of the Week. Baker and UTSA (8-4) will host Texas-Pan American (6-6) at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at Roadrunner Field. UTSA then will welcome Florida Atlantic (9-3) to the Alamo City this weekend for a three-game league series. Games are scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. the following day and 12 p.m. on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Megan Low belted her conference-leading ninth home run in Sunday's 2-1 loss to No. 12 Baylor at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic in Gulfport, Miss. The Roadrunners (8-12) will be back in action at home on Saturday in the first game of a 1 p.m. doubleheader against Louisiana Tech (8-10). The Roadrunners and Bulldogs complete their league-opening series at noon on Sunday.
|The first 1,500 fans that arrive at Thursday night's UTEP game will receive a UTSA water bottle compliments of San Antonio Area Chevy Dealers.
Tournament First-Round Opponents Still Unknown
The men’s and women’s basketball teams head into this week's regular season finales with a common question on their minds. Who will the Roadrunners play in next week’s opening round of the Conference USA Tournament in El Paso?
The women (13-15, 4-11 C-USA) are on the road at Marshall (9-19, 2-13) at 6 p.m. tonight, while the men (8-20, 4-11 C-USA) host UTEP (21-9, 11-4) at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Convocation Center.
All of the league's men’s and women’s teams that are eligible for NCAA postseason play qualify for the conference tournament. The top four teams in the final regular season standings each receive a double-bye into the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, seeds five through eight each receive a single bye. Neither UTSA team will receive a bye and both will play in Tuesday’s first round. To win the single-elimination tournament and gain an automatic NCAA Championship bid, the Roadrunners will need to win five games in five days.
This ‘N’ That
Former Miami (Fla.) assistant joins football coaching staff — A member of Larry Coker’s coaching staff at Miami (Fla.), Marquis Mosely has joined the Roadrunners as receivers coach. Mosely fills the position vacated by Tony Jeffery, who accepted a similar position in his hometown of Houston. Mosely was a Parade All-American at Bloomington (Ill.) High School and he lettered three years at wide receiver at Illinois. He has coached six seasons at Miami (Fla.), Northern Illinois and Army. He also participated in the NFL Coaching Internship Program with the Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans.
Park West Athletics Complex A ASA Project of Year nominee — The Park West Athletics Complex was selected by the San Antonio Chapter of the American Subcontractors Association (ASA) as one of its 2013 Project of the Year Nominees. The $25 million combined soccer and track & field stadium project was completed in August 2013 by general contractor Bartlett Cocke. Congratulations to Bartlett Cocke Vice President of Operations Jerry Hoog and Project Superintendent Brandon Patton for this recognition within the industry.
Lichonczak tabbed Big South Coach of the Decade — As part of the Big South’s 30th Anniversary celebration this year, conference officials named UTSA first-year women’s basketball coach Lubomyr Lichonczak as its Coach of the 1990s. Lichonczak led Radford to six consecutive Big South Championships from 1991-96 and three NCAA Tournaments during the decade. Lichonczak was the head coach at Radford for 11 seasons from 1990-2001. He was the 1992 Big South Coach of the Year when his team went 20-9 overall and 11-1 in league play to capture the Big South Championship.
The Conference USA television broadcast selection process made a significant impact on UTSA’s 2014 football schedule earlier this week. For the first time in the program’s short history, the Roadrunners will play before a national television audience on a weeknight. To accommodate the national broadcast, Conference USA requested UTSA to move its Saturday, Sept. 6, home opener against Arizona to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 4. The league's complete television lineup will be announced later this spring.
FOX Sports and CBS Sports both have television broadcasting contracts with C-USA. A number of regional television networks like Time Warner Cable and Comcast Sports Southeast have carrier agreements with FOX and CBS. C-USA Associate Commissioner Kelly Carney works each year with these and other networks to contract conference games. Once the C-USA television contracts are fulfilled, UTSA and other member schools are able to work with local stations and cable providers to arrange broadcasts of open games. Kickoff times for some televised games are determined by the networks six-to-12 days prior to game days.
When told that the Arizona game had been selected for a Thursday night national broadcast, current players cheered. UTSA recruits around Texas and beyond probably had the same reaction. With more than 40 seniors on next year’s squad, national visibility and television appearances will be extremely valuable to head coach Larry Coker and his staff. You may recall that the initial recruiting class in 2010 was redshirted. Most players from the 2010 and '11 recruiting classes will be seniors this season, so this is a critical recruiting year for the Roadrunners.
Currently, all other UTSA home games are scheduled to be played on Saturday. That could change if an additional opportunities to play on national television develop. UTSA is compensated by the networks to move home games to a weeknight. More importantly, these broadcasts provide extensive national exposure for San Antonio, the university and athletics department. National visibility for the community and university was one of the driving forces behind establishing UTSA Football.
We’re pleased that UTSA has an appeal to network executives and the Roadrunners will gain invaluable recognition. We’re disappointed that some season ticket holders will not be able to attend a weeknight game. Our ticket office is researching secondary markets for season ticket holders inconvenienced by the Thursday night broadcast. Please continue to follow this newsletter for opportunities to resale or donate unused season tickets.
I hope to see you at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Convocation Center, as the men’s basketball team closes the 2014 regular season against UTEP. Our UT System sibling has a storied basketball history and numerous alumni in the San Antonio area. Good tickets for tomorrow night’s game are going quickly, so please call the UTSA Ticket Office at (210) 458-UTSA (8872) to purchase your tickets for the season finale.