OwlNews Winter Update 2013
A newsletter update for SCSU Owl Club members produced Winter, Spring, and Fall seasons
news OWL for the Team behind the Team • WINTER UPDATE 2013 Queen of the Pool OWL CLUB A few days after returning to campus from Birmingham, Ala., site of this year’s NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships, Amanda Thomas stood in front of a display in the lobby of Moore Fieldhouse. The array of quotes, images and stories recognizes the historical achievements of the Southern Athletic Department, its coaches and student-athletes. The setting was fitting, given that the Oakville native had recently completed a storied 4-year swimming career that leaves her as one of the most decorated student-athletes in school history. Among her accomplishments are 18 All-America titles and four individual NCAA crowns. In addition, she was just selected for the second consecutive year as the Division II National Swimmer of the Year. “Coming into college, I never thought that I would get half as many awards as I have gotten,” Thomas says. “I (accomplished) what I wanted, so I’m happy. But it’s sad that it’s over. I’m going to try Thomas continued on Page 4. From the Director of Athletics Dear Owl Club Members: I offer my greetings as we begin the homestretch of the 2012-13 academic year. Our winter teams collectively enjoyed a successful season, and our baseball, softball, women’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field programs also look to cap off stellar campaigns. As a department, we remain on pace to finish among the top 20 percent of all Division II programs in the Learfield Sports Directors Cup. This would mark the seventh straight year that we’ve finished with that distinction. I offer my congratulations to Amanda Thomas of the women’s swimming and diving team for winning her fourth NCAA individual championship and earning Division II National Swimmer of the Year honors for a second consecutive year. I encourage you to read more about one of the finest student-athletes in Southern history inside this newsletter. In addition, our men’s and women’s swimming teams continued their dominance with two more Northeast-10 Conference Championships. That’s 10 in a row for the women’s team and nine in 10 years for the men’s squad. Head coach Tim Quill and his staff continue to accomplish great things. Our women’s basketball team, as well as our men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams, were nationally ranked during the course of the year. The gymnastics team set several school records this winter, defeated Yale in meet competition, and qualified eight studentathletes for the national championships. Our men’s basketball team posted 17 wins and narrowly missed an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. Academic success continues to go hand in hand with our athletic accomplishments. Our student-athletes achieved record-setting success last fall with a combined semester grade Director continued on Page 7. Lopiano Earns Gerald R. Ford Award Donna Lopiano, a former Southern student-athlete and steadfast proponent of equality and fairness in sports, was recently presented with the NCAA Presidents’ Gerald R. Ford Award at the 2013 NCAA Convention. Lopiano, an educator, former coach, longtime director of women’s athletics at the University of Texas and former chief executive officer of the Women’s Sports Foundation, has devoted more than four decades advocating for equality in college athletics, particularly on behalf of increased opportunities for women. The award, named in recognition of the 38th president of the United States and a member of two national championship football teams at the University of Michigan, honors an individual who has provided significant leadership as an advocate for intercollegiate athletics during his or her career. It was established in 2004 by the late NCAA President Myles Brand and was first awarded to former University of Notre Dame President Theodore Hesburgh. Pat Summitt, the legendary Tennessee women’s basketball coach, was last year’s recipient. Lopiano has previously been recognized as one of the “100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America” by the Institute for International Sport and as one of the “100 Most Influential People in Sports” by The Sporting News, among the dozens of awards and accolades that have been earned. Lopiano played softball, basketball, volleyball and field hockey at Southern, and participated in 26 national championships. She graduated in 1968 and went on to earn a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Southern California. She began her professional career at Brooklyn College, where she was an assistant athletic director and coach of softball, women’s basketball and men’s and women’s volleyball. She served as the first athletic director for women’s sports at Texas, a post she held from 1975 through 1992. She 2 constructed what many believed at that time to be the premier women’s athletic program. Texas women’s teams won 18 national championships in six sports and produced 51 individual champions. Lopiano grew an initial budget of $57,000 in 1975 to more than $4 million with 34 endowed academic scholarships for student-athletes in 1992. Lopiano went on to serve as the chief executive officer at the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) from 19922007. Created in 1974 by tennis legend Billie Jean King, the WSF remains dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity. Under Lopiano, the foundation flourished with an endowment that expanded from $1 million to $4 million and annual revenues that grew from $1 million to $10 million. Lopiano was the driving force behind the foundation’s award-winning GoGirlGo! educational curriculum that since 2001 has influenced more than 625,000 girls about healthy lifestyle choices. Lopiano has served as the President and founder of Sports Management Resources since 2008. She continues to serve as a visiting or adjunct professor, having taught courses in amateur sports governance at several campuses, including Southern. ••• Making the Grade A total of 170 student-athletes from Southern have been named to the fall 2012 Northeast-10 Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll. To be eligible, a student-athlete must have met and/or exceeded a minimum 3.0 semester grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) during that semester. The NE-10 is an association of 16 NCAA Division II colleges and universities located in New England and New York that are committed to supporting balanced academic and athletic opportunities for more than 6,000 student-athletes. Each year, 4,000 of those studentathletes compete in conference championships in 23 sports, making the NE-10 the largest Division II conference in the country. Leading the way in the classroom, on the field and within the community, the NE-10 is proud of its comprehensive program and the experience it provides studentathletes. ••• Nine Owls Earn Academic All-Conference Laurels Southern was well-represented on the Northeast-10 Conference Fall All-Academic Teams. Student- athletes were recognized following the conclusion of the season in the sports of field hockey, football, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball. To be eligible for the academic allconference teams, a student-athlete must have met and /or exceeded the following minimum requirements: 1) participated in at least half of the team’s competitions and be either a starter or significant contributor; 2) achieved a 3.3 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale); and 3) completed at least one academic year at his/her current institution. The Northeast-10 Academic All-Conference teams are chosen by a vote of a committee of athletic administrators and Faculty Athletic Representatives (FAR). Earning selection to the teams for their respective sports were (counterclockwise): Sarah Cebry (field hockey), Laurie Cockerline (field hockey), Paige Donlin (field hockey), Mario Costa (men’s soccer), Titilayo Vanriel (women’s cross country), Jack Mallis (football), Sarah Brochu (women’s soccer), Jaclyn Sullivan (women’s cross country) and Kimberly Lachowicz (volleyball). 3 Thomas continued from Page 1. to find other things to do to compete.” Tim Quill, coach of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, notes that the hard work of Thomas during her collegiate career played an integral role in her success. “It was a phenomenal career,” he says. “If you think back to where she started as a freshman, she obviously came in with a lot of talent. But talent only takes you so far. Many student-athletes have a tendency not to want to make the sacrifice that is needed to take it to the next level. But Amanda certainly made that sacrifice with hard work, dedication and commitment. It’s good to see the work pay off.” And while collegiate sports teams often point to a family atmosphere, in Amanda’s case it was also literally the case. Her twin sister, Ashley, competed for three years on the squad and capped her own career by qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the 3-meter diving event. In addition to her title in the 200-yard individual medley, Amanda finished as the runner-up in the 200-yard butterfly, third in the 400-yard individual medley and sixth in the 200-yard backstroke. “I don’t think you see that very often – a situation where twins or sisters are competing in the same championship on the collegiate level,” Quill says. “I think that’s pretty special.” “I think that overall I did pretty well (in the NCAA Championships),” Amanda Thomas says. “I was happy with all of the outcomes. There were a few things that I wanted to do that I didn’t do, but I can’t complain. I tried my hardest. I did my best and I’m happy with it.” Thomas was named Division II National Swimmer of the Year last year after placing among the top three finishers in four events, including a pair of individual victories. Her efforts this year earned her a repeat selection as voted on by the coaches. “It (the award) means a lot to me, says Thomas, noting that it was the coaches who chose her. “I didn’t think that I was going to get it, so it was a shock to me…It meant a lot, especially in my senior year.” The short-term future for Thomas includes completion of her classes towards a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. Athletically, triathlons could be a new outlet to fuel her competitive fire. A career in coaching could wind up as part of her long-term plans. ••• Twin sisters Amanda (left) and Ashley (right) Thomas have capped their collegiate careers by both qualifying for the NCAA Championships. Dikranian Selected for Induction Into NSCAA Hall of Fame Former Southern men’s soccer coach Bob Dikranian was recently selected for induction into the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s (NSCAA) Hall of Fame. The induction took place on Jan. 18 during the 2013 NSCAA Convention in Indianapolis. Dikranian founded the university’s men’s soccer program in 1966. In 21 seasons, he amassed a 227-9421 overall record while laying the groundwork for one of the top the Division II programs in the nation. His teams appeared in 14 NCAA Division II tournaments, including six straight trips to the semifinals (1978-83). He 4 guided the Owls to their first-ever NCAA championship in 1987 and was a twotime NCAA National Coach of the Year. Dikranian has been active in coaching since retiring as a head coach. He has served as an assistant coach for the South Florida men’s soccer team and the Yale women’s soccer team, and is currently the director of soccer operations at Yale University. He also is an inductee of the Southern’s Alumni Sports Hall of Fame, the University of Bridgeport Hall of Fame and was a member of the inaugural class of inductees to the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame in 1999. ••• Former Southern men’s soccer coach Bob Dikranian (far left) is a recent inductee into the NSCAA Hall of Fame. Owls Athletic Program Sets New School Academic Record Women’s Cross Country Team Leads the Pack With Team GPA of 3.8 Many Southern athletic teams and individuals have broken records over the years, often gaining some well-deserved notoriety in the process. But a significant record was set last fall that bodes well for the future. The 395 student-athletes tallied a cumulative GPA of 3.057 – an all-time semester high. “The academic success achieved individually and collectively by our studentathletes this past semester continues to demonstrate their presence as outstanding ambassadors for Southern,” said Director of Athletics Patricia D. Nicol. “These great accomplishments could not be achieved without tremendous support from our university administration, faculty and staff, as well as our coaching staff and Melissa Stoll athletic administration,” Nicol said. “I offer my congratulations to our coaches and student-athletes for their distinguished accomplishments.” A total of 11 of the Owls’ 19 programs achieved a team GPA of 3.0 or higher during the fall semester. The women’s cross country team posted a 3.84 team GPA to lead all programs, while the 3.11 GPA posted by the men’s basketball team was tops among the men’s squads. Mike Donnelly Melissa Stoll, who is in her first year as women’s cross country coach, said she was aware of the team’s academic success before she took the job. The squad has been recognized as an all-academic team by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. “We will continue to maintain all-academic status,” said Stoll, who adds that students’ academic profiles are taken into consideration when recruiting prospective athletes. She noted that several steps are in place to help ensure academic success once her runners begin classes at Southern. Among them is the establishment of a study table for all freshmen and transfer students on the team. Progress reports are required for those students whose GPA is 2.3 or below. “And we are in communication with the athletes on a regular basis – asking them how they are progressing, encouraging them to speak with professors and to be pro-active and engaged,” Stoll said. Mike Donnelly, men’s basketball coach, said his staff also works hard to identify and attract quality studentathletes who are motivated to excel in the classroom. The women’s cross country team runs away with the highest team grade point average in the Athletic Department this past fall, a combined mark of 3.84. “Academic success is without question the number one priority for all of our student-athletes in the men’s basketball program,” Donnelly said. “We are very upfront and straight forward throughout the entire recruitment process that we will demand and expect academic excellence. It is imperative that our coaching staff remains consistent with our academic expectations. We work very hard to make sure that our players understand that achieving success off the basketball court is more important than on the court.” Individually, 54 percent of Southern’s athletes registered a fall semester GPA of at least 3.0. And 104 athletes -- better than one in four -- garnered a GPA of a 3.5 or higher, including nine students who scored a perfect 4.0 GPA. ••• Follow the Owls via Social Media OWL CLUB o45 The Athletic Department continues to provide extensive information about Southern’s sports programs through its social media platforms. In addition to its official website, SouthernCTowls.com, Owls’ fans can follow their teams as games progress with Twitter updates. The department’s YouTube page provides an array of student-athlete features, as well as game highlights and post-game interviews. In addition, regular updates are available through the department’s Facebook page. Fans can check out more on these efforts at SouthernCTowls.com . 5 Winter All-Americans Six student-athletes were named All-Americans by virtue of their individual performances at the NCAA championships this winter. Top row, left to right: Men’s Indoor Track and Field Nick Lebron, heptathlon A.J. Guerra, weight throw Michael Cameron, shot put Bottom row, left to right: Women’s Indoor Track and Field Michelle Grecni, pole vault Men���s Swimming and Diving Raymond Cswerko, 400-yard individual medley Women’s Swimming and Diving Amanda Thomas, 200-yard individual medley (NCAA champion), 400-yard individual medley, 200-yard butterfly, 200-yard backstroke Big Splash for Southern Swimmers A pair of stellar championship runs continued for both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams at this year’s Northeast-10 Conference Championships at the Hutchinson Natatorium. The women’s squad won its 10th consecutive title, while the men ran away with their ninth title in 10 years. Amanda Thomas was selected as the Women’s Most Outstanding Swimmer for the fourth consecutive year, while Raymond Cswerko was selected as the Men’s Most Outstanding Swimmer. ••• 6 Sport Shorts Owls Perched Among Top 10 Percent in Learfield Cup The Athletic Department is ranked No. 26 of more than 300 eligible Division II institutions at press time in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup rankings. Outstanding recent NCAA championship performances by the men’s and women’s swimming and diving and men’s and women’s indoor track and field squads have helped the department attain its current ranking. The Owls have finished among the top 20 percent in the standings for six consecutive years. Southern finished No. 30 in the rankings in 2006-07, No. 46 in 2007-08, No. 56 in 2008-09, No. 42 in 2009-10, No. 25 in 2010-11 and No. 48 last year. The top school in each NCAA Division, along with the NAIA, is annually presented with the Directors’ Cup. The Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and USA Today. Points are awarded based on an institution’s finish in up to 14 sports – seven women’s and seven men’s. ••• Girls and Women in Sport Day Nearly 150 youngsters participated recently in the Athletic Department’s annual Girls and Women in Sport. The program included a series of clinics with Owls’ coaches and more than 100 studentathletes. The participants also enjoyed a complimentary lunch, as well as a meet-and-greet and autograph session with Southern’s student-athletes. Hamlet Named to Division II All-Star Game Trevon Hamlet, who recently concluded his senior season with the men’s basketball team, recently played in the Reese’s® Division II College All-Star Game at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky. The 2013 Reese’s® Division II College AllStar Game had two teams of 10 senior student-athletes. Two student-athletes were selected from each of the eight regions in NCAA Division II with the four remaining selections made at-large. Hamlet capped his final season with the Owls with his third straight selection to the All-Northeast-10 Conference squad, as well as nods on both the NABC All-Region Team (as voted on by the coaches) and the Daktronics All-Region Team (as voted on by the region’s sports information directors). Hamlet closed the regular season ranked No. 1 in the NE-10 in blocks and blocks/game (65, 2.5) and No. 2 in points per game (18.0). He also ranked No. 4 in field goals made, No. 6 in 3-point field goal percentage, No. 9 in 3-pointers made and No. 12 in field goal percentage. He was also among the top 25 in rebounds and rebounds/ game. He finished the year with averages of 17.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 2.4 assists per contest. For his career, Hamlet averaged Director continued from Page 1. point average (GPA) of 3.057. A total of 11 of our teams achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher during the fall semester. The women’s cross country team posted a 3.84 team GPA to lead all programs, while the men’s basketball team’s 3.11 GPA was tops among men’s squads in the fall. In addition, our field hockey, women’s swimming and diving, women’s cross country and women’s soccer teams were recognized for their collective academic efforts by their respective national coaching organizations. Lastly, our student-athletes remain outstanding ambassadors for Southern through extensive community outreach and engagement. As a group, they have 17.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.9 assists per contest. He ranks ninth in Southern history with 1,396 career points. The Owls finished the 2012-13 season with an overall mark of 17-10 and reached the quarterfinals of the NE-10 Tournament. It was the third straight NE-10 appearance for the university. ••• volunteered more than 2,000 hours to ventures both on and off-campus this academic year. Our annual Girls and Women in Sport Day in February was attended by nearly 150 youngsters who received instruction from more than 100 student-athletes. I always look forward to seeing the joy and excitement on the faces of both the children and the student-athletes every year. Thank you for your continued support of Owls’ athletics. I look forward to seeing you on campus for a home contest here as we wind down another great year. Patricia D. Nicol Director of Athletics 7 Department of Athletics 125 Wintergreen Ave. New Haven, CT 06515 OWL CLUB You are invited to the golf experience of a lifetime. THE SCSU Annual Golf Tournament Tuesday May 21, 2013 North Course, Lake of Isles at Foxwoods Resort Casino North Stonington, Connecticut This event provides an opportunity for alumni, fans and friends to support and encourage the academic and athletic ! e r Fo For details and to register, go to SouthernCTowls.com growth of Southernâ€™s student-athletes. click on the Annual Owl Golf All proceeds from the tournament will Classic link on the left-hand be used for student scholarships and program enhancements for the Athletic Department. column of the site or call Doreen Cammarata-Gilhuly at 203-392-8824.