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STARTING LINEUP

CONTENTS

FEATURES 16 WILDCAT NEVER WAVERED

Former Wildcat basketball star Kyle Bullinger is working hard to apply his competitive fire and the lessons he learned under Randy Rahe in his new role as head coach of the Bonneville High School boys basketball program. BY CHRIS J. MILLER

20 A LIFELONG CONNECTION

Brittney Dunbar and Deeshyra Thomas overcame less than perfect first impressions and became great friends during their two seasons together with the WSU women’s basketball team. BY CORIE HOLMES

24 A VOICE OF REASON

Associate head coach Eric Duft has been Randy Rahe’s top assistant from day one, and over the past decade has provided a trustworthy and steadying influence on the men’s basketball coaching staff. BY JIM BURTON

28 THROWING THEIR WEIGHT AROUND

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Senior throwers Justin Herbert and Natasha Powell give the Weber State Track & Field teams a pair of Big Sky All-Conference performers. BY JUSTIN JOHNSON

43 WHY NOT US?

Ten years ago, newly appointed head coach Randy Rahe led the Wildcats to the most unlikely Big Sky Conference title in WSU’s storied men’s basketball history. BY PAUL GRUA

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4 FROM THE A.D. 6 SNAPSHOTS 14 PLAYIN’ ON PURPLE with Bailey Irwin 35 COMPLIANCE CORNER 44 CREATE A LEGACY 46 NAME GAME 49 THROWBACK TIME

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THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF WEBER STATE ATHLETICS presented by

Volume 3, Issue 1 — Winter, 2017 Editor in Chief...................................................................... Darin Hogge Executive Editors.................................................................. Paul Grua ........................................................................................... Chris J. Miller ........................................................................................... Corie Holmes Creative Director................................................. Darin Hogge Contributing Writers.............................................................. Chris J. Miller ........................................................................................... Jim Burton ........................................................................................... Corie Holmes ........................................................................................... Darin Hogge ........................................................................................... Paul Grua ........................................................................................... Jerry Bovee ........................................................................................... Justin Johnson ........................................................................................... Will Pridemore Photography......................................................................... Robert Casey ........................................................................................... Darin Hogge ........................................................................................... Justin Johnson Ad Director.......................................................................... Dave Champlain

EMAIL: WEBERSTATESPORTS@GMAIL.COM WEBSITE: WEBERSTATESPORTS.COM FACEBOOK: facebook.com/WeberStateAthletics TWITTER: @WeberState INSTAGRAM: WSUWildcats

Copyright © 2017 by Weber State Athletics Publications All Rights Reserved Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited.

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From the A.D.

A Message from Jerry Bovee

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t’s tournament time for Men’s & Women’s basketball which is a telltale sign that spring is just around the corner. I love springtime! It brings a new hope as the doldrums of a long winter give way to the freshness and optimism of the new season. Spring brings with it a spirit of change and the anticipation for new opportunities. At Weber State, we have just concluded the Indoor Track and Field season with several great individual performances at the Big Sky Conference Championships. Men’s and women’s basketball are fighting this week for championships, and the sports of Softball, Golf and Tennis are now underway. It is certainly a time of transformation for us too! This theme of change is also apparent in the Big Sky Conference and NCAA Division I athletics. Recently, The University of North Dakota announced their intention to leave the Big Sky Conference to join the Summit League in 2018 and The Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2020. Their decision will create better regional match-ups and budget saving benefits not only for UND but also for the institutions in the Big Sky Conference. There is much to be done in order to prepare for this move but it’s exciting to consider the possibilities that will come from this change. Recently the NCAA announced a modification of sorts in how revenues from the Men’s Basketball 4

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tournament will be distributed. For the first time in the history of the

“The old adage that “the only thing constant is change” certainly seems to separate those willing to embrace it from those who don’t. ” NCAA, some of the money generated by the new TV contract with TNT and CBS will be distributed based on Academic performance metrics in Division I institutions. Previously, all revenues were allocated as shares based on a conferences’ athletic performance in the NCAA tournament. Now, the new revenues will be distributed based on three different metrics that include academic performance ratings

(APR), graduation success ratings (GSR) or federal graduation rates compared with student-body graduation rates. This is a groundbreaking move that sends a loud and clear message; that academic performance in collegiate athletics is a priority that will be rewarded financially. These changes and many others, along with the new ideas that will be generated from the goals they will set, create an exciting climate of opportunities that we’re excited to be part of. The old adage that “the only thing constant is change” certainly seems to separate those willing to embrace it from those who don’t. Weber State University is poised to be part of the discussions and the resulting solutions that will come from these new ideas. I believe this will ultimately create a better environment for the sustained success of intercollegiate athletics both regionally as well as on a national scale. I hope you are as excited and optimistic about the future of our programs as I am. Thank you for your continued support! We’ll see you at the games. Go Wildcats!

Jerry Bovee Weber State Director of Athletics WeberStateSports.com


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Weber State spirit squad members help excite the crowd prior to a men’s basketball game during the lights out player introductions at the Dee Events Center. (Photo by Robert Casey)

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The K-9’s in Flight frisbee dog performance group put on a show during halftime of Weber State’s men’s basketball game against Utah Valley on December 17. (Photo by Robert Casey)

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Weber State pole vaulter Shaelynn Wacaser rises toward the bar during the team’s January Indoor Track & Field meet at the Stromberg Complex. (Photo by Robert Casey)

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Jeremy Senglin draws the Utah State defense and looks to kick to an open shooter during Weber State’s win over the Aggies in Logan on Dec. 21 (Photo by Robert Casey)

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with Bailey Irwin Get to know volleyball’s Bailey Irwin, a sophomore setter from Nampa, Idaho as Corie Holmes met up with her a few months back for another edition of Playin’ on Purple.

Playin’ On Purple: What are three things that you always have in your backpack for school? Bailey Irwin: I always have gum with me. My headphones, definitely, and my laptop.

P.O.P. Who is your celebrity crush? B.I. Zac Efron, and I love the High School Musical movies. They are so awesome, and I still watch them to this day.

P.O.P Where do you want to travel that you have never been? B.I. I think it would be so fun to go to Italy. I see these pictures and different stories from people that I know and that they’ve been to, and it’s just a different culture there. And so I think it would be very cool to go experience that.

P.O.P. Name five things that make you happy. B.I. My family, definitely. And I miss them so much. Volleyball, obviously, and this (Swenson Gym) is my favorite place to be. I love food. Food always makes me happy. P.O.P. What is your favorite food? B.I. Probably Watermelon. I love Watermelon. I’m a fruit fanatic. Let’s see, that’s three... Summer makes me super happy. I love it when it’s hot. And my best friend Andrea Hale. She makes me happy, and she’s my favorite.

P.O.P. What is the best concert you’ve been to? B.I. Probably the first concert I ever went to, which was Luke Bryan. It was the first day of my eighth grade year, and it was free because it was at a fair. I wiggled my way up to the front, and I actually got his gutar pick, so that was the coolest thing ever. It’s actually not with me at college. It’s at home, so that nothing happens to it. It’s my treasure.

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Weber State University

WeberStateSports.com Weber State University

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WILDCAT NEVER

Former Wildcat basketball star Kyle Bullinger is working hard to apply his competitive fire and the lessons he learned under Randy Rahe in his new role as head coach of the Bonneville High School boys basketball program.

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By CHRIS J. MILLER

nyone who has spent time in a huddle knows what it feels like, when the game is on the line, that moment when it’s just you, your coach and your teammates. The task might be overwhelming, but the adrenaline takes over, the competitive fire stokes hotter, and you feel like you can accomplish anything. Kyle Bullinger had that desire as a kid growing up in Greybull, Wyo16

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ming. He brought that competitive edge with him to Weber State, where he helped the Wildcats build a tradition of work ethic and team unity that Coach Randy Rahe and his staff strive for year in and year out. And now he works like crazy to instill that same drive in his basketball teams at nearby Bonneville High School. “I am pretty excited about the opportunity to be here at Bonneville. We have a wonderful faculty and

great kids. It’s a joy for me to be in the education world. Kids are great,’’ Bullinger said. The Lakers just wrapped up the 2016-17 season, Bullinger’s first as head coach. While their record wasn’t great, Bullinger loves the process. “Our kids show up and work and work and compete. I love that.’’ That respect for the process and love of the game was something the Wildcats knew all about Bullinger as they recruited him. WeberStateSports.com


WAVERED

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“We knew how tough Bull was, and his high character fit what we wanted to establish at Weber,’’ WSU associate head coach Eric Duft said about Bullinger. “We were looking for that. You love a guy who gives you everything he has.’’ “As his career went on at Weber, Kyle never wavered, never backed down,’’ Duft said. “You could see it in the huddle. Kyle was never scared of the moment. He was ready to give you everything he had.’’ Mr. Consistent Bullinger was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Wyoming, helping his Mountain View team to finish second in the 2007 state tournament during his senior season. He

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averaged 28.3 points and 11.5 rebounds that season, best in the state. But a severe ankle injury derailed his first season at WSU, forcing him to use his redshirt season in 2007-08. By the time the next season rolled around, the 6-foot-6, 215-pound Bullinger was raring to go. As a freshman, Bullinger earned All-Big Sky Conference honorable mention honors, averaging nearly 10 points and 4.5 boards per game in 31 starts. The Wildcats won the Big Sky regular season title that season. Bullinger produced nearly identical numbers during his sophomore season, and blossomed as a junior. He claimed first team

All-Big Sky Conference honors, while scoring 11.2 points and 6.3 rebounds a game to lead the ‘Cats to a 20-win season. He also earned Academic All-Conference honors. As a senior, the Cats started the season fast, and Bullinger was in thick of the action. But in the sixth game of the season, Bullinger suffered a gruesome elbow injury that forced him to miss nine games. Still, the Wildcats posted a 25-7 record, earned a share of the Big Sky title, and played in the postseason for the third season in a row. Bullinger started in 112 games as a Cat, and ranked in the top 10 in three WSU categories when his career came to a close.

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Player Becomes a Coach After graduation, Bullinger began his teaching/coaching career at Fremont High School, spending three years there. Then came the chance to move to Bonneville, where he teaches personal finance and world civilization. “One of the things we emphasize is the importance academics and hard work plays. The habits you are creating are crucial,’’ Bullinger said. Another former Wildcat, forward Frank “Moot” Otis, is one of his assistants. It’s those habits Bullinger refined at Weber State. “It was so fun to be there, and win games,” Bullinger remembered. “I think that’s a staple of a Coach Rahe team. I really enjoyed going to school and obtaining an education. He has fingerprints all over our program.” “You see some of those same qualities in the way he teaches and coaches,’’ Duft said. “Your best coaches are often those blue collar guys that has to earn their way and follow the process. I knew he would do a good job as a coach, and the team to play his way.’’ Bullinger was detail oriented, and organized during his time on campus, Duft recalls. “I do know the people in the Weber State history department love that guy,” WSU’s top assistant added. While at Weber, Bullinger met his wife, Katie, a former Wildcats volleyball player. She also kept him focused on the future. “I credit the Weber State coaching staff, and my parents with instilling in me the idea that college basketball was not just about those 4-5 years, but also a preparation for life after basketball. There is such a great value to a college scholarship.” WeberStateSports.com

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A LIFELONG CONNECTION

Brittney Dunbar and Deeshyra Thomas overcame less than perfect first impressions and became great friends during their two seasons together with the WSU women’s basketball team. By CORIE HOLMES Strangers become teammates and teammates become friends and friends become family. Teammates understand the struggle and they understand the victories. Your teammates have seen you at the best of times and the worst of times. Sometimes those friendships become lifelong connections. That’s the case for former Wildcat Brittney Dunbar and the lone senior on this year’s squad, Deeshyra Thomas from the Women’s Basketball team. Dunbar and Thomas didn’t 20

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become instant friends. In the fall of 2014, Dunbar came to Weber State as a junior college transfer from St. Petersburg, Florida. She’d never been to Ogden before and she just knew she was there to play basketball. “We had this big spaghetti dinner my mom had made for all the new girls and to kick off the new school year. When Brittney showed up and started eating dinner I remember thinking ‘Who is this girl and why is she eating my food?’” Thomas said. “At the same time I shrugged my

shoulders and thought “All right, she can have a plate.’” After a few practices Thomas started noticing Dunbar’s skill on the court. “She could compete and she was going to make me better and I was excited for the challenge,” Thomas said. Dunbar had similar first impressions of Thomas. “The first time I saw Deeshyra I could tell that she thought she was too cool for school,” Dunbar said. “I didn’t really like her when I first met WeberStateSports.com


her. She just acted like she was all that and a bag of chips. I do remember getting a plate of spaghetti and her looking at me like I was an outsider. “But just spending time together in practices and all the team things we had to be around each other for, we were able to take it past just basketball and get to know each other.” “Brittney was really shy and kept to herself at first,” Thomas said. “I started inviting her to things and pulling her out of her shell. The more I got to know her the more I realized how cool she was. Beyond the court we built that friendship. It was a really close bond. That’s where it started and from there we have all kinds of inside jokes, we are always competing and she is my other half.” Last year, Dunbar graduated from Weber State and moved to Ireland to play professional basketball for the Maxol Wildcats, putting over 4,500 miles between the two friends. The distance has changed the game a little for the two former teammates. Even though they aren’t teammates this year, the on court influence and example resonates between them. “Deeshyra’s heart is my favorite thing,” Dunbar said. “In my mind I wouldn’t want to go play a game with anyone besides her. I know that if I’m playing with her we’re going to be good because she would do anything to win. She just has heart and never gets scared. She’s not afraid of making the big plays in pressure situations. It’s something I’ve tried to incorporate in the way I play. “I miss her smarts for the game,” Thomas said. “She just knows the game inside and out. Whether it was offense or defense, she would just know where I was and get the ball WeberStateSports.com

there. Last year when she was a leader on the team, and the point guard, she knew all of her players and could get the ball where it needed to be and when it needed to be there. The chemistry was always there with her as the leader that everyone looked up to. She has a high basketball IQ and it’s something I’ve been working on since I recognized it in her.” Dunbar and Thomas have managed to maintain a strong friendship despite the distance. Between late night phone calls and constant messaging the two have remained tight. “Last year we were always the thing that the other person needed,” Thomas said. “If one person was lacking in one area the other person would be there to pick them up and vice versa. This year with her being overseas she’s still been there for me. “Before every game she calls me and asks me about the team and about the game and how I feel about it. We go over the game plan and she just makes sure that I’m calm and that I will do what I know I need to. She helps me remember that

everyone looks up to me and I have to be a strong leader for them and myself. I’m never really nervous for games because I’m ready and Brit helps me get there.” Dunbar even managed to sneak a surprise trip to Ogden last December to support Thomas in a couple home games. “I am so upset that I have had to miss her senior season,” Dunbar said. “I missed senior night and I’m going to miss her graduation. I just absolutely HAD to find a way to watch her during her last season. I love that girl and would support her forever and always. That’s my best friend!”

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The duo is nothing but smiles when they’re together. “We have the same interests and we’re weird together,” Dunbar said. “It started with basketball but now it’s everything, even grocery shopping. We like the same foods and try to be healthy together. $5 movie night, you’d find us there. We just had a good time together.” “I’m really weird,” Thomas said. “Sometimes you try to hide that with people who don’t know you but when I’m with her I can laugh at myself. I don’t have to put on that little mask to hide. She’s weird too. When I do something weird she doesn’t laugh at me, she does something weird back. Then we look at each other knowing that we’re both really weird and that’s ok because we’re best friends. I love that. I love that

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she’s herself and I’m myself and we’re crazy.” “I love being able to be weird,” Dunbar said. “I don’t know what other word to use besides weird. We are weird but it’s refreshing to see someone just as weird as you. Just being able to laugh, we just add onto each other.” Collegiate sports is always full of high and lows. Last year, the Weber State women’s basketball team posted a 23-12 record, the most wins in a single season in school history. The Wildcats competed in a few heartbreaking games amidst their victories and Dunbar and Thomas worked through the hard times together. “Last year when we lost that heart breaker against Idaho in the Big Sky tournament, we thought our season was over,” Dunbar said. “I was a wreck. I was so sad because I knew that was it. My season and career at Weber State was over. I was going to miss playing and my teammates and the coaches. I was going to miss everything I was blessed to have at Weber State. I laid in bed crying for days. I didn’t get up to shower, or eat, or brush my teeth. Deeshyra just reassured me that it was going to be ok. She went through it with me.” “I feel like I’m always the one that

has to have the hope and let her know everything is going to be ok,” Thomas said. “I want to be there for her. I want to give her that hope because I know she’d do the same for me.” The season wasn’t over for the Wildcats at that point as they received an invitation to the Women’s Basketball Invitational post season tournament. One of Thomas’ favorite moment’s on the court with her best friend, happened in the championship game of that tournament. “We had this play all drawn up and I was supposed to do something but I was falling and if I fell I was going to get called for a traveling,” Thomas said. “So, I looked up and Brit was right there so I yelled “Best Friend take it!” and she took the ball and made a drive to sink the layup. “I’m grateful we were teammates. It’s nice to be able share memories and moments like that with someone who was a part of it and understands the feelings attached to those memories,” Thomas said. Not everyone gets an extraordinary relationship, but the duo believes they’ve found something that’s one of a kind. “We’re going to be best friends forever,” Thomas said. “I don’t care what happens or where we end up, but we’re going to be there for all the big giant moments in each others lives and all the little moments in between. This is one of those connections that is going to last a life time. Brit is one of those people that would do anything for me and I know she won’t let me down.” “I didn’t know what a best friend was until I met her,” Dunbar said. “I’m so grateful for everything she’s done. She really is the true definition of a best friend.” WeberStateSports.com


Friends. Football. Food.

Feed Your WildCats! GameDayGreats.com

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A VOICE OF REASON

Associate head coach Eric Duft has been Randy Rahe’s top assistant from day one, and over the past decade has provided a trustworthy and steadying influence on the men’s basketball coaching staff.

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By JIM BURTON

ometimes the hot seat gets a bit too hot; sometimes it gets almost unbearable. In those moments, having reliable help is not only important, it’s downright critical. Before signing on as Weber State’s men’s basketball coach in 2006, Randy Rahe had a good understand24

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ing on this concept. Although he’d never been a head coach before, he’d spent nearly 20 years as an assistant and if anyone understood the value of having good, reliable help sitting one seat away from the hot seat, it was him. And that’s precisely why he selected Eric Duft as his second in command. After all, it takes one to

know one. “He’s been with me since day one,” Rahe said. “I still remember the phone call I made to him to see if he’d be interested in coming here.” Rahe and Duft became acquainted with each other several years ago, when Rahe was an assistant at Utah State and Duft was an assistant to Tim Duryea at Hutchison (Kansas) WeberStateSports.com


Randy Rahe and Eric Duft have led the Weber State men’s basketball team to three Big Sky Conference titles and over 200 wins, the most in Weber State history.

Community College. Interestingly enough, Duryea went on to be one of Stew Morrill’s at USU. He now serves as the Aggies’ head coach. “When Eric agreed to come (to Weber State), I was tickled to death. I knew I had the right guy.” There is passion in Rahe’s voice when he talks about anything related to basketball. That passion — that excitement — is even more noticeable when he speaks of coaching, specifically about having a trustworthy assistant in the next seat over. He doesn’t hide his feelings about having Duft, a former point guard at NAIA school Sterling College (Kansas), on his coaching staff. “Eric is just made of the right stuff,” Rahe said. “He’s everything you want to have in an assistant coach. No. 1, he’s as loyal as the day is long. He’ll take a bullet for anybody. He’s as honest and as good a person as anybody I’ve ever been around.” Currently in their 11th season together, Rahe and Duft clearly have a good rapport, much of it stemming for their mutual trust. In fact, Duft isn’t just an “assistant coach.” His official title is associate head coach. Duft, Rahe said, is an excellent husband and father. He is faithful and loyal. He’s also a spiritual person and “his values are just impeccable.” Oh and he’s also pretty knowledgable about basketball, let’s not forget that. “On top of all that, he really knows the game of basketball,” Rahe said. WeberStateSports.com

“I call him my voice of reason around here. When I get a little crazy and things get a little cockeyed, I go to him or he comes to me and says, “Okay coach, this is what we’ve got to do. We’re fine.” Rahe isn’t an I-me-my kind of guy, so it’s rare when he acknowledges personal accomplishments like putting together a really successful basketball program at Weber State. Of course when he does admit such things, he’s doing so to acknowledge someone else’s contributions. “We’ve been fortunate to have a little success around here,” Rahe said. “We never would have achieved

any of that success if it hadn’t been for Eric Duft being on our staff. I firmly believe that. I know that.” So, to this point in the story we’ve established a couple of key points, namely that Rahe was once an assistant coach who came to understand how a good assistant can make a world of difference to a head coach. Also, that Eric is an exceptional human being and an excellent assistant coach who is often “the voice of reason” within WSU’s tight-knit basketball program. Also, that without Duft’s contributions the Wildcats wouldn’t have been so successful over the past few seasons. Fall 2016

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“I think Randy and I, we’ve just always had a good relationship,” Duft said. “We have the same values, we want the same things and when you have that going, then you can be more authentic.”

-- Eric Duft

Duft said he remembers the days when Rahe, then an assistant at USU, would make his way to Hutchison, Kansas to have a look at the Blue Dragons. That’s when they first became acquainted. “We weren’t real close or anything like that, but I met him a few times,” Duft said. “At least enough to know who he was and what he was about.” Who Rahe was, was a coach with an abiding passion for teaching basketball. What he was about, was finding the right players to not only

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fit his on-the-court system, but who also knew how to conduct themselves off the court. He was also about doing things the right way, which developing a good, reliable coaching staff. In Duft, Rahe doesn’t have a “yes man.” Instead, he’s got someone who will tell him the truth above all else. “We have that relationship,” Duft said. “I know as a head coach the stress can sometimes cloud your judgment As an assistant you have a little bit more perspective some-

times. You’re not quite as emotional.” Whether it’s during a Saturday night game or at a mid-week practice, Duft has the autonomy to advise Rahe when he needs to rethink a decision. Although they may not always reach the same immediate conclusions, Rahe and Duft always seem to be on the same page. “I think Randy and I, we’ve just always had a good relationship,” Duft said. “We have the same values, we want the same things and when you have that going, then you can be more authentic.” Some coaches surround themselves with assistants who’ll tell them exactly what they WANT to hear. Other coaches — the smart ones — have assists like Duft, who’ll tell them exactly what they NEED to hear. “Some head coaches, they tell you they want that,” Duft said. “But if you tell them, ‘Hey I think we should do this’ then they get mad and end up firing you. “Randy has never been like that. He wants to know the truth and how (the assistants) are seeing things.” Rahe said that there have been times when he as gone after a referee with a fury, only to sit back in his chair and hear Duft say something like, “That was actually a pretty good call.” On the sidelines, the lead assistant’s chair is only inches away from the head coach’s. But in another way, the two chairs are miles apart. After all, there’s only one hot seat. WeberStateSports.com


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THROWING THEIR

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R WEIGHT AROUND Seniors Justin Herbert and Natasha Powell give the Weber State Track & Field teams a pair of Big Sky All-Conference performers. by JUSTIN JOHNSON

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wo Wildcats who grew up thousands of miles apart will leave Weber State with a lot of memories, and a lot of records, and a sense of family and friendship that can only be forged through intense competition. Seniors Justin Herbert and Natasha Powell, both throwers for the Weber State men’s and women’s track and field teams, have left a lasting impression on the Wildcats’ record book, and both earned All-Conference honors at the 2017 Big Sky Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships in February. Herbert, a self-described “beg-on” from Huntley, Illinois, had the third-best weight throw mark in school history at the championships, hitting his peak at precisely the right time after what he called a “slow season.” Powell, a native of Pocatello, Idaho, overcame a freak knee injury just weeks before the indoor season started to earn All-Conference honors in both the shot put and weight throw, competing just a stone throw away from where she grew up. Both described their experience at Weber State as incredibly supportive, both from teammates, Director of Track and Field Dan Walker, and strength and conditioning coach Chris Fritz, and each talked about the lifelong friendships they have forged while competing for the Purple and White.

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A

NATASHA POWELL

freak knee injury in November nearly derailed Natasha Powell’s senior season before it began. The Pocatello, Idaho, native, however, wasn’t going to be denied. Instead, she wrapped up the indoor portion of her career with the Weber State women’s track and field team by earning All-Conference honors in both the shot put and weight throw at the Big Sky Indoor Track and Field Championships on Feb. 24-25 in Pocatello, Idaho. “In November, I completely wrecked my knee in a tragic ‘chasing a kid around a playground’ incident. We had no idea what my indoor season was going to look like, or if I was going to have one at all,” Powell said. “I haven’t been able to lift over 200 pounds, or do any kind of box jumps since November, both of which are a large part of my training, so to come into conference and place 2nd and 3rd after all that is pretty damn cool.” Powell threw 48 feet, six inches in the shot put to finish with the silver medal, and took the bronze in the weight throw at 59 feet, 10 1/2 inches. “I chose to come to Weber State because it felt right, and I believed that (Director of Track and Field) Dan Walker could deal with me and make me a whole lot better,” Powell said. “I can’t even explain how grateful I am for the opportunities I’ve been given here. “I’ve been able to learn and grow as an athlete and as a person. There’s nowhere else I would have rather spent these last 4 1/2 years.” Powell’s career at Weber State has been one of progression, making 30

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it a fitting finish that she would earn two All-Conference honors as a senior. “My progression throughout my college career has been a result of hard work and incredible coaching, both in the ring and the weight room,” Powell said. “Even though that progression has been a little slower than ideal at times, I’ve been able to throw (personal records) every year. I hope to continue working on technical elements of the throws and getting more explosive. “One of the biggest adjustments in college has been the transition to rotational shot put. I spent my whole high school career and the first two years at Weber State as a glider, and switched because of a back injury. Rotating gives me more time to get the ball moving. It’s also easier on my body.” Now, with the indoor season behind her, Powell hopes to continue improving and build off a challenging, but ultimately rewarding season as the calendar switches to the outdoor season later in March. “I’m constantly learning and changing things within my throws,” Powell said. “I hope to keep building off a fun indoor season, and outdoor will be more learning and changing.” Powell’s introduction to the world of track and field came in middle school, where she tried out a number of different events before settling on throwing. “My first year of track, I tried out a handful of events,” Powell said. “I played around with the high jump, hurdles, and relays, but my true love was in the middle of the field where the only running required was to

retrieve the implements. “I remember the exact moment I decided I was going to focus on throwing. I was in the middle school gym looking at the results from our city meet; I noticed not only had I beat all the girls in the city, but I’d beat most of the boys too. The rest is history.” Powell is Weber State’s career record holder in the indoor weight throw, and the outdoor hammer throw, and is fourth in the indoor shot put and second in the outdoor shot. “My biggest highlight was breaking our school record in the hammer throw for the first time,” Powell said. “I’d had a long and rough season. Nothing was going right. Saying I was frustrated is an understatement. “I was at the conference meet, and I had taken two throws, and wasn’t in position to make the finals yet. Justin (Herbert) told me to get after my next throw and go fast. I followed his advice, and bam! My third throw was a new personal record, new school record, and put me in scoring position.” With her Weber State career nearing its conclusion at the end of the outdoor season, Powell looks back with a lot of fondness on her time with the Purple and White. “My favorite times outside of competing at Weber State have been with my teammates,” Powell said. “They went from being teammates, to being friends, to being family. We have weekly dinners together, and movie Tuesdays. There’s a hell of a lot of joy to be found in the process of doing what you love while being surrounded by people that you love.” WeberStateSports.com


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T

JUSTIN HERBERT

here is a saying that say, “some things are just meant to be.” After spending his freshman season at Western Illinois, senior Justin Herbert made decision to come to Weber State not knowing if there would even be a spot for him on the Wildcat men’s track and field team. “My decision to come to WSU was the best decision that I have ever made,” Herbert said. “I had a friend that goes here, so I knew about the school, and I also knew that I may not even get the chance to be on the team right away. Thankfully, everything worked out and I have met some people that have taken me under their wing, given me a chance, and allowed me to see my full potential. I am forever grateful for that, as well as all that continues to be given to me here.” Herbert, a native of Huntley, Ill., wrapped up the indoor portion of his Wildcat career at the Big Sky Indoor Track and Field championships on Feb. 25 with a throw of 62 feet, four inches in the 35-pound weight throw. The mark was a new personal record, finishing second overall, and earning him All-Conference honors for the second straight year. It is also the No. 3 throw in Weber State history. “In Illinois, the IHSA only allowed shot put and discus, so I had no idea about the hammer or the weight throw,” Herbert said. “Each year of high school, I averaged about 20 feet of improvement in the discus and about five feet in the shot put. I threw 53 feet in the shot and 169 feet in the discus, which were very low marks for any sort of Division I 32

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offer. “My freshman year of college, I attended Western Illinois University, where I learned about the hammer and weight throw, which over the past four years have become my best events. My sophomore year, when I transferred to WSU, is when I began to make the most improvement. “I have a great coach here (Director of Track and Field Dan Walker), but a major part of my success has come from my training partners, as well as my strength coach Chris Fritz. He understands and implements when we will reach our ‘peak,’ which is always at the indoor or outdoor conference meet. A peak is when our weight training, combined with the amount of throws we take, does not fatigue our bodies or technique, and we can perform optimally at the conference meet.” Herbert is a firm believer in Fritz’s peak methodology, and its results are borne out by the fact that he has set a new personal record at the Big Sky championships during all three years of his Weber State career. After throwing over 60 feet in the Wildcats’ season-opening Wildcat Winter Open in December, Herbert’s focus become more on building and grinding through the season to prepare for the Indoor Championships. “I have had a really slow season this year,” Herbert said prior to the Indoor Championship meet. “I can’t expect to PR (personal record) every weekend, because the conference meet is where it matters most, but until then I am grinding out these last few weeks for a big performance at conference which has proven to be the case the past three years.”

Herbert threw a then-personal record 62 feet, three inches to finish second and earn All-Conference honors in the 2016 Indoor Championships in Bozeman, Mont., and specifically remembered Coach Walker coming down to congratulate him after the throw. “Coach Walker ran down the stairs at MSU, and I ran across the track to go see him,” Herbert said. “I hugged him, broke down, and he told me, ‘You deserve this, you worked so hard’ because that entire off-season I truly worked as hard as I could to be an All-Conference performer. A little sappy, but I will never forget that meet or words that he told me.” So, why did Herbert choose throwing events? “I was drawn to throwing because baseball was the only other spring sport in high school, which I didn’t want to play, and I was a bigger kid than most of the sprinters, distance runners, jumpers, and pole vaulters. That left me with throwing as my last choice, and my history teacher at the time, who was the coach, convinced me to come out and try to throw.” While it might look similar on the surface, there is a distinct build-up to throwing that each individual thrower has. Herbert’s varies depending on the season, with the 35-pound weight throw ball for indoor and the 16-pound hammer throw ball for outdoor. “In the weight throw, I do 3-4 turns, depending on what my training objectives are,” Herbert said. “Whereas with the hammer throw, which is the 16-point ball, I always do four turns. Some people are WeberStateSports.com


explosive and powerful enough to only need two turns in the weight and three turns in the hammer, but others can generate more with more turns. I find that I can build more power with more turns, so that’s why I do more. It is rare to see someone do more than four turns unless it is for a drill.” Herbert looks back on his three years at Weber State fondly. “I have met lifelong friends and

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mentors here at Weber State. I’m also a Resident Assistant, which has prepared me for many challenges and situations that I may face as I get older. I’ve learned a lot of skills, like communication, breaking out of my comfort bubble, and overall just learning how to deal with people. Utah is amazing, and being able to experience somewhere new in the U.S. has been a great culturally.” As for the future, Herbert, who

has two more seasons of outdoor after redshirting last season, hopes to be a collegiate coach some day to give back to the sport. “Some of my teammates may attest to this, but it is my niche, and the impact that my previous coaches have had on my experience as an athlete has been amazing,” Herbert said. “I hope to bring that type of positivity, leadership, and mentorship into the lives of others.”

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Ogden Courtyard by Marriott

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We’re on YOUR team. Ogden Courtyard by Marriott is the newest addition to downtown Ogden. Our newly renovated hotel and clean comfortable beds are the best way to celebrate after that big win! Make sure you stop by our bistro for breakfast or pick up a Starbucks Coffee on your way out.

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Compliance Corner

A

belated nappy New Year, Wildcat fans. Over our first several issues of Bleed Purple, I’ve covered several activities (occasional meals, congratulatory advertisements, employing student-athletes) that are permissible for boosters to engage in under NCAA rules. This month, we want to address things that are impermissible to provide, namely extra benefits.

of a student-athlete or their family/ friends in a restaurant? A: No, this would be considered an extra benefit, and is prohibited.  The student-athlete would be considered ineligible and would need to be reinstated with the NCAA. However, Boosters can provide occasional meals to student-athletes in their homes or on campus, provided that meal is first cleared by the Office of Athletics Compliance.

Boosters of Weber State’s athletics programs are prohibited from providing extra benefits to current student-athletes, prospective student-athletes (a.k.a. recruits), or their families. An extra benefit is any special arrangement to provide benefits that are not authorized by NCAA rules. Receipt of a benefit is not considered an extra benefit provided that the benefit was available to all Weber State students or the general public. Examples of extra benefits include things such as 1. Cash (or items with cash value such as gift cards); 2. Use of an automobile, boats, summer homes, etc.; 3. Free or reduced cost merchandize, meals, housing, storage during summer, etc.; 4. Tickets to sporting events; 5. Special arrangements for credit on a purchase or use of a service; and 6. Loans of money.

Q: Can boosters fundraise or donate money to send a student-athlete’s parents to an athletic contest? A:  No.  Under NCAA rules and regulations, such an activity would be considered an extra benefit.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Below are answers to some frequently asked questions regarding extra benefits: Q: Can a booster pay for the meal WeberStateSports.com

Q: Is it permissible for a booster to provide enrolled student-athletes with professional services (for which a fee would normally be charged) for personal reasons? A: No. Professional services provided at less than normal costs or at no expense to student-athletes are considered extra benefits.

Extra Benefits students who are not athletes to pay rent later due to the date of their financial aid disbursement, you may also make the same accommodation to a student-athlete. Q: Can my business create a special promotion that provides $100 cash back to any student-athlete who opens a checking account with our financial institution? A: Unless the promotion is something that is available to students in general, regardless of athletics participation, you may not provide this benefit to a student-athlete. As always, please feel free to contact the Office of Athletics Compliance if you have any questions

Until next time,

Q: As a booster, can I give a studentathlete Christmas/birthday/wedding/ graduation presents? A:  No.  Boosters are prohibited from providing student-athletes with any gifts, privileges or services and would be considered by the NCAA as an extra benefit. Q: I’m a landlord to a few studentathletes. Can a student-athlete be allowed to pay his/her rent at a later date than our standard due date if their scholarship check is released later in the month? A: If it is within your policy to allow

Will Pridemore Director of Compliance williampridemore@weber.edu 801.626.8552

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WHY NOT US? Ten years ago, newly appointed head coach Randy Rahe led the Wildcats to the most unlikely Big Sky Conference title in WSU’s storied men’s basketball history.

O

By PAUL GRUA n March 23, 2006, Randy Rahe was hired as the ninth head coach in Weber State men’s basketball history. Rahe has gone on to tremendous success at Weber State in leading the Wildcats to five Big Sky WeberStateSports.com

titles and coaching six Big Sky MVP’s and two NBA Draft picks. He has also become the Big Sky’s career leader in victories. But of all the accomplishments he has made at Weber State, perhaps none is bigger than what he did his very first season in leading the

Wildcats to the conference title. Rahe will admit his first season’s 2006-07 squad was not the most talented team he has had at Weber State. But it may go down as one of his favorite teams of all-time. This season marks the 10th anniversary of the 2007 team that Fall 2016

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won the Big Sky regular season and tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. In 2006, Rahe took over a Wildcat squad that had failed to qualify for the Big Sky Tournament for the first time in 25 years. Only three players that were on the squad remained with Rahe for the 2006-07 season. Only two of those players had played on that team. Rahe had to not only learn what it takes to become a head coach; he had to get some players late in the process just to be able to field a team. “When I first got the job I told my wife that we only had three players,” Rahe recalled. “She said, ‘well, don’t you need five?’ I said ‘yes we do so we better get out and recruit.’” Returning off the previous squad was David Patten who had played in the two previous seasons and had averaged nearly 10 points per game. The other returner was Dan Henry, a local player, who had seen action in all 27 games the previous season. Those were the only two players that had Division I basketball experience on the 2006-07 Wildcat squad. Juan Pablo Silveria was back for his second year with the team after sitting out the previous year as a redshirt. Coach Rahe had to assemble a coaching staff and get enough players to fill a squad in a very quick amount of time. Rahe hired Eric Duft, Tim Gardner and Jeff Linder as his assistant coaches. The staff focused on character and toughness and tried to get the best players they

could that had those intangibles. After getting hired in late March he wasn’t able to get his team all together until school started in August. It was a difficult summer of worrying for Rahe. Newcomers to the Wildcat squad that season were T.J. Benson, Tyler Billings, G.B. Burningham, Daviin Davis, Dezmon Harris, Steve Panos, Eric Turner, Artuas Valeika and Brody Van Brocklin. Mitch Scholer and Ty Sparrow also saw action in

a couple of games for the Wildcats. “When we finished up the recruiting process and had the 10 new players, we were so late and we couldn’t get the whole group together until school started in late August,” Rahe said. All summer long my stomach hurt. I kept thinking, ‘How are we going to put this group together’”? Weber State was picked to finish sixth in Big Sky preseason coaches poll and seventh in the media poll

David Patten, one of only three returning Wildcats in 2006-07, blossomed under Rahe, becoming the team leader and earning Big Sky MVP honors. 38

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Daviin Davis was one of 11 newcomers that quickly gelled into a cohesive and successful group.

heading into the season. “In our first unofficial practice it was not a group of guys that were very visually impressive as a basketball team,” Patten recalled. “But we talked about it as a team and it was kind of a point of pride for us, how goofy we all were together. I think the reason we became good was because we became really fast friends and were a close team. We gelled so quickly as a team and coach Rahe was a big part of it.” Weber State finished 7-6 in the preseason but opened Big Sky play with back-to-back wins at Northern Colorado and Northern Arizona. Despite returning home and dropping a home game to Idaho State, the ’Cats responded with a threegame winning streak to improve to 5-1 in conference play before heading back on the road in the Big Sky. The Wildcats lost by 15 at Montana State and then fell 90-86 in overtime at Montana, and Rahe had concerns that things could splinter and go the other direction. “After we lost to Montana State, David Patten came to me and he was crying. He said ‘Coach we aren’t going to let this thing turn on us. We are going to be OK.’ I told him we aren’t going to let this happen. We are going to be fine but he needed to be the leader.” “Things got a little negative on that Montana road trip,” Patten remembered. “We were negative; Coach Rahe was negative and things weren’t good. If things didn’t change WeberStateSports.com

then it was going to be really bad. Late that night after the Montana State loss I met with him and we both got on the same page. We decided to keep things positive and just do what we had done early in the year and we got things rolling once again.” The Wildcats did come back strong and won the next game at Idaho State and then won three straight home games to improve to 9-3 in league play with four games remaining. In one of those home

games, a win over Northern Colorado on Feb. 1, David Patten suffered a broken bone in his face, but came back and didn’t miss a game. Playing with a face mask, Patten averaged 16.9 points per game over the remainder of the season. He scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds against NAU just two days after being injured. The ’Cats went on to lose by 15 at Eastern Washington before facing a key road game at Portland State. It was a game the ’Cats needed to be Fall 2016

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The reward for Dezmon Harris and the Wildcats, a Big Sky title and a matchup against No. 2-seeded UCLA in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

in position to win the conference title. “That was the biggest game of the season to that point for us,” Rahe said. “We fought so hard in that game and we ended up winning by two. We showed incredible fight and toughness and togetherness in that game to find a way to win and got us over the hump.” Togetherness was what the team was all about. “The team was learning and I was learning,” Rahe 40

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remembered. “I probably screwed us up as much as I helped us along the way because I made a lot of mistakes but the whole theme of the year was togetherness. I told them, ‘I’m going to screw up some, you’re going to screw up some but let’s stay together and have each other’s back and we’ll find a way and that’s kind of how it happened.’ “The thing I remember the most is how the kids came together and how tough they became together

and relied on each other,” Rahe continued. “They knew they had to play as a team to have a chance. We went into every game feeling like we were the underdogs and we put a chip on our shoulder. Our motto was ‘Why not us?’ We said, ‘why can’t we do this?’ I told my staff during the season that we have to make these guys believe they are better than they are. We kept giving them great confidence and we still pushed them hard but we tried to make them believe they are better than what they are. And if they believe, maybe we can win a few.” After the Portland State win the Wildcats returned home and defeated Montana 73-67 on Valentine’s Day to claim at least a share of the Big Sky title. Due to a quirk in the schedule Weber State didn’t play again for 12 days. They were blown out at Sacramento State in the final game of the season, but had already clinched the tiebreaker over Northern Arizona, and claimed the Big Sky title and the right to host the conference tournament. WSU finished the regular season 11-5, tying Northern Arizona. It was just the third time in Big Sky history that a team with five losses had won the conference title. To win the Big Sky title in his first season as head coach was quite an accomplishment for Rahe and his group of players who entered the season with just two players who had played Division I basketball. “It was so rewarding,” Rahe said. “It was a little bit surreal. Every league game I would watch us and WeberStateSports.com


think we looked like a JV team compared to the other teams. I kept thinking, ‘how are we going to compete?’ It was totally unexpected and that’s what made it special.” But after claiming the conference title the Wildcats still had work to do. Weber State earned the right host the conference tournament at the Dee Events Center with the winner heading to the NCAA Tournament. Weber State faced a tough Portland State team in the semifinals of the tournament but was able to beat the Vikings 77-74 behind five players in double figures. That set up the championship game against Northern Arizona whom the Wildcats had defeated twice already that season. In front of a national televi-

WeberStateSports.com

sion audience, Weber State jumped out to 53-37 halftime lead and led by as many as 21 in the second half but the Lumberjacks came storming back and cut the lead to two points with five minutes to play. Weber State was able take make seven free throws in the final two minutes and held on to defeat NAU 88-80 and claim the Big Sky Tournament title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. “I was so happy for the kids because of the hard work they put into the season and when they won the championship game I just stood back and watched them,” Rahe said. “I just wanted to watch our players and see the joy and happiness and excitement they had from winning it.” The ’Cats lost to nationally ranked

UCLA, coached by former Weber State standout player Ben Howland, in the NCAA Tournament, and finished the year 20-12. Rahe was named Big Sky Coach of the Year after an incredible accomplishment in his first season as a head coach. David Patten was named Big Sky Most Valuable Player. The 2006-07 season didn’t end with one of the best records in school history and the ’Cats didn’t win an NCAA Tournament game, but what was accomplished by that team that season is one of the remarkable feats in school history. “I always look back fondly on that team,” Rahe said. “It is a little bit surreal seeing what we accomplished. It was a special group of players.”

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Create a Legacy

by CORIE HOLMES

W

eber State athletic events do more than entertain. They ignite passion and spirit while uniting the campus and community. The Wildcats give everyone something to cheer about. Behind the success of WSU’s athletic programs are devoted fans like Phil Smith, a season ticket holder from 1974 to 2014. Smith proudly never missed a Wildcat football or basketball game and followed his beloved Wildcats to away games in Hawaii and the Virgin Islands. Smith is a forever fan. His support of Wildcat Athletics goes beyond

attending games. His love will never end thanks to a legacy gift he arranged before his death. Having recently received a first distribution of his estate plan amounting to $20,000, we are reminded of his generosity and love of the Wildcats. In naming, WSU Athletics as the primary beneficiary of his family foundation and requesting the funds be even split between Wildcat football and men’s basketball, Smith has made certain that every year, each of those teams will have $20,000 for recruiting, travel, and other program progressions. Sadly, Smith can no longer attend WSU games, but he will have a major impact on the quality of our programs. Smith’s daughter Nikki Harris is now the head of the family foundation and has continued in Smith’s path as an avid Wildcat fan. Weber State has always been in Harris’ life and will continue to be so. “I grew up going to Weber State games,” Harris said. “I met my husband, Jamie, at Weber State in

Nikki Harris and family.

Phil Smith: A Forever Fan

Phil Smith

class, he was a golfer for Weber State under Mac Madsen. My kids now love going to the games, my son, Caden, is a huge sports fanatic and my daughter, Jada, is the cheerleader type so she always watches the dancers. We all hold Weber State in our hearts.” Smith’s foundation and legacy gift will be an asset to the football and basketball team’s recruiting process. Harris is doing some recruiting of her own but not for future Wildcat athletes but for future forever fans. “I really want people to get more involved,” Harris said. “I try to get other foundation board members, friends and other family members to come to the games. WSU deserves the support and love. It’s a great family activity and gets everyone involved.” Smith’s fandom was passed on to the next generation, that generation is carrying the torch for the next generation and will transpire for many more generations, thanks to his legacy gift. Thanks to Smith and Harris’ incredible generosity, we all have something to cheer about.

If you are interested in learning more about Legacy giving, please contact Becky Thompson, Director Wildcat Club at 801 626 6564 or rthompson1@weber.edu 44

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“My scholarship means a lot to me because not a lot of people get the chance to play at the collegiate level. So I thank God every day.� Richaud Gittens - Basketball Tempe, AZ Class of 2017

Join the Wildcat Club and help support WSU Student-Athlete Scholarships Call 801-626-6576 or visit WeberStateSports.com for more information or to join. WeberStateSports.com

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Name Game

Simply Sark

By CHRIS J. MILLER

S

ark Arslanian, Weber State’s legendary football coach, passed away on Dec. 11, 2016, at the age of 92. Since the mid-1960s, folks in Ogden have referred to their football coach simply as “Sark,” a tribute to the Wildcat legacy he helped build, a tradition that continues to this day. While Arslanian was the head coach at Weber State College for just eight seasons, his presence lives on. It lives on in his record. He is the school’s career leader in winning percentage at .641. It lives on in his two Big Sky championships -- in 1965 and 68 -- and his 8-1 record in his very first season at WSC. It lives on in the national rankings, as high as No. 3 in 1967. Perhaps more importantly, it lives on in “Sark’s Boys,” the many former players who are successful in all facets of life and drew great inspiration from their coach. “His ‘Sark’s Boys’ will continue his legacy at Weber State,” WSU director of athletics Jerry Bovee said at the time of his passing. “He was a great coach and leader and will always be an important part of Wildcat football.” Arslanian’s achievements include being named national coach of the year by Armenian Weekly, as well as successful coaching stops at Dixie College, Colorado State and later in the Canadian and United States football leagues. Sark is an inductee into the Weber State Hall of Fame, as well a member of the Pop Warner, Utah Sports and All-American 46

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Football Foundation halls of fame. Sark was preceded in death by his wife Verlyn. They had six children. Sons Dave and Paul played and coached at Weber State. Dave Arlsanian was head coach at Weber State from 1989 to 1997, and is also a member of the WSU Hall of Fame.

golf coach Jeff Smith. Also, former athletic director, Dutch Belnap, will receive the Reed K. Swenson Distinguished Service Award. Of note, four of the five honorees are natives of Northern Utah. Smith was honored posthumously.

Robust Hall of Fame class Some of the most recognizable names in Weber State athletics make up the 2017 WSU Athletic Hall of Fame class. The group includes former Olympian Lindsey Anderson, basketball standout Nolan Archibald and tennis star Eric Styrmoe, as well as former

Paying it forward Weber State’s participation in the NCAA FCS Playoffs was a great experience for the Wildcats and their fans. Yet, those that ‘Back the ‘Cats’ found a way to pay if forward. In the days leading up to WSU’s game with Tennessee-Chattanooga, WeberStateSports.com


the south-central area of that state endured a difficult moment when a school bus crash killed five children and injured several others. WSU administration and its football squad offered their condolences and prayers to the residents of that community. WSU football coach Jay Hill and the team took things further, asking Wildcat fans to donate to the victims. “Earlier this year, my wife Sarah was diagnosed with cancer,” said Hill back in November 2016. “When we played at South Dakota shortly after her diagnosis, their fans came together to support her and our family. Playing in Chattanooga this weekend provides our program a great avenue to pay that support forward. I will be the first to donate, and I’m calling on all Wildcat fans to support as well.”

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The 2017 WSU Athletics Hall of Fame class: (from left) Dutch Belnap, Lindsey Anderson, Nolan Archibald, Eric Styrmoe, and representing the late Jeff Smith, Smith’s daughters Tara and Courtney.

Can they do it again? The two-time defending Big Sky Conference champion Weber State softball team was tabbed to repeat as league champions for the third straight year in the preseason coaches’ straw poll. The Wildcats return eight starters and 13 letterwinners from its squad that went 37-19 overall (15-5 Big Sky). Weber State begins its fourth season under head coach Mary Kay Amicone on Feb. 10, against face Notre Dame in Long Beach, Calif. The Wildcats are 97-63 overall under Amicone.

Senglin sizzles Senior sharpshooter Jeremy Senglin is racking up baskets and climbing the record charts. The Texas gunslinger leads the nation in 3-pointers per game and is among the NCAA’s best in total 3’s and shooting percentage. He recently passed Damian Lillard for No. 2 on the Weber State career scoring charts and became the Big Sky all-time leader in 3-pointers in short order. Senglin will finish his career among the top five in WSU history in scoring, field goals, assists, free throws and 3-pointers as well. Thompson honored Weber State senior Megan Thompson closed out her volleyball career as a member of the Big Sky All-Conference First Team. Fall 2016

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Thompson,a senior middle blocker from Richfield, led the Big Sky in blocks this year with 164 total on the year and averaged 1.66 blocks per set. Thompson closed out the year with 246 kills and averaged 2.48 kills per set, and finished her career as No. 2 in WSU history in block assists and total blocks. Early last season, she helped the Wildcats earn their best start in school history with a 9-0 record. Tidbits We note the passing of former Weber State University president Rodney Brady, who died on Jan. 9 at

age 93. ... Weber State’s football squad (7-5 overall) ended the season ranked No. 24 in the FCS Coaches Poll, and No. 25 in the STATS FCS poll. Three other Big Sky teams were also ranked in the final poll of the season. ... WSU tight end Andrew Vollert was named to a handful of FCS All-Ameria squads after the 2016 season. A junior from San Mateo, Calif., Vollert was named third-team All-American on both the STATS FCS and Associated Press teams. He was tabbed the Big Sky Newcomer of the

Year. ... Teammate Jonah Williams was named to the Hero Sports FCS All-Freshman First Team. Williams, the Meridian, Idaho, native helped the Wildcat lead the Big Sky in passing defense from his position on the defensive line. ... This month marks the 15th anniversary of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Utah. Weber State hosted the curling events at The Ice Sheet during the Games. ... Weber State senior linebacker Tre’von Johnson had a strong performance in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in January in Los Angeles. Johnson tied for a game-high six tackles, including a tackle for loss, and had a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry, in helping lead Team American to a 27-7 victory over Team National. ... Speaking of fast starts, the Weber State women’s basketball team won its first five contests of the season, a school record. Coach BethAnn Ord and the Wildcats hosted more than 3,000 screaming school children to their annual Field Trip Day game in mid-December. A late 3-pointer rimmed out as the Wildcats fell to 60-57 to Fresno State at the Dee Events Center. ... Weber State defensive coordinator Jason Kaufusi was hired by new Nevada coach Jay Norvell to join his coaching staff.

Chris J. Miller, a 1986 graduate of Weber State, is a former Weber State Signpost sports editor and editor in chief, as well as a former longtime sports editor at the Standard-Examiner. He can be reached at cjmiller62@outook.com. Follow him on Twitter at cjmsports.

Junior tight end Andrew Vollert earned Big Sky Newcomer of the Year and All-American honors for his performance with the Wildcats this past season. 48

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THROWBACK TIME

Nearly 15 years ago, Jermaine Boyette led the Wildcats to a 73-70 win over Nevada at the Dee Events Center. (Photo by Robert Casey)

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Bleed Purple Magazine - Winter 2017  

The official magazine of Weber State University Athletics.

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