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2010-11 Sun Belt

State state of the Conference conference

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 1


MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS

CROSS COUNTRY SBC Champion------------------------------------------------------ UALR Individual Champion------------------------ Shadrack Kipchirchir, WKU Freshman of the Year------------------------ Shadrack Kipchirchir, WKU Coach of the Year---------------------------------Milton Williams, UALR Football SBC Champion---------------------------------------------------FIU, Troy Player of the Year----------------------------------------- T.Y. Hilton, FIU Offensive Player of the Year------------------------ Bobby Rainey, WKU Defensive Player of the Year------Jamari Lattimore, Middle Tennessee Freshman of the Year------------------------------ Corey Robinson, Troy Coach of the Year----------------------------------- Mario Cristobal, FIU Postseason---------------------------------------------- FIU, MTSU, Troy R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl --------------------------------------------------------- Troy 48, Ohio 21 GoDaddy.com Bowl --------------------------------- Miami (Ohio) 35, Middle Tennessee 21 Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl -------------------------------------------------------- FIU 34, Toledo 32 MEN’S BASKETBALL SBC Regular Season East Champion-------------------- Florida Atlantic SBC Regular Season West Champion-------------------------- ASU/ULL SBC Tournament Champion---------------------------------------- UALR SBC Championship MOP--------------------- Solomon Bozeman, UALR POY------------------------------------------- Solomon Bozeman, UALR Defensive POY---------------------------- Brett Royster, Florida Atlantic FOY----------------------------------- Augustine Rubit, South Alabama Coach of the Year--------------------------- Mike Jarvis, Florida Atlantic Postseason------------------------------------- UALR (NCAA), FAU (NIT) ------------------- 1st Round – UNC Asheville 82, UALR 77 (OT) (NCAA) ------------------------------------ 1st Round – Miami 85, FAU 62 (NIT) Indoor Track & Field SBC Champion---------------------------------------- Middle Tennessee Top Scorer------------------------------Justus David, Middle Tennessee MOP Track------------------------------Justus David, Middle Tennessee MOP Field------------------------------------ Jordan Wehr, North Texas MOP Freshman-------------------------------------David Mokone, WKU Coach of the Year------------------------Dean Hayes, Middle Tennessee BASEBALL SBC Regular Season Champions------------------------------------ Troy SBC Tournament Champion---------------------------------------- UALR Co-Players of the Year-------- Pablo Bermudez, FIU/Adam Bryant, Troy Pitcher of the Year-----------------------------------------Tyler Ray, Troy Freshman of the Year-----------------------------Justin Hageman, WKU Coach of the Year------------------------------------- Bobby Pierce, Troy NCAA Regional-------------------------------------------UALR, FIU, Troy UALR (Corvallis, OR) -----------------------------Oregon State 7, UALR 4; Georgia 7, UALR 3 FIU (Chapel Hill, NC) ------------------------------- James Madison 11, FIU 7; Maine 4, FIU 1

2010-11 Sun belt conference summary Troy (Nashville, TN) ---- Troy 9, Oklahoma State 2; Vanderbilt 10, Troy 2; Belmont 5, Troy 2 GOLF SBC Champion---------------------------------------------------- Denver Conference Medalist-------------------------- Carlos Ortiz, North Texas Freshman of the Year---------------- Gustaf Kocken, Louisiana-Monroe Coaches of the Year------------------- Whit Turnbow, Middle Tennessee NCAA Team Regionals----------Denver, Middle Tennessee, North Texas Denver (Colorado National Golf Club, Erie, Colo.) ----------------------------------------------------------- 10th (873, +9) Middle Tennessee (The Farms Golf Club, San Diego, Calif.) ---------------------------------------------------------- 10th (887, +23) North Texas (The Farms Golf Club, San Diego, Calif.) ----------------------------------------------------------- 9th (884, +20) Outdoor Track & Field SBC Champion------------------------------------------------------ WKU Top Scorer----------------------------------- Shadrack Kipchirchir, WKU MOPs Track-------- Daniel Mutai, ULM/Noah Akwu, Middle Tennessee MOP Field---------------------------------- Joey Torres, South Alabama MOP Freshman-------------------------------------David Mokone, WKU Coach of the Year----------------------- J.D. Malone, Louisiana-Monroe SWIMMING & DIVING SBC Champion---------------------------------------------------- Denver Swimming MOP----------------------------------Clayton Myers, Denver Diving MOP---------------------------------------- Seth McNew, Denver Swimming Coach of the Year----------------- Bruce Marchionda, WKU Diving Coach of the Year---------------------- Aaron D’Addario, Denver TENNIS SBC Champion---------------------------------------- Middle Tennessee SBC Championship MOP-------------- Matt Langley, Middle Tennessee Coach of the Year----------------Jimmy Borendame, Middle Tennessee NCAA Tournament------------------------------------ Middle Tennessee ----------------------- 1st Round – Georgia Tech 4, Middle Tennessee 0 Final National Ranking-----------------------------------------------N/A

WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS

CROSS COUNTRY SBC Champion------------------------------------------------------ WKU Individual Champion------------------------------ Marion Kandie, WKU Freshman of the Year------------------- Kristina Aubert, Arkansas State Coach of the Year----------------------------------- Michelle Long, WKU VOLLEYBALL SBC East Champion----------------------------------- Middle Tennessee SBC West Co-Champions---------------------------------Arkansas State -------------------------------------------------------------- North Texas SBC Tournament Champion-------------------------- Middle Tennessee SBC Championship MOP------------- Izabela Kozon, Middle Tennessee Player of the Year--------------------- Izabela Kozon, Middle Tennessee

Defensive POY----------------------------Megan Baska, Arkansas State Freshman of the Year-------------------------- Melanie Stutsman, WKU Coach of the Year------------------------- Matt Peck, Middle Tennessee NCAA Tournament------------------------------------------- MTSU, WKU ---------------------------------------- Louisville 3, Middle Tennessee 0 ----------------------------------------------------- Cincinnati 3, WKU 0 SOCCER SBC Champion---------------------------------------------------- Denver SBC Tournament Champion-------------------------- Middle Tennessee SBC Championship MOP---------- Rebecca Cushing, Middle Tennessee Player of the Year----------------------------------- Kaitlin Bast, Denver Co-Freshman of the Year---------------- Nicholette DiGiacomo, Denver ------------------------------------------------------- Chelsea Leiva, FIU Coach of the Year------------------------------------Jeff Hooker, Denver NCAA Tournament--------------------------------------------------MTSU -------------------------------------Florida State 3, Middle Tennessee 0 BASKETBALL SBC Regular Season East Champion----------------- Middle Tennessee SBC Regular Season West Champion------------------------------ UALR SBC Tournament Champion---------------------------------------- UALR SBC Championship MOP---------------------------Chastity Reed, UALR Player of the Year-----------------------------------Chastity Reed, UALR Defensive Player of the Year----------------------Shanika Butler, UALR Freshman of the Year-------------------Ebony Rowe, Middle Tennessee Coach of the Year------------------------- Rick Insell, Middle Tennessee Postseason---------- UALR, Middle Tennessee (NCAA), Denver (WNIT) ---------------------- 1st Round – Wisc. Green Bay 59, UALR 55 (NCAA) ----------------- 1st Round – Georgia 56, Middle Tennessee 41 (NCAA) --------------------------------- 1st Round – BYU 75, Denver 60 (WNIT) Indoor Track & Field SBC Champion------------------------------------------------------ WKU Top Scorer--------------------- Jasmine Anderson, Louisiana-Lafayette MOP Track--------------------- Jasmine Anderson, Louisiana-Lafayette MOP Field---------------------------------------Monteka Flowers, WKU MOP Freshman-------------------------- Sharika Nelvis, Arkansas State Coach of the Year------------------------- Lon Badeaux, Arkansas State SOFTBALL SBC Regular Season Champion-------------------- Louisiana-Lafayette SBC Tournament Champion------------------------ Louisiana-Lafayette SBC Championship MOP----------Christi Orgeron, Louisiana-Lafayette Player of the Year------------------Christi Orgeron, Louisiana-Lafayette Pitcher of the Year-----------------Ashley Brignac, Louisiana-Lafayette Freshman of the Year--------------- Hannah Campbell, South Alabama Coach of the Year-------------------------- Becky Clark, South Alabama NCAA Regional------------------------------------- Louisiana-Lafayette Austin Regional --------------- Houston 7, ULL 2; ULL 11, Texas St. 2 (5); ULL 5, Texas 2 -------------------------------------------------------- Houston 4, ULL 1

GOLF SBC Champion---------------------------------------------------- Denver Conference Medalist----------------------Anna Carling, Arkansas State Freshman of the Year---------------------------------- Shelby Coyle, FIU Coach of the Year------------------------------Jeff Mitchell, North Texas NCAA Team Regionals--------------------------Denver, FIU, North Texas Denver (Washington National Golf Club, Auburn, Wash.) ---------------------------------------------------------- 13th (920, +56) FIU (LPGA International, Daytona Beach, Fla.) ---------------------------------------------------------- 21st (929, +65) North Texas (Warren Golf Club, Notre Dame Ind.) ---------------------------------------------------------- 16th (935, +71) OUTDOOR Track & Field SBC Champion------------------------------------------------------ WKU Top Scorer-----------------------------------Alysha Adams, North Texas MOP Track-----------------------------------Alysha Adams, North Texas MOP Field---------------------------Lindsay Schwartz, South Alabama MOP Freshman-------------------------- Sharika Nelvis, Arkansas State Coach of the Year--------------------------------------Erik Jenkins, WKU SWIMMING & DIVING SBC Champion---------------------------------------------------- Denver Swimming MOP-----------------------------------Claire Donahue, WKU Diving MOP---------------------------------------- Sabrina Beaupre, FIU Swimming COY---------------------------------- Brian Schrader, Denver Diving Coach of the Year-------------------------Chris Mantilla, Denver TENNIS SBC Champion-------------------------------------------------------- FIU SBC Championship MOP--------------------------------- Liset Brito, FIU Coach of the Year---------------------- Melissa Applebaum-Dall’au, FIU NCAA Tournament---------------------------------------------------- FIU ----------------------------------------- 1st Round – Miami (FL) 4, FIU 0 Final National Ranking-------------------------------------- FIU (No. 70)


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Table of Contents

Letter from the Commissioner

Sun Belt Attracting Nation’s Top Talent

Sun Belt and Institutional Administration

Heading into the 2011-12 season, noted Sun Belt Conference men’s basketball teams have attracted some of the best talent in the nation. Three SBC teams -- Middle Tennessee, North Texas and Western Kentucky – find their 2011 recruiting classes in the top 40 among Division I schools and boast three players ranked by Rivals in the top 150.

7-9. .......................................................................................................... Conference Office Staff 10.....................................................................................................................Sun Belt Leadership

The Sun Belt Conference

58

Formed in 1976 the Sun Belt Conference quickly rose to the greatest heights of collegiate athletics by sending a team to the NCAA Final Four in the league’s first year of existence. Fast forward 36 years and the league again finds itself at the pinnacle of collegiate athletics as a member of the 11 league alliance of the Bowl Championship Series.

17

Cool, Calm, & Collected

11 2010-11 Vic Bubas Cup For the seventh time in 11 years since joining the Sun Belt Conference, Middle Tennessee’s athletic department has won the Vic Bubas Cup as the top overall sports program in the league.

SBC Academics Continue to Rise

While some golfers at the NCAA Regional tournament were honed in on their round and perhaps the most important shots of their lives, MTSU’s Jason Millard had his back turned to the tee box, curiously gazing at planes taking off from a nearby naval air base.

53-54. .............................................. Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track & Field 55-57. .............................................................................................Men’s Basketball Men’s and Women’s Tennis

71

For the fourth consecutive year Sun Belt Conference student-athletes topped the 1,500 mark of Commissioner’s List and Academic Honor Roll award winners. This year the winners totaled 1,659 studentathletes with 797 of them being on the Commissioner’s List.

19

30

21-24. ...................................................................................... Commissioner’s List 25-29. ....................................................................................Academic Honor Roll 2010-11 Sport Recaps and Articles 30-31. ..................................................................................................Cross Country 32-33. ............................................................................................. Women’s Soccer

77 All-American Girl Millions of Americans fired up their grills this past Fourth of July while icing down their favorite beverages to celebrate our country’s independence. By the end of the day, many will forget what they were celebrating in the first place. ULL softball player Christi Orgeron will not.

86-88. ............................................................................................................. Baseball

37-38. ....................................................................................... Women’s Volleyball

34 Moving on Up Former Middle Tennessee standout and 2010 SBC volleyball Player of the Year Izabela Kozon signed a professional contract this past June becoming the second consecutive volleyball Player of the Year to join the professional ranks.

41-43. ............................................................................................................. Football

Growing up (T.y.) Hilton

47

44

Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving

83 Epitome of a Student-Athlete A semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award - given annually to the nation’s top catcher - Western Kentucky’s Matt Rice was named WKU’s Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year and graduated this past May with a 4.0 GPA in Mechanical Engineering and is WKU’s all-time leader in hits and RBIs.

91 95 95

Since the Sun Belt Conference began sponsoring women’s swimming and diving in 2001 and men’s swimming and diving in 2004, the sport’s success continues to grow.

89 Sun Belt Student-Athletes of the Year The highest honor given by the Sun Belt Conference is the Student-Athlete of the Year award, which is based on outstanding leadership, achievement and character.

Sun Belt Television Over the last five years the Sun Belt Conference has seen its television appearances double. In fact, the Sun Belt set a new record for single season telecasts during the 2010-11 season with a total of 72 partner broadcasts (ESPN and Sun Belt Network) and total of 162 televised events.

Sun Belt Schools Improving Facilities Since 2000, nearly half a billion dollars has been spent at Sun Belt Conference institutions in capital improvements for its athletics facilities, most of which has been to expand or renovate campus arenas and stadiums.

101......................................................................................................Sun Belt Fellows Program Enhancing the Student-Athlete Experience

Natural Born Swimmer

For many student-athletes, the conference championship or tournament is a big stage experience. Providing a student-athlete experience second-to-none is what the Sun Belt Conference strives for with its championship events.

Born to compete and born to excel in a swimming pool, Claire Donahue’s calling in life led to Western Kentucky history.

53-54. .............................................. Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track & Field 55-57. .............................................................................................Men’s Basketball

Sun Belt Conference men’s and women’s tennis teams continued their winning ways during the 2011 campaign.

74-76. ......................................... Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field A Jag of All Trades 80-82. .............................................................................................................. Softball

DU is simply the Pioneer of Sun Belt Conference soccer. Denver has won more regular season and tournament championships than any other school in SBC history.

Sometime soon when the Hilton family redecorates their living room they will really need to find some trophy space. FIU star receiver T.Y. Hilton won the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl MVP trophy and the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year plaque this past season as the Panthers won a share of their first conference championship and first bowl game. Those two awards already have plenty of company at Hilton’s parents’ home in Miami.

68

A junior member of the track & field team, Lindsay Schwartz used to be skeptical about the heptathlon - a grueling seven-event combo - now the school record holder in the event is looking to move up the charts nationally.

A Decade of Dominance

39

62-64. ...................................................................................... Women’s Basketball 65-67. ............................................................................. Men’s and Women’s Golf

50

102

105................................................... All-Time Women’s Sun Belt Conference Champions 106..........................................................All-Time Men’s Sun Belt Conference Champions


LETTER FROM THE COMMISSIONER

The Sun Belt Conference’s first 35 years have been defined by success and the promotion of a

commitment to excellence. As the league embarks on its 36th season of existence in 2011-2012 the Sun Belt Conference has a spot among the nation’s elite and success is prevalent throughout the league.

The history of the Sun Belt Conference is bountiful with success and the 2010-11 season was no

different. The league set a new record for television broadcasts during the year, numerous student-athletes were named to the nation’s highest honors in collegiate athletics and over 90% of the league’s sports programs earned scores above the NCAA’s threshold for Academic Progress Rates.

Indeed, the 2010-2011 season was full of more highlights for the record books - but perhaps there is

no greater theme in the Sun Belt Conference then the fact that all 12 of the league’s member institutions are reshaping their campus landscapes as new construction provides state-of-the-art facilities for our studentathletes, coaches and fans.

This is a conference with a great past, but as we move forward the groundwork is being laid for an even

brighter future. The Sun Belt Conference is positioned for strength and in the years to come we will reach new heights – the national stage can be ours for student-athletes, our coaches, our facilities and our programs. Sincerely,

H. Wright Waters Sun Belt Conference Commissioner

4 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference


Sun Belt Institutional Administration UALRTrojans

Arkansas state red wolves

denverPioneers

florida atlantic owls

fiupanthers

louisiana-lafayette ragin’ cajuns

Chancellor Dr. Joel Anderson

Interim chancellor Dr. Dan Howard

Chancellor Robert D. Combe

president Dr. Mary Jane Saunders

president Dr. Mark B. Rosenberg

president Dr. E. Joseph Savoie

faculty athletics rep Dr. David Briscoe

faculty athletics rep Nonie Wiggins

faculty athletics rep Nancy Sampson

faculty athletics rep Dr. Eric Shaw

faculty athletics rep Dr. Stephen Fain

faculty athletics rep Anita Hazelwood

athletics director Chris Peterson

athletics director Dr. Dean Lee

athletics director Peg Bradley-Doppes

athletics director Craig Angelos

athletics director Pete Garcia

Interim director of Athletics Scott Farmer

senior woman administrator Andrea Duc

senior woman administrator Stacey Willmott

senior woman administrator Pam Wettig

senior woman administrator Melissa Dawson

senior woman administrator Julie Berg

senior woman administrator Sherry LeBas

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 5


Sun Belt Institutional Administration louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

president Dr. Nick Bruno

faculty athletics rep Dr. Kevin Unter

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

president Dr. Sidney McPhee

faculty athletics rep Dr. Terry Whiteside

North Texas Mean Green

president Dr. V. Lane Rawlins

faculty athletics rep Dr. Jerry Thomas

South Alabama jaguars

president V. Gordon Moulton

faculty athletics rep Dr. John Smith

troyTrojans

Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins

faculty athletics rep Dr. Fred Green

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

President Dr. Gary Ransdell

faculty athletics rep Dr. James Brown

W g e H f i i c

athletics director Bobby Staub

athletics director Chris Massaro

athletics director Rick Villareal

athletics director Dr. Joel Erdmann

athletics director Steve Dennis

athletics director Ross Bjork

senior woman administrator Tasha Fisher

senior woman administrator Diane Turnham

senior woman administrator Cinnamon Sheffield

senior woman administrator Sherry Kennemer

senior woman administrator Sandy Atkins

senior woman administrator Pam Herriford

6 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

u W s


Conference office Office Staff

n Commissioner Wright Waters, M. Ed.

Wright Waters has 37 years of experience in collegiate athletics and was named the Sun Belt Conference’s fourth commissioner on December 15, 1998. His tenure ranks second in longevity among the four men who have steered the conference during its 35-year history. Waters has a simple formula to success when it comes to overseeing a Football Bowl Subdivision conference: 1) Put people in the stands. 2) Win non-conference games. 3) Do things with class. Under Waters, the league has: • Become a Bowl Championship Series conference, one of only 11 in the country. • Achieved success both on the field and in the classroom. • Expanded to sponsor 19 sports. • Shifted geographically to become a more regional conference and build stronger rivalries while still competing at the highest level. • Gained a permanent seat on the NCAA Board of Directors, giving the league a crucial voice on all of the important issues in Division I athletics. • Achieved its most expansive television agreements in league history. • Partnered with NeuLion Inc. to deliver a fullservice and premium web site. • Reorganized the conference office structure. The league has improved tremendously under Waters on and off the field. As a result of Waters’ leadership, the Sun Belt Conference began sponsoring football in 2001. Waters also helped

found the New Orleans Bowl, where the Sun Belt’s annual champion plays a Conference USA opponent each year. North Texas defeated Cincinnati in the 2002 New Orleans Bowl to give the league its first post-season win, and the conference has sent multiple teams to postseason bowls five times in just ten years.Under Waters’ guidance the Sun Belt Conference also signed a four year agreement with the GoDaddy.com Bowl that guarantees a spot for a Sun Belt Conference school in the Mobile, Alabama based bowl game through the 2013 season. Since his arrival, a Sun Belt team has also reached both the baseball and softball College World Series, and men’s basketball had two teams reach the NCAA Tournament in 2008, with one team advancing to the “Sweet 16.” The conference has also had significant academic achievements. Nearly every Sun Belt Conference school is graduating its student-athletes at a higher rate than the school’s student body. For four consecutive years the Sun Belt Conference has posted a new record each year for its annual Academic Honor Roll (given to student-athletes with a 3.0 - 3.49 GPA) and Commissioner’s List (given to student-athletes with a 3.5 - 4.0 GPA). A total of 1,710 student-athletes in the Sun Belt Conference earned at least a 3.0 GPA for the 2009-10 school year. Remarkably, nearly 800 student-athletes had a GPA above 3.5 for the school year. Under Waters’ guidance the Sun Belt Conference has also begun hosting an annual Academic Summit. The Summit is designed for member institutions to discuss academic support programs for student-athletes and plans for academic reform within the league. Since its inception in 2008, the Academic Summit has been a well received gathering for league Presidents, Athletic Directors, Faculty Athletic Representatives, Academic Support Personnel, as well as additional Sun Belt administrators and other national leaders campaigning for academic progress. Waters has previously served on the NCAA Football Issues Committee, the NCAA Executive Committee, the NACDA Executive Committee, the Collegiate Commissioner’s Association Executive Committee, the NCAA Transition Management Council, the NCAA Division I Championship Committee, and the NACDA Sears Cup Committee. During Waters’ tenure, the Sun Belt Conference has become stronger and more regional by adding Troy University, Middle Tennessee State University, the University of Louisiana-Monroe,

the University of North Texas and Florida Atlantic University. The conference has also increased its sponsored sports in addition to football by adding three women’s sports (softball, soccer, swimming and diving) and men’s swimming and diving. Under Waters’ direction the Sun Belt Conference has seen an ever-expanding television package. The Sun Belt Conference and ESPN maintain an agreement that has expanded the conference’s national television exposure to unprecedented highs and was negotiated exclusively with ESPN, Inc. Additionally, the league and its regional television partners Cox Sports Television (CST) and Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS) formed a comprehensive deal that brings 45 Sun Belt Conference events to the airwaves each season. The agreement between the three parties has resulted in the broadcasting of football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball, volleyball, and softball contests throughout the year. The conference has helped host major events including the 2002 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championships and the 2003 NCAA Final Four. The conference has also improved its annual championships by upgrading and enhancing playing facilities, social events and awards. Waters also oversaw the combining of the men’s and women’s basketball championships for the first time in league history. In 2009 the league also began hosting a neutral site basketball tournament in Hot Springs, Arkansas which has drawn fan interest to new highs. Waters, who is in his 20th year as a conference commissioner, returned to collegiate administration after serving as general manager of Crimson Tide Sports Marketing in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He worked for 10 years at the Southern Conference, serving as the league’s commissioner for the final seven years. During that time, the league experienced unprecedented growth and development during his tenure. The Southern Conference also grew in terms of institutions and sports. He organized the expansion of the league twice during his tenure, expanding from eight to 12 institutions. In addition, the league grew from sponsoring 16 sports to 19. Prior to his commissioner’s stint, he served as the Southern Conference’s assistant commissioner for three years beginning in 1988. In that position, he was responsible for the development of a compliance and eligibility program for the league’s institutions and served as the conference’s liaison with the NCAA Departments of Legislative Services and Enforcement. He also served as the

league’s Director of Championships. He joined the Southern Conference after a four-year stint at Tulane University, where he served as Associate Athletic Director and later as the Interim Athletic Director. Waters has an extensive professional background in collegiate athletics dating back to 1976 when he served four years as an Administrative Assistant and Academic Director at Southern Mississippi. He was an Assistant Athletic Director at Florida from April 1979 to July 1983 and an Associate Athletic Director at LouisianaLafayette from July 1983 to December 1984. He began his career in athletics as the Head Trainer and Student Assistant Football Coach at Livingston from 1972-74. Waters graduated from Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery, Ala., in 1967. He attended Alabama and received a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Livingston University in 1974 and a master’s degree in secondary education from Livingston in 1975. Waters was born June 22, 1949, in Montgomery, Ala., and is married to the former Sara Anderson of York, Ala. They have one daughter, Ashley. The Waters File 1998-pres. 1998 1991-98 1989-91 1984-89 1983-84 1979-83 1976-79

Administrative Experience Commissioner, Sun Belt Conference General Manager, Crimson Tide Sports Marketing Commissioner, Southern Conference Asst. Commissioner, Southern Conference Associate AD, Tulane Assoc. AD, UL Lafayette Asst. AD, Univ. of Florida Administrative Asst./ Academic Director, Southern Mississippi

2007-09 2001-04 1999-2003 2000-03 1996-98 1996-97 1995-98 1995-98 1994-98 1994-98 1993-95 1993-95

Committee Membership CCA Division I-A Vice President NCAA Football Issues Committee Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Board of Directors New Orleans Bowl Executive Committee, Pres. NCAA Football Executive Committee NCAA Transition Management Council NCAA Executive Committee NCAA Division I Championship Committee NACDA Executive Committee NACDA Sears Cup Committee CCA Executive Committee CCA Executive Committee, VP

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 7


Conference office Office Staff 2006 through 2010. In that role, she oversaw the league’s

contact for football, soccer, women’s basketball, tennis,

ence’s Women’s Basketball Initiative - a program aimed at

(

compliance program and is responsible for all NCAA and

golf, track and field, swimming and diving, baseball,

increasing awareness of the Sun Belt’s successful women’s

t

Herbert L. Carter, III enters

Sun Belt Conference rules education and interpretation.

softball, and volleyball in his six seasons with the

basketball league.

1

his sixth year with the Sun Belt

“It is really fun to watch Kathy work, she still has the

conference. He primarily serves as the media contact for

Conference after being named

heart and soul of an athlete and she is really good at what

football and women’s basketball currently.

New Orleans Hornets where she served as Group Sales

C

Associate Commissioner/Chief

she does,” said Sun Belt Commissioner Wright Waters.

Executive for the NBA franchise. While with the Hornets,

t

Financial Officer of the Sun Belt

for the league’s championships and events as well as

Bordelon researched and identified new leads to grow

e

Conference in August 2006.

nine years at the New Orleans athletics department. Her

significant national topics.

group ticket sales, with special emphasis on tourism,

tenure at UNO included a five year stint as the depart-

non-profit organizations and schools. She was also heavily

g

and knowledgeable and we are

ment’s senior woman’s administrator. Dr. Keene joined the

the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 Allstate Sugar Bowls and

involved with establishing short and long term strategies

fortunate to have him on our

department as an academic tutor in 1997 and progressed

the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Women’s Final Fours.

for growing the fan base and ticket opportunities.

staff,” said Sun Belt Commissioner

to the Director of Student-Athlete Support Services.

Wright Waters.

helped overhaul the Sun Belt Conference’s website, www.

the New Orleans area, graduated with a degree in Business

Herbert L. Carter, III, CPA Associate Commissioner/CFO

“Bert is very experienced

Prior to joining the conference office, Dr. Keene spent

Keene graduated from the University of Mississippi in

Additionally, McElwain manages all publicity efforts

McElwain has served on the media relations staffs at

During his time with the league McElwain has

Bordelon came to the Sun Belt Conference from the

Bordelon, who is a member of several civic groups in

1996 and received a master’s degree in counseling educa-

sunbeltsports.org, to allow for an updated layout and

Management from LSU in 2000. Additionally, she received

the league’s finances and is responsible for monitoring

tion in 1998 and her Ph. D. in counseling in 2000 from the

design for the site and has also been responsible for the

an Art Education License from Colorado State University in

revenues and expenses.

University of New Orleans.

publication of numerous conference media guides and

2006.

She was a four-year letter winner on the Ole Miss

championship programs. He also oversaw the Sun Belt

Carriers New Orleans Bowl and GMAC Bowl. He has also

track and field team, competing in the heptathlon and

Conference’s Virtual Media Days for Football and Men’s

been routinely involved in matters related to the Sun Belt

earning SEC all-academic honors for three straight seasons

and Women’s Basketball during 2009 as the Sun Belt

Conference Executive Committee and the league’s CEOs.

(1994-96).

became the first conference to utilize 21st century video

the Sun Belt’s Assistant

At the Sun Belt Conference Carter oversees all of

Carter also serves as the league’s liaison to the R&L

Bryant Carter, M. CJ Assistant Commissioner/Championships Bryant Carter was named

conferences to hold its annual Media Day events.

Commissioner for Championships

from the University of New Orleans. The New Orleans

daughter, Madelyn, a eight-year old son, Mayson, a four-

in January 2007.

native is a CPA and has an extensive background in

year old son Christopher and a one-year daughter Katie.

the USBWA and theFWAA.

number of important elements

Carter received his undergraduate degree and MBA

Kathy and her husband Chris have an nine-year old

accounting and tax.

He previously worked with the firm of Wegmann

Dazet and Company as an Accounting and Tax Manager

John McElwain Associate Commissioner/Commmunications

McElwain is a 2004 graduate of Indiana University,

Carter helps oversee a

receiving his degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis

of the league office with his

on sports broadcasting and communications. Prior to

primary focus being on the

joining the Sun Belt, McElwain was an intern in the IU

administration of the league’s

and has been active with several local non-profits.

entering his fourth year as

athletic media relations office and also spent a summer

the Sun Belt Conference’s

working in the University of New Orleans media relations

Associate Commissioner for

office.

made to grow our conference championships,” said Sun

Communications and his seventh

Belt Commissioner Wright Waters. “He is a professional

total year with the league.

Algiers with his wife Meaghan.

that has managed events at the very highest level. He

Robin Bordelon Assistant Commissioner/Championship Promotions

will be a tremendous asset as we seek to make all 19

Carter, his wife Jennifer, their two sons, Patrick and

Evan, and daughter Meredith, live in Metairie.

Dr. Kathy Keene, Ph. D. Associate Commissioner/Sports Administration

Dr. Kathy Keene enters her

sixth year with the Sun Belt

Keene has responsibility for

the management of nineteen championships, preparation of conference schedules, activities of the Official Coordinators and all other activities associated with the administration of sports on campus.

Keene previously served as the Sun Belt Confer-

ence’s Associate Commissioner for Compliance from

8 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

McElwain, a New Orleans native, currently resides in

championships. “Bryant recognizes the commitment we have

championships grow.”

of Media Relations for two years,

McElwain was elevated to the

Sun Belt Conference staff in July

Assistant Director of Games and Event Management at

role of Associate Commissioner for Communications

2010 as the league’s Assistant

the University of Alabama. Carter began his career at

in June 2008. Prior to his position as Director of Media

Commissioner for Championship

Alabama as a Student Manager for Men’s Basketball. He

Relations McElwain served as the conference’s Media

Promotions.

worked with the men’s basketball program for two years,

Relations Assistant.

as an administrative assistant, before taking a position as

promotional efforts of all of

an Assistant Equipment Manager. He earned a bachelor of

and the necessary steps that go along with promoting

the league’s championships by

science in Political Science in 1999. He went on to earn his

the league,” said Sun Belt Conference Commissioner

engaging and involving campus

master’s in Criminal Justice in 2004.

Wright Waters.

organizations and community

as Associate Commissioner for

After serving as the

Sun Belt Conference’s Director

Conference and her second year Sports Administration.

John McElwain is

McElwain is an active member of CoSIDA, ConSIDA,

“John has a great understanding of our conference

McElwain has served as the day-to-day publicity

Robin Bordelon joined the

In her role, Bordelon oversees

groups. She continues work on the Sun Belt Confer-

Prior to joining the Sun Belt, Carter served as

Before his arrival at Alabama, Carter served as a

Student Assistant Basketball Coach at South Plains College


Conference office Office Staff

f (Texas). During his two year stint there, he helped guide

Travis Llewellyn Assistant Commissioner/Electronic Media

the Texans in capturing back-to-back conference Titles in

1996 and 1997.

After graduating from Winnsboro (La.) High School,

Carter attended La. Tech for one year before accepting the position at South Plains College, while continuing his education.

A native of Winnsboro, La., he enjoys basketball,

golfing, traveling, running, and writing poetry.

Dominick Giambrone, Jr. J.D. Assistant Commissioner/Compliance

Dominick Giambrone,

Keith Nunez, M. Ed. Director of Media Relations

Travis Llewellyn was named

Christiana Johns, M.A. Media Relations Assistant

Keith Nunez was named

Christiana Johns serves as an

Director of Multimedia/New

Director of Media Relations

assistant to the communications

Media for the Sun Belt Confer-

for the Sun Belt Conference in

department where she is the

ence in December 2006 and was

November 2009. Nunez came to

primary contact for several of the

elevated to the role of Assistant

the SBC after previously serving

conference’s 19 intercollegiate

Commissioner/Electronic Media

as the Communications Manager

sports. Her role includes

in June of 2008.

at the U.S. Track & Field and Cross

producing media guides, sport

Country Coaches Association

releases, awards banquet

Llewellyn leads the Sun Belt’s

regional television packages for

(USTFCCCA) from June 2007 until

programs, updating the website

the sports of football, men’s basketball, women’s basket-

his hiring at the Sun Belt.

and maintaining historical archives for each sport.

Jr. returned to the Sun Belt

ball, volleyball, softball and baseball with networks like

Conference staff in October 2009

CSS (Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast), CST (Cox Sports

for the day-to-day media operations of the organization

as the Director of Compliance

Television). Llewellyn is also the conferences liaison with

that represents over 5,000 NCAA track & field and cross

Committee during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver,

and Championships and began a

national network partner ESPN.

country coaches, and the management of the Association

British Columbia, Canada. She was head of a student

new role in 2010 as the league’s

website - www.ustfccca.org. During his tenure with the

staff in charge of producing daily publications, sending

Assistant Commissioner for

the launch of SBC Extra, the exclusive home of live and on-

USTFCCCA the Association’s brand grew considerably as

out breaking news alerts, attending press conferences,

Compliance and Educational

demand video streaming on www.sunbeltsports.org. With

the organization saw an increase of 210% in website views

interviewing athletes and writing feature stories.

Services.

his assistance the Sun Belt’s on-line video became award

becoming one of the top online destinations for collegiate

winning productions in the sports of soccer, volleyball,

track & field and cross country.

Communication from Louisiana State University and

compliance program and is responsible for all NCAA and

softball and baseball.

a Masters of Arts degree in Journalism from DePaul

Sun Belt Conference rules education and interpretation.

USTFCCCA, Nunez also designed both the USTFCCCA.org

Waters said. “He has extensive experience writing, editing

website and TheBowerman.org website.

Assistant during the 2008-09 academic year.

and producing segments for television along with produc-

In his position Giambrone oversees the league’s

He previously served as the league’s Compliance

During his time with the Sun Belt Llewellyn oversaw

“Travis is an exciting and important part of our staff,”

While at the USTFCCCA, Nunez was responsible

In addition to the day-to-day operations at the

Prior to arriving at the Sun Belt, Johns worked in the

media relations department for the United States Olympic

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass

University.

Chauntrell Shelby Chief Administrative Officer

Nunez began his career at the Sun Belt Conference

ing content and video for websites. These experiences en-

working as the Media/Public Relations Assistant from

a Business Administration degree in 2005. He also received

able us to continue the transition of enhancing our radio,

July 2006 to June 2007. He was the primary contact for

her 11th year as the Sun Belt

his Juris Doctorate and a Sports Law Certificate from

television and web streaming components.”

13 of the conference’s 19 intercollegiate sports. He was

Chief Administrative Officer this

Tulane Law School in 2008.

instrumental in producing media guides, sport releases,

fall.

December of 2005 with Ole Miss Sports Productions in

awards banquet programs, updating the website - www.

the position of Managing Editor for the Sports Lawyers

Oxford, Mississippi.

sunbeltsports.org - and maintaining historical archives for

resident is the assistant to Sun

Journal, and participated in the Sports Law Society,

each sport.

Belt Commissioner Wright

Business Law Society, and Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity.

department of United States Senator Mike DeWine’s office

Waters and handles all meeting

in Washington, D.C., also worked as an intern at WCBI-TV in

Degree from the University of New Orleans and a Bachelor

with the LSU Athletic Department and the New Orleans

Columbus, Mississippi and at Comcast SportsNet Washing-

of Arts Degree from Louisiana State University where he

City Attorney’s Office.

ton, D.C.

was an All-SEC member of the nationally recognized track

resources and helps coordinate hospitality efforts at the

& field program.

men’s and women’s basketball championships.

The New Orleans, La. native graduated from LSU with

While attending Tulane Law School, Giambrone held

Prior to joining the Sun Belt, Giambrone volunteered

He previously worked from the fall of 2002 through

Llewellyn has also worked in the media relations

He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism

Nunez holds a Masters of Sports Administration

Chauntrell Shelby will begin

The life-long New Orleans

planning for the league. She also is involved in office human

with an emphasis in broadcast and a Minor in Political Sci-

ence from the University of Mississippi.

says Sun Belt Commissioner Wright Waters. “She’s always

“She’s the cement that keeps the office together,”

incredibly upbeat, and she is the best meeting planner I have ever met.”

Shelby currently resides in suburban Gretna.

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 9


2010-11 Sun Belt Conference Leadership

Division I awards, Benefits, Expenses and Financial Aid Cabinent Pete Garcia, AD, FIU

Division I Football Issues Committee Chris Massaro, AD, Middle Tennessee

Division I Men’s Basketball Issues Dr. Dean Lee, AD, Arkansas State

Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Rachael Maina, UALR

Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee Diane Turnham, SWA, Middle Tennessee

Division I Academic Cabinet Cinnamon Sheffield, SWA, North Texas

Division I Administration Cabinet Chris Peterson, AD, UALR

DIvision I Board of DIrectors Dr. Sidney McPhee, President, Middle Tennessee

Division I Leadership Council Peg Bradley-Doppes, AD, Denver

Division I progress toward Degree Waivers Committee Daniel McCarthy, Asst. AD, South Alabama

Division I Softball Committee Scott Farmer, Interim AD, Louisiana-Lafayette

Women’s Basketball Rules Committee Joe Foley, Head Coach, UALR

Division I Amateurism Cabinet Sandy Atkins, AD, Troy

Division I Legislative Council Dr. Kathy Keene, Assoc. Comm., Sun Belt

BCS Presidential Oversight Dr. Gary Ransdell, President, WKU

Division I Championships/ Sports Management Cabinet Rick Villarreal, AD, North Texas

Division I Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Issues Cabinet Nonie Wiggins, FAR, Arkansas State

10 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference


The Sun SUn Belt Conference The Sun Belt Conference began as a home for some of the nation’s best independent men’s basketball programs and the six team league didn’t need long to prove that it was an emerging power in college athletics. In the first season of the league, former member North Carolina-Charlotte reached the pinnacle of collegiate basketball by playing in the Final Four. Along the way Charlotte defeated Central Michigan, Syracuse and Michigan to advance to the Final Four. Their miraculous run ended with a 51-49 loss to Vic Bubas, seen here with CBS’ Dick Stockton, helped form the Sun Belt Conference in 1976 and served as the league’s commissioner from 1976 to 1990. The Sun Belt’s all-sports trophy, the Vic Bubas Cup, is named in his eventual national champion honor. Marquette. Star forward Cedric Formed in 1976 the Sun Belt Conference Maxwell was selected in the quickly rose to the greatest heights of collegiate first round of the NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics. athletics by sending a team to the NCAA Final Four Maxwell was the first in a long line of great in the league’s first year of existence. Fast forward Sun Belt men’s basketball stars, as 11 total players 36 years and the league again finds itself at the have gone on to be first-round selections in the pinnacle of collegiate athletics as a member of NBA Draft. Those draftees include Dee Brown the 11 league alliance of the Bowl Championship (Jacksonville – Boston Celtics, 1990), Ervin Johnson Series. Through it all, the constant has always (New Orleans – Seattle Sonics, 1993), Derek Fisher been success, progress and academic excellence. (UALR – Los Angeles Lakers, 1996) and Courtney Lee (Western Kentucky University – Orlando The Early Years Magic, 2008). The Sun Belt Conference was founded on In addition to its early found success in August 4, 1976 with New Orleans, South Alabama, men’s basketball, the Sun Belt Conference proved Georgia State, Jacksonville, North Carolinato be a leader in the evolution of the game as well. Charlotte and South Florida participating in four In 1978 New Orleans defeated South men’s sports: basketball, golf, soccer and tennis. Alabama, 22-20, in the conference tournament

1976

championship in a “slowdown” game. As a direct result of this game, the Sun Belt Conference was given approval by the NCAA to adopt a 45-second shot clock for use in conference basketball games for the 1978-79 season. The shot clock has had an everlasting impact on the game of basketball and the Sun Belt Conference is noted for its conception. 1978 was also the beginning of a new way of formatting the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and the NCAA announced the Sun Belt Conference would be one of 24 conferences in the nation that would be given automatic entry into future NCAA basketball national championship playoffs. The NCAA also declared the Sun Belt as one of 16 conferences who would receive a first-round bye in the 1979 tournament. Hall of Fame head coach Gene Bartow led a number of impressive Alabama-Birmingham men’s basketball squads during the early 1980s with teams that would compete in seven consecutive NCAA Tournaments with stops in the Elite Eight and Sweet Sixteen along the way. UAB joined the league along with Virginia Commonwealth in 1979. Western Kentucky University and Old Dominion would later join the league in 1981. Further showing its trendsetting nature and evolution, the conference becomes one of the first collegiate organizations to form its own inhouse regional television network with conference game-of-the-week telecasts beginning in January 1978. The next year, the Sun Belt Conference became known as a leader in college sports broadcasting by being the first conference to sign a long-term contract with the ESPN cable network. Since that time the Sun Belt Conference has had 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 11


1983

Former Sun Belt member Old Dominion defeated Western Kentucky in the finals of the 1983 Sun Belt Championship. Both teams would go on to reach the Women’s Final Four that year.

every men’s basketball championship game broadcasted live on ESPN – making it the longest partnership between ESPN and any collegiate athletic conference. Aside from men’s basketball, the Sun Belt Conference would add additional sports during the first 10 years of the league. Old Dominion won the first-ever Sun Belt Conference women’s basketball tournament in 1983, defeating WKU 78-67. ODU then defeated St. John’s, Maryland, and Penn State to reach the NCAA Final Four. Future Olympian Anne Donovan of Old Dominion became the first women’s recipient of the Naismith Trophy, recognizing the nation’s finest player. The Sun Belt became the first conference to place two teams in the women’s basketball NCAA Final Four as Old Dominion and Western Kentucky earned their way to Austin, Texas in 12 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

1985. WKU reached the Final Four by defeating Middle Tennessee, Texas, and Mississippi, while Old Dominion defeated Syracuse, North Carolina State and Ohio State. WKU lost its semifinal match up to Georgia (91-78), but ODU defeated Northeast Louisiana (now Louisiana-Monroe) in the semi-finals and Georgia (70-65) for the national championship. With trips to the Final Four in hand and groundbreaking television deals the Sun Belt Conference proved early on that success and progress were going to be the backbone of the conference. But that was just the beginning for the league. Future decades had change in mind. Changes sparked new members, additional sports and eventually the evolution of the Sun Belt Conference as a member of the Bowl Championship Series. Sun Belt and American South Merger American South Conference members Arkansas State, Central Florida, Lamar, Louisiana Tech, New Orleans, Southwestern Louisiana (now

Louisiana-Lafayette) and Texas-Pan American joined UALR and existing Sun Belt Conference members Jacksonville, South Alabama and Western Kentucky when the two conferences merged in 1991. The newfound alignment of the league had little problems replicating the success of the early years of the league. In fact, teams from the Sun Belt Conference would once again reach the pinnacle of success during the 1990s. Louisiana Tech and WKU provided some of the most noted women’s basketball teams of all time during the decade. Both programs would reach the national championship game in the Women’s Final Four. Louisiana Tech would make multiple appearances in the Women’s Final Four during the 1990s. In 1993, Arkansas State’s women’s basketball team defeated George Washington, Marquette and SMU to win the

Sun Belt Membership (1976-present) Institution (Years).....................No. of Yrs. South Alabama (1976-pres.).................36 WKU (1982-pres.)....................................30 New Orleans (1976-80; 1991-2010)....... 24 Jacksonville (1976-98)................................ 22 UALR (1991-pres.)...................................21 Arkansas State (1991-pres.)..................21 Louisiana-Lafayette (1991-pres.).........21 Charlotte (1976-91)...................................... 15 South Florida (1976-91)............................. 15 FIU (1998-pres.).......................................14 Denver (1999-pres.)...............................13 UAB (1979-91)................................................ 12 VCU (1979-91)................................................ 12 Middle Tennessee (2000-pres.)............12 North Texas (2000-pres.).......................12 Louisiana-Monroe (2001-pres.)...........11 Louisiana Tech (1991-2001)...................... 10 ODU (1982-1991).............................................9 Troy (2004-pres.)......................................8 Florida Atlantic (2005-pres.)...................7 Lamar (1991-98)...............................................7 Texas-Pan American (1991-98)...................7 Georgia State (1976-81)................................5 New Mexico State (2000-05).......................5 Idaho (football, 2001-04)..............................4 Utah State (football, 2003-04).....................2 Central Florida (1991-92)..............................1 Vanderbilt (men’s soccer, 1995).................1 Bold denotes current members

19


Yrs.

...36

...30

... 24

... 22

...21

...21

...21

... 15

... 15

...14

...13

... 12

... 12

...12

...12

...11

... 10

......9

.....8

.....7

......7

......7

......5

......5

......4

......2

......1

1979

In 1979 the Sun Belt Conference became known as a leader in college sports broadcasting by being the first conference to sign a long-term contract with ESPN. Sun Belt Conference events can be seen regularly on the ESPN family of networks today.

WNIT Tournament. WKU would also add to its men’s basketball legacy in the early 1990s with multiple trips to the NCAA Sweet 16 and postseason rankings in the national polls. New Orleans also strung together a number of notable seasons in postseason men’s basketball berths. Tim Floyd was named Sun Belt Coach of the Year in 1993 after the Privateers reached No. 17 in the national rankings. The 1990s also saw the emergence of the Sun Belt Conference as a power in college baseball. In fact, the Sun Belt Conference has sent multiple teams to the NCAA tournament each year since 1988. The 23-year streak of having two or more teams reach NCAA play is matched by only four other conferences (ACC, Big West, SEC, Pac10).

......1

Sun Belt Football and the 2000s The year 2000 started off with a bang for the Sun Belt Conference as Louisiana-Lafayette’s

baseball team defeated No. 1 ranked South Carolina to advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. The Ragin’ Cajuns posted victories against San Jose State and Clemson before finishing third overall. Their College World Series appearance is the only one by a school while a member of the Sun Belt Conference (New Orleans made it in 1984). Florida International, New Orleans and South Alabama also reached the NCAA post-season that year. The most noted news of the early 2000s though was that the Sun Belt Conference began sponsoring football at the Division I-A level (now known as the Football Bowl Subdivision) in 2001 and an automatic bowl tie-in was formed for its conference champion in the New Orleans Bowl. Prior to the 2001 season only LouisianaLafayette had competed at the Division I-A level for the entirety of its program’s history. New members North Texas, Middle Tennessee and New Mexico State would take on the task of maturing into I-A programs along with Arkansas State and

football only members Idaho and LouisianaMonroe. The conference’s automatic berth into the New Orleans Bowl gave the league credibility, but wins would be needed to show that the league could contend at the highest level of the game. North Texas carried that responsibility well in the early years of Sun Belt Conference football. The Mean Green would represent the league for four consecutive seasons in the New Orleans Bowl. One of the first shining moments in Sun Belt football history came in the second New Orleans Bowl in 2002 when North Texas defeated Conference USA co-champion Cincinnati 24-19. More memorable moments would soon follow, but not before the league’s membership took on additional changes. Utah State joined the league briefly as a football playing member but departed along with Idaho and New Mexico State following the 2004 season. Troy joined the league as a football only in 2004 and would join as an allsports member soon thereafter. Florida Atlantic joined initially as a football only member in 2005

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 13


and would also enter competition in all sports a couple of years later. FIU, a league member since the late 1990s, began competition in football in 2005 and WKU, a longtime league member, began competition in 2009. Louisiana-Monroe, a founding member of the football league, would join as all-sports member as well. As the Sun Belt Conference evolved with new members and new found success – the league earned two bowl berths for the first time in 2004 – the state of the Football Bowl Subdivision would also evolve. The Sun Belt Conference entered the ranks of the Bowl Championship Series when the BCS restructured prior to the 2006 season. The Sun Belt Conference now found itself as one of 31 NCAA conferences that sponsor multiple sports, but the league was now one of only 11 to participate in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). With that lofty standing, expectations for the Sun Belt Conference are as high as ever and the league and its member institutions have consistently delivered in the past few years. Because of its status as a member of the Football Bowl Subdivision coalition, the Sun Belt Conference has a permanent seat on the NCAA’s 18-member Board of Directors. As a result, the conference has a crucial voice on some of the most pressing issues in college athletics and will always have a role in the implementation of any future NCAA legislation and guidelines. The conference continues to utilize television to grow and promote the league and its member institutions. The Sun Belt Conference signed a new multi-year agreement with ESPN, Inc. in January of 2009 that has resulted in unprecedented national coverage for the league. Additionally, ESPN televised the conference’s men’s basketball championship game for the 14 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

23

The Sun Belt Conference has sent at least two teams to the NCAA Baseball Tournament for 23 consecutive seasons. Additionally, the league has sent three or more teams to the NCAAs in 8 of the last 13 seasons. UALR (above) won the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Championship, the program’s first ever SBC baseball crown.

31st straight season in 2011, marking its longest affiliation with any conference in the country. The conference’s regional television partnership with Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS) and Cox Sports Television (CST) enables live telecasts of Sun Belt events to reach millions of households. The addition of volleyball, baseball and softball to the conference’s television package has resulted in more national and regional television exposure for the league than at any time in its history. The Sun Belt Conference has also partnered with multiplatform Internet provider

NeuLion to deliver a full-service, customized, public and premium website to provide fans with a broad range of real-time information and content about the conference’s athletic teams. The Sun Belt is one of the few conferences in the nation to provide video highlights and features on its website from each of the league’s respective championships. This technology serves as a great recruiting tool for schools by enabling anyone in the world with Internet access to view the conference’s championship events. Success has been easy to find in recent years as well.


Since the 2005 football season – the first season following major college football realignment – the Sun Belt Conference ranks fifth out of the 11 FBS conferences in postseason bowl game winning percentage. In fact, the Sun Belt Conference ranks ahead of noted “Big Six” leagues – the Big 12, ACC and the Big Ten. Furthermore, the Sun Belt Conference outpaces its nonautomatic qualifying BCS partners in the WAC, Conference USA and the MAC. The world has taken notice of the Sun Belt Conference as well. Proof of that comes

2,895

As of this year, Sun Belt men’s coaches had amassed a total of 2,895 career victories (2,895-2,147, a 57.4 winning percentage). USA’s Ronnie Arrow (above) is the SBC’s current active leader in Sun Belt wins with 102 - just nine shy of Gene Bartow for the SBC record.

as the league now has two automatic tie-ins to postseason bowl games. The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl recently extended its agreements with the Sun Belt Conference ensuring that a Sun Belt team will play in that bowl game through 2013 (the league has sent a team to that game every year since the game’s inception in 2001). The Sun Belt Conference also signed an agreement with the GoDaddy.com Bowl, played annually in Mobile, Alabama, that will ensure a Sun Belt team plays in that bowl game through 2013. There has been no shortage of success in the league’s other sports as well in recent years. The Sun Belt Conference has sent at least two teams to the NCAA Baseball Tournament for 23 consecutive seasons. Additionally, the league has sent three or more teams to the NCAAs in 8 of the last 13 seasons. In women’s basketball, the Sun Belt Conference has sent multiple teams to the Women’s NCAA Basketball Championship in three of the last five seasons. This past season UALR and Middle Tennessee both represented the league in the NCAA postseason. Additionally, 2011 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Chastity Reed from UALR was honored as an All-American and was selected in the WNBA Draft. The league has had five players selected in the WNBA Draft in the last five years. Once a home to noted men’s basketball coaches like Gene Bartow, Tim Floyd, Wimp Sanderson, Sonny Smith, Lee Rose, Cliff Ellis and Lou Henson the Sun Belt Conference now boasts noted names such as Mike Jarvis and John Brady as league head coaches. As of this year, Sun Belt men’s coaches had amassed a total of 2,895 career victories (2,895-2,147, a 57.4 winning percentage). That number is good enough to rank in the top five nationally for total victories by a conference’s coaches. That’s more wins than the 12 coaches in the SEC can boast – they total 2,773 victories

combined. And is more than either the Big 12 Conference (2,236) or Conference USA (2,257) with the same number of schools. One of the nation’s all-time greatest softball programs resides in the Sun Belt Conference as Louisiana-Lafayette has advanced to the NCAA Women’s College World Series on five occasions. Most recently, the Ragin’ Cajuns played in the annual WCWS in 2008. Additionally, the Sun Belt Conference led the nation in highest total attendance and average attendance per session for its 2011 Softball Championship held in Lafayette. A record three Sun Belt Conference women’s golf teams were selected to participate in the 2011 NCAA Regional Championship as Denver, North Texas and FIU competed in the field. Not to be outdone, three Sun Belt men’s golf teams were selected to the NCAA Regional Championships as North Texas, Middle Tennessee and Denver represented the league. The Sun Belt Conference has sent at least two teams to the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship for 12 consecutive seasons. Sun Belt Academic Excellence and Noted Alumni The Sun Belt Confernce comprises 12 institutions of higher learning while sponsoring 19 championship sports for men and women. Each of the 19 sports has seen numerous team and individual accomplishments, but in the realm of academic excellence nearly every Sun Belt Conference school is currently graduating its student-athletes at a rate higher than its respective school’s student body. Over 90% of Sun Belt Conference teams earned a multiyear Academic Progress Rate of over 925 as the National Collegiate Athletic Association 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 15


as well as additional Sun Belt administrators and other national leaders campaigning for academic progress. This past year’s Academic Summit concentrated on a detailed analysis and evaluation of each member institution’s academic support services, including its facilities and resources used to provide academic support to all studentathletes. There was also a NCAA staff liaison in attendance from the Committee on Academic Performance that presented on many of the national hot topics and specifically the academic reform concepts for two-year college transfers. Also discussed were the institutional policies in place at each campus regarding missed class-time and the assessment of academic risk of both the program and of the individual student-athlete. North Texas’ new football stadium is one of several new facilities in the Sun Belt Conference which will be opening this fall. In fact, since 2000, nearly a half a billion dollars has been spent at Sun Belt Conference institutions in capital improvements for its athletics facilities. Prominent Sun Belt alumni include former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice These awards are given each year to teams scoring (Denver), NFL Hall of Fame football player “Mean” (NCAA) recently announced. The Academic in the top 10 percent in each sport with their APRs. Joe Greene (North Texas) former All-Star baseball Progress Rate is a real-time measure of eligibility player Luis Gonzalez (South Alabama), former AllMiddle Tennessee had three total teams listed, and retention of student-athletes competing on Star baseball player Mike Lowell (2007 MLB World while North Texas had two teams recognized. every Division I sports team. The Division I Board UALR, Louisiana-Monroe, Denver, FIU and Western Series MVP, FIU), former member of the United of Directors set cut scores of 925 and 900 (out of States Senate and House of Representatives Kentucky each had one team recognized. 1,000) as a threshold for teams to meet or face John Breaux (Louisiana-Lafayette), country music Over the last several years success in possible immediate and historical sanctions. In superstar Tim McGraw (Louisiana-Monroe), and the classroom has rapidly increased around the total, 92.4% of Sun Belt Conference teams earned actor Andy Garcia (FIU). a multiyear APR score over 925. Seven institutions SBC. During 2010-11, the Sun Belt recognized The conference’s first 35 years have over 1,600 student-athletes for their academic had 100% of their programs score above the also produced numerous individual national excellence in the classroom. 925 mark. Those institutions are: UALR, Denver, champions along with Olympic track medalists Louisiana-Lafayette, Middle Tennessee, North Each year the Sun Belt Conference hosts including Earl Bell, Tom Hill and Al Joyner an Academic Summit designed for member Texas, Troy and Western Kentucky. Arkansas institutions to discuss academic support programs (Arkansas State), Hollis Conway (LouisianaState, Florida Atlantic and FIU all had 94% of their programs score above the 925 mark. for student-athletes and plans for academic reform Lafayette), and Tayna Lawrence (FIU). Old Dominion’s Anne Donovan, who received the within the league. The Academic Summit is an The NCAA also announced that ten Sun Naismith Trophy recognizing the nation’s top Belt Programs were honored with the association’s annual meeting scheduled to coincide with the women’s basketball player in 1983, helped the Sun Belt Conference Basketball Championships. Public Recognition Awards. Seven of the 12 United States win the Olympic gold medal in Sun Belt Conference member institutions were Since its inception in 2008, the Academic Summit 1984 and helped the Lady Monarchs capture the has been a well received gathering for league recognized by the award which is based on their national championship in 1985. Presidents, Athletic Directors, Faculty Athletic most recent multi-year Academic Progress Rates. Representatives, Academic Support Personnel,

500,000,000

16 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference


2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 17


2010-11

Vic Bubas Cup

All-Sports Award Standings Total Rank Points

For the seventh time in 11 years since joining the Sun Belt Conference, Middle Tennessee's athletic department has won the Vic Bubas Cup as the top overall sports program in the league. The Bubas Cup is given to the league school that has gained the most cumulative points in the conference’s 19 sponsored sports. The Blue Raiders, who scored 126.5 total points (out of a possible 189), were presented their seventh trophy during the league's spring meetings in Destin, Fla. Western Kentucky finished second with 113 points. Arkansas State (109), North Texas (104) and Florida International (98.5) rounded out the top five. Since 2000, either MTSU or WKU has won the award - which has been in existence since 1977. Middle Tennessee won or shared six conference championships during the 2010-11 campaign to secure its third straight all-sports title and fourth over the last five years. The Blue Raiders won the prestigious title in 2001, which was their first year in the SBC, and again in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2010. Middle Tennessee becomes just the third school in Sun Belt history to win the award seven times and no school has won the award more since the Blue Raiders 18 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

SOC

VOL

FB

1. MT

126.5

MXC WXC 10

8

11

12

7

MSD WSD MITF WITF MBK WBK MTN WTN MGO -

-

9

8

9

11

7

3

5.5

WGO 10

SBL MOTF WOTF BSL 2

5

7.5

1.5

2. WKU

113

8

11

7.5

9

1

2

5

8

11

8

8

1

1

1

1

3

10

11

6.5

3. ASU

109

3.5

9

4

10

5.5

-

-

6

10

11

7

-

7

8

6

-

8

10

4

4. NT

104

6

6

10

11

3

-

4

7

9

6

1.5

-

10

9.5

8

1

3

9

-

5. FIU

98.5

2

3

9

8

8.5

-

3

3

7

2

10

-

12

-

7

6.5

1

7.5

9

6. ULL

86.5

1

1

5.5

5.5

3

-

-

5

5

11

3.5

3

11

7

-

9

4

4

8

7. USA

83

9

7

3

5.5

-

-

-

1

3

4.5

5

6

5

5.5

4

6.5

7

6

5

8. FAU

82.5

5

10

5.5

3

3

1

2

-

6

11

3.5

4

4

2

3

8

-

5

6.5

9. DENVER

80

-

-

12

7

-

3

6

-

-

7

9

5

9

11

11

-

-

-

-

10. TROY

76.5

3.5

5

7.5

2

8.5

-

-

-

4

4.5

1.5

2

6

3

5

5

6

3

10

11. ULM

63.5

7

2

1

1

5.5

-

-

2

2

1

6

-

8

9.5

2

4

9

2

1.5

12. UALR

63

11

4

2

4

-

-

1

4

1

3

12

-

2

4

9

-

2

1

3

All-Time Bubas Cup Champions 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985

Jacksonville South Florida South Florida South Florida South Florida South Florida Old Dominion South Florida South Florida

1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994

South Florida Western Kentucky South Alabama South Alabama South Florida South Alabama South Alabama South Alabama South Alabama

joined the league in 2000-01. "We make this a goal of ours every year, and it's really a culmination of the hard work of the student athletes and their drive to compete for championships," said Director of Athletics Chris Massaro. The Blue Raiders' All-Sports Championship was bolstered by regular season titles in volleyball and women's basketball, and conference post-season championships in volleyball, women's soccer, men's indoor track, and men's tennis. Additionally, four Middle Tennessee coaches earned Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year honors - Jimmy Borendame (men's tennis), Dean Hayes (men's indoor track), Matt Peck (volleyball), and Whit Turnbow (men's golf ).

1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003

Arkansas State South Alabama South Alabama Arkansas State South Alabama South Alabama Middle Tennessee Western Kentucky Western Kentucky

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

Middle Tennessee Middle Tennessee Western Kentucky Middle Tennessee Western Kentucky Middle Tennessee Middle Tennessee Middle Tennessee

Middle Tennessee is the only football-playing member to win the Bubas Cup since football became a league-sponsored sport in 2001. South Alabama has captured the Bubas Cup a record 10 times since 1977 while former league member South Florida has won the award nine times. Originally known as the "Commissioner's Cup", the award was later renamed in honor of Vic Bubas, the first Commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference. Bubas, who is a member of the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, helped found the Sun Belt Conference in 1976 and served as Commissioner of the league until 1990.


SBC Academics Continue to Rise Story by Sun Belt Media Relations

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or the fourth consecutive year Sun Belt Conference student-athletes topped the 1,500 mark of Commissioner’s List and Academic Honor Roll award winners. This year the winners totaled 1,659 student-athletes with 797 of them being on the Commissioner’s List. The Commissioner’s List is comprised of student-athletes who received a grade point average of 3.5 or higher for the previous academic year. This year’s total of 797 was a new all-time high for the Sun Belt Conference, breaking the previous record set for the 2009-10 year of 795. The league also had a total of 862 student-athletes named to the Academic Honor Roll, which is awarded to those maintaining a 3.0-3.49 GPA. “Over the past four years we have witnessed a rise in overall academic performance by our institutions and the numbers over that time frame prove that,” said Sun Belt Conference Assistant Commissioner for Compliance and Educational Services Dominick Giambrone. Western Kentucky topped all 12 SBC institutions with 221 student-athletes on both the Commissioner’s List and Academic Honor Roll. North Texas was second with 170, while Middle Tennessee and Louisiana-Lafayette tied for third with 159 selections each. Football had the most student-athletes selected total with 237, while women’s soccer placed 219 on both lists. 863 student-athletes on the lists were comprised of seniors (463) or juniors (400). 10 of 12 Sun Belt Conference schools are currently graduating their student-athletes at a higher rate than their student body.

Over 90% of Sun Belt Conference teams earned a multiyear Academic Progress Rate (APR) of over 925 as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) released its annual APR report in May. In total, 92.4% of Sun Belt Conference teams earned a multiyear APR score over 925. Seven institutions had 100% of their programs score above the 925 mark, those institutions are: UALR, Denver, Louisiana-Lafayette, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Troy and Western Kentucky. Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic and FIU all had 94% of their programs score above the 925 mark. “As a whole, Sun Belt Conference member institutions are hitting the mark for APR,” Giambrone added. “Our institutions are committed to monitoring and maintaining their APR scores.”

tutional policies we have in place at each campus regarding missed class-time, and the assessment of academic risk of both the program and of the individual student-athlete.

ACADEMIC SUMMIT Since its inception in 2008, the Academic Summit has been a well received gathering for league Presidents, Athletic Directors, Faculty Athletic Representatives, Academic Support Personnel, as well as additional Sun Belt administrators and other national leaders campaigning for academic progress. This past year’s Academic Summit concentrated on a detailed analysis and evaluation of each member institution’s academic support services, including its facilities and resources used to provide academic support to all student-athletes. We also had the NCAA staff liaison for the Committee on Academic Performance that presented on many of the national hot topics and specifically the academic reform concepts for two-year college transfers. Finally, we discussed the insti2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 19


20 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference


Sun Belt Commissioner’s List Student-Athletes with a 3.5 or higher GPA

The Sun Belt Conference Commissioner's List recognizes academic excellence by student-athletes for the 2010-11 academic year. This year's Commissioner's List is comprised of a conference record 797 student-athletes that received a grade point average of 3.50 or higher during the academic year. The total of 797 was a new all-time high for the Sun Belt Conference, breaking the previous record set for the 2009-10 year of 795. Baseball (51) Jason Houston William Huffman Ryan Juris Andrew Loe John Maler Casey McCollum Ryan Montgomery Art Slayton Kaleb Brown Cory Kyle John Jacob Lee Zach Maggio Logan Uxa Mason McVay Jose Velazquez Brandon Clark Daniel Cloteaux Benjamin Frith Alex Fuselier Matthew Goulas Matt Hicks Michael Petello Thomas Simoneaux Trask Switzenberg Jeffrey Fuller Jarrett Hammond Jordy Poche John Steed Mickey Acker Keaton Baker Tyler Hyde Timothy McDade Kenneth Roberts Matthew Yurus Jake LeBlanc Jordan Patterson

University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Florida International University Florida International University University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of South Alabama University of South Alabama

Thomas Austin Joseph Hillyer Daniel Peterson Tyler Ray Tyler Vaughn Matthew Bracken Ryan Crabtree Brian Doering Casey Dykes Ross Hammonds Ivan Hartle Joseph Jackson Edward Murray James Rice Kaleb Thompson Men’s Basketball (15) Richard Leeper Logan Quinn Chase Hallam Travis Hallam Brian Stafford Tyler Thalken Christopher Udofia Justin Davis Steven Miro David Perez Matt Cline Todd Martin Levan Patsatsia Caden Dickerson Tyler Jenkins WoMen’s Basketball (25) Nia Gregory Chastity Reed Asriel Rolf

Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver Florida Atlantic University Florida International University University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of South Alabama University of South Alabama Troy University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Jane Morrill Hanna Qedan Abbey Leichliter Morgan Shell Alison Janecek Brianna Tisch Kimberly Smith Elisa Carey Fanni Hutlassa Liene Jekabsone Carmen Miloglav Kassie Courtney Kathryn Lonsberry Nicole Tucker Laken Leonard Jordyn Luffman Ebony Rowe Caitlin Hawkins Tamara Torru Sarah Workman Siedah Banks Chaney Means Football (74) Ryan Aplin Matt Baltensperger Brock Barnhill Graham Bates Jeff Blake Phillip Butterfield Tom Castilaw Brian Davis Kevin Galindo Nathan Herrold Nicholas Lorigan Nick Nelms Cody Prater Kenneth Rains Glynn Riels William Boyd Ryan Wilbourn William Wilson Sterling Young Chase Dickinson Alfred Morris Jordan Sessa Andrew Stryffeler Graham Wilbert Wesley Carroll Michael Davies

Arkansas State University Arkansas State University University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver Florida Atlantic University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of South Alabama Western Kentucky University

Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida International University Florida International University

Joshua Forney Tyler Albrecht Boris Anyama Terrance Broadway John Broussard William Christian Brock Guidry Christian Masson Brad McGuire Alvin Jordan Jordan Karriman Drayton Allen-Calhoun Jarrett Crittenton Christopher Hawkins Roderick Issac Jeremy Kellem Zach Martin Jeremy Michel Phillip Tanner Nathaniel Toulson Maxwell Ugboaja Adam Wood Ryan Boutwell Ivan Delgado Jared Harrison Kelvin Jackson Micah Mosley Brent Osborn Andrew Power William Robertson Esteban Santiago Konockus Sashington Nicolas Summerfield Marquis Sykes John Gray III Cody Johnson John Kent Dustin Boyer Tavis Ciochetty Cameron Clemmons John Doyle Joseph Dunphy Vincent Santoro Chrysley Schroeder Luke Stansfield Seth Tamme Casey Tinius Christopher Young Men’s Golf (32)

Florida International University University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas Troy University Troy University Troy University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 21


Keith Becker Linus Gillgren Felipe Velazquez Johann Voss Sean Brock Alexander Hewitt Chance Holden Peter Lewin Robert Radler Tommy Eagan Troy Anderson Kevin Gillick Ole Ramsnes Philip Fendt Jeremy Cross Tim Hardham Alex Malmay Samuel Bulle Brett Patterson Paul Sansom Sam Thompson Marco Scarola Tyler Spinella Garth Boyd Lane Hulse Tyler Klava McLain Leberte Alexander Barnes Kyle Thommesen William Thompson Logan Edelen Robert Kirby woMen’s Golf (45) Daniele Vial Anna Carling Jennifer Loiacano Courtney Manning Alyson Seng Clara Tefteller Jennifer Welch Victoria Bauman Anna Christenson Lindsay Cone Tonje Daffinrud Sarah Faller Eleanor Givens Melissa Martin Elisabetta Bertini Marilyne Cadieux Kayla DeSuza Brooke McPoyle Jennifer Norton Katie Mundy Lea Cardwell Britany Hanna

University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama Troy University Troy University Troy University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

University of Arkansas at Little Rock Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida International University University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe

22 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

Lina Svensson Lagergren Ali Lucas Natalie Chrisopulos Stephanie Gough Ashley Haggard Stephanie Smith Chandra Alexander Chaslyn Chrismer Ji Ye Chun Katie Paxton Kristen Golightly Nina Offenberg Anna Sellen Mary Balkcom Sara Fennvik Haley Lawrence Anna Rohrbacher Hannah Brantley Jordan Magruder Amy O’Connell JoAnna Smith Dawn Wientjes Kristen Wilkinson Women’s Soccer (137) Danielle Dunsworth Taylor Gabbert Holly Holland Rachel Maina Kamiya Merrick Michele Pittman Kristen Semko Sarah Thatcher Megan Zollinger Susan Brown Michele Clark Alexandra Furr Christine Giles Ashley Jackson Anna Kaloghirou Bethany Kremer Meghan Mace Mallory McGilvray Ashley McMurty Lindsey Patterson Victoria Pitts Stasha Siers Miranda Wiley Kaitlin Bast Jessica Battelli Bria Beardsley Lara Campbell Amelia Davis Megan Flannery Kristen Hamilton Alison Kenney

University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver

Maria Khan Kathryn Van Lieshout Kelsey Quinn Sara Riazi Jessica Rogers Kari Storslett Shaundra Ullman Stephanie Woo Janelle Blake Meghan Brown Gabriela DeVries Stephanie Ferro Jamie Greany Allison Griffin Emily Kelly Anhnhi Tran Amanda Ward Courtney Zwetsch Carlan Jones Victoria Milliucci Julietta Morano Melanie Raimo Kelsey Rene Paula Zuluaga Allison Baker Jordan Blevins Cayla Chatman Erin Gremillion Kelli Jestes Kristen Lejeune Carleigh Martin Amanda Moorefield Ariel Racca Samantha Cashman Taylor Epperson Brooke Farmer Mindi Giroir Alexandria Holland Emily Lybarger Alyssa McAtee Kylie McIntyre Ashley Moore Brittany Parker Amy Porch Paige Goeglein Madison Harper Emily Harris Greta Jochmann Morgan Jones Whitney Jorgenson Laura Lamberth Luisa Moscoso Lindsey Sisco Allison Stallard Kara Brooks Shannon Gorrie Amanda Hall

University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas

Jordan Howell Julie Lackey Lauren Manning Haley Newsom Kelsey Perlman Loreli Ramsey Stacie Bevens Julie Buechner Jacey Chandler Clarissa Hernandez Rachael Hess Morgan Motes Jessica Oram Shelby Owen Emi Passini Tina Schaar Kaitlyn Thacker Margaret Vicker Katie Cooper Kaitlyn Jones April Madden Ceil Martinec Jacqlyn O’Shea Anna Owen Jillian Pinder Ruth Sutcliffe Cecilia Thorngren Katlyn Barnes Shannon Boone Lauren Crowder Andrea Curry Lindsey Goad Chelsea Grover Victoria Lange Stephanie Lindsey Cheryl Onwu Taryn O’shea Katrina Ott Mallory Outerbridge Kaylyn Pratt Courtney Rymer Christen Sims Chelsea Smith Alison Stahlke Kayla Steber Sarah Sweeney Christiana Tchoula Margaret Wilder Lindsay Williams Softball (55) Ashlyn Parmerter Kasey Barrett Kayla Burri Ashley Brignac Sarah Draheim Courtney Hollier

University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

Florida Atlantic University Florida International University Florida International University University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette


Christine Orgeron Kaitlin Smith Natalie Fernandez Megan Waterman Roxane Cassel Jessica Chastka Elena Dimattia Jessica Olguin Charlotte Pastor Melissa Rivera Elise West Lacey Willis Kelsey Dortch Casey Horner Jessica Ives Catherine Jutson Lauren Keele Shelby Lamb Kristi Marquez Anna Barren Courtney Bradshaw Mallory Cantler Ashley Kirk Lauren Poole Jessica Shields Hannah Campbell Meghan Collins Morgan Druhan Sara Hilton Julie Moss Haley Richards Jenny Stevens Ashley Adkins Kortney Cooper Hayden Gann Lauren Griffith Michelle Hewett Haley Hutchins Kelly Luquette Kacie McAllister Melissa Pratt Ciara Garcia Kelsie Mattox Dana Nathanson Kellie Quarles Mallorie Sulaski Shelby Taylor Amanda Walden Sara Williams Men’s Tennis (25) Enej Bonin Alexander Clinkenbeard Varun Gunaseelan Marc Abdelnour Ervin Garibovic Carl Alberton

University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Brandon Farine Yanick Mandl Daniel Alban Robert Voss Elliot Barnwell Richard Cowden Benjamin Davis Matthew Langley Dimitrios Pippos Kyle Wishing Parker Allen Cody Hall Christian Kuehne Branko Weber Lance Freeman William Martin Arul Selvan Patrick De Seroux Bobby Whitmer WoMen’s Tennis (45) Nathalia Garay Veronique Luksich Rachel Pierce Viktoriya Pluyta Andrea Steen-Rosten Rebecca Van den Houte Emily Crowe Ceara Howey Biljana Miloshevska Janie Nowland Tina Ojdanic Ioana Teu Elena Najera-Salas Caroline Schnell Hannah Findlay Justine Humair Erika Mrazkova Natasha Phillips Liset Brito Christine Seredni Maria Vallasciani Sandra Ahlqvist Mia Gordon Israel Milou Medy Blankvoort Claire Clark Taylor Shepherd Monica Winkel Marietta Bigus Alexandra Dachos Lisa Maas Paula Dinuta Nadia Lee Shannon Mackenzie Madura Ranganathan Jess Courtnell

University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama Troy University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University University of Denver University of Denver Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of South Alabama

Chane Hines Katie Welch Karoline Grymel Leanne Caplinger Alexandra Crofford McKinley Mason Monta Reinfelde Megan Stephens Carrie True Men’s Swimming & Diving (21) Jorge Palma Fraga Ian Francis Ryan Holly Douglas Mackenzie Scott Madaras Kyle Milberg Adam Pettyes Clayton Myers Joseph Thelen Adam Corbin Mikolaj Czarnecki Mark Gettino Tyler Griffith Eric Jackwin Trevor Lowe Csaba Pek John Walsh Charles Dalton Adam Pendry Heitor Rodrigues Sean Shannon WOMen’s Swimming & Diving (56) Rebecca McEachern Catherine Myers Krysten Rezac Sara Beth Slinkard Amy Tran Kyrene Clarke Gretchen Cohen Hayley Ettelson Melissa Greeves Jacqueline Leung Kirsten Milberg Katy Motsinger Katie Naze Kristin Schmid Bailey Beins Elizabeth Yovich Maegan Butler Jennifer Garland Alexandra Gonzalez Erin Hersey Janelle Nassim Michala Nowak

University of South Alabama University of South Alabama Troy University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University

Jessica Pruitt Florida Atlantic University Emily Scraggs Florida Atlantic University Kaitlin Smits Florida Atlantic University Chelsie Kidd Florida International University Colleen Quinn Florida International University Danielle Snier Florida International University Jamie Stinson Florida International University Madison Fleming University of North Texas Mary Beth Geeze University of North Texas Kelly Gordon University of North Texas Leanne Hill University of North Texas Kaitlynn Jackson University of North Texas Natalie Jakopin University of North Texas Samantha Kluttz University of North Texas Carleigh Kutac University of North Texas Bronwyn Lewis University of North Texas Hiliary Riedmann University of North Texas Kendall Schmid University of North Texas Rebecca Taylor University of North Texas Kirsten Tuttle University of North Texas Beverly Weickgenant University of North Texas Alexis Widacki University of North Texas Kaitlyn Casper Western Kentucky University Laurel Chaney Western Kentucky University Caitlin Dean Western Kentucky University Claire Donahue Western Kentucky University Brittany Doss Western Kentucky University Chelsea Jordan Western Kentucky University Krista Mantay Western Kentucky University Hilary Mishler Western Kentucky University Kristiana Feeser Noenhold Western Kentucky University Georgia Smith Western Kentucky University Chelsea Stephens Western Kentucky University Margaret Stringer Western Kentucky University Men’s Cross Country/Track & Field (55) Casey Canady University of Arkansas at Little Rock Nathan Carr University of Arkansas at Little Rock Charles Cox University of Arkansas at Little Rock Kyle Houston University of Arkansas at Little Rock Barrett Kerth University of Arkansas at Little Rock Felix Maritim University of Arkansas at Little Rock Brandon Tucker University of Arkansas at Little Rock Lucas Bateman Arkansas State University Justin Becton Arkansas State University Bailey Bunyan Arkansas State University Ryutaro Kinjo Arkansas State University Christopher Nicasio Arkansas State University William Oliver Arkansas State University Devin Reed Arkansas State University Rusty Staggs Arkansas State University Ryan Davis Florida Atlantic University Jordan Dopkins Florida Atlantic University Taylor Reeves Florida Atlantic University Michael Bejarano Florida International University Richie Bonilla Florida International University

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 23


Andrew Blaize University of Louisiana at Lafayette William Christian University of Louisiana at Lafayette Juan Rodriguez University of Louisiana at Lafayette Patrick Spiller University of Louisiana at Lafayette Joel Taylor University of Louisiana at Lafayette Nicholas Guilbeau University of Louisiana at Monroe Ruslan Hemed University of Louisiana at Monroe Corey Williams University of Louisiana at Monroe Jeremiah Bland Middle Tennessee State University Michael Stokes Middle Tennessee State University Clinton Collins University of North Texas Nick Mahoy University of North Texas Matthew Peters University of North Texas Joshua Richard University of North Texas Patrick Strong University of North Texas Marcus Wooten University of North Texas Kenneth Zachary University of North Texas Kevin Benham Troy University To’Neko Freeman Troy University David Hudman Troy University Kemper Morton Troy University Caleb Osborne Troy University Nathan Rouse Troy University Cameron Aly Western Kentucky University Brett Austin Western Kentucky University Mark Bowers Western Kentucky University Kyle Chettleburgh Western Kentucky University Shadrack Kipchirchir Western Kentucky University Cody Napier Western Kentucky University Buddy Price Western Kentucky University Barry Quinn Western Kentucky University Jeremy Sites Western Kentucky University Lucas Somers Western Kentucky University Jeffrey Walker Western Kentucky University Matthew Wallace Western Kentucky University WOMen’s Cross Country/Track & Field (92) Addie Bloom University of Arkansas at Little Rock Taylor Brock University of Arkansas at Little Rock Jessica Dyer University of Arkansas at Little Rock Sheena Howell University of Arkansas at Little Rock Caitlin Masters Candidateon University of Arkansas at Little Rock Marissa De La Paz University of Arkansas at Little Rock Jordyn Radke University of Arkansas at Little Rock Grace Rich University of Arkansas at Little Rock Allanna Smith University of Arkansas at Little Rock Shannon Sullivan University of Arkansas at Little Rock Sanna Mustonen University of Arkansas at Little Rock Kristina Aubert Arkansas State University Kelsey Bean Arkansas State University Courtney Briney Arkansas State University Alyssa Brock Arkansas State University Emily Carroll Arkansas State University Jennifer Day Arkansas State University Jamie Fleming Arkansas State University Stephanie Foreman Arkansas State University

24 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

Sydney Foreman Mary Krug Dawn L’Heureux Kim Ludick Erica Naeger Jessica Otto Bailey Sisson Chelsea Weaver Friederike Feil Rebecca Hallam Vanessa Penates Emily Seymore Megan Supko Daniela Espino Lashae White Ta’Shania Bean Albre Brown Torri Choate Kirsten Meche Jenna Picou Jeri Sills Brittany Taylor Denise Myers Danielle O’Donnell Jerica Thomas Marla Bailey Autumn Gipson Rachel Islam France Makabu Sarah Nambawa Cherice Robertson Alissa Ruggle Stephanie Smith Carolyne Tanui Kristen Tithof Amy Alcala Shahaf Bareni Christal Brewster Kendria Burton Sara Dietz Carly Griffith Chelsea Hermes Sarah Korn Brittani Simmons Adrian Stephens Lacy Barger Leah Hixon Kendra Lowe Shayna McCarver Lindsay Schwartz Shannon Stever Bobbie Williamson Chontia Allen Catelyn Dake Haley Davies Morgan Paulson

Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida International University Florida International University University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University

Tiffany Slater Monica Akello Jane Bartonjo Vasity Chemweno Michelle Finn Monteka Flowers Rachel Friedman Megan Hale Melissa Hurd Laura Igaune Dana Porter Jensen Ricke Allison Riedling Anna Schreiner Jacklyn Stevens Suzzette Van-Lare Anna Zhidkova Volleyball (69) Rinata Aisena Kristi Block Jennifer Elbert Paige Gantar Tyleranne Lindberg Emily Pepperman Chunyan Xie Megan Baska Shelby Crncic Kelsie Hodges Allison Kearney Taylor Szypulski Jasmine Terry Alyssa Bonelli Colleen King Faimie-Rose Kingsley Cassie Ronda Kresson Vreeman Kacie Wikierak Kristen Cleland Kristyna Dzmuranova Nicole Gerig Darija Sataric Joanne Christin Tate Anne Vaughan Angelina Colon Jessica Egan Una Trkulja Jessica Wilke Kristen Armstrong Lindsay Brown Victoria Claypoole Lacy Bates Lacey Dietlin Mahogany Dilonga Michelle Farrell-Fink Iren Marinova Danielle O’Donnell

Troy University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe

Tetiana Sukach Christina Tribble Stephanie Wardach Brynne Henderson Izabela Kozon Morgan Peterson Angela Peyton Amy Huddleston Lacy Reasons Kelsey Robins Kendall Whittson Sarah Willey Rachelle Wilson Courtney Windham Jenna Hassell Katariina Kananen Samia Salomao Lea Thurm Elizabeth Clough Courtney Cohen Megan Henderson Brittany McClelland Devin Von Pingel Victoria Rogoschewsky Ashley Potts Kelly Potts Sarah Rogers Lindsay Spears Melanie Stutsman Emily Teegarden Paige Wessel

University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University


Sun Belt Academic Honor Roll Student-Athletes with a 3.0-3.49 GPA

The Sun Belt Conference Academic Honor Roll recognizes academic excellence by student-athletes for the 2010-11 academic year. This year's Academic Honor Roll is comprised of 862 studentathletes that received a grade point average of 3.00-3.49 during the academic year. Baseball (93) Hector Acosta Brock Feldmann Greg Garcia Cody Gilles Daniel Golden Travis Henke Kaleb Jobe Jake Rowell Jordan Spears Sam Vogel Chad Woods David Bowen Andres Caceres Andy Ferguson Sam Jew Dustin Jones Daniel Short Tyler Smith Matt Weiss Jason Barnes Jason Boyer Robert Buckley Sean Bukovich Taylor Everist Ahmed Garcia Alexander Hudak Jason Kitchen Mark Nelson Glen Troyanowski Jose Behar John Caballero Joel Capote Tyler Shantz David Vazquez Garrett Wittels Dustin Ardoin Chase Compton Michael Cook Tyler Cook

University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Matthew Degraauw Tyler Frederick Tyler Girouard Ethan Hebert Ryan Leonards Lance Marvel Kyle Neely Jordan Poirrier Michael Strentz Chase Traffica Robert Adams Shelby Aulds Wilson Browning Barrett Dopson Judson Edwards Mason Free Corben Green Jason Hicks Caleb Knox Zach Bailey Hunter Dawson Ryan Ford Eric Gilley Charles Henzman Hank LaRue Elliott Malone Joseph Mcclung Nicholas Montgomery Davis Pearce Damian Seguen William Skinner Judson Stoltz Cody Tollison Connor Tracy Hunt Griffith Brent Mitchell Josh Wirnsberger Tyler Hannah Jeffery McRae Ryan Sorce

University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama Troy University Troy University Troy University

Jared Andreoli Matthew Borgschulte Joseph Brian Kes Carter Brian Edelen Ryan Huck Aaron Johnson Monte Ketchum Ryan Messex Tanner Perkins David Simmons Tanner Smith Scott Wilcox Andrew Zimmerman

Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

Men’s Basketball (19) Solomon Bozeman Montrell Thornton Adam Sterrenberg Justin Coughlin Andrew Hooper Kyle Lewis Rob Lewis Trevor Noonan Paul Pickert Charles Webb Pablo Bertone Andre Mattison Colby Batiste Joshua Jones James Oden Dominique Johnson Tony Mitchell George Odufuwa Flynn Clayman

University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock Arkansas State University University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University University of Louisiana at Lafayette Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas Troy University

Women’s Basketball (38) Shanika Butler Hannah Fohne Taylor Ford Whitney Gaston-Loyd Asiah Scribner Megan Williams Shania Hurst Olivia Maddox Mekena Randle Brianna Culberson Sarah Feeney Quincey Noonan

University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver

Emiko Smith Mariana Byczkowski Latavia Dempsey Chaquera Kent Chenise Miller Breana Turner Michelle Gonzalez Timeyin Oritsesan Jean-Marie Allen D’Mya Clay Priscilla Mbiandja Jordan Rawson Sannisha Williams Janay Brinkley Anne Lanning Molly McFadden Emily Queen Clantina Stewart Alyssa Hankins Laura McCoy Mansa El Cylenthia Kennon Ronneka Robertson Ieva Nagy Hope Brown Teranie Thomas Football (163) Jacob Campbell Joshua Creel Demario Davis RJ Fleming Robert Gaston Jeremy Gibson Grant Gill Tyler Greve Clay Hart Julian Jones Derek Lawson Zachary Lisko Joseph McKee Jahbari McLennan Delano Moore Brandon Parker Justin Robertson Anthony Robinson Alfonzo Simmons Taylor Stockemer Neely Sullivent

University of Denver Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida International University Florida International University University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama Troy University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 25


Dorvus Woods Robert Zalud Joseph Bailey Marcus Bartels Stephen Curtis Alexander Deleon Carlton Falconer Andrew Gumora Brentley Harstad Andrew Haynes Derek King Devonte King Samuel McRoy Ryan Moran Anthony Morris David Terrell Timothy Woods Stephen Bailey Robert Boswell Michael Cal Jonathan Cyprien Christopher Edwards Anthony Gaitor Mike Jean-Louis Kevin Van Kirk Andrew Mattox Ashlyn Parker Zachary Schaubaut Jairus Williams Mitchell Wozniak Brett Baer Kyron Benoit Ian Burks Jonathan Decoster Chris Faber Richie Falgout Tyrell Gaddies Lemarcus Gibson Ross Goodlett Matthew Gore Shawn Hebert Blake Hollingsworth Andre Huval Joseph Jackson Brandon Johnson Brandon Nash Frederick Okoye Sean Osborne Jermaine Rogers Thomas Sager Bernard Smith Barry Sterling Hunter Stover Aaron Thibodeaux Brendan Wilson

Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette

26 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

Trace Wilson Colin Windsor Ronnie Anderson Nathaniel Brown Alexander Chace Jason Edwards Jon Fisher Dennis Fontenot Conner Fryoux Jonathan Gill Bryan Glenn Brandon Hardy Brent Leonard Anthony McCall Keavon Milton Aaron Moore Otis Peterson Darius Prelow Zachary Rhodes Theodore Smith Timothy Taylor Cody Wells Garrett Andrews William Banks Jeremiah Black Jordan Brasher Jerry Cobb Eric Davis Troyvion Edwards Mark Fisher John Gentry Antonio Hill Logan Kilgore Byron McLeod Justin Rose Tony Rowland Matthew Sprouse Spencer Wise Patrick Baine Jeremy Brown Trent Deans Jesse Desoto Kelvin Drake Shelton Gandy James Gill Robert Gordon Sean January Troy Kokjohn Michael Ladner Mike Marshall Drew Miller Zachary Orr Daniel Prior Tanner Smith Weston Squier

University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas

Michael Stojkovic Nathan Tune Jamaal Wilson Jason Bruce Jacob Creech William Goggans Donnell Golden Jamie Hampton John Henry Kyle Lucas John Silvoy Matthew Stidham Omoniyi Adebayo Jamarcus Allen Austin Baker Derrius Brooks Kevin Carrillo Jared Clendenin Tenerio Davis Benton Duvall Joseph Federspiel William Franks Nicholas Hartnett Edward Hazelett Tyler Julian Zane Karrer Preston King Kenneth Martin Andrew Pettijohn Ryan Wallace Brandon Whitty Neil Wilson Men’s Golf (40) Luis Cedeno Benjamin Etchebarne Bradley Graham Nickolas Zimmerman Jerry Hood Matthew Howton Lloyd du Preez Wallace Williamson Wessel Zwiegers Klinton Krieger Michael Baskovich Kelly McHugh Kelsey Angele Abel Ashton Peter Lamaris Andrew Noto Ethan Savoy Christoph Weninger Adam McCleary James Searson Nicholas Wilson Jang Hee Cho

University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University University of Denver Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University

Hunter Green Jordan Jennings Jason Millard David Parlane Peter Eiler Carlos Ortiz Christian Blanchet Chris Bockstael Jack Hiluta Blake Kelley David Leathem Chris Piumelli Zach Portemont William Beard Sebastian Fernandez Andrew Heiser Neil Horsley Douglas Kleeschulte

Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama Troy University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

WoMen’s Golf (19) Britney Brauburger Stephanie Tran Anna Flanrey Alyssa Goodin Sarah Landry Mary Leen Shelby Coyle Lina Billing Monica Brown Taynee Pearson Morgan Hale Brooke Bailey Taylor Kilponen Kelsey Kipp Ana Garcia Ashleigh Ryals Sofia Bjorkman Kelsey Burrell Martha Tallent

University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Florida Atlantic University Florida International University University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of South Alabama University of South Alabama Troy University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

WoMen’s Soccer (82) Danielle Car Olivia Carrasco Alicia Irwin Jacqueline Paz Jane Picarelli Kelsey Finders Chelsea Fricke Michelle Nichols Kara Nitti Megan Stoltzfus Rebecca Wheeler Lauren Cavarra Katelyn Feltch Alexis Hanks Shannen Johnson

University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver


Cassidy Larson Taylor Sims Kalie Vaughn Alexandra Bentzon Allyson Buerosse Kelly Dent Allison Griffin Tamara Kesser Ashley Lantes Breanna Lewis Alexandra Major Camille Namba Jesse Shugg Manon Transleau Jessica Vickrey Crystal McNamara April Perry Deana Rossi Katilyn Savage Kassandra Sorzano Linn Thune Chelsea Balestra Lauren Berlingo Gayla Foster Shelby Isley Brooke Perry Danielle Presley Kennedy Richards Tess Voisard Allyson Voisin Tiffany Bombard Megan Lindholm Hannah Linzay Alyssa Lopez Kelly Riley Charity Blair Jessica Gilchrist Birgitte Hauge Heidel Johannessen Vanessa Mueggler Elisabeth Sikes Emily Snowdon Hope Suominen Hannah Crawford Nicole Crocco Allison Guderian Kelsey Hodges Shelly Holt Carly McDowell Alicia Reyes Megan Riley Sarah Simpson Liz Clark Lauren Marsh Kristyn Thacker Erin Cersley

University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama Troy University

Kailani Decock Apolonia Kukla Mary Morris Nikki Stamaris Carley Zurfluh Amanda Buechel Kelsey Burnette Kiersten Ottaway Jamie Silverberg Sydney Sisler Elizabeth Stout Softball (58) Taylor Fawbush Whitley Herb Jordan Stovall Brittany Walker Alexandra Casals Jennifer Gnaidek Ashley McClain Elizabeth Peller Jenny Welch Donna Bourgeois Gabriele Bridges Nerissa Myers Callie Philen Shelbee Rodgers Jensen Tydelski Sarah Carriger Kathleen Girardi Miyuki Navarrete Stephanie Routzon Janel Salanoa Brittney Banania Jessica Couch Nina Dever Kailey McDougald Kaycee Popham Abbey Sanders Kandra Singleton Kayla Toney Kelsey Woodruff Renae Bromley Caitlin Grimes Monica Hirsch Lisa Johnson Megan Rupp Hayley Siebman Jordan Terry Brittany Campbell Christin Crocker Brittany Fowler Haley Hopkins Carolina Mendoza Kamee Vessey Miranda Ashworth

Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama Troy University

Morgan Grove Sarah Harris Nikki Hollett Jordan McAllister Callie Rawlinson Sarah Shields Taylor Smartt Ashlyn Williams Karavin Dew Elizabeth Ferrell Katrina Metoyer Brittney Perry Amanda Thomas Kimberly Wagner Olivia Watkins

Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

Men’s Tennis (16) Angel Alvarez Fabio Biasion Jens Vorkefeld Derek Madon Daniel Vardag Damian Farinola Frankie Hoar Benjamin Lee Carlin Murray Ted Nilsson Shaun Waters Romain Bocaert Jairo Seur Lucas Viel Andrew Swanson Alexander Witzgall

University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette Middle Tennessee State University University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

WoMen’s Tennis (27) Yana Kakovkina Jenny Herring Sophia Bergner Natalie Dunn Emma Isberg Stefanie Rath Natasha Basma Marlene Ryan Mariana Muci Maria Spenceley Hannah Appleyard Julie Mazinova Tara Vasovic Ana Burjaili Letha Gaigher Vivian Polak Carla Nava Aramburu Taylor Coffey Yuiri Nomoto Carolina Barboza

University of Arkansas at Little Rock Arkansas State University University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida International University Florida International University University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas

Amy Joubert Irina Paraschiv Barbora Vykydalova Bridgette Gale Julia Ivanova Alina Volman Katrina Vucina

University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama Western Kentucky University

Men’s Swimming & Diving (32) Matthews Absher Robert Barrett Jeffrey Cox Mitchell Foster Jay Giddens Nicholas Iwanicki Andrew Lee Robin Lindgren Mark Maguire Tyler Pennington Clark Tappy Chase Torgerson Coleton Worsley Robert Booth Christopher Cruts Ryan King Rafael Pena David Rudolf Michael Shimansky Louis Bunch Chad Cown Jonathan Field Christopher Housden William Kunkel Elliott Lorson Luke Musser Zachary Payne David Rayner Vincent Rominger Nicholas Slattery William Varley Jordan Vorst

University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

Women’s Swimming & Diving (57) Ashley Mullins Holly Myers Megan Nelson Kara Raney Jenna Rutecki Audra Stalzer Jaclyn Best Rachel Burns Megan Foley Grace Kittle Sara Ladner Racheal McGinnis

University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 27


Cimone Miner Michelle Needham Brittany Stadler Tia Totura Kara Wheeler Stephanie Barker Eszter Bucz Nadia Gargum Dominique Morley Chelsea Onstott Chelsea Richie Kellye Smith Alicia Stevens Sabrina Beaupre Kelly Boyd Sabrina Dow Kelly Grace Elly James Jennifer Lee Mariangela Macchiavello Melissa Moreno Joanna Pomerantz Yesica Rojas Namiko Shibata Amanda Campos Delia Covo Angela Dworschack Catherine Johnson Lorraine Lopez Sarida Muslow Dawn Richerson Erika Roach Sarah Standlee Melanie Tobias Brandi Townsend Monica Wolfe Joanna Wozniak Claire Alexandre Carissa Brozino Chelsea Larsen Laura Lewis Elyse Madigan Kara McCarthy Katherine McLean Alexandrea Van Oost

University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

men’s Cross Country/Track & Field (85) Jason Belt University of Arkansas at Little Rock Rodney Sasse University of Arkansas at Little Rock Ray Henderson Arkansas State University Marlin Jackson Arkansas State University Thomas Ligon Arkansas State University Joseph Meyer Arkansas State University Henry Ndichu Arkansas State University Corwin Pace Arkansas State University

28 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

Ethan Sandusky Wendell Short Richard Williams Brandon Berwick Neil Coffman Stephen Dassin Mohammed Razib Alvaro Castillo Victor Chin Miguel Delgadillo Chad Ganier Jason Oliver Daniel Stephenson Kevin Vandernotte Casey Comeaux Chris Comeaux Albert Fournette Zachary France Westmoreland Gonzales Roderick Houston Justin Jones Alexander Livingston Marc Malespin Jake Renard Louis Stevens O’Daylon Thibeaux Devin Caldwell Jeffery Kent Deron Talley Solomon Atosona Kendall Bacchus Isaac Biwott De’Angelo Blair Festus Chemaoi Justus David Keith Davis Stanley Gbagbeke Sean Giffin Cordairo Golden Jamarious Jones Curtis King Julius Kirui Christopher Mason Roscoe Payne Deray Sloss Dane Conley James Fowler Reginald Hayter Jermaine Jamison Charleston Lewis Darwin Moore Adrian Nevarez Michael Ortiz Matthew Russ Andrew Sumner

Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida Atlantic University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas

Adam Thiel University of North Texas Tyrome Bivens University of South Alabama Zack Brantley University of South Alabama Anton Graphenreed University of South Alabama Josh Nelson University of South Alabama Saber Saleh University of South Alabama Conner Smith University of South Alabama Ronald Braswell Troy University Robert Lynn, Jr. Troy University Larry Henry, Jr. Troy University Landry Key Troy University Enock Kirui Troy University Sebek Maat Troy University Caleb Tarver Troy University Toms Andersons Western Kentucky University Derrius Brooks Western Kentucky University Kagisho Kumbane Western Kentucky University Alexander Miller Western Kentucky University Cailean Robinson Western Kentucky University Chris Storath Western Kentucky University Christopher Thrash Western Kentucky University Bradly Wright Western Kentucky University women’s Cross Country/Track & Field (91) Britney Allen University of Arkansas at Little Rock Rebekah Grissom University of Arkansas at Little Rock Jazmin Turner University of Arkansas at Little Rock Emily Cook Arkansas State University Kanesha Hicks Arkansas State University LaKeitha Minter Arkansas State University Virlisa Pryor Arkansas State University Danielle Aromashodu Florida Atlantic University Annakay Dennis Florida Atlantic University Rebecca Fanali Florida Atlantic University Brooke Guy Florida Atlantic University Caitlin Jackson Florida Atlantic University Jessica Jetmore Florida Atlantic University Kyley Jorgensen Florida Atlantic University Sara Kavana Florida Atlantic University Deanna Loafman Florida Atlantic University Lindsay Lucas Florida Atlantic University Addison MacLean Florida Atlantic University Katherine Parry Florida Atlantic University Sarah Veazey Florida Atlantic University Lauren Walton Florida Atlantic University Ingrid Zelaya Florida Atlantic University Kimberlee Dekrey Florida International University Jessica Deroquancourt Florida International University Estefania Fierro Florida International University Gabriela Herrera Florida International University Carla-Kay Mills Florida International University Bianca Morrison Florida International University Christina Raphael Florida International University Brittany Smith Florida International University Jasmine Anderson University of Louisiana at Lafayette Morgan Breaux University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Krystal Chevis Hlfti Kahssay Amber Laurent Alexis Malone Jasmine Manuel Sara Milam Tiffany Patrick Britney Ruiz Taryn Simmons Jennifer Drew Victoria Floyd Ariana Jones Stacia Palmer Marcie Richard Madeleine Robertson Lauren Rosson Tiffany Shetters Alexis Smith Jade Thomas Rosina Amenebede Kayla Bryan Amber Jackson Kortney Thurman Alysha Adams Sallie Anderson Melissa Barnes Brittany Blaylock Shelby Childress Rochelle Ellis Cassandra Heffernan Kelli Johnson Ingrid Mollenkopf-Talley Susanne Prikryl Madelyn Sneed Sarah Vann Lauren Wiggins Johnnie Borries Marion Epperson Lafifah Johnson Noelle Jones Tori Lawson Melissa McCluskey Savannah Steiner Brittany Westmoreland Ariel Cavazos Ashley Evans Brynn Forsythe Kendall Harris Allison Paulson Megan Schnuelle Nicole Studstill Sally Taunton Jessica Upshaw Kayln Bowers Ashley Chervinko Pearl Chitava

University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Troy University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University


Madison Hale Marion Kandie Victoria Mayfield women’s Volleyball (42) Jordan Erz Jing Xie Cassady Clark Whitney Nilson Ashley Tipps Julia Cawthra Lyndi Johnson Brea Muhle Isabelle Arboleda Jovana Bjelica Rachel Fernandez Renele Forde Sabrina Gonzalez Ines Medved Kelsey Bashore Amanda Gavin Lesley Mirarchi Lavinia Tataran Dayna Wiesmann Meghan McCoy Blanca Recinos Ocana Stacia Palmer Kendall Howard Maria Szivos Halie Vannoy Ashley Waugh Madison Barr Roxana Casvean Chrissy Johnson Brittani Youman Juliana Almeida Kari Frazier Jennica Hagberg Torlandira Jones Jillian Jordan Jordan McMullan Jaclyn Nickels Laura Mackley Lindsey Schoewe Tiffany Elmore Lauren Stuckel Lindsay Williams

Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Little Rock Arkansas State University Arkansas State University Arkansas State University University of Denver University of Denver University of Denver Florida Atlantic University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University Florida International University University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Louisiana at Monroe Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University Middle Tennessee State University University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of North Texas University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama University of South Alabama Troy University Troy University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 29


Men UALR


Men’s & Women’s Cross Country

Men’s team Champion UALR Trojans

B

woMen’s team Champion WKU Hilltoppers

Men’s Individual Champion Shadrack Kipchirchir, WKU

ehind the strength of three all-Sun Belt Conference performances, the Western Kentucky University women's cross country team captured its fifth-straight league title in 2010. The Lady Toppers have won seven of the last eight SBC cross country titles to maintain their place as one of the most dominate cross country programs in league history. Lady Topper distance coach Michelle Scott was voted 2010 Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year by her coaching peers. The UALR men’s cross country team won the 2010 SBC men's title placing all eight runners in the Top 25 to win the team event with 50 points. The SBC title was the fourth overall title for UALR. Trojans head coach Milton Williams was awarded the 2010 Men’s Coach of the Year for the second time in his career after the successful season. UALR’s men became the sixth different school since 2003 to earn the conference’s men's cross country title. WKU's Marion Kandie, who clocked a 5,000-meter time of 17:34.2, earned her second all-league honor of her career after winning the women's individual championship. WKU's Shadrack Kipchirchir led the race from the gun, capturing his first SBC title with an 8,000-meter

Men’s freshman of the year Shadrack Kipchirchir, WKU

men’s coach of the year Milton Williams, UALR

women’s individual champion Marion Kandie, WKU

clocking of 24:33.1. He was named the SBC Men's Freshman of the Year. Arkansas State freshman Kristina Aubert led the Red Wolves with a fourth place individual finish and was named Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year and to the AllConference team at the race's conclusion. Eight Sun Belt cross country runners earned 2010 All-Region Honors with top 25 finishes at the NCAA Regional meets, and WKU’s Kipchirchir, Kandie and Louisiana-Monroe’s Daniel Mutai qualified for the NCAA Championships. Kandie and Kipchirchir’s qualification in the NCAA Championships marks the second-straight year that WKU had representation from both the men's and women's squad. Kipchirchir earned All-American honors at the NCAA Championships and was the top freshman finisher in the men's championship. He is the first WKU cross country athlete to earn all-America recognition in his rookie campaign and becomes the 24th athlete in WKU history to earn all-America cross country honors. Kandie’s appearance in the women's national race marked the fourth-straight year in which the Lady Toppers were represented at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Mutai completed his history-making season at the NCAA Championships as the first

women’s freshman of the year Kristina Aubert, Arkansas State

women’s coach of the year Michelle Scott, WKU

Warhawk male to ever compete in the national meet. Mutai crossed the line in the 10k race with a time of 31:30.5 in extremely windy conditions to finish 138th out of 250 runners in the meet. Three men’s teams and three women’s teams from the Sun Belt earned 2010 Division I All-Academic Cross Country status from the USTFCCCA. South Alabama and Western Kentucky’s men’s and women’s teams earned the honors, as well as Arkansas State’s women’s team and UALR’s men’s team. Individually, WKU’s Shadrack Kipchirchir and Vasity Chemweno were named to the All-Academic NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams, respectively. UALR and North Texas’ men’s cross country teams were recognized by the NCAA’s Public Recognition Awards for their academic efforts. Three Sun Belt Conference cross country and track & field student-athletes were named to the 2010-11 Capital One Academic All-District Track & Field/Cross Country Teams: Western Kentucky’s Buddy Price and Rachel Friedman, and Arkansas State’s Dawn L’Heureux. Price and Friedman were named to the District IV men’s and women’s first team, respectively, and L’Heureux was named to the District VI second team.

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 31


32 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference


Women’s Soccer

SBC champion Denver Pioneers

A

SBC Tournament champion Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

fter a decade of Sun Belt Conference soccer, the sport continues to show growth as evidenced by just the fourth team in the league’s history to win the conference tournament. Middle Tennessee, playing in their first SBC title match, defeated reigning league champion Denver 3-2 on penalty kicks in the Sun Belt Conference Championship. The title match marked the second consecutive game that Middle Tennessee won in the tournament on penalty kicks. The Blue Raiders became the first team since 2005 not named Denver to win the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. Middle Tennessee’s historic soccer season came to a close in the first round of the NCAA Tournament after dropping a 3-0 decision to No. 15 Florida State. The Blue Raiders ended the 2010 campaign 13-9-2, having lost just twice in their final 14 matches, on the way to claiming the first Sun Belt Tournament title and NCAA Tournament berth in school history. The Blue Raiders had a remarkable turnaround to their season after starting the year 3-7. The Blue Raiders put together a consecutive game streak of 15 matches, during which they have held opponents to a goal or less per game. MT won 10 of its last 13 games, with only one loss

player of the year Kaitlin Bast, Denver

Co-Freshman of the Year Nicholette DiGiacomo, Denver

Co-Freshman of the Year Chelsea Leiva, FIU

during the stretch as part of its rise to second in the regular-season Sun Belt standings. Perennial Sun Belt soccer power Denver capped the season 19-2-1, one of the best overall records in DU history, and a perfect 11-0-0 regular season Sun Belt Conference record. The Pioneers earned their fifth Sun Belt Conference regular season title, finished the regular season ranked No. 24 in the country, never lost a game at home, and outscored their opponents 47-15. Denver boasted seven all-Sun Belt Conference selections, including the Player of the Year in Kaitlin Bast, co-Freshman of the Year Nicholette DiGiacomo, and Coach of the Year Jeff Hooker. Sun Belt soccer teams continued the trend of academic success in 2010 with five players named to the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District teams. Gabriela DeVries (Florida Atlantic), Vanessa Mueggler (Middle Tennessee), Mandy Hall (North Texas), and Megan Flannery and Kari Storslett (Denver) all earned the honors. Additionally, eight teams were recognized for their off-field accomplishments by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America as recipients for the 2010 NSCAA Team Academic Award. UALR, Denver, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee, South

coach of the year Jeff Hooker, Denver

tournament mvp Rebecca Cushing, Middle Tennessee

Alabama, Troy and WKU were all honored by the NSCAA for earning a 3.0 grade point average or higher during the 2009-10 academic year. Denver posted the highest team grade point average with a 3.61 cumulative.

All-Conference teams First Team Kaitlin Bast (Denver, Sophomore, Forward) Chelsea Leiva (FIU, Freshman, Forward) Mallory Outerbridge (WKU, Junior, Forward) Regina Thomas (Middle Tennessee, R-Sophomore, Forward) Nicholette DiGiacomo (Denver, Freshman, Midfielder) Vanessa Mueggler (Middle Tennessee, Senior, Midfielder) Ellen Scarfone (North Texas, Sophomore, Midfielder) Fran Howells (Middle Tennessee, Senior, Defender) Jessie Rogers (Denver, Senior, Defender) Katy Van Lieshout (Denver, Sophomore, Defender) Lara Campbell (Denver, Sophomore, Goalkeeper) Second Team Whitney Jorgenson (Middle Tennessee, Sophomore, Forward) Ruth Sutcliffe (Troy, Sophomore, Forward) Kalie Vaughn (Denver, Sophomore, Forward) Bria Beardsley (Denver, Junior, Midfielder) Mayara Da Fonseca Bordin (FIU, Senior, Midfielder) Nicole DiPerna (FIU, Freshman, Midfielder) Jill Pinder (Troy, Senior, Midfielder) Janelle Blake (Florida Atlantic, Senior, Defender) Kaylyn Pratt (WKU, Junior, Defender) Victoria Miliucci (FIU, Junior, Defender) Libby Stout (WKU, Junior, Goalkeeper)

8

Sun Belt Conference Women’s Soccer teams were recognized for their off-field accomplishments by the NSCAA as recipients for the 2010 Team Academic Award. UALR, DU, ULL, ULM, MT, USA, Troy and WKU were all honored by the NSCAA for earning a 3.0 grade point average or higher during the 2009-10 academic year. Denver posted the highest team grade point average with a 3.61 cumulative.

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 33


A Decade of A Dominance

When it comes to soccer in the Sun Belt, the University of Denver is truly a Pioneer

Story by Keith Nunez, Sun Belt Media Relations

34 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

fter a decade of Sun Belt Conference soccer, the sport continues to show growth as evidenced by just the fourth team in the league’s history to win the conference tournament. Middle Tennessee was the benefactor of this year’s SBC tourament, winning the program’s first title. However, one school stands at the forefront of SBC soccer and that is the University of Denver. DU is simply the Pioneer of Sun Belt Conference soccer. Denver has won more regular season and tournament championships than any other school in SBC history. The league is still young and still progressing each fall. Denver has grown by leaps and bounds and has become a team of dominance in the Sun Belt. The Pioneers have won five regular season titles and seven tournament titles, with their fifth


regular season title coming in 2010. DU had won the previous four tournament titles before MT struck gold in November. Since 2000, Denver has won 165 soccer matches and has won 12 or more matches a season seven times. This past fall the Pioneers managed to break a few records. DU became just the third team in SBC history to go undefeated in league play. The two other teams - you guessed it - both Denver, in 2002 and 2006. The Pioneers finished the 2010 season with a 19-2-1 record for an unbelievable 0.886 winning percentage which is a new SBC record. The 19 wins registered matched the all-time highs set by the 2006 and 2008 DU squads. “This was a great season and from a wins and losses standpoint it was pretty amazing,” said Denver head coach Jeff Hooker. “Unfortunately, the biggest disappointment in the end is not winning the Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship and securing a bid for the NCAA tournament.” Despite the unfortunate end to the season there were several highs the Pioneers will look at as they head towards the 2011 season and beyond. The Pioneers finished the regular season ranked No. 24 in the country, never lost a game at CIBER Field and outscored their opponents 4715. DU averaged 2.14 goals per game while only allowing 0.68.

Kaitlin Bast (above left) and Taryn Hemmings (abve right) are the only two Denver soccer players in school history to have been named the Sun Belt Conference Soccer Player of the Year. Hemmings won soccer’s highest honor in 2006 and in 2008, both years in which DU won the tournament title. This past season Bast, just a sophomore, earned the SBC’s player of the year honor.

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 35


Sophomore Kaitlin Bast was named the SBC Player of the Year, becoming just the second Pioneer in DU history to earn the distinction. Bast’s teammate, Nicholette DiGiacomo was named the co-Freshman of the Year, earning the school’s second freshman honor and first since 2003. Longtime DU head coach Jeff Hooker picked up his fifth SBC Coach of the Year award and first since 2008. “The coach of the year award usually either goes to a coach who has done a masterful job of coaching his or her team, and thus the team overachieves, or it goes to the coach whose team has had great results,” Hooker said. “In our case [this season], the team played hard and we were fortunate enough to have great results. This one [coach of the year award] is truly a team award and

36 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

I am very grateful.” In addition to the great exploits on the pitch, the DU soccer team also posted several members to the SBC Commissioner’s List and Academic Honor Roll. Back in November, the Pioneers were one of eight SBC teams to earn the 2010 NSCAA College Team Academic Award and had the fourth highest GPA in the country with a cumulative 3.61. Denver’s success on the pitch will continue this fall as the Pioneers will embark on one of its toughest schedules to date. DU will open its schedule with the inaugural Colorado Cup before facing three 2010 NCAA Tournament teams, Auburn and Middle Tennessee at home. The Pioneers will also host Nebraska in its first year as a member of the Big Ten.

“We’re very excited with the 2011 schedule,” Hooker said. “This is one of the strongest schedules we have ever had, including a great slate of home games and road games against Cal and Colorado. We feel that the non-conference schedule will prepare us well for our last go around in the Sun Belt Conference.” This year’s SBC Tournament will be held at Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro, Tenn., on November 2-5.


2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 37


Women’s Volleyball

SBC East champion Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

SBC West Co-champion Arkansas State Red Wolves

S

SBC West Co-champion North Texas Mean Green

un Belt Conference Volleyball has quickly grown into one of the league’s best sports in the last few years. The 2010 season marked the fourth consecutive year that the Sun Belt Conference sent multiple teams to the NCAA Volleyball Championship. The Middle Tennessee volleyball team earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth consecutive season after posting back-to-back Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championships. The Blue Raiders claimed the 2010 SBC Tournament crown – their fourth in the last five years – after also earning the league’s regular season title. The Blue Raiders concluded their season with a 29-6 mark for the year, having won 26 of their final 28 matches to close out the 2010 season. Middle Tennessee was led by standout Izabela Kozon, the Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Player of the Year and SBC Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Kozon had one of the best individual seasons in Sun Belt history. She’s just the third player since 2000 to earn the highest individual honors in both the regular season and conference tournament. Over the course of the year, Kozon also racked up five Sun Belt Player of the Week awards, tying a conference record. The senior led the league with 4.00 kills per set and chipped in 2.19 digs per set, which ranked 38 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

SBC Tournament champion player of the year Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Izabela Kozon, Middle Tennessee

Defensive player of the year Megan Baska, Arkansas State

second for Middle Tennessee. Kozon will join the professional ranks in the fall of 2011, marking the second consecutive year that a Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Player of the Year went on to play professionally. The Poland native signed with Volley Köniz of the Swiss first division and will have a chance to play for the CEV Cup, an official competition comprised of the top volleyball teams in Europe. Western Kentucky earned its fifth NCAA Tournament bid in program history and tallied at least 25 wins for the ninth straight season. The Lady Toppers went 27-9 and 14-2 in Sun Belt Conference play with their only SBC losses to league champion Middle Tennessee. Western Kentucky was also recognized by the NCAA for their academic superiority after posting a multiyear Academic Progress Rate (APR) in the top 10 percent of all NCAA Division I teams in their respective sport. It marks the sixth consecutive year the WKU women’s volleyball program has been recognized for the top 10 percent distinction. Three Sun Belt Conference Players were named to the 2010 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America Team, marking the eighth consecutive season that at least one Sun Belt Conference player earned AVCA All-

Freshman of the Year Melanie Stutsman, WKU

coach of the year Matt Peck, Middle Tennessee

America honors. Middle Tennessee’s Izabela Kozon and Stacy Oladinni, and Western Kentucky’s Melanie Stutsman were all named 2010 AVCA AllAmericans. All three players also earned AVCA AllRegion honors, with Stutsman being named the South Region’s Freshman of the Year. Western Kentucky’s Tiffany Elmore was also named an honorable mention on the squad. Since 2000, the Sun Belt has produced at least one player on the AVCA All-Region team, and multiple players from the league have earned the accolades every year since 2002.

All-Conference teams First Team Andrea Lakovic, FIU Natalia Valentin, FIU Ashley Adams, Middle Tennessee Izabela Kozon, Middle Tennessee Maria Szivos, Middle Tennessee Amy Huddleston, North Texas Tiffany Elmore, Western Kentucky Jordyn Skinner, Western Kentucky Second Team Megan Baska, Arkansas State Cayla Fielder, Arkansas State Kacie Wikierak, Denver Lesley Mirarchi, Louisiana-Lafayette Stacy Oladinni, Middle Tennessee Kayla Saey, North Texas Melanie Stutsman, Western Kentucky Lindsay Williams, Western Kentucky


l

Moving on Up Middle Tennessee’s Izabela Kozon becomes the second Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year to join the professional ranks

Story by Sun Belt Media Relations

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 39


F

or the second consecutive season, the Sun Belt Conference volleyball Player of the Year has joined the professional ranks. Former Middle Tennessee standout and 2010 SBC volleyball Player of the Year Izabela Kozon signed a professional contract with Volley Kรถniz of the Swiss first division in June following the completion of her senior season with the Blue Raiders. "I'm very excited about starting my career," Kozon said. "It has always been my dream to play professionally. Volley Kรถniz is one of the top teams in Switzerland, and the opportunity to play for a CEV Cup next season is huge. I can't wait." The CEV Cup is an official competition comprised of the top volleyball teams in Europe. The 2009 Sun Belt Player of the Year, former FIU star Yarimar Rosa, also began her pro career following her senior season after she was the first pick in the Liga de Voleibol Superior Femenino (LVSF) lottery draft, chosen by the seven-time LVSF Champions Caguas Creoles. The outside hitter has continued to compete for her native country as she began competing with the Puerto Rican National Team at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Mexico in July. Like Rosa, Kozon will also have the opportunity to represent her native country. After signing a professional contract in June, the Warsaw, Poland, native received an invitation to camp from the Polish National Team for a chance to compete in the 2011 World University Games in August. "All of Izabela's hard work and dedication have paid off for her," Middle Tennessee head coach Matt Peck said. "This was a goal for Izabela from the first day she set foot on campus, and her dream came true. How awesome for her, and it couldn't happen to a better person." Kozon, a 2010 AVCA All-American, turned in one of the best seasons in Sun Belt history last year, helping lead the Blue Raiders to the Sun Belt regular season and tournament titles en route to a fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament. As a senior, she earned both the Sun Player of the Year and SBC Tournament Most Outstanding Player awards to end her stay in Murfreesboro as one of the most decorated players in school history. Kozon led the Sun Belt in kills per set, averaging four, and ranked at No. 33 in the NCAA in that category. She also hit at the best rate in her career with a .286 attack percentage, and chipped in 2.19 digs per set on defense. Kozon ended her career with 1,679 kills and 1,118 digs to become one of just two Blue Raiders to tally at least 1,500 kills and 1,000 digs for her career. The outside hitter also tied Rosa for a league-record of five Player of the Week awards in a single season.

40 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference


2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 41


Football

ALR, 3.0

SBC Co-champion Troy Trojans

T

SBC Co-champion FIU Panthers

player of the year T.Y. Hilton, FIU

he Sun Belt Conference celebrated its 10th anniversary of sponsoring football in 2010 and the celebration was extra sweet for the league. For the first time ever in the conference’s brief history the league sent three teams to postseason bowl games as league cochampions Troy and FIU earned bowl bids along with Middle Tennessee. But placing three teams in the postseason wasn’t the only reason to celebrate. The Sun Belt Conference also set a first for the league as two teams were victorious in their bowl games. Troy re-wrote the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl record book as it rolled to a 48-21 victory over Ohio. The Trojans set or tied no fewer than eight team records in the win. Notably, the Sun Belt Conference has now won four of the last five R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowls and improved to an all-time 5-5 in the annual bowl game. FIU trailed 24-7 in the third quarter of the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl before Sun Belt Player of the Year T.Y. Hilton returned a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown. FIU went on to score 24 straight points, taking a 28-24 lead on Hilton’s 10-yard touchdown catch and adding a field goal with 3:18 remaining. Terrance Owens, who had thrown three

42 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

offensive player of the year Bobby Rainey, WKU

interceptions in the second half, patiently led Toledo back on a 62-yard drive that ended when he kept the ball himself for a 14-yard touchdown run. When the Rockets decided to go for two, Owens found Eric Page on a slant pattern to put them ahead. But after taking a 32-31 lead, the Rockets tried a squib kick to keep the ball away from Hilton. FIU ended up taking over near midfield. Although a sack knocked FIU back, the Panthers had one trick play left. The initial ruling was that Hilton had gotten the first down, and the officials didn’t overturn it after a replay review, putting the ball at the Toledo 42. Moments later, Jack Griffin’s 34-yard field goal as time ran out gave the Golden Panthers a delirious 34-32 victory in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. In its first season as a Sun Belt primary bowl partner, the GoDadddy. com Bowl selected Middle Tennessee to play in the annual bowl game played in Mobile, Alabama. The Blue Raiders would however come up short in their tussle with Mid-American Conference

Defensive player of the year Jamari Lattimore, Middle Tennessee

freshman of the year Corey Robinson, Troy

coach of the year Mario Cristobal, FIU

All-Sun Belt Teams

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE QB - Ryan Aplin, Arkansas State RB - Lance Dunbar, North Texas RB - Bobby Rainey, WKU WR - T.Y. Hilton, FIU WR - Jerrel Jernigan, Troy TE - Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette OL - Brad Serini, FIU OL - Tyler Clark, Troy OL - Victor Gill, North Texas OL - Derek Newton, Arkansas State OL - Esteban Santiago, North Texas

SECOND TEAM OFFENSE QB - Corey Robinson (Troy, Fr., QB) RB - Phillip Tanner (Middle Tennessee, Sr., RB) RB - Darriet Perry (FIU, Jr., RB) WR - Lester Jean (Florida Atlantic, Sr., WR) WR - Luther Ambrose (Louisiana-Monroe, Jr., WR) TE - Rob Housler (Florida Atlantic, R-Sr., TE) OL - Tom Castilaw (Arkansas State, Sr., OL) OL - Sifa Etu (Arkansas State, Sr., OL) OL - Ian Burks (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., OL) OL - Mark Fisher (Middle Tennessee, Sr., OL) OL - James Brown (Troy, Jr., OL)

DEFENSE DL - Bryan Hall, Arkansas State DL - Jamari Lattimore, Middle Tennessee DL - Jonathan Massaquoi, Troy DL - Jarvis Wilson, FIU LB - Demario Davis, Arkansas State LB - Toronto Smith, FIU LB - Craig Robertson, North Texas DB - M.D. Jennings, Arkansas State DB - Anthony Gaitor, FIU DB - Rod Issac, Middle Tennessee DB - Jeremy Kellem, Middle Tennessee

DEFENSE DL - Dorvus Woods (Arkansas State, Jr., DL) DL - Tourek Williams (FIU, So., DL) DL - Ken Dorsey (Louisiana-Monroe, Jr., DL) DL - Mario Addison (Troy, Sr., DL) LB - Javon McKinnon (Arkansas State, Sr., LB) LB - Michael Lockley (Florida Atlantic, R-Sr., LB) LB - Thomas Majors (WKU, Sr., LB) DB - Marcus Bartels (Florida Atlantic, R-Jr., DB) DB - Tavious Polo (Florida Atlantic, R-Sr., DB) DB - Jonathan Cyprien (FIU, So., DB) DB - Darius Prelow (Louisiana-Monroe, Jr., DB)

SPECIAL TEAMS PK - Alan Gendreau, Middle Tennessee P - Mickey Groody, Florida Atlantic RS - T.Y. Hilton, FIU AP - Jerrel Jernigan, Troy

SPECIAL TEAMS PK - Zach Olen (North Texas, Fr., K) P - Josh Davis (Middle Tennessee, Fr., P) RS - Jerrel Jernigan (Troy, Sr., Return Specialist) AP - T.Y. Hilton (FIU, Jr., All-Purpose)

Honorable Mention: Dwayne Frampton (Arkansas State, Jr., WR); Allen Muse (Arkansas State, So., WR); Tarvoris Hill (Florida Atlantic, R-Sr., DB); Jeff Van Camp (Florida Atlantic, R-Sr., QB); Greg Ellingson (FIU, Sr., WR); Winston Fraser (FIU, R-So., LB); Orkeys Auriene (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., DB); Spencer Ortego (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., P); Kolton Browning (ULM, R-Fr., QB); Cameron Blakes (ULM, So., LB); Eric Russel (Middle Tennessee, Junior, RS); Dwight Smith (Middle Tennessee, Sr., DL); Brelan Chancellor (North Texas, Fr. RS); Will Goggans (Troy, Jr., P); Michael Taylor (Troy, Jr., K); Orlando Misaalefua (WKU, Sr., LB); Mychal Patterson (WKU, Sr., OL)


l

Bowl Winning Percentages Since 2005 Conference W 1. Mountain West 20 2. Big East 21 3. Southeastern 33 4. Pac 10 19 5. Sun Belt 6 6. Big 12 24 7. Atlantic Coast 22 8. Western Athletic 10 9. Conference-USA 14 10. Big Ten 16 11. Mid-American 5

L 8 11 19 14 5 23 28 14 21 28 18

% 0.714 0.656 0.635 0.576 0.545 0.511 0.440 0.417 0.400 0.364 0.217

Champion; Miami of Ohio. With its 2-1 record in the 2010 football postseason, the Sun Belt Conference has now won the majority of its bowl games over the last several seasons. In fact, since the 2005 football season – the first season following major college football realignment – the Sun Belt Conference ranks fifth out of the 11 FBS conferences in postseason bowl game winning percentage. In fact, the Sun Belt Conference ranks ahead of noted “Big Six” leagues – the Big 12, ACC and the Big Ten. Furthermore, the

Postseason Opportunities

Sun Belt Conference football teams have more opportunities now for invitations to postseason bowl opportunities. The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl continues to be a home for a Sun Belt Conference team for the 11th consecutive year in 2011. Meanwhile, the GoDaddy.com Bowl will have a Sun Belt member in its bowl game through 2014. Additionally, opportunities exist for the Sun Belt Conference to send teams to the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) and through a secondary partnership with the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

5

The Troy University Trojans have won or shared each of the past five Sun Belt Conference titles and is 2-3 in bowl games since becoming a full member of the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2002. Both wins came at the New Orleans Bowl, where the Trojans have played three times. Pictured at left: Troy head coach Larry Blakeney

The Sun Belt Conference, which is one of 11 leagues that make up the Bowl Championship Series, saw notable offseason highlights as well. Three new head coaches join the league for the 2011 season as Dan McCarney (North Texas), Hugh Freeze (Arkansas State) and Mark Hudspeth (Louisiana-Lafayette) were hired in the offseason. Additionally, North Texas and Florida Atlantic will open new stadiums in 2011. The Mean Green and Owls add to a long list of facility construction, enhancement or additions around the league. From new stadiums, additional suites, locker rooms, training rooms, weight rooms, new synthetic surfaces, practice facilities and football complexes – every Sun Belt member institution has made facility improvements in the last several years.

Sun Belt Conference outpaces its non-automatic qualifying BCS partners in the WAC, Conference USA and the MAC.

All-Time SBC Champs

2001.................... Middle Tennessee/North Texas 2002..........................................................North Texas 2003..........................................................North Texas 2004..........................................................North Texas 2005..........Arkansas State/Louisiana-Lafayette/ ...................................................... Louisiana-Monroe 2006................................... Middle Tennessee/Troy 2007.........................................Florida Atlantic/Troy 2008.........................................................................Troy 2009.........................................................................Troy 2010.................................................................FIU/Troy 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 43


Growing up (T.Y.) Hilton Story by Pete Pelegrin, FIU Media Relations

44 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference


S

ometime soon when the Hilton family redecorates their living room they will really need to find some trophy space. FIU star receiver T.Y. Hilton won the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl MVP trophy and the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year plaque this past season as the Panthers won a share of their first conference championship and first bowl game. Those two awards already have plenty of company at Hilton's parents' home in Miami. As a visitor enters the home, they are greeted by FIU banners and photos in the dining room. Walk into the living room and it's homage to the family's athletic prowess and more FIU football memorabilia. Hanging on the walls are photos of a life growing up in and around sports. There's a photo of T.Y. returning a punt in optimist football, another photo of T.Y. and his god brother, former FIU defensive back Anthony Gaitor on the Gwen Cherry Bulls team. Then there are photos of T.Y.'s parents in action playing college basketball and travel softball in states all over the Southeast. One wall of the living room is not visible because four shelves overflowing with trophies and medals line the width of the room. The awards do not all belong to T.Y. Many of them were won by his parents Tyrone and Cora and younger sister Corteona. As T.Y. prepares for his senior season at FIU this coming fall many of the traits he exhibits on the field and off it were inherited and learned from the family. "I've been lucky to be able to spend time with my family playing sports growing up and learning from them how to not only compete, but how to conduct myself on and off the field," T.Y. said. Born and raised in Miami, Cora attended Central High where she played basketball and softball for the Rockets. As a point guard, Cora earned a scholarship to Morris Brown College (Ga.) where she played college basketball. After college, Cora began playing travel softball and has been doing so for more than 24 years now. Cora is a second baseman and outfielder for Nothing Nice softball team that competes in tournaments each month in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama. Of course, Cora does not play during FIU football season. "The only time I miss any softball games is when T.Y. has a game," Cora said. "It's so exciting to watch T.Y. play, but without his teammates he would not be able to accomplish anything. All of his teammates play a big role in what he accomplishes." Although Cora says T.Y.'s vision on the football field is a God-given talent, the FIU receiver credits his mother for his speed and the ability to see

what's not there. "My mom can fly around the bases when she's playing softball," T.Y. said. "I think I get my vision from both my parents. But my mom being a point guard probably helped because she had to see the entire court to make the right pass or drive to the basket. I see the field at full-speed. I can slow things down in my mind and be patient waiting for the hole to open up or sense where that opening is going to be." When it comes to those secure hands that No. 4 shows off Saturdays in the fall, T.Y. thinks they were inherited from his father Tyrone. Like T.Y. did before coming to FIU, Tyrone excelled as a receiver at Miami Springs High enough to receive college scholarship offers, including interest from the University of Tennessee. Instead, Tyrone got married and did not become a Volunteer. Still Tyrone has stayed active, playing travel softball and pickup basketball games. One afternoon when T.Y. was a senior in high school, he challenged his father to a three-point shooting contest at the Boys Club. T.Y., who also played basketball at Miami Springs, made 7 of 10 shots from beyond the arc and started ribbing his father as Tyrone prepared to take his 10 shots. Tyrone sank the first seven three-point shots he took. That's when T.Y. became silent. "I made 7 of 10 from 3-pt land and I said there was no way you can do that," T.Y. recalled. "So my dad makes the first seven straight 3-pointers and I said I'm in trouble. He made 10 of 10 and probably could have kept hitting more. That competitive nature definitely comes from my dad." About nine years before that father-son three-point contest, NFL great Deion Sanders, Tyrone and Tyrone's best friend Lenny Harris - Major 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 45


League Baseball's all-time pinch-hit leader learned of T.Y.'s competitive nature. Growing up, T.Y.'s favorite player was Sanders. T.Y. enjoyed watching Sanders' speed and elusiveness returning kicks and for a while, he even wore Sanders' No. 21 in optimist football. In January 1999, T.Y. was one of 10 kids randomly picked by the Gwen Cherry Boys & Girls Club to attend Super Bowl XXXIII at Pro Player Stadium in Miami. Before T.Y. was set to attend the Super Bowl, Harris called Tyrone and told him Sanders was at his house. It was a chance for T.Y. to meet his idol. However, T.Y. had spent that day trying to master the Madden football video game and neither the Super Bowl nor Sanders was going to pull him away from accomplishing that goal. "I was going to finish what I started," T.Y.

46 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

said. "I told my father that I was going to stay home." Recalls Tyrone: "I thought this boy is crazy not wanting to go to the Super Bowl, but T.Y. has always been a focused, dedicated kid. It has always been about school and football with him." As Tyrone finishes the story, Corteona tries to one-up her father with a story about T.Y. of her own. She explains how T.Y. was able to stay inbounds during the famous "Motor City Miracle" play at the Pizza Bowl. On the fourth-and-17 hook and ladder play that propelled FIU to victory, receiver Jacob Younger caught a short pass and flipped the ball to T.Y. who tip-toed down the sideline to pick up the first down. "He was able to stays inbounds because of the balance he learned from my dancing,"

proclaimed Corteona, who plays softball at Miami Springs High. "I taught him how to dance hip-hop." T.Y. nods accordingly and says: "Yeah, she taught me how to dance. I probably did learn how to keep my balance on the field watching my sister dance." With all his athletic talents, T.Y. will be back on the field this coming fall for the Panthers and his family -- when they're not playing their sports -- will be in the stands watching. "I'm glad he decided to come back and play his senior season and continue to help FIU make a name for itself," Cora said. "He's always wanted to go to the underdog and help bring them to the top. Like T.Y. said when he wouldn't leave that video game for the Super Bowl: He was going to finish what he started."


2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 47


Men’s & Women’s swimming Swimming and Diving

Men’s Swimmer of the year Clayton Myers, Denver

Men’s Diver of the year Seth McNew, Denver

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men’s swim coach of the year Bruce Marchionda, WKU

ince the Sun Belt Conference began sponsoring women’s swimming and diving in 2001 and men’s swimming and diving in 2004, the sport’s success continues to grow. In total, 20 men’s and women’s records were broken during the 2010-11 season, along with two records that were tied. Eight men’s and 12 women’s season and SBC meet records were broken. Denver’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams swept the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Swimming and Diving Championships. DU won its first-ever women’s team title with 924.5 total points while the men claimed its second overall team title and first since 2009 with 1,009 total points. Last season’s champion WKU finished second in both the men’s and women’s team races with 943.5 points and 795 points, respectively. The Pioneers were led by Sun Belt Conference men’s swimmer of the year Clayton Myers, who broke his own two-year-old season and SBC meet record in the 400 individual medley with a time of 3:48.36. Myers was also on the 400 freestyle relay team that set a new season and conference meet record by clocking in at 2:57.22 in the event. Also leading the Pioneers was men’s SBC 48 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

men’s Dive coach of the year Aaron D’Addario, Denver

women’s Swimmer of the year Claire Donahue, WKU

women’s diver of the year Sabrina Beaupre, FIU

women’s swim coach of the year Brian Schrader, Denver

women’s dive coach of the year Chris Mantilla, FIU

Diver of the Year Seth McNew, who placed first in the 1-meter dive with a score of 302.85. Two other Pioneer men set season and meet records at the league championship; Garth Summers took home first place honors in the 200 individual medley (1:46.98) and Kyle Milberg not only set a new SBC championship record in the 200 backstroke, he bested his own Sun Belt season record from 2010 in the event by clocking in at 1:44.69. On the women’s side, Grace Kittle and Alex Suppan led Denver won its first-ever women’s team title with 924.5 total points while the men claimed its second overall team Denver by setting new records title and first since 2009 with 1009 total points. The Pioneer women had eight overall wins, setting seven DU records, two Sun Belt records and 21 NCAA B Standards. The Pioneer men took home 14 first-place wins, setting nine DU in their respective events. Suppan reset records, four SBC records and set 29 NCAA B standards. the conference championship record in Kittle ended her collegiate career in the 200 individual medley with a time 2011 by becoming the first women’s swimmer in of 2:01.55 to narrowly best the previous record Denver’s history to receive All-American honors holder in the event, Florida Atlantic’s Eszter Bucz, as she finished eighth in the finals of the 200 by six-hundredths of a second. Kittle recorded a breaststroke at the NCAA Championships. Kittle 2:10.58 finish in the 200 breaststroke, besting the set a new DU and Sun Belt Conference record in previous record by more than two seconds. She the preliminaries of the 200 Breaststroke as she also claimed first in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.58) finished seventh with a time of 2:09.49, besting and 400 medley relay (3:39.54).

1


g

her own record she set in the conference championship less than a month earlier. The senior made her second appearance at the NCAA Championship in 2011. Her first came during her freshman campaign where she qualified and finished 17th, one spot out of finishing with All-American honors. Making a mark in just her first collegiate season, FIU’s Sabrina Beaupre was named the Sun Belt women’s diver of the year after claiming first place in both the 1-meter and 3-meter dives. Not only did the freshman top the podium in both events, she also set new championship records in each. Beaupre broke a fouryear old SBC meet record in the women’s 3-meter dive (304.80) then claimed her second diving title in the women’s 1-meter dive (279.90). Beaupre also set new season records in both events that bested her SBC meet scores; she recorded a score of 295.72 in the 1-meter dive and a score of 2011 Men’s and Women’s Sun Belt Conference 306.75 in the 3-meter dive at two different meets in October Swimming & Diving Championship Results 2010. As one of the more decorated swimmers in the Sun Men Belt Conference, Western Kentucky’s Claire Donahue capped 1. Denver .....................................................................................................1009 pts her collegiate career with another successful season. Donahue 2. WKU .........................................................................................................943.5 pts was named the league’s women’s swimmer of the year for the 3. Florida Atlantic ...........................................................................................694.5 second time in two years after earning five first-place finishes Women at the conference championship. For a second consecutive 1. Denver ....................................................................................................924.5 pts year, she set the record in the 100 butterfly by clocking in 2. WKU ............................................................................................................ 795 pts 3. North Texas .............................................................................................. 677 pts at 51.68 for an NCAA A-cut time. Donahue then matched 4. FIU ............................................................................................................391.5 pts that time at the NCAA Championship to finish second in the 5. Florida Atlantic ....................................................................................... 291 pts 6. UALR ........................................................................................................... 168 pts nation in the event. The second-place finish improved on her fourth-place finish in the same event at the 2010 NCAA Championship and is the highest individual finish for a swimmer in WKU history. Donahue then qualified third for the “B” final in the 200-yard butterfly event with a school-record time of 1:56.50. She finished in 1:57.35 in the finals to claim a 14th place finish after finishing 17th in 2010.

51.68

Claire Donahue’s (above) time in the 100 butterfly was set at the 2011 NCAA Championship where she finished second overall. The second-place finish improved on her fourth-place finish in the same event at the 2010 NCAA Championship and is the highest individual finish for a swimmer in WKU program history.

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 49


ALR, 3.0

Natural Born Swimmer

Story by Keith Nunez, Sun Belt Conference

Born to compete and born to excel in a swimming pool, Claire Donahue's calling in life led to Western Kentucky history

50 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

I

easily.

t's been said that everyone has one true calling in life, and that what separates the fortunate from the rest is whether a person ever finds that natural niche. For Claire Donahue, that moment came

"My family always says that they just threw me in a pool when I was about 2 or 3, and I just started swimming," Donahue says. "I think I'm just supposed to be swimming." Born to compete and born to excel in a swimming pool, Donahue's calling in life led to Western Kentucky history earlier this month when she placed a school-record second in the country in the 100-yard butterfly event at the 2011 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in Austin, Texas. Donahue's time of 51.68 broke her own school record in the event and was 1.2 seconds shy of a national championship. Combine that

feat with her school records in the 100 and 200 butterfly, along with her eight individual Sun Belt Conference titles, and Donahue's name could be forever cemented as the best women's swimmer ever to compete at WKU. Even Donahue herself hasn't grasped the gravity of her accomplishments. But even so, the 5-foot-7 swimmer from Lenoir City, Tenn., won't just leave WKU as one of the best swimmers ever. She'll leave as one of the top student-athletes the university has ever had. "It's hasn't sunk in all the way," she says. "But knowing that I've been one of the best is exciting. It's also a good confidence-builder going forward."


Making history After breaking the school's 100-fly record as a freshman, then again as a sophomore in 2008-09, Donahue made more history as a junior in 2009-10 when she became the school's first female swimmer and the second person in WKU history to qualify for a finals session at an NCAA Championship meet. An All-American as a junior, Donahue placed a school-best fourth in the country in the 100 fly as a junior, setting the stage for a senior campaign that had no ceiling. "Usually my goals are very high and they're pretty realistic," Donahue said. "After (nationals) last year, I was 51.97, which was my fastest time. I started planning goals this summer and started to really look at them for the up and coming year and what I wanted to do was win. "I was happy with fourth, but I wanted to do better. I wanted to win, and to get a better time

by about a second because I've dropped about a second each year." So Donahue set out to do the only thing she knew how to do - win. She went about her business as usual, training for the upcoming season - spending long, grueling hours in the pool at WKU's Preston Center. And while she had several goals, including individual and team conference titles, for her final season at WKU, her ultimate sights were set on one final swim in March at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin. And after capturing her second straight Sun Belt Women's Swimmer of the Year award at the conference meet in February, the time had come to put four years of work into one race that would take place in the blink of an eye. "Going to conference and getting a good time was cool, but there were two and a half weeks between then and NCAAs and I always get

very nervous," she said. "It's a huge competition and one of the fastest in the world. "There's a lot going through my head at that point. It's hard to explain, but when you get up on those blocks and you don't hear any cheering or anything, then you dive in and all that nervousness goes away." From there, Donahue raced deeper into the WKU history books, coming up just shy of her ultimate goal of a national title, but finalizing an accomplishment that she never thought possible when she was tossed into a swimming pool as a child. "I probably should've looked at my time first, but I looked up to my place and thought I saw third - and was actually OK with that," Donahue said. "But then I saw second, and was just really excited. I wanted to win, but second's still pretty good. Then I looked at the time and I was just very happy." 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 51


Leaving a legacy Swimming and diving coach Bruce Marchionda has no doubt about where he thinks Donahue ranks as far as the all-time greats to swim at WKU. "On the women's side you'd have to say yes, she's the best our program's ever had," he said. "Being that close to winning a national championship, it might be another five years or longer before we ever get someone at that level again. "This was our goal all along, but for her to actually go out and do that was just amazing." Though her accomplishments may seem to be solely of individual merit, Marchionda says Donahue's success has given WKU swimming something that perhaps has no finite value. "What she's done for us is put Western Kentucky swimming on the national map," he says. "That will open future doors for recruiting that in the past we may never have had an opportunity to even talk to. For those recruits to see her success is worth so much just for that. "And also for our swimmers already here, she's made it so that if you want to accomplish some high lofty goals, you can do that here in our program." Dubbed as a "blessing in disguise" by Marchionda, Donahue first caught WKU's eye while swimming at Lenoir City High School, where she captured the Tennessee state 100 fly championship as a senior. Marchionda said that he and his staff saw major potential in Donahue back then, but weren't able to see how far she could go until getting her on campus as a freshman. From there, Donahue did the rest. "If you look at her and lined up our team and asked someone to pick out who finished second at the NCAA national championships, you probably wouldn't pick her out," he said. "But what 52 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

she has inside with work ethic, determination and heart is what's gotten her to where she is. "Obviously she has natural talent, there's that intangible characteristic that all the great athletes have. For her, you can see it because she's so competitive with no matter what we do. With anything. And that competitiveness separates her from other people." Surging forward Claire Donahue's swimming career at WKU may be over, but her life in the pool is far from done. The nursing major says she intends on sticking around with her Hilltopper and Lady Topper teammates for another year and a half while she trains for the 2012 Olympic Trials. Donahue has already made the cut for the event, which will begin June 25, 2012, in Omaha, Neb. Should she finish in the top two at that event, Donahue will then become a member of the United States Olympic Team for the London 2012 Olympics.

The ordeal still seems surreal. "I've always had high expectations and set high goals for myself," she said. "But I never thought it would be like this." So as one chapter closes, another opens for Donahue. She'll leave behind a lasting legacy, some seemingly untouchable swim records and a new standard for all that follow her inside the highlysuccessful WKU swimming and diving program. And though it hasn't sunk in just yet for Donahue, Marchionda says that once she's gone for good, the chances of anyone coming along quite like her will be small. "When she finished that last race, knowing she wouldn't be able to compete for our team any longer it was just like 'how do you replace that?'" he says. "And the answer is that you don't. You hope you can only bring someone in and develop them to come close to that level again. "When that last race happens, there will be an emptiness for sure. Because the opportunity to work with someone like her is very few and far between."


2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 53


W

Men’s & Women’s Indoor Track and Field

KU’s women earned their sixth consecutive indoor title by claiming the 2011 SBC crown with 132.50 team points. Arkansas State was the women’s runner up with 98.50 points followed by North Texas in third with 87.50 points. Middle Tennessee was next with 74 points, then FIU (68), Florida Atlantic (57), Louisiana-Lafayette (44.50), Troy (36), South Alabama (33.50), ULM (25.50) and UALR (6). Middle Tennessee’s men’s team won their first indoor championship since 2009 and their sixth conference title overall. Western Kentucky was the men’s runner-up with 103 points, followed by North Texas in third with 95 points. Rounding out the men’s teams were Arkansas State in fourth with 91 points, Louisiana-Lafayette (76), UALR (62), FIU (46), ULM (39) and South Alabama (23). Middle Tennessee’s Justus David and Louisiana-Lafayette’s Jasmine Anderson were named the men’s and women’s most outstanding track performers and were also the top scorers in the meet. North Texas’s Jordan Wehr and WKU’s Monteka Flowers were named the most outstanding field performers. For the second consecutive year, Wehr won the men’s heptathlon, totaling 5,010 points. Wehr was in second place to start day two but two first place victories in the pole vault (4.50m) and the 55-Meter Hurdles (7.96s) vaulted him into first. Arkansas State took the next two stands on the podium with Taylor Short coming in second (4,955 points) followed by Ethan Turpen in third (4,866 points). South Alabama’s Lindsay Schwartz won the women’s pentathlon, garnering 3,585 points.

54 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

Men’s team champion Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

most outstanding men’s track athlete Justus David, Middle Tennessee

most outstanding men’s field athlete Jordan Wehr, North Texas

men’s freshman of the year David Mokone, WKU

men’s head coach of the year Dean Hayes, Middle Tennessee

woMen’s team champion Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

most outstanding women’s track athlete Jasmine Anderson, Louisiana-Lafayette

most outstanding women’s field athlete Monteka Flowers, Western Kentucky

women’s freshman of the year Sharika Nelvis, Arkansas State

women’s head coach of the year Lon Badeaux, Arkansas State

Middle Tennessee’s Cherice Robertson was in second with 3,523 points, followed by Arkansas State’s Kanesha Hicks with 3,403 points. Arkansas State junior Stephanie Foreman once again set a new Sun Belt Indoor Championship and indoor regular season record in the women’s pole vault, leaping to first place with 4.15m (13-7 1/4 ft). Foreman has set and broken her own record in the event for the third consecutive year. WKU senior Marion Kandie – the 2010 women’s SBC cross country champion – smoked the competition in the women’s 5,000 meter by clocking in at 16:51.21, setting a new SBC Championship record by breaking North Texas’ Debbie Thornhill’s previous 10-year-old record of 17:09.66 set on Feb. 22, 2001. Two Sun Belt Conference indoor track and field standouts competed at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships.

6

Western Kentucky University’s women’s indoor track & field program has won six consecutive Sun Belt Conference Indoor Track & Field team championships. The WKU women have also won five consecutive SBC Cross Country/Track & Field triple crowns, taking all three championships (cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field) in 2010-11.

Western Kentucky’s Sharika Smith earned second-team All-America status by the USTFCCCA in the long jump after finishing 16th and honorable mention in the triple jump after finishing 17th. Smith’s accolades are the 75th and 76th such honors in WKU’s storied track and field history. More impressively, she becomes only the sixth female to earn All-America status, and joins Jonathan Brown (2004) as the only WKU athletes to earn multiple All-America honors in the same meet. Middle Tennessee’s Noah Akwu was crowned a USTFCCCA All-American in the 200-meter dash for his performance at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships. The sophomore placed sixth in a final round time of 20.86 to garner the honor.


d

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 55


Men’s Basketball

SBC East champion Florida Atlantic Owls

F

SBC West Co-champion Arkansas State Red Wolves

SBC West Co-champion Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns

or the second consecutive year, the Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Championship game produced another exciting fight to the finish. With just 1.5 seconds left, UALR’s Soloman Bozeman hit a 3-pointer to secure a 6463 win over North Texas, giving UALR its first Sun Belt Tournament title and first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1990. Bozeman capped his collegiate career with an award-winning season. The 2011 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year was named AllAmerica Honorable Mention by the Associated Press and earned Most Outstanding Player honors at the 2011 SBC Tournament. In sweeping the Sun Belt’s Player of the Year and Most Outstanding Player awards, Bozeman became the league’s first men’s basketball player to take both honors in the same season since WKU’s Chris Marcus in 2001. He became just the third Trojan in school history to receive Sun Belt Player of the Year honors, joining former UALR standouts Derek Fisher (1995-96) and Muntrelle Dobbins (1996-97). In addition, Bozeman was named First Team All-Conference, All-District VII by the USBWA and First Team All-District 24 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

56 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

SBC Tournament champion UALR Trojans

Player of the yEar Solomon Bozeman, UALR

Defensive Player of the YEar Brett Royster, Florida Atlantic

Florida Atlantic enjoyed its best overall season at the Division I level in 2010-11 by recording a program-high 21 wins and the school’s longest win streak (eight) at the Division I level. The Owls won the Sun Belt’s regular season title and East Division crown with 13 conference wins, the most in school history, and accepted a bid to the NIT. Senior Brett Royster was named the league’s defensive player of the year, finishing his college career with 301 blocks and as the SBC’s alltime leader in blocked shots. By leading his team to historic success, coach Mike Jarvis was named the league’s Joe Gottfried Coach of the Year, the District 24 Coach of the Year by the NABC, and was one of 16 national finalists for the Ben Jobe Award, which goes to the best minority coach in Division I. The Owls are expected to return at least eight players from the 2010-11 squad and will have three players (Shavar Richardson, Greg Gantt and Raymond Taylor) within reach of 1,000 career points next season. South Alabama’s Augustine Rubit was named the league’s Freshman of the Year as well as being tabbed to the All-SBC third team. A Houston, Texas native, Rubit is the first South Alabama player to earn the league’s top rookie award since Jeff Hodge in 1986 and the first-

freshman of the year Augustine Rubit, South Alabama

Joe Gottfried head coach of the year Mike Jarvis, Florida Atlantic

All-Conference teams FIRST TEAM Solomon Bozeman (UALR, Senior, G) Raymond Taylor (Florida Atlantic, Sophomore, G) Tristan Thompson (North Texas, Senior, G) Sergio Kerusch (WKU, Senior, F) Steffphon Pettigrew (WKU, Senior, F) SECOND TEAM Martavius Adams (Arkansas State, Junior, G) Chase Hallam (Denver, Sophomore, G) Greg Gantt (Florida Atlantic, Sophomore, G) J.J. Thomas (Louisiana-Lafayette, Freshman, F) James Washington (Middle Tennessee, Senior, G) THIRD TEAM Donald Boone (Arkansas State, Senior, G) Brett Royster (Florida Atlantic, Senior, F) Travis Bureau (Louisiana-Lafayette, Senior, F) Augustine Rubit (South Alabama, R-Freshman, C) Will Weathers (Troy, Sophomore, G)

ever Jaguar named to an all-conference team as a freshman. He averaged a double-double with 13.1 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. His rebounding average led the Sun Belt, ranked sixth in the nation and was tops among Division I freshmen. His scoring average was second-best on the team and ranked 13th in the league. Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette shared the league’s West Division title last season. The Red Wolves capped the regular season by going undefeated on their home court for the first time since the 1990-91 to cap the season with a


l

ach

perfect 13-0 record. They finished regular season action at 17-14 and posted their second-consecutive winning record in SBC play at 11-5. The Cajuns had one of the greatest turnarounds in recent history last season. After starting the season 3-14, ULL rattled off 11 straight wins and earned a share of the Sun Belt’s West Division Title. The 11-game win streak was tied for second-longest in school history and the first 11 wins in a row in 38 years. The streak was also the second-longest in the nation at the time. ULL also saw a 42 percent increase in attendance in 2010-11, ranking eighth in all of Division I basketball when compared to 2009-10 attendance figures. Denver sophomore guard Chase Hallam was a leader on and off the court, as he was voted to the Capital One Academic All-District VII First Team. A business major, Hallam has a 3.85 cumulative grade point average, earning a spot on the Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s List last year. Hallam also has been named a DU Hornbeck Scholar for earning a perfect 4.0 GPA the last two quarters.

SBC CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS

Sun Belt Conference First Round - March 5 G1 - (E3) WKU 66, (W6) ULM 50 G2 - (W4) North Texas 83, (E5) Troy 69 G3 - (E6) FIU 53, (W3) Denver 49 G4 - (W5) UALR 82, (E4) South Alabama

Sun Belt Conference Quarterfinal - March 6 G5 - (E3) WKU 81, (W2) Louisiana-Lafayette 76 G6 - (W4) North Texas 78, (E1) Florida Atlantic 64 G7 - (E2) Middle Tennessee 73, (E6) FIU 38 G8 - (W5) UALR 59, (W1) Arkansas State 52 Sun Belt Conference semifinal - March 7 G9 - (W4) North Texas 81, (E3) WKU 62 G10 - (W5) UALR 65, (E2) Middle Tennessee 56 Sun Belt Conference Championship Game - March 8 G11 - (W5) UALR 64, (W4) North Texas 63

SUN BELT CONFERENCE

2011 men’sMarch Basketball CHAMPIONSHIP 5-8, 2011 > Hot Springs, Arkansas Saturday, March 5

Sunday, March 6

Monday, March 7

Tuesday, March 8

[W6] ULM [E3] WKU [E3] WKU

[E3] WKU [W2] ULL [W4] NT - 63

[E5] Troy [W4] NT [W4] NT

[W4] NT [E1] FAU

[W5] UALR

[E6] FIU [E6] FIU [W3] DU

[E2] MT [E2] MT [W5] UALR - 64

[W5] UALR [W5] UALR [E4] USA

[W5] UALR [W1] ASU 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 57


Sun Belt Attracting Nation’s Top Talent Story by Christiana Johns, Sun Belt Media Relations

58 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference


H

eading into the 2011-12 season, noted Sun Belt Conference men’s basketball teams have attracted some of the best talent in the nation. Three SBC teams -- Middle Tennessee, North Texas and Western Kentucky – find their 2011 recruiting classes in the top 40 among Division I schools and boast three players ranked by Rivals in the top 150. Sun Belt men’s basketball coaches combine for a .574 career winning percentage, higher than the SEC, indicating a history of quality coaching that makes programs in the league attractive to some of the best recruits in the country. “I think the combination of the returning players and the top caliber recruiting that the Sun Belt schools have done will make our league a very challenging one for years to come,” said North Texas head coach Johnny Jones. Fresh off a return trip to the Sun Belt Conference Championship final in 2011, Jones’ Mean Green has an incoming class ranked 36th nationally by HoopScoopOnline.com. Although North Texas will be replacing six seniors, Jones is confidant in his young team’s ability to compete. “We are extremely excited about our incoming class. Signing four of the top 30 players in the state of Texas – including two in the top 10 – along with the addition of Tony Mitchell, will help the transition of losing six very talented seniors.” Mitchell, a Dallas Pinkston star forward, is the first Mean Green basketball player to represent his country on the international stage as he was named to the final USA Basketball 12-man roster that began its title defense in June at the FIBA U19 World Championships in Latvia. "We are excited about Tony having the opportunity to represent our country at the U19 World Championships," Jones said. "I think it speaks volumes to his abilities that he was chosen among the select few." A veteran of the U18 Team USA squad that won gold at the FIBA Americas Championships last summer, Mitchell is one of five players selected with previous Team USA experience. The No. 12 ranked high school player in the nation in 2010 averaged 8.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game at the FIBA Americas Championship. North Texas will take the court in 2011-12 with four other players ranked inside the state's top 70 according to texashoops.com - Jordan Williams (7), Chris Jones (24), Forrest Robinson (32) and Trey Norris (70). Casper College guard Brandan Walton, a Region IX All-Tournament selection, also joins North Texas in the fall. Williams, a 6-6 forward from Dallas, is also ranked nationally with his name on Rivals’ top 150 list.

Phil Taylor (above) was vital to FIU’s offense last season. He was one of Isiah Thomas’ prized recruits for the 2010-11 basketball season. Taylor averaged 16.7 points per game as a senior at Wheeler High School.

Former Duncanville standout and Oklahoma State forward Roger Franklin also signed with North Texas, adding to what is already regarded as the best incoming class in school history. Coming out of high school, Scout.com listed Franklin as the No. 9 small forward and the No. 43 rated player overall in the country, and he was the catalyst for Duncanville's 39-0 state title run as a sophomore. Franklin 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 59


appeared in 56 games over the last two seasons for Oklahoma State. He shot 55.2 percent from the floor while averaging 2.6 points per game as a freshman, and upped his rebounding average to 2.3 per game as a sophomore. A defensive stalwart, Franklin tallied 25 steals and 14 blocks in his time with the Cowboys. Middle Tennessee is another top Sun Belt squad with a highlytouted recruiting class that has been ranked as high as 19th nationally by HoopScoopOnline.com and currently ranks 27. "Our recruiting class will be ranked extremely high at season's end, but what excites me the most about this group is their passion for basketball, and the toughness I think they will bring to our team," said Middle Tennessee head coach Kermit Davis. “Obviously all recruiting classes will be evaluated by the impact they have on your program this time next year.” Included in MT’s class are talented junior guards Raymond Cintron, Marcos Knight, and Bruce Massey. Cintron, a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, played for the Puerto Rican National U-19 team in 2008-09. The junior transfer from Mississippi Gulf Coast junior college – where he averaged 20.0 points per game and 4.7 assists per game as a freshman – led all scorers at the Nike Global Games and was named to the international all-tournament team. “He averaged about 20 points per game last year in junior college and is a terrific shooter,” Davis said. “He is just tough and understands how to play.” Another junior college transfer, Knight played his freshman season at Middle Georgia where he was named the GJCAA Player of the Year and received player of the week honors three times. Davis described the Dublin, Ga., native as “one of best junior college guards in the country” after leading Middle Georgia to the national junior college tournament. Massey comes to the Blue Raiders from Dodge City Community College where he led the team in assists (195) and steals (122) as a freshman and earned honorable mention honors in the KJCCC Western Conference. "We feel Bruce is one of the very best defenders in junior college basketball,” Davis said. One of the most successful teams in the league, WKU, has received national recognition for its signing class for the 2011-12 season by various recruiting outlets. After the early signing period in November, ESPN listed WKU's class as being "on the cusp" of its ranking of the nation's top 25 classes, and various other national outlets recognized WKU's recruiting efforts for the Class of 2011. Chris Udofia (right), a Denver freshman in 2010, played in all 30 games last season for the Pioneers, starting four. He averaged 8.3 points per game as a freshman while ranking fourth overall in the conference in blocked shots (1.9 per game). Udofia led Dallas Jesuit to a 27-6 record and a district championship as a senior in high school and was nominated as a McDonald’s All-American.

60 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference


Four of WKU's signees are listed by Rivals.com as being at least threestar recruits. The only other Sun Belt Conference schools with any three-star signees are North Texas (3), FIU (2), UALR (1) and South Alabama (1). Leading the class is Derrick Gordon and George Fant who are both listed as top 150 recruits by Rivals. ESPN.com's senior basketball recruiting analyst Dave Telep said building the program around Gordon and Fant “will be exciting for WKU.” "Gordon's that guy who wants and is good enough to be the face of a program, and he'll be a kid who helps the staff attract talent,” Telep said. “It's a deep group and the hope is once they get used to the rhythm of a college program, they compete against each other for minutes and strengthen the depth of the team." Gordan was named the Union County Player of the Year in his native New Jersey. The 6-3 guard competed on the 2009 NJSIAA State Tournament championship team, which was St. Patrick's third title in four seasons. "He has been rock-solid from day one and is a Hilltopper at heart,” WKU head coach Ken McDonald said. “He's a tough kid, a great kid who is serious about the game of basketball and serious about being a student. I think he's going to be a favorite of Hilltopper nation." Fant, a 6-6 forward from nearby Warren Central High School in Bowling Green, is already a 1,000-point scorer for the Dragons after starting nearly his entire high school career. He earned second-team all-state honors as a junior in 2009-10 after averaging 15 points and eight rebounds per game. For two-straight years Fant has been an All-4th Region player, with his junior season bringing first-team honors after earning second-team acclaim as a sophomore. "George is a talented, mis-match kind of guy who is a great kid. We've known him since the day we took the job,” McDonald said. “We love him and his family, and I think he has a ton of potential to really do whatever he wants on the Hill. He could have a great career here, and I know he's excited that his family has the chance to see him play here." Also a three-time All-14th District performer, Fant has strong ties to WKU. His cousin, Jim McDaniels, is the school's co-career scoring champion and a three-time All-American, and his number 44 hangs from the rafters at E.A. Diddle Arena. Fant's mother, Kim (Norman) Fant played basketball at WKU under Coach Paul Sanderford, and his father, George, was a manager on men's basketball teams coached by Clem Haskins and Murray Arnold. Other noted Hilltopper recruits include 7-0 center Deng Leek, 6-4 forward Nigel Snipes and 6-9 power forward Vinny Zollo. J.J. Thomas (left), helped lead the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns to a second half surge that propelled the Cajuns to the SBC Western Division title. The freshman from Scotlandville (La.) averaged 11.3 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game last season.

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 61


F

62 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference


Women’s Basketball

F

SBC East champion Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

SBC WEst champion UALR Trojans

or the third time in five years, and the second consecutive year, the Sun Belt Conference sent multiple teams to the Women’s NCAA Championship as Middle Tennessee and UALR earned postseason landing spots.

SBC Tournament Champion UALR Trojans

Player of the yEar Chastity Reed, UALR

Defensive Player of the YEar Shanika Butler, UALR

The UALR women’s basketball team ended the 2010-11 season in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with a 59-55 loss to Green Bay. It was UALR’s second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. The Trojans fell to 1-2 all time in NCAA Championship play. The Blue Raiders made their 14th NCAA Tournament appearance in school history against Georgia after receiving an at-large bid to the tournament. The selection marked the eighth consecutive season that MT has played in a postseason tournament. The Blue Raiders extended their current streak to compete in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in head coach Rick Insell’s six seasons. Denver made its first postseason appearance since it received its lone NCAA tournament berth in 2001. The Pioneers came up short in its WNIT appearance against BYU however, losing 60-75. Schools have posted 64 NCAA Tournament wins as members of the Sun Belt Conference, including a National Championship (Old Dominion, 1985) and seven Final Four appearances (Old Dominion and WKU, 1985; WKU, 1986; WKU, 1992; Louisiana Tech, 1994; Louisiana Tech, 1998; Louisiana Tech, 1999). The Sun Belt

freshman of the year Ebony Rowe, Middle Tennessee

head coach of the year Joe Foley, UALR

All-Conference teams FIRST TEAM Chastity Reed (UALR, Sr., F) Kaetlyn Murdoch (Denver, Jr., F.) Ebony Rowe (Middle Tennessee, Fr., F) Anne Marie Lanning (Middle Tennessee, Sr., G) Arnika Brown (WKU, Sr., F) SECOND TEAM Shanika Butler (UALR, Sr., G) Britteni Rice (Denver, Sr., G.) Brianna Culberson (Denver, R-Sr., F) Jerica Coley (FIU, Fr., G) Mercedes Johnson (Louisiana-Lafayette, Jr., F) THIRD TEAM Shay Scott (Arkansas State, Sr., F) Denetra Kellum (North Texas, Sr., G) Donette McNair (Troy, Sr., F) Christian Shelter (South Alabama, Sr., F) Amy McNear (WKU, Sr., G)

Conference has sent at least two teams to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament in 17 of 29 years. Old Dominion won the first-ever Sun Belt Conference women’s basketball tournament in 1983, defeating WKU 78-67. ODU then defeated St. John’s, Maryland, and Penn State to reach the NCAA Final Four. Future Olympian Anne Donovan of Old Dominion became the first women’s recipient of the Naismith Trophy, recognizing the nation’s finest player. The Sun Belt became the first conference 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 63


to place two teams in the women’s basketball NCAA Final Four as Old Dominion and Western Kentucky earned their way to Austin, Texas in 1985. WKU reached the Final Four by defeating Middle Tennessee, Texas, and Mississippi, while Old Dominion defeated Syracuse, North Carolina State and Ohio State. WKU lost its semifinal match up to Georgia (91-78), but ODU defeated Northeast Louisiana (now Louisiana-Monroe) in the semi-finals and Georgia (70-65) for the national championship. Schools have totaled 30 wins in the WNIT as members of the Sun Belt Conference, and WKU reached the WNIT semi-finals in 2006 and 2007. The Sun Belt has also produced a WNIT championship (Arkansas State, 1993), runner-up (Arkansas State, 1994), third place finish (Arkansas State, 1992) and fourth place finish (South Alabama, 1988). 2011 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Chastity Reed from UALR was honored as an All-American and was selected in the WNBA Draft. The league has had five players selected in the WNBA Draft in the last five years.

SUN BELT CONFERENCE

2011 Women’s Basketball CHAMPIONSHIP March 5-8, 2011 > Hot Springs, Arkansas Saturday, March 5

Sun Belt Conference Quarterfinal - March 6 G5 - (W4) Arkansas State 77, (E1) Middle Tennessee 62 G6 - (E3) WKU 65, (W2) Denver 57 G7 - (W1) UALR 73, (E4) South Alabama 54 G8 - (E2) FIU 52, (W3) Louisiana-Monroe 51

Monday, March 7

[E3] WKU 65 [E3] WKU 81

[E3] WKU 55 [W2] Denver 57 [E3] WKU 59

[E5] Florida Atlantic 52 [W4] Arkansas state 77 [W4] Arkansas state 66

[W4] Arkansas state 47

[E1] Middle tennessee 62

[W1] UALR [E6] Troy 51 [W3] Louisiana-Monroe 51 [W3] Louisiana-Monroe 60

[E2] FIU 37 [E2] FIU 52 [W1] UALR 66

[W5] Louisiana-Lafayette 53

Sun Belt Conference semifinal - March 7 G9 - (E3) WKU 55, (W4) Arkansas State 47 G10 - (W1) UALR 47, (E2) FIU 37 Sun Belt Conference Championship Game - March 8 G11 - (W1) UALR 66, (E3) WKU 59 64 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

Tuesday, March 8

[W6] North Texas 66

SBC CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS

Sun Belt Conference First Round - March 5 G1 - (E3) WKU 81, (W6) North Texas 66 G2 - (W4) Arkansas State 66, (E5) Florida Atlantic 52 G3 - (W3) Louisiana-Monroe 60, (E6) Troy 51 G4 - (E4) South Alabama 58, (W5) Louisiana-Lafayette 53

Sunday, March 6

[E4] South Alabama 54 [E4] South Alabama 58

[W1] UALR 47 [W1] UALR 73


2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 65


Men’s and Women’s Golf

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he University of Denver has not only dominated Sun Belt Conference women’s golf, but the team has established itself as one of the elite programs in the nation. The 2011 campaign was no different as the Pioneers claimed their eighth consecutive Sun Belt Conference women’s golf title and made their 10th-straight NCAA Regional appearance. Despite Denver’s dominance, other Sun Belt Conference women’s golf programs have begun to establish themselves in the league and on a national stage. A record three Sun Belt Conference women’s golf teams were selected to participate in the 2011 NCAA Regional Championships: Denver, FIU and North Texas. North Texas was selected to play in an NCAA Women’s Golf Regional for the first time in school history. The Mean Green finished fourth at the SBC tournament and had a record breaking year with four tournament wins during the season. The Mean Green had a school record four players earn all-conference honors this year and Jeff Mitchell was named the Sun Belt Conference Women’s Golf Coach of the Year. FIU received one of 14 at-large bids to the NCAA East Regional, marking the Panther’s first appearance in an NCAA Regional since Paula Hurtado was selected as an individual during the

66 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

Men’s team champion Denver Pioneers

men’s Individual medalist Carlos Ortiz, North Texas

Men’s freshman of the year Gustaf Kocken, Louisiana-Monroe

Men’s coach of the year Whit Turnbow, Middle Tennessee

WoMen’s team champion Denver Pioneers

Women’s Individual medalist Anna Carling, Arkansas State

Women’s freshman of the year Shelby Coyle, FIU

WoMen’s coach of the year Jeff Mitchell, North Texas

2007-08 season. FIU finished fifth during the 2011 SBC tournament and has finished in the top-five of every tournament they participated in this year. FIU’s Shelby Coyle was named the women’s Freshman Golfer of the Year. Additionally, Middle Tennessee matched its program best with a second consecutive runner-up finish after carding a five-over round of 293 to end with a 16-over 880 during the threeround tournament. The three-round tournament total of 880 was a new school best, breaking the previous record by 15 strokes. Individual medalist honors went to Arkansas State’s Anna Carling who carded a twounder 70 in the final round to finish in a tie with Middle Tennessee’s Karisa Akin. Carling won the one-hole playoff to claim the individual title. She finished the three-round tournament with a 215 (71-74-70). Akin and Carling were the only golfers in the field to finish under-par for the event.

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Middle Tennessee senior golfer Jason Millard (above) was named a third team All-American by Golfweek.com following the 2010-11 season. Millard started his career by being named an Honorable Mention All-American and now he concludes it with another top honor. Millard is the first outright All-American at Middle Tennessee since 1968.


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DU has won eight consecutive Sun Belt Conference women’s golf titles dating back to 2004 which is a conference record for consecutive women’s golf titles and total women’s golf championships. The Pioneers claimed the 2011 title with a three round total score of 875.

Denver’s men’s golf team turned a lastplace finish in 2010 to a Sun Belt Conference Championship in 2011. Inclement weather forced the cancellation of the third and final round at the 2011 Club Glove Sun Belt Conference Men’s Golf Championship. With the shortened championship, Denver was named the 2011 men’s team champions. The 2011 title was the first SBC men’s golf title for the Pioneers since the 2008 season. North Texas and ULM finished tied for second as both shot 577 (+1), however, North Texas was declared the runner-up based on the finish of its fifth golfer. The Mean Green was led by Carlos Ortiz who fired a tournament low 68 to finish at seven-under 137 to claim the men’s individual champion title. ULM’s Nick Wilson led the way for the Warhawks as he finished one stroke behind Ortiz.

The finish for the Warhawks was the highest finish for the team after finishing ninth at last year’s SBC Championship. Three Sun Belt Conference men’s golf teams and four SBC men’s golf individuals were selected to participate in the 2011 NCAA Men’s Golf Regional. Denver, Middle Tennessee and North Texas, along with Louisiana-Lafayette’s duo of Philipp Fendt and Andrew Noto, LouisianaMonroe’s Gustaf Kocken and South Alabama’s Jack Hiluta represented the league in the NCAAs in 2011. Kocken was named the league’s Freshman of the Year. North Texas, which finished tied for second at the SBC championships, earned its first bid to the NCAA Tournament since 2003 and the 29th overall appearance for the Mean Green. The atlarge selection was the first for North Texas in the modern era and only the second in school history. The NCAA Regional bid marks the fourth consecutive year the Blue Raiders have advanced to the postseason. It is the fifth NCAA berth in

program history and the third as an at-large. The Blue Raiders also made NCAA Regional appearances in 2000, 2008, 2009, and 2010. In 2008, Middle Tennessee advanced all the way to the NCAA Championships where it finished 15th nationally. Blue Raider head coach Whit Turnbow was named the Sun Belt Conference Men’s Golf Coach of the Year. Middle Tennessee senior golfer Jason Millard earned Division I PING All-Region honors from the Golf Coaches Association of America after advancing to his fourth NCAA Championship, the most of any individual in school history. Millard was named a third team All-American by Golfweek.com following the season. Millard started his career by being named an Honorable Mention All-American and now he concludes it with another top honor. Millard is the first outright All-American at Middle Tennessee since Mike Whiteside and Ernie Adcock in 1968. Off the course, Middle Tennessee and Denver’s men’s golf programs received recognition from the NCAA for their academic efforts by receiving the NCAA’s Public Recognition Awards.

All-Conference teams MEN Carlos Ortiz, North Texas Nick Wilson, ULM Lloyd du Preez, Arkansas State James Searson, ULM Jason Millard, Middle Tennessee Jack Hiluta, South Alabama Troy Anderson, Denver Philipp Fendt, Louisiana-Lafayette Oskar Arvidsson, Denver Keith Becker Jr, UALR

WOMEN Malin Lundberg, UALR Megan Vaughn, UALR Anna Carling, Arkansas State Kelly Drack, Denver Ellie Givens, Denver Cristina Marin, FIU Katie Mundy, FIU Karisa Akin, Middle Tennessee Chandra Alexander, North Texas Jacey Chun, North Texas Kelsey Kipp, North Texas Addison Long, North Texas

COACH OF THE YEAR Whit Turnbow, Middle Tennessee (Men) Jeff Mitchell, North Texas (Women)

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR Gustaf Kocken, Louisiana-Monroe (Men) Shelby Coyle, FIU (Women) 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 67


Calm, Cool, & Collected Story by Adam Sparks, Daily News Journal

68 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference


W

hile some golfers at the NCAA Regional tournament were honed in on their round and perhaps the most important shots of their lives, MTSU’s Jason Millard had his back turned to the tee box, curiously gazing at planes taking off from a nearby naval air base. It should not have come as a surprise. Millard, a Murfreesboro native, has put together one of the best careers in MTSU golf history due in large part to his ability to not overanalyze the game. “You’ll see him in the fairway looking at birds in the trees or planes flying up in the sky, or Jason has this thing where he’s always got something in his hand flipping it — chapstick or his range finder or a ball or something,” MTSU coach Whit Turnbow said. “He’s just so laid back and unassuming that not much rattles him on a golf course. “Ben Hogan used to say that you’ve got to stop and smell the roses. Jason has an innate ability to be laid back, but then flip a switch when it’s go time.” Millard’s last ‘go time’ as a collegiate golfer came as an individual player in the NCAA Championships, which took place May 31st through June 2nd at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla. Millard capped a stellar collegiate career with a 3-over par 75 to finish tied for 32nd among 156 individuals at the NCAA Championships. “Obviously, I want to play well, but I’ll just stick to the game plan, not worry about anything, and just go out there and play,” Millard said. “This is a frustrating game, so I try not to worry about things too much. It’s kind of my personality.” During that aforementioned regional tournament, Millard became the first MTSU golfer ever to play in four NCAA postseasons and the first

outright All-American at Middle Tennessee since Mike Whiteside and Ernie Adcock in 1968. He is the only Blue Raider to capture three All-Sun Belt Conference honors and the second to make the match-play cut at the U.S. Amateur. Millard’s unique list of accomplishments runs deep. He could arguably be called the best golfer in MTSU history. Millard is, at least, in the first sentence of the conversation discussing such. Gary Head and Larry Gilbert won national championships as Blue Raiders, and Gilbert led MTSU to a team national crown in 1965. However, those titles were earned in the small school division. Jack Haley, also a member of the 1965 national title team, was among MTSU’s all-time best. In the modern era, Brett Alexander was

You’ll see him in the fairway looking at birds in the trees or planes flying up in the sky, or Jason has this thing where he’s always got something in his hand flipping it — chapstick or his range finder or a ball or something. He’s just so laid back and unassuming that not much rattles him on a golf course.

-- MT Head Coach Whit Turnbow

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 69


a three-time Ohio Valley Conference golfer of the year from 1998 to 2000, and Chas Narramore earned All-Sun Belt honors and made three NCAA postseason appearances (2007-2009). Millard — whose 63 in a February tournament broke a 34-year-old team record for best score — has a long list of feats to stack up with MTSU’s all-time players, and he’s done it at the highest level. Turnbow, who played at MTSU with Alexander and coached Narramore, said Millard could be the best. “Brett was my roommate and a good friend. He was a great player, but as good as he was, he never did what Jason has done,” Turnbow said. “And I’m not going to say something I might regret, so I’m not going to try to compare players from different eras. But for his era, Jason is as good as any. He’s at least near the top if not the best player ever here.” Millard entered the NCAA Championships on a hot streak. He shot at least one round in the 60s in 12 consecutive tournaments. He was the No. 1 seed among the tournament’s six individuals, which are ranked aside from the top players from the qualifying teams in the field. The high ranking and expectations didn’t faze the laid-back Millard, who credited his parents for his low-key approach to life and the game. “My parents are like that, just an easy going personality,” Millard said. Millard, who enrolled at MTSU as a 17-year-old, was playing in national junior tournaments by his 10th birthday. His game began blossoming around the time that Tiger Woods became the poster boy for young phenoms developing into world-class golfers. Millard seemed to be a candidate of a kid that lived and breathed golf. After all, his family’s

70 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

home sat just off the 18th green of Indian Hills Golf Course, and Millard spent most days hitting balls until dark. But the game was never pushed on him. “My grandpa got me started and taught me golf, and then my parents (Eddie and Debbie) were supportive,” Millard said. “My dad told me he didn’t want me to burn out, so he never forced me to play. I just loved playing.” Millard was a three-time all-state selection at Riverdale High School, where coach Brandon Burks said his approach and determination were unmatched. “His work ethic was the best. He always found time to work extra time on his game,” Burks said. “And his demeanor separated him, too. He has a dry sense of humor, and his look never changed on the golf course. “I’ve had some guys who would make a bad shot and throw their clubs, but with Jason, you could never tell if he was 10-over or 10-under. He always looked the same.” Millard said it’s impossible to focus solely on golf for five hours. That’s why he spends much of round discussing other topics with student assistant coach and roommate Kent Bulle. “We talk about life, school, girls, but not as much about golf,” Millard said. “We focus on golf when it’s time for me to get over the ball for the shot.” Millard’s college career will soon end, but his unassuming style of play will remain. On the course, he said he likes to play with a “short memory.” It’s that approach that has placed Millard among the most memorable golfers in MTSU history.


2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 71


Men’s and Women’s Tennis

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Men’s team champion Denver Pioneers

un Belt Conference men’s and women’s tennis teams continued their winning ways during the 2011 campaign. The FIU women’s tennis team earned its fifth Sun Belt Conference tournament title in the last seven years and fifth overall, and its first since 2009. Senior Liset Brito was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after she finished the championship without dropping a single set, winning out on both the singles and doubles courts in all three of FIU’s matches. The Panthers finished the 2011 season ranked No. 70 in the nation. Middle Tennessee’s men’s team won its third Sun Belt Conference Championship in program history and the program’s first since 2009. Matt Langley was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after winning all of his singles matches at the No. 3 position. In addition to FIU and Middle Tennessee advancing to the NCAA Championships, the Sun Belt Conference sent multiple players to the NCAA individual championships. FIU’s Brito made her second appearance in the NCAA Championship, finishing the 2011 season with a 15-4 singles record in dual matches and an overall record of 20-9. A four-time all-conference selection in both singles and doubles, Brito finished her Panther 72 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

men’s Most Outstanding Player (TourNament) Matt Langley, Middle Tennessee

Men’s coach of the year Jimmy Borendame Middle Tennessee

WOMen’s team champion FIU Panthers

career ranked tied for third on the FIU tennis program’s all-time wins list with 62 victories in dual match play. Overall, she has registered 79 victories, including a 5-5 record in tournament play in 2011.

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Claire Clark (above) is just the ninth Louisiana-Monroe student-athlete to earn CoSIDA First Team Academic All-America honors and the first since Drew Prisner earned the honor in 1994. The Academic All-America honor was Clark’s third consecutive honor. She was a second team honoree last season and third team honoree in 2009.

Women’s Most Outstanding Player (Tournament) Liset Brito, FIU

WOMen’s coach of the year Melissa Applebaum-Dall’au, FIU

On the men’s side, Denver sophomore standout Enej Bonin and South Alabama doubles tandem Lucas Viel and Romain Bocaert also earned invites to the NCAA Championship. Bonin, who finished the season ranked No. 69 by the ITA, was named an all-conference selection for the second consecutive year. Bonin is just the second Pioneer to earn an invite to the NCAA individual championships. Viel and Bocaert were one of just 32 doubles teams in the nation to earn an invite to the NCAAs. Louisiana-Monroe’s women’s tennis team enjoyed historic success in 2011. The Warhawks had the nation’s second longest win streak (17) and a national ranking as high as 46 after defeating then-ranked No. 73 Mississippi State. ULM accounted for four of the seven players on the all-conference singles team and two of the five all-conference doubles teams to mark the first time in Sun Belt history that a team placed four student-athletes on the singles team. ULM’s Claire Clark had a fantastic senior season to cap her collegiate career. Clark helped lead ULM to its 17-match win streak during the season. Clark lost just four sets all spring and finished the year with records of 18-1 in singles and 19-1 in doubles; Clark finished her singles career 63-4 in dual matches. Off the court, Clark

F W W W W

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is

2011 men’s and women’s tennis championships results Thursday, April 21 Women’s Match 1 Women’s Match 2 Women’s Match 3 Women’s Match 4

No. 9 Middle Tennessee 0, No. 8 Troy 4 No. 12 WKU 0, No. 5 Arkansas State 4 No. 10 UALR 0, No. 7 Denver 4 No. 11 South Alabama 4, No. 6 Florida Atlantic 3

Men’s Match 1 Men’s Match 2 Men’s Match 3

No. 2 Florida Atlantic 4, No. 7 WKU 0 No. 3 South Alabama 4, No. 6 Troy 1 No. 4 Middle Tennessee 4, No. 5 Louisiana-Lafayette 1

Friday, April 22 Women’s Match 5 Women’s Match 6 Women’s Match 7 Women’s Match 8

No. 1 FIU 4, No. 8 Troy 0 No. 4 North Texas 4, No. 5 Arkansas State 0 No. 2 ULM 3, No. 7 Denver 4 No. 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 4, No. 11 South Alabama 0

Men’s Match 4 Men’s Match 5

No. 2 Florida Atlantic 2, No. 3 South Alabama 4 No. 1 Denver 3, No. 4 Middle Tennessee 4

Saturday, April 23 Women’s Match 9 Women’s Match 10 Men’s Championship

No. 1 FIU 4, No. 4 North Texas 3 No. 7 Denver 1, No. 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 4 No. 3 South Alabama 3, No. 4 Middle Tennessee 4

sunday, April 24 Women’s Championship No. 1 FIU 4, No. 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 0

was one of just 12 students to graduate with a perfect 4.0 grade-point-average at ULM’s Spring Commencement Ceremony. For the third consecutive year, she was named to the Capital One Academic All-District Team and the CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America women’s at-large team. Clark was also awarded the Sun Belt Conference Female Postgraduate Scholarship Award in May, which can be used towards her future education. Sun Belt Conference tennis teams continued their success in the classroom with four programs receiving the NCAA’s Public Recognition Awards for academic achievement. Middle Tennessee’s men’s team and the women’s programs at FIU, ULM and North Texas all received the recognition. Two men’s tennis players represented their home countries in the prestigious Davis Cup, an annual international tennis team competition, with 125 nations competing in 2010. Troy’s Sami Ghorbel went to England to represent his home country of Tunisia, and Florida Atlantic’s Marc Abdelnour represented for his native Syria by traveling to Korea.

All-Conference teams Women’s Singles All-Sun Belt Conference Biljana Miloshevska, Arkansas State Liset Brito, FIU Claire Clark, Louisiana-Monroe Vivian Polak, Louisiana-Monroe Monica Winkel, Louisiana-Monroe Letha Gaigher, Louisiana-Monroe Carrie True, Western Kentucky Women’s Doubles All-Sun Belt Conference Veronique Luksich/Rebecca Van Den Houte, UALR Justine Humair/Marlene Ryan, Florida Atlantic Liset Brito/Maria Spenceley, FIU Claire Clark/Monica Winkel, Louisiana-Monroe Ana Burjaili/Vivian Polak, Louisiana-Monroe Men’s Singles All-Sun Belt Conference Enej Bonin, Denver Yannick Weihs, Denver Marc Abdelnour, Florida Atlantic Ben Davis, Middle Tennessee Romain Bocaert, South Alabama Lucas Viel, South Alabama Men’s Doubles All-Sun Belt Conference Andrew Landwerlen/Jens Vorkefeld, Denver Marc Abdelnour/Ervin Garibovic, Florida Atlantic Lucas Viel/Romain Bocaert, South Alabama

NCAA TOURNAMENT RESULTS Men’s Team - First Round Georgia Tech 4, Middle Tennessee 0 Women’s Team - First Round Miami 4, FIU 0 Women’s Singles - Round of 64 Tatsiana Kapshai (Sacramento State) def. Liset Brito (FIU) 6-4, 6-3 Men’s Singles - Round of 64 No. 33 Dean Jackson (San Diego) def. Enej Bonin (Denver), 7-5, 7-5 Men’s Doubles - Round of 32 Connor Smith/Vahid Mirzadeh (Florida State) def. Lucas Viel/Romain Bocaert (South Alabama) 6-4, 6-4

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 73


T 74 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference


Men’s & Women’s outdoor Track and Field

Men’s team champion Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

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he Western Kentucky University track and field program dominated the Sun Belt Conference during the 2010-11 outdoor season as both programs picked up team titles in early May. The WKU women won their sixth consecutive outdoor title while the men earned their fourth consecutive and sixth overall title since the 2003 season. The Hilltoppers swept the SBC Outdoor Track & Field Championships, marking the fourth consecutive sweep of the outdoor championships by WKU. The women’s team title marked the 17th consecutive cross country/track and field team championship, making the Lady Toppers one of the most dominate track and field programs in league history. The ULM men’s track & field squad finished as the runner-up in the team standings behind the Hilltoppers. The second-place finish was the best-ever finish for the Warhawks at the conference

Co-most outstanding men’s track athlete Noah Akwu, Middle Tennessee

Co-most outstanding men’s track athlete Daniel Mutai, Louisiana-Monroe

most outstanding men’s field athlete Joey Torres, South Alabama

men’s freshman of the year David Mokone, Western Kentucky

men’s head coach of the year J.D. Malone, Louisiana-Monroe

woMen’s team champion Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

most outstanding women’s track athlete Alysha Adams, North Texas

most outstanding women’s field athlete Lindsay Schwartz, South Alabama

women’s freshman of the year Sharika Nelvis, Arkansas State

women’s head coach of the year Erik Jenkins, Western Kentucky

championships since joining the Sun Belt prior to the 2006-07 season. Arkansas State finished the championships with 110 points, trailing only WKU in the team standings. Louisiana-Monroe’s Daniel Mutai and Middle Tennessee’s Noah Akwu earned the comen’s most outstanding track performer award. North Texas’ Alysha Adams earned the women’s most outstanding track performer honor and was also the meet’s top scorer. South Alabama claimed both the men’s and women’s most outstanding field performers as Joey Torres earned the men’s honor and Lindsay Schwartz earned the women’s. WKU’s Shadrack Kipchirchir was the men’s top meet scorer while Arkansas State’s Sharika Nelvis and WKU’s David Mokone earned the league’s women’s and men’s freshmen of the year honors. Adams set a new Sun Belt Championship record with her time of 13.28 in 100 meter hurdles while a sweep of the 100 meter hurdles, 100

meters and 200 meters earned her the Women’s Outstanding Track Performer Award as well as the Women’s Top Meet Scorer. South Alabama’s Joey Torres took the title in the men’s hammer throw with a throw of 59.50 meters and won the men’s discus. Schwartz bested the conference heptathlon record set by South Alabama’s Florence Edi as she earned 5,318 points overall, which cleared Edi’s 2005 record of 5,260 points. ULM’s Mutai bested his own school record in the men’s 10,000-meter at the outdoor championships, clocking a time of 30:21.98 while winning the 3,000-meter steeplechase and finishing as the runner-up in the men’s 5,000-meters. MT’s Akwu earned a double in the sprints with a 21.16 clocking in the 200 meters to claim the title and running 47.93 in the 400 meters to win his second title at the SBC championships. 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 75


A total of 84 men’s and women’s studentathletes competed in the NCAA Regionals in 2011, with four men and four women advancing to the NCAA Championship meet at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Of the eight student-athletes who competed at the National Championships, six earned either First or Second Team USTFCCCA All-America honors. WKU’s duo of Laura Igaune and Ignacio Guerra each earned first team nods while Arkansas State’s Stephanie Foreman, WKU’s Shadrack Kipchirchir, Louisiana-Monroe’s Richard McKay and South Alabama’s Lindsay Schwartz each received second team honors. Additionally, Louisiana-Lafayette’s Albert Fournette and Middle Tennessee’s Kortney Thurman were named Honorable Mention AllAmerica. Igaune is the WKU and Latvian national record holder in the hammer throw, and becomes just the second Lady Topper thrower to earn AllAmerica honors, joining former javelin thrower Lori Kokkola. Guerra is the WKU and Chilean national record holder in the javelin, and becomes the first 76 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

17

The Western Kentucky University (above) track and field teams swept the Sun Belt Conference outdoor title for the fourth consecutive year. The Lady Toppers now own the nation’s longest conference winning streak with 17-straight league titles, winning every SBC cross country, indoor, and outdoor team titles dating back to the school’s first women’s indoor track team title in 2006.

javelin thrower in Hilltopper history to earn AllAmerica honors, and the first thrower to score in the NCAA meet since Raigo Toompuu in the discus in 2005. ASU’s Foreman cleared 13-5.25 to finish 10th at the NCAA Championships to become Arkansas State’s first track & field All-American since James Jenkins posted a fourth-place finish in the 2007 triple jump. WKU’s Kipchirchir joined an elite list of WKU track and field athletes as one of only 13 individuals to earn multiple All-America honors in a career while attending WKU. Three Sun Belt Conference cross country and track & field student-athletes were named to the 2010-11 Capital One Academic All-District Track & Field/Cross Country Teams: Western Kentucky’s Buddy Price and Rachel Friedman, and Arkansas State’s Dawn L’Heureux. Price and Friedman were named to the District IV men’s and women’s first team, respectively, and L’Heureux was named to the District VI second team.

CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM SCORES 2011 MEN’S OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIP MURFREESBORO, TENNESSEE 1. Western Kentucky......................................................................................................................144.5 2. Louisiana-Monroe......................................................................................................................... 132 3. Arkansas State................................................................................................................................ 101 4. South Alabama............................................................................................................................. 88.5 5. Troy.................................................................................................................................................... 84.5 6. Middle Tennessee............................................................................................................................84 7. Louisiana-Lafayette..................................................................................................................... 65.5 8. North Texas........................................................................................................................................65 9. UALR.....................................................................................................................................................34 10. FIU.......................................................................................................................................................17 2011 WOMEN’S OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIP MURFREESBORO, TENNESSEE 1. Western Kentucky......................................................................................................................... 147 2. Arkansas State................................................................................................................................ 110 3. North Texas.................................................................................................................................... 93.5 4. FIU.........................................................................................................................................................86 4. Middle Tennessee............................................................................................................................86 6. South Alabama.................................................................................................................................75 7. Florida Atlantic..................................................................................................................................69 8. Louisiana-Lafayette..................................................................................................................... 63.5 9. Troy.................................................................................................................................................... 31.5 10. Louisiana-Monroe.........................................................................................................................31 11. UALR............................................................................................................................................... 25.5


A Jag of All Trades Story by South Alabama Media Relations

A junior member of the track & field team, Lindsay Schwartz used to be skeptical about the heptathlon - a grueling sevenevent combo - now the school record holder in the event is looking to move up the charts nationally

She can jump higher than you. She can run faster than you. She’s earned more bragging rights than you. But she won’t tell you that when she sees you. “I let my game speak for me,” she says. Meet Lindsay Schwartz. A junior member of the University of South Alabama track and field team from Watertown, Wis., Schwartz needs no introduction to the Sun Belt Conference. Schwartz, the lone member of the University of South Alabama track and field team to qualify for the NCAA Championships, finished 13th in the women’s heptathlon in the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, held in Des Moines, Iowa, from June 8-11. “I have worked extremely hard this season

to get to where I am,” Schwartz said. “My coaches and fellow players have pushed me, and I’ve really pushed myself to be able to represent the University of South Alabama at nationals. I want to prove to people that I deserve to be there.” She finished 11 spots ahead of where she qualified and earned Second Team All-America honors with a total of 5,274 points. “This is a great accomplishment for Lindsay, this team and the University of South Alabama. Her finishes reflect the reward of intense training, and this gets us excited for next year,” said assistant coach Randy Flach. Schwartz compiled her season-best heptathlon score of 5,318 points at the SBC Championships in mid-May. The total toppled 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 77


the previous record held by South Alabama’s own Florence Edi by 58 points. In her record-breaking performance at the Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Championships, she tallied victories in the high jump, long jump, 200and 800-meter dash. Overall, she finished among the top-five in six of the seven total events. “It was my primary season goal to break the school record,” Schwartz said. “I knew it was possible. I performed decently on the first day of

I was a bit nervous, but I felt like I had worked to the best of my ability this season to have earned the chance to compete in the national meet. Plus, since I’m the last-ranked athlete in the event, the only place I can go is up.

-- USA’s Lindsay Schwartz on her NCAA experience

the conference heptathlon, but I was confident in myself that I could win, so I did very well on the second day.” In her earliest days with the program, Schwartz admits she was actually skeptical about competing in the heptathlon – a demanding seven-event combination of runs, throws and jumps. “When I first got here coach Flach and coach (Paul) Brueske told me that I could do well in the heptathlon, even though I considered the high jump and hurdles to be my best events,” she explained. “Coach Flach trained me well and helped me to develop in all of the events.” 78 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference


Assistant coach Randy Flach, who specializes in the coaching of combined events, has helped Schwartz to develop into the conference’s best heptathlon competitor. Flach says Schwartz - who looks like Jane, but plays like Tarzan – possesses a perpetual work ethic and harnessed intensity that has developed her into a solid competitor. “Lindsay is an extremely hard worker,” Flach said. “She fully understands the sport and in training, we are always on the same page. When she got here we simplified each event and broke it down completely. By doing this, she developed proper form. “She has come a very long way to be where she is now.” Not only has Schwartz proven herself in competition during the 2011 season, she has proven her leadership abilities as well. Schwartz spearheaded a group of three Jaguar top-five finishers at the conference heptathlon championships. Noelle Jones finished third with a personal-best point total of 4,678 and Leah Hixon notched a fifth place finish behind a career-best point total of 4,491. “Their training group pushes each other every day,” Flach said. “They have performed very well together, so it was no surprise to see them do well at conference.” Schwartz said that her development was due, in part, to previous ability in some events and the implementation of step-by-step approach in training. “I train for the entire event in stages,” Schwartz said. “I start with throws, then move on to hurdles and finish with the running. Some events complement others, so my jumps have improved from my focus on the high jump and my runs have benefitted from my ability in the hurdles.” Head coach Paul Brueske commended

Schwartz, as well as Flach, for the success they’ve each had this season. “I am very fortunate to have coach Flach here, because he has done a great job of helping these competitors develop into excellent studentathletes,” Brueske said. “When I first came to South Alabama, I knew the combined events could be improved, and Lindsay has shown that progress is being made. “Lindsay is an intense athlete who has shown steady progress since she’s been here and we are proud of her. It is our hope that the success she’s had in earning a national bid will motivate our team to accomplish even more next year,” he added. Schwartz still has plenty to prove at the conference and national level. “I was a bit nervous, but I felt like I had worked to the best of my ability this season to have earned the chance to compete in the national meet,” Schwartz said. “Plus, since I’m the last-ranked athlete in the event, the only place I can go is up.”

Anatomy of a record Lindsay Schwartz compiled a season-best and school record heptathlon score of 5,318 points at the SBC Championships in midMay. The total toppled the previous record held by South Alabama’s Florence Edi by 58 points. Her event-by-event totals are below: Event 100m High Hurdles 14.70s

place

points

2nd

882 pts

1st

855 pts

Shot Put 9.62m (31’6.75”)

11th

505 pts

200 Meter Dash 25.23s

1st

866 pts

Long Jump 5.92m (19’5.25”)

1st

825 pts

Javelin 33.19m (108’11)

5th

537 pts

800 Meter Run 2:18.19s

1st

848 pts

High Jump 1.70m (5’7”)

total 5,318 pts

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 79


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Softball

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SBC champion Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns

n just the first decade of Sun Belt Conference softball, the league continues to grow every year. Several Sun Belt Conference softball teams have made an impact in the league, with several notable wins during the regular season over Top 25 opponents including 2011 NCAA Tournament participants Texas, Michigan, and Georgia Tech and NCAA Women’s College World Series participants Alabama, Missouri and Baylor. Louisiana-Lafayette continues to remain the dominant softball program in the Sun Belt and 2011 was no different. The Cajuns captured their 10th SBC regular season title and their 11th SBC tournament title. ULL advanced to their 13th consecutive and 21st overall NCAA Regional where the Cajuns eliminated regional host and No. 3 national seed Texas in the Austin Regional before falling to regional champion Houston. On the season, the Cajuns set a new Sun Belt and ULL record with 481 runs scored to lead the nation, which is the tenth highest total in NCAA history. ULL also set the league records for team batting average (.329) and walks (295). As a junior, ULL’s Christi Orgeron had a stellar 2011 campaign. She etched her name in the record books as she posted 101 RBI, the third

SBC Tournament champion Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns

Player of the yEar Christi Orgeron, Louisiana-Lafayette

pitcher of the YEar Ashley Brignac, Louisiana-Lafayette

highest single-season total in NCAA history, to set the ULL and SBC records and lead the NCAA. Orgeron was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, Sun Belt Tournament Most Outstanding Player and was a top 10 finalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. She led the league in batting average (.414), hits (87), RBI (101), doubles (20), triples (5, tied), home runs (23), total bases (186), slugging percentage (.886), and at bats (210). Gabriele Bridges also wrote her name in the NCAA record books as she hit a new singleseason record four grand slams in 2011. Her 66 career home runs place as the 14th most in NCAA history. She was named a national player of the week this season by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association after going 7-for-10 with seven home runs over four games during the first week of the season. Bridges and Orgeron were each named to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American third team, marking the first time since 2003 that two Cajuns were named to the All-American team in the same season. ULL has earned 39 All-American awards in the 31-year history of the program. Orgeron and teammate, Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year, Ashley Brignac received invitations to the 2011 USA Softball Women’s National Team

freshman of the year Hannah Campbell, South Alabama

head coach of the year Becky Clark, South Alabama

Selection Camp. Orgeron earned a spot on that team and will compete for the women’s world cup of softball in the fall of 2011. A total of nine Sun Belt Conference Softball Players were named to the Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I All-Region teams. ULL’s Bridges and Orgeron were named to the central region’s first team and Brignac was on the second team. Six

All-Conference teams FIRST TEAM Ashley Brignac (Louisiana-Lafayette, Junior, Pitcher) Rose Gressley (Florida Atlantic, Senior, Pitcher) Karavin Dew (Western Kentucky, Sophomore, Catcher) Gabriele Bridges (Louisiana-Lafayette, Senior, First Base) Heather Barnes (Florida Atlantic, Junior, Second Base) Kayla Burri (FIU, Sophomore, Shortstop) Jessy Alfonso (FIU, Sophomore, Third Base) Ashley McClain (FIU, Junior, Outfield) Christi Orgeron (Louisiana-Lafayette, Junior, Outfield) Brianna Love (Louisiana-Monroe, Senior, Outfield) Corrie Abel (Middle Tennessee, Senior, Designated Player) SECOND TEAM Hannah Campbell (South Alabama, Freshman, Pitcher) Ashlyn Williams (Troy, Senior, Pitcher) Sarah Draheim (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sophomore, Catcher) Mallory Cantler (North Texas, Senior, First Base) Haley Richards (South Alabama, Freshman, Second Base) Nerissa Myers (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sophomore, Shortstop) Brooke Foster (North Texas, Freshman, Third Base) Jessica Olguin (Louisiana-Monroe, Senior, Outfield) Brittany Fowler (South Alabama, Sophomore, Outfield) Haley Hopkins (South Alabama, Junior, Outfield) Hayden Gann (Troy, Junior, Designated Player)

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 81


players earned all-region honors in the South region. Ashley McClain (FIU) and Brianna Love (Louisiana-Monroe) were named to the first team and Rose Gressley (Florida Atlantic), Hannah Campbell (South Alabama) and Troy’s Nikki Hollett and Taylor Smart were named to the second team. Florida Atlantic ended the season with a 34-25 record, the 16th time in 17 seasons that the Owls have finished with a winning record. FAU has never had a losing season in its program history. The Owls made the championship game of the Sun Belt Tournament for the second time in three seasons and third time in the last five years since joining the league in 2007. FIU ended the 2011 campaign with an overall record of 31-27, marking the Panthers’ third-straight 30-win season coming off their NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010. In their short softball history, South Alabama finished the 2011 season with a programhigh 15 Sun Belt Conference wins and a 37-18

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overall record. During the season, USA recorded a program-high 15 game winning streak. Jaguar head coach Becky Clark was named the SBC’s Coach of the Year while Campbell was named the Freshman of the Year. Troy pitcher Ashlyn Williams finished 2011 as the Trojan career leader in wins, appearances, games started, complete games, shutouts and strikeouts. Williams finished her career as one of the best in the Sun Belt and 17th all-time in the NCAA Division I record books for career strikeouts. Off the field, Sun Belt Conference softball players continue to excel academically as ULL’s Brignac was named softball’s Capital One Academic All-American of the Year. A Kinesiology and Exercise Science major with a 4.00 GPA, Brignac made her first appearance on the Capital One Academic All-America® University Division first team. The junior posted a 32-7 record in 2011 with a 1.50 ERA. Four SBC athletes were named to the

2011 SUN BELT CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT RESULTS Wednesday, May 11 G1 - No. 3 South Alabama 10, No. 6 Louisiana-Monroe 2 (5 innings) G2 - No. 2 Florida Atlantic 4, No. 7 WKU 3 G3 - No. 5 Troy 4, No. 4 FIU 0 G4 - No. 1 Louisiana-Lafayette 10, No. 8 Middle Tennessee 3 Thursday, May 12 G5 - No. 7 WKU 8, No. 6 Louisiana-Monroe 6 (8 innings) G6 - No. 4 FIU 11, No. 8 Middle Tennessee 4 (8 innings) G7 - No. 2 Florida Atlantic 3, No. 3 South Alabama 1 G8 - No. 1 Louisiana-Lafayette 7, No. 5 Troy 3 Friday, May 13 G9 - No. 5 Troy 7, No. 7 WKU 2 G10 - No. 3 South Alabama 4, No. 4 FIU 2 G11 - No. 2 Florida Atlantic 11, No. 5 Troy 0 (6 innings) G12 - No. 1 Louisiana-Lafayette 10, No. 3 South Alabama 0 (5 innings)

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM Katy Neal, South Alabama Nikki Hollett, Troy Amanda Thomas, Western Kentucky Brianna Love, Louisiana-Monroe Kayla Burri, FIU Heather Bearnes, Florida Atlantic Rose Gressley, Florida Atlantic Gabriele Bridges, Louisiana-Lafayette Ashley Brignac, Louisiana-Lafayette Most Outstanding Player Christi Orgeron, Louisiana-Lafayette

Saturday, May 14 G13 - No. 1 Louisiana-Lafayette 8, No. 2 Florida Atlantic 0 (5 innings)

Capital One Academic All-District Teams: Brignac, North Texas’ Mallory Cantler, WKU’s Ciara Garcia and Troy’s Sarah Shields all received the academic honors.


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All-American Girl

Story by Brady Aymond, the Advertiser

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 83


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illions of Americans fired up their grills this past Fourth of July while icing down their favorite beverages to celebrate our country’s independence. By the end of the day, many will forget what they were celebrating in the first place. ULL softball player Christi Orgeron will not. Orgeron has the honor of not only wearing her love of her country on her sleeve, but also on her chest as she is spending her summer as a member of the US national softball team. "I think a lot of people take for granted the freedoms we have and how blessed we are to do what we do on a daily basis," Orgeron said. "It's something that if you stop to think about it, it can be extremely humbling. "To think about all the people overseas still fighting for our freedom, it makes you appreciate what we have. Every time that flag is raised and I hear the national anthem, it softens my heart because I know what has gone into allowing us that freedom." That flag and anthem has taken on a much stronger meaning for Orgeron this summer as she and her USA teammates have been preparing for international competition, which began July 9 in British Columbia, Canada. "It's a dream come true for me and I realize that I've been extremely blessed by God in my life to have the opportunities presented to me," said Orgeron. "It's every little girl’s dream to be able to play for their country. "When it's game day and I get to put on a jersey that says "USA" on it, it's such an honor and privilege." Orgeron has been wearing that jersey proudly and making the most of her opportunities thus far. In a six-game exhibition season, Orgeron went 4-for-8 with two homers, six RBIs and five runs scored. 84 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

It’s a dream come true for me and I realize that I’ve been extremely blessed by God in my life to have the opportunities presented to me.

-- ULL’s Orgeron on being selected to the US National Team

"It's probably more than I could have ever expected," Orgeron said of the experience. "In general, it's been very crazy. Every experience I have this summer is new because I've never done it. And each experience is better than the last." Orgeron has had a large support group along the way, including a ton of family members, current and past teammates and ULL fans.


"My family has been really supportive of me throughout my life," Orgeron said. "One of the newspapers did a big feature on my family because 37 of them were at one of the games. "But my support is not just coming from my family. I have fans from Lafayette texting me and calling me to offer support. My coaches have been very supportive. The support I've received from the community around me has been mind-blowing." The US team will head to Canada for the Canadian Open International tournament before returning to the states to play at the World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City. "I think we recognize that this is just another step in the journey," Orgeron said. "We recognize this is where it starts to count, per se. We're not really stressing out about it and worrying about it. "At the end of the day, it's still 60 feet to first base. Softball is still softball not matter where you play it or who you play it against."

Orgeron’s 2011 Superlatives •

2011 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year

2011 Sun Belt Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player

A career-best .414 batting average in 2011

Was one of only four players to top the century mark in a single season

Hit 101 RBI to lead the nation

The 101 RBIs was the third highest total in NCAA history

She finished second in runs scored (75) and homeruns (23) in the nation

A Top 10 finalist for USA Softball Player of the Year

Led the SBC in seven categories: batting average, hits (87), homeruns, RBI,

doubles (20), triples (5, tied) and total bases (186) •

Named Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American Third Team and All-District First

Team (Central Region)

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Baseball

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SBC champion Troy Trojans

SBC Tournament champion UALR Trojans

he 2011 Sun Belt Conference baseball season marked another year of parity in the league. UALR became the first No. 8 seed to not only advance to the SBC Championship game, but the first to win the tournament title after going through the championship undefeated. Garrett Graziano was named the tournament’s most outstanding player for leading the Trojans to their first SBC Championship in school history. UALR became the seventh different team since 2005 to win the league tournament crown. For the eighth time in the last 13 years the Sun Belt Conference sent three baseball teams to the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. UALR earned the conference’s automatic bid to the tournament after winning the SBC tournament title, while Troy and FIU earned at-large selections. The multiple selections in 2011 marked the 23rdconsecutive year the SBC has received two or more bids to the NCAA tournament. WKU’s Kes Carter became the highest draft pick in the Hilltoppers’ 92-year history when he was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays with the 56th overall pick in the supplemental first round of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft. Troy finished the regular season 40-16 and 21-9 in Sun Belt play, marking the second Sun

Co-Player of the yEar Pablo Bermudez, FIU

Co-Player of the yEar Adam Bryant, Troy

pitcher of the YEar Tyler Ray, Troy

Belt title for Troy (2006). Several Trojans earned individual honors on the season. Adam Bryant was named the Sun Belt’s co-Player of the Year – along with FIU’s Pablo Bermudez – and Tyler Ray was named the league’s Pitcher of the Year. Trojan head coach Bobby Pierce was named the Ron Maestri

All-Conference teams FIRST TEAM SP - Phil Haig, FIU SP - Tanner Perkins, WKU RP - Nate Hill, Troy C - Brent Tanner, South Alabama 1B - Mike Martinez, FIU 2B - T.J. Rivera, Troy SS - Nick DelGuidice, Florida Atlantic 3B - Hank LaRue, Middle Tennessee OF - Jared Andreoli, WKU OF - Alex Hudak, Florida Atlantic OF - Will Skinner, Middle Tennessee DH - Lance Marvel, Louisiana-Lafayette UTIL - Brad Hook - South Alabama SECOND TEAM SP - Paul Davis, Florida Atlantic SP - Tyler Ray, Troy RP - Hugh Adams, Florida Atlantic C - Matt Rice, WKU 1B - Joey Rapp, Louisiana-Monroe 2B - Raymond Church, Florida Atlantic SS - Adam Bryant, Troy 3B - Tyler Hannah, Troy 3B - Jeremy Patton, FIU OF - Todd Baumgartner, Arkansas State OF - Pablo Bermudez, FIU OF - Kes Carter, WKU DH - Nick Rountree, UALR UTIL - Tyson Workman, Troy

freshman of the year Justin Hageman, WKU

head coach of the year Bobby Pierce, Troy

Coach of the Year. A trio of Troy Trojans were named to the Louisville Slugger NCAA Division I All-American baseball teams – third baseman Tyler Hannah (1st team), RHP Ray (2nd team) and shortstop Bryant (3rd team). 2011 marked the first time the Trojans have had three players named All-Americans since moving to Division I in 1994. Three Sun Belt student-athletes were named to the 60-man Midseason Golden Spikes Award Watch list by USA Baseball. Troy’s Bryant and Ray along with WKU’s Matt Rice were all named to the list. Rice was also named a candidate for the prestigious Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, which is given each year to senior student-athletes who have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – classroom, character, community and competition. Rice was one of 30 candidates to be chosen from the nationwide nomination period. He was also named one of 13 semifinalists for the 2011 Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award, presented annually to college baseball’s best catcher. Five Sun Belt Conference baseball studentathletes were named to the Capital One Academic All-District teams. Rice of WKU and Alex Fuselier 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 87


2011 SUN BELT CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT RESULTS Wednesday, May 25 G1 (4) WKU 11, (5) Florida Atlantic 10 (12 inn.) G2 (2) FIU 13, (7) Arkansas State 10 (10 inn.) G3 (8) UALR 4, (1) Troy 2 (10 inn.) Thursday, May 26 G4 (6) South Alabama 10, (3) Louisiana-Lafayette 6 G5 (8) UALR 9, (5) WKU 5 G6 (1) Troy 9, (4) Florida Atlantic 6 Friday, May 27 G7 (7) Arkansas State 3, (3) Louisiana-Lafayette 0 G8 (2) FIU 11, (6) South Alabama 0 (7 inn.) G9* (1) Troy 4, (4) WKU 2 Saturday, May 28 G10* (8) UALR 5, (5) Florida Atlantic 3 G11* (7) Arkansas State 12, (6) South Alabama 9 G12* (2) FIU 11, (3) Louisiana-Lafayette 8 (10 inn.)

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM Greg Garcia, UALR Garrett Graziano, UALR Travis Henke, UALR Casey McCollum, UALR Jordan Castaldo, Arkansas State Andy Ferguson, Arkansas State Nick DelGuidice, Florida Atlantic Rudy Flores, FIU R.J. Fondon, FIU Jeremy Patton, FIU Adam Bryant, Troy Tyler Hannah, Troy Matt Rice, WKU Most Outstanding Player Garrett Graziano, UALR

Championship Sunday, May 29 G13 (8) UALR 7, (2) FIU 6

of Louisiana-Lafayette were each selected to the First Team in District IV and VI, respectively. Rice’s teammate, Jared Andreoli, was selected to the District IV Second Team, as was Middle Tennessee’s Will Skinner. UALR’s Jason Houston was named to the Second Team in District VI. Additionally, Rice was named baseball’s Capital One Academic All-American of the Year. Louisiana-Lafayette’s Ashley Brignac was named softball’s Capital One Academic AllAmerican of the Year, marking just the second time since 2002-03 a conference earned both the baseball and softball Academic All-Americans of the Year - the ACC had both during the 2008 season. Louisiana-Monroe’s Caleb Clowers was named to the nine member 2011 Rawlings Division I Gold Glove Team. The team is comprised of only nine players for each position on the field from a selection of over 300 schools. Clowers committed just one error all season long to finish the year with a .996 fielding percentage. Clowers tied outfielders Trevor Willis (Iowa) and Pete 88 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

23

2011 marked the 23rd consecutive season that the Sun Belt Conference received two or more bids to the NCAA tournament and the eighth time in the last 13 years the league has sent three baseball teams to the NCAA tournament. UALR (above) became the seventh different team since 2005 to win the league tournament crown and the first No. 8 seed to not only advance to the title game but to win it as well.

Lavin (San Francisco) for the fewest errors among the Gold Glove position players and finished just one percentage point behind Connecticut first baseman Mike Nemeth for the top fielding percentage among position players. South Alabama’s Steve Kittrell coached his final game – the 1,696th of his career – as the Jaguar’s head coach during the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament. South Alabama finished with 30 wins in Kittrell’s final season, marking the 25th time a Kittrell-coached team at USA has won at least 30 games.

Ten Sun Belt Conference baseball studentathletes were named to the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-South Central Region teams following the 2011 campaign. Middle Tennessee’s Skinner, Troy’s Bryant, Hannah and Ray, and WKU’s Rice were all named First Team All-South Central while Arkansas State’s Todd Baumgartner, Florida Atlantic’s Paul Davis, FIU’s Bermudez and Phil Haig, and South Alabama’s Brent Tanner were each named Second Team AllSouth Central.


Epitome of a Student-Athlete

Story by Michael Grant, Louisville Courier-Journal

Behind the mask, Western Kentucky’s Matt Rice shows a lot of brains

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att Rice is hardly irrelevant. The Western Kentucky University catcher was the final pick of the 2010 major league draft. That's selection No. 1,525 to the New York Yankees if you're scoring at home. Don't feel sorry for Rice. As a high schooler out of Johnson City, Tenn., he turned down a chance to attend Harvard to play baseball at WKU. Rice is now the program’s record holder for hits and RBIs. He was a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award - given to the nation's top catcher - and has been named WKU's Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He graduated this past May with a 4.0 gradepoint average in mechanical engineering. Drafted Mr. Irrelevant in 2010, Rice was selected in the ninth round (300th overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays this past June. "There were no expectations," Rice said. "It worked out for the best. (My teammates) will still wear me out about it every once in a while. It was fine. It was funny. It's a good story to tell. Once it got past the 40th round, they said, 'It would be so cool if you just went last.' " In the NFL, the draft's final pick gets a parade and a trip to Disneyland. For Rice, it was back to being a student-athlete. This season he batted .360 with a team-best nine home runs and 59 RBIs. Former WKU head coach Chris Finwood never envisioned battling Harvard for a player. But Rice was clearly not your typical recruit. "A lot of Ivy League schools were recruiting him," Finwood said. "We didn't have a lot of success to sell him at that point, but he liked what he saw. He wanted to play in the South. Matt's on a lot of more an academic scholarship than baseball. He's one of the best values in the country as far as getting bang for your scholarship dollar." 90 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

Rice, the son of accountants, showed an early aptitude for math and science. His father works for a chemical company and arranged for his son to shadow a mechanical engineer. Rice also had been a catcher since seventh grade. He said financial considerations played a role in his decision to attend WKU, but he added that the biggest reason was baseball. "I felt like I had a good opportunity to still receive a great education," Rice said of WKU. "And I felt like it would open up more doors for me baseball-wise. I've always loved baseball. It's always been my passion." Rice started as a freshman and batted .337. As a sophomore he amassed 101 hits - a single-season WKU mark - and a 31-game hitting streak. He went 5-for-5 with three RBIs in a 2009 NCAA Tournament victory over Mississippi. In an 11-8 victory over Kentucky, Rice's third-inning single gave him 282 hits to surpass Josh Patton (1994-97) for the WKU record. In April, a runscoring groundout at Troy gave him 209 RBIs to eclipse Mike Williams (1978-81). Finwood admits he's somewhat surprised to see the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Rice become a record-breaker. "He had a long way to go strength-wise coming out of high school," he said. "Matt has always had good hand-eye coordination. You knew if he could get some strength he was going to have a chance." Finwood said Rice's body of work helped

draft stock this year and Rice counts as his mentor, former Reds catcher Jeff Reed, now the hitting coach for the minor league Elizabethton (Tenn.) Twins. If baseball doesn't work out, Rice should be wellprepared to land another job. "Mechanical engineering is the broadest spectrum of engineers," said Rice, a two-time academic All-American and 2011 Academic AllAmerican of the Year. "They can do anything from machine design to industrial applications to heat transfer problems. It's the jack-ofall trades in engineering." Rice should be ready both on the field and in the workplace. He was named the "Outstanding Graduating Senior" in WKU's mechanical engineering program. "He's the absolute epitome of what you want in a student," school president Gary Ransdell said. "And by the way, he's a pretty good baseball player."


MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

The one word that continuously rings out when describing Mr. Solomon Bozeman is leader. Bozeman brought his leadership trait to the national stage this year in being named the Sun Belt Conference’s Men’s Basketball Player of the Year and an Associated Press AllAmerican. And in one moment Bozeman catapulted UALR to a place the Trojans hadn’t been in 21 years and showed a national TV audience what a leader he is. His dramatic three-pointer with 1.5 seconds remaining lifted UALR to its first ever Sun Belt Tournament title and the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1990. Bozeman received his undergraduate degree in May 2010 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree which he is on course to receive in May 2012. A six-foot guard, Bozeman tallied 1,025 total points in just two seasons at UALR to become the 18th member of the school’s 1,000-point club. As a senior, the Magnolia, Ark.native led the Trojans in scoring with a 16.6 points per game average, and led the Sun Belt Conference in three-point shooting at 45.8 percent from beyond the arc. In conference play, his scoring average climbed to a Sun Belt-best 17.7 points per game, while shooting 50.0 percent from the field and 52.5 percent from three-point range. Bozeman was named All-America Honorable Mention by the Associated Press, while also receiving All-District VII honors from the United States Basketball Writers Association, and First Team All-District 24 accolades from the NABC. Bozeman became the first men’s basketball player to receive both Sun Belt Player of the Year and Most Outstanding Player honors in the same season since Western Kentucky’s Chris Marcus in 2001. He is only the third Trojan to receive the league’s Player of the Year honor, joining Derek Fisher in 1995-96 and Muntrelle Dobbins in 1996-97.

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 91


feMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

One of the most prolific scorers in Sun Belt Conference history, Chastity Reed helped lead the UALR women’s basketball team to four 20-win seasons, four Sun Belt West Division Championships, four consecutive postseason berths, back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths and the first Sun Belt Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament Championship in team history. A New Orleans native, Reed fought with grit and determination to overcome obstacles after Hurricane Katrina and make it as a Division I student-athlete. Her hard work translated to success on the basketball court and it strangely looked all too easy for the 6-1 forward as she glided down the court or floated seemingly forever in the air when taking a jump shot. Reed was the 2010-11 Sun Belt Women’s Basketball Player of the Year and an All-American Selection by the Associated Press. Reed became the first male or female UALR basketball athlete to surpass 2,000 career points and became the first women’s basketball player selected in the WNBA Draft, when the Tulsa Shock selected her with the first pick of the third round (25th overall). She led the Trojans and the SBC in scoring by averaging 19.6 points per game, while also leading UALR in rebounds at 6.2 boards per game. In conference action, she averaged a teamhigh 18.9 points per game. Reed was named to the John R. Wooden Award Women’s Preseason Top 30 List and Preseason “Wade Watch” List. She became the first women’s basketball player to earn Sun Belt Player of the Year and Most Outstanding Player. Reed graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Health and Exercise Science and leaves the women’s basketball program as the school’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder, having totaled 2,207 points and 896 rebounds. Reed also owns UALR career records for scoring average, field goals made, field goal attempts, free throws made, free throw attempts, and defensive rebounds.

92 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference


Baseball Academic All-American OF THE YEAR Western Kentucky University senior catcher Matt Rice was named the Capital One Academic All-American of the Year following the 2011 baseball season. A mechanical engineering major with a 4.00 GPA, Rice’s first-team selection this past year improves on his second team Capital One Academic All-America selection as a junior. He earned third-team honors as a sophomore. Rice finished his four-year Hilltopper career with a .372 career average, having played in 216 games and as the school record holder in career hits and RBIs. He was a two-time All-Sun Belt Conference honoree and was named the 2011 Capital One Academic All-American of the Year. The Johnson City, Tenn., native is ranked among the top 10 in seven major offensive categories, including runs, doubles, home runs, walks and at-bats. A two-time semi-finalist for the Johnny Bench Award, Rice finished his career with a .992 fielding percentage. Rice was taken by the Tampa Bay Rays in the ninth round of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year player draft. Off the field, Rice was named the WKU Male Scholar Athlete of the Year and has an unblemished classroom record of straight A’s as a Mechanical Engineering Major and a Math Minor. A professor in the WKU Department of Engineering described Rice as being in the “top 1% of his peers for academic capabilities.”

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Softball Academic All-American OF THE YEAR Ashley Brignac of Louisiana-Lafayette was named softball’s Capital One Academic AllAmerican of the Year following the 2011 softball season. A Kinesiology and Exercise Science major with a 4.00 G.P.A., Brignac made her first appearance on the Capital One Academic All-America® University Division first team. She led the Ragin’ Cajuns to a 51-11 record and the NCAA Division I Austin Regional championship game in 2011 before they lost to the University of Houston, 4-1. Brignac led the Cajuns to its 11th Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship in the last 12 years. A Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-Region second team selection in 2008 and 2011, Brignac compiled a 32-7 record with 10 shutouts and a 1.50 E.R.A. this season. The native of River Ridge, La., has pitched seven no-hitters in her career, including four diamond gems in 2011. Brignac struck out 244 batters and walked 73 in 233.2 innings pitched as a senior. She did not commit an error in 55 fielding chances. Brignac dominated the Sun Belt Conference this Spring with a 14-3 record and 1.08 E.R.A. She was named as the Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year in 2011 and 2008. In addition, Brignac, who has a year of eligibility remaining, was named the conference’s Pitcher of the Week seven times out of 13 possible weeks this year. 94 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference


2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 95


Sun Belt Conference Television Over the last five years the Sun Belt Conference has seen its television appearances double. In fact, the Sun Belt set a new record for single season telecasts during the 2010-11 season with a total of 72 partner broadcasts (ESPN and Sun Belt Network) and total of 162 televised events. The Sun Belt Conference’s incredible rise in television appearances is due in large part to the league’s strong relationship with ESPN. The Sun Belt Conference became known as a leader in college sports broadcasting in 1979 by being the first conference to sign a long-term contract with the ESPN cable network. Since that time the Sun Belt Conference has had every men’s basketball championship game broadcasted live on ESPN – making it the longest partnership between ESPN and any collegiate athletic conference.

While men’s basketball was the catalyst for the Sun Belt Conference and ESPN’s partnership during the early years of both the network and the league, the last decade has seen a number of new opportunities arrive for the Sun Belt Conference to showcase itself on the ESPN family of networks. The Sun Belt Conference and ESPN agreed to a continuing partnership in 2009 which has expanded the conference’s national television exposure to unprecedented highs. ESPN continues to air the Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Championship game and additional appearances for the league’s men’s basketball programs are available throughout the season. Sun Belt Conference women’s basketball, long one of the conference’s most successful sports, has also benefited greatly from the

Total Partner Broadcasts 80 70

Number of Broadcasts

60 50 40 30 20 10 0 2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Athletic Season

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2009-10

2010-11


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partnership with ESPN. Sun Belt Conference women’s basketball teams will have a minimum of one game annually as ESPNU will televise either the league’s women’s basketball championship game or up to two regular season games. Adding to the strength of the Sun Belt Conference’s television coverage is a regional partnership with Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS) and Cox Sports Television (CST). The partnership – known as the Sun Belt Network – has resulted in a game of the week for football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and baseball. Other sports like volleyball and softball have seen increased exposure thanks to the creation of the Network. Both sports championship games now reside on the Sun Belt Network, and a regular season softball contest has been televised annually as well. Created in May of 2009 the Sun Belt Conference was proud to announce the partnership with CST and CSS to air Sun Belt Conference games on their channels. The Sun

Belt Network football game of the week is available in 13 states across the southeast and is often available on ESPN3.com and ESPN GamePlan outside of the CSS and CST markets. In addition to CSS and CST the Sun Belt Network has expanded coverage into Texas, Kentucky and Florida to provide full coverage for the Sun Belt Conference thanks to other regional sports networks and overthe-air stations.

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FAU STADIUM

Florida Atlantic University’s brand new 30,000 seat state-of-theart football stadium. The stadium will feature 6,000 premium seats, including 24 suites, 26 loge boxes, 1,000 premier club seats and 4,000 priority club seats, and the latest, state-of-the art amenities. 98 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference


Sun Belt Conference Facilities

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ith the ever changing landscape of collegiate athletics several Sun Belt institutions have embarked on one of the most exciting procedures in all of sports – for a team owner, school president or athletic department AD; a new facility. Facility updates, renovations or new construction can certainly alter the perception of the institution as well as provide a huge branding campaign for the athletics department. Florida Atlantic University, the University of North Texas and Troy University will each open brand new, state-of-the-art facilities over the next few months. FAU will open its new football stadium in the Fall of 2011. FAU Stadium is a $70 million project that will feature 6,000 premium seats, including 24 suites, 26 loge boxes, 1,000 premier club seats and 4,000 priority club seats, and the latest, state-ofthe art amenities. The stadium grand opening is scheduled to take place on October 15 against WKU. The stadium is the final phase of the university’s Innovation Village, a multi-purpose project which will include four additional apartment-style residence halls, 130,000 square

feet of retail shopping space and a multi-use Convocation Center for the basketball program. North Texas will open its brand new football stadium on September 15 against Houston. Among the features of the new stadium will be bowl seating close to the field, 21 luxury box suites tailor-made for comfort and entertainment and a club level with food and beverage service and chair-back seating. In addition, Mean Green Stadium will be

the nation’s first LEED certified stadium, built in part with recycled materials and utilizing solar panels to provide some of the stadium’s power needs. The $78 million stadium will seat between 30-35,000 people and could become a destination for future community events. Troy University broke ground on its stateof-the-art basketball arena in the Spring of 2010. The new ‘Trojan Arena’ will contain two stories and cover about 141,000 square feet. The new

TROJAN ARENA

Troy University’s new Trojan Arena will contain two stories and cover about 141,000 square feet. The new arena will include administration and locker areas for both men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s track & field. The arena will also house a 10,000 square foot practice court.

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MEAN GREEN STADIUM

Mean Green Stadium will be the nation’s first LEED certified Stadium, built in part with recycled materials and utilizing solar panels to provide some of the stadium’s power needs. Located on the former Eagle Point Golf Course, the stadium is part of the Mean Green Village, an athletic village on the UNT campus. arena will include administration and locker areas for both men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s track & field. The arena will also house a 10,000 square foot practice court. Since 2000, nearly half a billion dollars has been spent at Sun Belt Conference institutions in capital improvements for its athletics facilities, most of which has been to expand or renovate campus arenas and stadiums.

LAMSON PARK

Alfred & Helen Lamson Ragin’ Cajuns Softball Park underwent a fresh set of renovations during the 2011 season. The new construction removed the old structure to make way for a new seating area with luxury boxes and a new press box. The new facility will also include a new locker room and team meeting area.

100 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

ADDITIONAL IMPROVEMENTS In the Fall of 2007, Louisiana-Lafayette added the Leon Moncla Indoor Practice Facility which is used by all Ragin’ Cajun sports teams. During the 200506 season UALR unveiled its $25-million dollar home for its volleyball and basketball programs, the Jack Stephens Center. Troy’s Veteran’s Memorial Stadium was expanded in 2003 when the school made the jump to Division I. WKU’s E.A. Diddle Arena underwent a $32-million dollar facelift in 2002 that provided the arena with 16 luxury suites, new seating, two new video boards, concession and restroom areas, a new playing surface and elevator access to all levels.


Sun Belt Conference Fellows

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n 2007, the Sun Belt Conference established the Fellows Program as a way for our member institutions’ young, aspiring administrators to network with national leaders of athletic administration while gaining valuable experience and insight into the world of intercollegiate athletics. In just a few short years, the program, along with the tremendous dedication and work ethic displayed by its participants, has helped many past SBC Fellows begin careers in the sports industry. The program currently has former Fellows working in multiple athletic departments around the country and the NHL. Due to the success and growth that the Fellows Program has experienced since its inception, the Sun Belt Conference has recently implemented a few transformations that will take the program to the next level. The most notable changes to the program include the creation of an application process, appointment of an institutional “Fellow Chair” and expansion

of candidates to include young professionals holding full-time entry level positions within the department of athletics. The application process will allow the conference to better serve the Fellows. Through the information gathered from the application, the Fellows Program administrator will be able to know exactly what the long-term goals of the Fellows are and their expectations of how the Fellows program may help them achieve those goals. The institutional “Fellow Chair” will be appointed annually by each Director of Athletics. This individual shall be responsible for coordinating participation of the other Fellows at his/her institution, must attend the annual in-person meeting and report the information back to other institutional Fellows, and must be present at the men's and women's basketball championships. The expansion of candidates for the Fellows Program to include those individuals that

have just begun a career in intercollegiate athletics will be a tremendous benefit to the program. With unique perspective and experience that young professionals possess, the Fellows will be able to experience more clearly the processes needed to begin a career in athletics. The Fellows Program serves as a tool to help institutions identify their next generation of athletics administrators and create opportunities, while raising the competitive spirit of each of the Sun Belt Conference’s 19 Championships. With the participants gaining valuable experience while assisting with the conference championship events throughout the year, along with the exposure to national administrators and peers, the program ensures an individual that is better prepared, suited, and trained to assist in the leadership of their respective institution and in whatever the future may hold. For more information contact Dominick Giambrone, 504-299-9066, ext. 217.

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 101


Enhancing the Student-Athlete Experience

For many student-athletes, the conference championship or tournament is a big stage experience. Providing a student-athlete experience second-to-none is what the Sun Belt Conference strives for with Story by Sun Belt Media Relations its championship events. 102 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference


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n-game and pregame activities and promotions are a great addition to any sporting event. It brings fans, athletes and communities together for the common bond of improving the overall event. Many promotions take on a life of their own and can be “just what the doctor ordered.� The goal is to maintain the fan and student-athlete experience and those who partake in the events. It also provides a stream of revenue for some who look to have such events incorporate sponsors, creating a brand identity as it relates to the team, event, etc. This past year the Sun Belt Conference began a league-wide initiative to reach out to

the hosting communities and get more involved with promotions of its championship events. The conference initiative began in late October beginning with the cross country championship. "For many student-athletes, the conference championship or tournament is a big stage experience. So for us [conference office], providing a student-athlete experience second-to-none is what we are striving for with our championship events," said Dr. Kathy Keene, Associate Commissioner for Sports Administration. The cross country championship was hosted by Western Kentucky University, a powerhouse when it comes to cross country and track & field in the Sun Belt. At this year's

championship the conference and the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana partnered together for Breast Cancer Awareness and the Girl Scouts’ Founder's Day celebration. Over 100 girl scouts registered for the event that contained educational information on the importance of a healthy lifestyle to prevent breast cancer. Some of the actvities included a balloon launch prior to the start of the day's event and building breast cancer awareness bracelets that were kept as keep-sakes and handed out to the event spectators. One of the biggest promotional events the conference did this past academic year was 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 103


joining forces with the Side Out Foundation, which through the sport of volleyball provides cancer awareness through recreational activity. Each Sun Belt institution was asked to host one Dig Pink Rally on their campus to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer, with all proceeds going to benefit breast cancer research. Each student-athlete was given a pink head band to wear during the volleyball championship to show the support for the cause. Additionally, 400 Dig Pink T-shirts were handed out during the event which, raised nearly $5,000 for the foundation's cause. As if March Madness wasn't enough to promote the basketball championships, the Sun Belt has added some nice touches to the tournament such as the Band Concert and Dribble Drive. The band concert, typically held the Friday before competition begins, was held outdoors during the 2011 tournament and was very well received. Several hundred people packed downtown Hot Springs for a concert featuring a local Hot Spring band as well as the pep squads from each institution. Held each Saturday morning prior to the start of the first day of the championships, the Dribble Drive is an event held specifically for the local elementary and middle school kids in the Hot Springs area. The kids who took part in the event received an SBC branded basketball, a T-shirt and free tickets for the entire family to attend the first session of games. The kids each dribbled their way to the Summit Arena with the Troy pep band leading the march. The kids were also honored at half-time of the first game with an opportunity to flash their new dribbling skills in front of the Summit Arena crowd. "The Sun Belt Conference is committed to our student-athletes and the communities that host our championships from year-to-year. 104 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

Our goal is to get more involved with our host communities which can foster the opportunity to provide more for our student-athletes at our events," Keene added. One of the most successful promotions of the year came at the Sun Belt softball and baseball championships. Each Tuesday prior to the championship first pitch, the conference hosted the Championship Family Night Celebration. Family Night is a free event open to the public that has several kid-friendly activities. All area little league teams and local youth teams were invited to the softball and baseball championship. Kids are given the opportunity to mingle with the student-athletes prior to a fireworks show and following the Home Run Derby. This year kids were greeted with conference designed trading cards in which the kids could get signed by their favorite SBC player. As a result of the promotional activities and local community outreach initiatives, Sun Belt championship attendance topped 50,000 during the 2010-11 academic year. At the end of the day, the definition of promotion is to provide an activity that supports or provides active encouragement for the furtherance of a cause, venture, or aim - and that is to the betterment of the student-athletes and the communities that support them.

On the left: A softball student-athlete signs a shirt for a fan at the Softball Championship Family Night Celebration during the autograph session. Following the autograph session fireworks were set off for the fans and student-athletes. Family night also takes place at the conference’s baseball championship.


Women’s Cross Country 1985 WKU 1986 WKU 1987 WKU 1988 South Alabama 1989 WKU 1990 South Florida 1991 WKU 1992 South Alabama 1993 South Alabama 1994 WKU 1995 Texas-Pan American 1996 WKU 1997 Texas-Pan American 1998 WKU 1999 WKU 2000 New Orleans 2001 UALR 2002 UALR 2003 WKU 2004 WKU 2005 UALR 2006 WKU 2007 WKU 2008 WKU 2009 WKU 2010 WKU Women’s Soccer 2000 FIU South Alabama 2001 North Texas 2002 Denver 2003 Denver 2004 North Texas 2005 North Texas 2006 Denver 2007 WKU 2008 Denver 2009 FIU 2010 Denver Volleyball 1983 Jacksonville 1984 VCU 1985 VCU 1986 South Florida 1987 South Florida 1988 South Florida 1989 South Florida 1990 UAB 1991 Arkansas State 1992 Arkansas State 1993 Lamar 1994 Arkansas State 1995 Arkansas State 1996 Arkansas State 1997 UALR

ALL-time sun belt conference champions Lamar 1998 Arkansas State UALR 1999 UALR Arkansas State 2000 UALR WKU Denver 2001 WKU New Mexico State 2002 WKU New Mexico State 2003 New Mexico State WKU 2004 New Mexico State WKU Arkansas State 2005 WKU Denver 2006 WKU FIU Middle Tennessee North Texas 2007 Middle Tennessee Denver 2008 FIU Denver 2009 FIU Arkansas State New Orleans 2010 Middle Tennessee Arkansas State North Texas Women’s Swimming & Diving 2001 WKU 2002 WKU 2003 WKU 2004 WKU 2005 WKU 2006 Florida Atlantic 2007 Florida Atlantic 2008 WKU 2009 WKU 2010 WKU 2011 Denver Women’s Indoor Track & Field 1992 Arkansas State 1993 Louisiana-Lafayette 1994 UALR 1995 Arkansas State 1996 UALR 1997 UALR 1998 Arkansas State

1999 South Alabama 2000 Louisiana Tech 2001 Middle Tennessee 2002 Middle Tennessee 2003 Middle Tennessee 2004 Middle Tennessee 2005 North Texas 2006 WKU 2007 WKU 2008 WKU 2009 WKU 2010 WKU 2011 WKU Women’s Basketball 1983 Old Dominion 1984 Old Dominion 1985 Old Dominion 1986 WKU 1987 Old Dominion South Alabama 1988 WKU Old Dominion South Alabama 1989 WKU 1990 Old Dominion South Alabama WKU UAB 1991 WKU 1992 Lamar WKU 1993 Louisiana Tech WKU 1994 Louisiana Tech 1995 Louisiana Tech 1996 Louisiana Tech 1997 Louisiana Tech WKU 1998 Louisiana Tech 1999 Louisiana Tech 2000 Louisiana Tech 2001 Louisiana Tech Denver 2002 North Texas FIU 2003 WKU New Mexico State South Alabama 2004 South Alabama Middle Tennessee Arkansas State WKU 2005 WKU Louisiana-Lafayette

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Women’s Golf 1990 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Women’s Tennis 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999

WKU North Texas Middle Tennessee Louisiana-Lafayette WKU UALR Middle Tennessee UALR Middle Tennessee UALR Middle Tennessee UALR South Florida Central Florida Lamar Lamar Lamar Lamar South Alabama UALR UALR Arkansas State New Mexico State New Mexico State New Mexico State Denver Denver Denver Denver Denver Denver Denver Denver South Florida South Florida South Alabama South Florida South Alabama South Alabama South Alabama South Florida South Florida South Alabama South Alabama South Alabama South Alabama South Alabama South Alabama South Alabama South Alabama

2000 South Alabama 2001 South Alabama 2002 South Alabama 2003 South Alabama 2004 Denver 2005 FIU 2006 FIU 2007 FIU 2008 Denver 2009 FIU 2010 North Texas 2011 FIU Women’s Outdoor Track & Field 1992 Lamar 1993 Louisiana-Lafayette 1994 Arkansas State 1995 Arkansas State 1996 UALR 1997 Louisiana-Lafayette 1998 Arkansas State 1999 Louisiana Tech South Alabama 2000 Middle Tennessee 2001 Arkansas State 2002 New Mexico State 2003 North Texas 2004 New Mexico State 2005 Middle Tennessee 2006 WKU 2007 WKU 2008 WKU 2009 WKU 2010 WKU 2011 WKU Softball 2000 Louisiana-Lafayette 2001 Louisiana-Lafayette 2002 Louisiana-Lafayette 2003 Louisiana-Lafayette 2004 Louisiana-Lafayette 2005 Louisiana-Lafayette 2006 Louisiana-Lafayette 2007 Florida Atlantic 2008 Louisiana-Lafayette 2009 Louisiana-Lafayette 2010 Louisiana-Lafayette 2011 Louisiana-Lafayette

2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference 105


Men’s Cross Country 1978 South Alabama 1979 South Florida 1980 South Florida 1981 South Alabama 1982 WKU 1983 WKU 1984 WKU 1985 WKU 1986 WKU 1987 WKU 1988 South Florida 1989 South Florida 1990 South Florida 1991 South Alabama 1992 WKU 1993 South Alabama 1994 WKU 1995 WKU 1996 South Alabama 1997 WKU 1998 WKU 1999 South Alabama 2000 North Texas 2001 UALR 2002 UALR 2003 WKU 2004 Louisiana-Lafayette 2005 WKU 2006 South Alabama 2007 UALR 2008 WKU 2009 Middle Tennessee 2010 UALR Football 2001 North Texas Middle Tennessee 2002 North Texas 2003 North Texas 2004 North Texas 2005 Arkansas State Louisiana-Lafayette ULM 2006 Troy Middle Tennessee 2007 Troy Florida Atlantic 2008 Troy 2009 Troy 2010 FIU Troy Men’s Indoor Track & Field 1992 Louisiana-Lafayette 1993 Louisiana-Lafayette 1994 Arkansas State 1995 Louisiana-Lafayette 1996 Louisiana-Lafayette 106 2010-11 State of the Sun Belt Conference

ALL-time sun belt conference champions 1997 Arkansas State 1998 Arkansas State 1999 Louisiana Tech 2000 Arkansas State 2001 Middle Tennessee 2002 Middle Tennessee 2003 Middle Tennessee 2004 Middle Tennessee 2005 South Alabama 2006 Middle Tennessee South Alabama 2007 Arkansas State 2008 WKU 2009 Middle Tennessee 2010 WKU 2011 Middle Tennessee Men’s Swimming & Diving 2005 WKU 2006 WKU 2007 WKU 2008 Missouri State 2009 Denver 2010 WKU 2011 Denver Men’s Basketball 1977 UNC Charlotte 1978 New Orleans 1979 Jacksonville 1980 VCU 1981 VCU 1982 UAB 1983 UAB 1984 UAB 1985 VCU 1986 Jacksonville 1987 UAB 1988 UNC Charlotte 1989 South Alabama 1990 South Florida 1991 South Alabama 1992 Louisiana Tech Louisiana-Lafayette 1993 New Orleans 1994 WKU 1995 WKU 1996 UALR New Orleans 1997 New Orleans South Alabama 1998 Arkansas State South Alabama 1999 Louisiana Tech 2000 Louisiana-Lafayette South Alabama

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Men’s Golf 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

WKU South Alabama WKU Louisiana-Lafayette New Mexico State WKU Louisiana-Lafayette Louisiana-Lafayette UALR Denver UALR South Alabama WKU South Alabama Arkansas State ULM South Alabama WKU Louisiana-Lafayette UALR WKU UALR Troy North Texas Florida Atlantic Arkansas State Louisiana-Lafayette Jacksonville Jacksonville South Florida South Florida South Florida South Florida South Florida South Florida South Florida South Florida South Florida South Florida South Florida VCU South Alabama South Alabama Louisiana-Lafayette South Alabama South Alabama South Alabama Louisiana-Lafayette South Alabama South Alabama UALR UALR South Alabama North Texas New Mexico State

2005 South Alabama 2006 WKU 2007 Louisiana-Lafayette 2008 Denver 2009 Middle Tennessee 2010 South Alabama 2011 Denver Men’s Tennis 1977 South Florida 1978 South Florida 1979 South Florida 1980 South Florida 1981 South Alabama 1982 South Alabama 1983 South Alabama 1984 South Alabama 1985 South Florida 1986 South Florida 1987 South Florida 1988 South Florida 1989 South Alabama 1990 South Florida 1991 UAB 1992 Louisiana-Lafayette 1993 South Alabama 1994 South Alabama 1995 South Alabama 1996 South Alabama 1997 South Alabama 1998 Louisiana-Lafayette 1999 South Alabama 2000 South Alabama 2001 South Alabama 2002 South Alabama 2003 South Alabama 2004 South Alabama 2005 Middle Tennessee 2006 Louisiana-Lafayette 2007 South Alabama 2008 South Alabama 2009 Middle Tennessee 2010 Troy 2011 Middle Tennessee Men’s Outdoor Track & Field 1992 Louisiana-Lafayette 1993 Louisiana-Lafayette 1994 Louisiana-Lafayette 1995 Louisiana-Lafayette 1996 Louisiana-Lafayette 1997 Louisiana-Lafayette 1998 Louisiana-Lafayette 1999 Arkansas State 2000 North Texas 2001 Middle Tennessee 2002 North Texas

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Baseball 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

WKU WKU Arkansas State Middle Tennessee Middle Tennessee WKU WKU WKU WKU New Orleans New Orleans South Alabama South Alabama South Florida South Alabama South Alabama Old Dominion South Florida South Alabama VCU Jacksonville South Florida UAB South Alabama Lamar Arkansas State Jacksonville South Alabama Louisiana-Lafayette South Alabama South Alabama New Orleans Middle Tennessee South Alabama South Alabama South Alabama Middle Tennessee South Alabama Louisiana-Lafayette Troy Louisiana-Lafayette ULM Middle Tennessee WKU Florida Atlantic Louisiana-Lafayette Troy


The Sun Belt Conference Office of the Commissioner 601 Poydras St. (Suite 2355) New Orleans, LA 70130


2010 11 State of the Conference