Saturday, February 14, 2009

Old Adage ...

Don't count your eggs before they're hatched ... If you read the previous post, you saw that ACU's softball team had a chance to defeat No. 8-ranked Southeastern Oklahoma, however, the Savage Storm took a 3-0 win in extra-innings Saturday night to close the CBS Insurance Classic. Even still, ACU is 5-4 overall and got out of the tourney with a 2-2 split and a win over nationally-ranked St. Mary's.

Then, I posted that ACU's women's basketball team could clinch no worse than second place in the Lone Star Conference South Division with a win over Angelo State Saturday night. However, the Wildcats squandered a 16-point halftime lead and lost in overtime 64-59. Even still, ACU remains at second place in the LSC South Division standings at 6-2.

The men's basketball game is underway in San Angelo, I'll post an update later on ... have a good Valentine's Wildcat fans.

A little good news ...

So how about some positives? I thought I’d give you a spring update with some good things happening, especially this weekend in ACU sports.

First, ACU’s baseball team swept through its first four Lone Star Conference games this weekend with four wins over Southwestern Oklahoma State. The Wildcats, who dropped to No. 24 in the nation after beginning the season ranked eighth, responded with an 8-1 win Thursday night, 3-2 and 2-1 victories Friday, and then closed with a 15-5 pounding Saturday.

If you missed it, Friday’s second game that went extra innings saw potential history from ACU pitcher Preston Vancil. The senior right-hander struck out the final eight batters and finished with a career-high 13. The NCAA Division I record for consecutive strikeouts is 10 accomplished by Barry Zito (currently with the San Francisco Giants) back in 1996 for UC-Santa Barbara.

In softball’s home opening weekend, ACU defeated No. 25-ranked St. Mary’s Thursday night 13-11. Then, Friday the Wildcats split with a loss to Emporia and a win over Northeastern State. All-American Jessica Shiery already making an impact for ACU hitting .636 with two homers and nine RBI eight games into the season.

Today, we’re awaiting the score from Poly Wells Field as ACU looks to upset No. 8-ranked Southeastern Oklahoma State. Grant Boone and I are in San Angelo and received word that the score was 0-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Speaking of San Angelo, the Wildcat basketball teams are at Stephens Arena for a Lone Star Conference South Division doubleheader against Angelo State. For the women, a win would mean that they could finish no worse than second place in the LSC South. At 6-1, the Wildcats are looking to sweep ASU for the first time since the 2004-05 season. The Rambelles enter the contest at 4-3 in league play.

For the men’s team, Jason Copeland’s Wildcats are trying to stay mathematically in the race for the LSC postseason tournament. ACU is sixth place in the LSC South with a 2-5 record in league play while the Rams are third place with a 5-2 mark in conference.

I’ll try to update this post and let you know how the softball and basketball games progress on this Valentine’s Day.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Key questions and answers from NCAA sanctions

Thursday’s ruling by the NCAA in its case against Abilene Christian University left fans with several questions regarding the 2007 football season, as well as other issues. In order to clear up some of the confusion, here is a list of questions and answers that might help clear up some of the confusion:

Q: If ACU is on probation, can the Wildcats still compete in post-season games?
A: The probation does not include any ban on post-season competition in any sport. The probation simply means that between the dates of Feb. 12, 2009, and Feb. 11, 2011, the Wildcats’ track and football programs can’t have another NCAA violation. If they do, there will be more serious penalties from the NCAA in regards to those two programs.

Q: Are the Wildcats forfeiting any football games in 2007?
A: No, the Wildcats are not forfeiting any games, rather they are being forced to “vacate” those wins. A forfeit means the Wildcats – who were 10-3 in 2007 with an appearance in the NCAA Division II playoffs – would be 0-13. The NCAA ruling instead states the Wildcats must instead vacate the wins, which means that the Wildcats’ official record for 2007 is 0-3. It’s almost as if the games were never played. Head coach Chris Thomsen’s record will now reflect 10 less wins, and the school’s all-time record will reflect 10 fewer wins.

Q: Do the NCAA sanctions extend to the 2008 season? Will the Wildcats have to vacate any wins in 2008 or give up their Lone Star Conference championship?
A: The Wildcats’ 2008 season is totally unaffected by Thursday’s ruling. The Wildcats’ 11-1 record still stands, as do all records attained and championships won. ACU will still enter the 2009 season as the defending LSC champion in football.

Q: What about statistics from the 2007 season?
A: The ACU sports information office has been in discussions with the NCAA Statistics office since Thursday morning in regards to what the vacation of the games means to the statistics of both the Wildcats and their 2007 opponents. No official word on those statistics will be known until after the school explores its options for an appeal.

Q: Do the NCAA sanctions affect any other sport’s wins or losses in the 2007-08 athletics year?
A: No, the only sport currently affected is football.

Q: What is the timeline on the appeal process?
A: According to the NCAA, the NCAA staff liaison to the Management Council Subcommittee must receive written notice of a pending appeal within 15 calendar days of the date of the public release of the infractions report (which was Thursday). After the liaison receives a timely notice of appeal and ACU has received a letter from the NCAA acknowledging receipt of the notice of appeal, the university will have approximately 30 days to submit its written appeal. The Management Council Subcommittee may accept the Committee on Infractions’ findings and penalties, or it may alter or overturn those penalties. If there is no appeal by the institution, the committee’s findings and penalties are effective when the 15-day appeal period has expired, in this case Feb. 26, 2009.

Q: How will ACU go about getting down to the self-imposed limit of five international student-athletes on the roster of any athletics team during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years?
A: To be clear, ACU will not cut any current student-athletes to get down to the limit of five international student-athletes on any athletics teams. Getting down to the number of five athletes on each team will occur through natural attrition (graduation, transfer, etc.). ACU coaches will also recruit fewer international students over the course of the next two years in order to comply with the self-imposed penalty.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bonneau wins 500

It didn't take long for Britt Bonneau to become ACU's all-time leader in career wins, he did that in his third season back in 1999. However, 10 years later, with Bonneau still at the helm, he's got 501 wins. The milestone 500th win came yesterday, and one has to think that it could be several years, maybe several decades before someone passes the 13th-year head coach.

Bonneau averages 42 wins a year and is still only 38 years old leaving him on pace to win 1,000 games by age 50. Bonneau is just another example of ACU's excellence in athletics as several programs have built consistenly successful programs. Congratulations to him and to all the players and coaches that have helped him reach this milestone.

As he said in yesterday's release after winning No. 500, here's to the next 500 ... let's hope so.

View a photo gallery of yesterday's games with New Mexico Highlands, including Bonneau's 500th - Bonneau stayed pretty dry despite efforts from his players with multiple water coolers. At 38, Bonneau still showed his quickness - fans should get a kick out of those photos.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Mount Rushmore of ACU Athletics

For the last several weeks, has asked fans across the nation to come up with the Mount Rushmore of sports for their particular state of residence.

Some of the states where you would least expect to see greatness produced some of the best cast of characters. For example, here is Alabama's Mount Rushmore: Hank Aaron, Bear Bryant, Bo Jackson and Willie Mays. Wow! That's hard to top.

Here are some of the other great ones:

California: Tiger Woods, John Wooden, Magic Johnson, Jackie Robinson
Georgia: Hank Aaron, Herschel Walker, Ty Cobb, Bobby Jones
Illinois: Michael Jordan, Walter Payton, Ernie Banks, Mike Ditka
Massachusetts: Ted Williams, Bobby Orr, Tom Brady, Red Auerbach
Missouri: Stan Musial, Jack Buck, Lamar Hunt, George Brett
New York: Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Jim Brown, Joe Namath
North Carolina: Michael Jordan, Dean Smith, Dale Earnhardt, Mike Krzyzewski

... and Texas: Nolan Ryan, Lance Armstrong, Tom Landry, Earl Campbell

To me, the inclusion of Lance Armstrong is debatable. No one can argue with 7 no-hitters and more than 5,000 strikeouts by Ryan; Landry is a no-brainer; and Campbell is probably the greatest running back this state has ever produced. But several other candidates spring to mind for the fourth spot, ahead of Armstrong, whose accomplishments can't be denied. However, think about these names that probably could have gone ahead of him:

* Rogers Hornsby (born in Winters)
* Michael Johnson (Dallas)
* ACU's own Bobby Morrow (born in San Benito)
* A.J. Foyt (Houston)
* Sammy Baugh (Sweetwater)
* Bob Lilly (Throckmorton)
* Frank Robinson (Beaumont)
* Greg Maddux (San Angelo)
* Sheryl Swoopes (Brownfield)
* Ben Hogan (Fort Worth)
* Byron Nelson (Fort Worth)
* Babe Didrikson Zaharias (Beaumont)

Looking at the list of those left off the state's Mount Rushmore makes you think that Texas could probably fill 2-3 Mount Rushmores.

It also got me to thinking. Who would be on your Mount Rushmore of ACU athletics?

Wally Bullington would certainly spring to mind, as would A.B. Morris. But who else? Morrow? Jim Lindsey? How about John Ray Godfrey or Elmer Gray? What about Bill Gilbreth or Wes Kittley? Jennifer Clarkson or Yolanda Henry?

Let's hear from you in the comments section. Later on this spring we'll publish some of the best ones on, and I'll also let you in on my own personal Mount Rushmore.

Let's go ... and keep 'em coming.

Texas vs. the Nation highlights

Just in case you didn't get to see it, here are some highlights someone cut of Bernard Scott and Johnny Knox at the Texas vs. the Nation game. The quality isn't great, but the video is cut just to feature the two players and the commentators talking about ACU.

There was an error, they said that both Johnny Knox and Jerale Badon each had 1,000 yards receiving in 2008. However, Badon actually finished his eligibility in 2007 as the LSC's leader in career receptions and yards.

Even still, great performances by Knox and Scott - and great press time for the Wildcats.

Angelo State Basketball Galleries, other ntoes

Here are a couple of photo galleries for the men's and women's basketball doubleheader against Angelo State Jan. 24. The pictures were taken by Gerald Ewing.

Men's Gallery

Women's Gallery

•A busy week as the basketball season now overlaps with the beginning of spring sports. The baseball team has a four-game set with New Mexico Highlands, head coach Britt Bonneau could gain his 500th career win as early as today when the Wildcats take on NMH at 4 p.m. If not, he'll get a chance with a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday and a single game Sunday at Noon.
•The softball team is playing several games in San Antonio, so check for updates
•The golf team heads to Laredo to open the season with a 3-round tournament Monday and Tuesday; Mike Campbell's Wildcats are ranked No. 16 in the nation.
• The track team continues its indoor season Friday in Lubbock at the Texas Tech Invitational
• The tennis teams host a multitude of opponents Saturday at the Eager Tennis Pavilion

Good Luck Wildcats!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Soccer adds seven

Read the official release here.

Below, read some tidbits, view available pictures, quotes from head coach Casey Wilson, and see links on the seven newcomers that the staff brought in to continue ACU's progression towards being an elite soccer team in the LSC.

Junior College:

Ashley Holton – Junior | Santee, Calif. | Forward | Cuyamaca College

• 2-time Pacific Coast Conference Player o the Year
• 2008 NSCAA/ADIDAS Junior College Division III Women all-West Region Team
• 40 goals, 30 assists over two seasons

"We are thrilled Ashley chose to come to ACU. She is a tremendous competitor who will be a playmaker for us. Her breakaway speed is impressive and is great in the air. Ashley has proven over the past two years at Cuyamaca College that she is a force to be dealt with."
- Casey Wilson

High School:

Julie Coppedge | Amarillo | Midfield | Amarillo H.S.

• This photo, courtesy of, features Coppedge on the right, along with four other Amarillo High School standouts that signed with LSC teams
• District 2-5A MVP as a junior

"Julie is a talented soccer player who has the ability to make the players around her even better. Her ability to read and control the pace of the game will make her an integral part of our team. She is one of those players who we can put anywhere one the field and she will produce. We expect great things from Julie in the next four years."
- Casey Wilson

Arielle Moncure | Leawood, Kan. | Goalkeeper | Blue Valley North H.S.

"Arielle is was one of the best goal keepers around. Her ability to get the high crosses as well as come off her line make her such an asset to our team. She is great with the ball at her feet and has exceptional hands. We expect her to come in and strengthen our already stout defense."
- Casey Wilson

Katherine Garner | Arlington | Midfield | Lamar H.S.

• Photo courtesy of; view her high school profile here

"Kat is a talented player with a very strong left foot. She is a hard tackler and physical player who is not afraid to mix it up. We are excited to have Kat join the program."
- Casey Wilson

Lexi Stirling | Littleton, Colo. | Midfield / Forward | Heritage H.S.

• View Stirling's junior year stats, view Stirling's sophomore stats
• Helped Heritage H.S. to a 33-5-1 record her sophomore and junior years
• Compiled six goals and nine assists in her first two seasons as a varsity player

"Lexi comes to us from one of the top high school teams in Colorado. She is strong on the ball and dominant in the air. Her ability to use both feet equally well and her knowledge of the game will make her a threat to opposing teams from anywhere on the field."
- Casey Wilson

Jennifer Hill | Amarillo | Defense | Randall H.S.

• Photo courtesy of; read the story that quotes Hill's decision to come to ACU and mentions fellow signee Julie Coppedge
• Helped Randall H.S. to 12th consecutive district 3-4A title as a junior

"Jennifer is a hard worker and will be a great addition to our defense. She moves players off the ball well and has great foot skills. We are excited to see Jennifer grow during her four years at ACU."
- Casey Wilson

Krysta Grimm | Colorado Springs, Colo. | Midfield/Forward | Pikes Peak Christian H.S.

• See Grimm's junior year statistics, see Grimm's sophomore year statistics
• Scored 50 goals and recorded 11 assists as a sophomore and junior for Pikes Peak

"We are excited about Krysta and what she will bring to this team. She is very versatile, great on the ball and has a knack for finishing in front of the goal. Krysta is a confident and physical player that fits the mold of the player we like in this program."
- Casey Wilson

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Signing class complete ... for now

ACU's 2009 football signing class is complete, and the story and the list are posted on the ACU athletics Web site.

ACU head coach Chris Thomsen said he is very pleased with the overall strength in the high school signing class, as well as in the junior college transfer class.

Thomsen, though, said that while Wednesday's signing day is basically an end for NCAA Division I programs, most Division II programs are just getting started.  Thomsen said the Wildcats would like to add two linebackers, another defensive lineman, two defensive backs, two running backs and one wide receiver via transfer.

He said his coaching staff have identified several transfer prospects and could have several of them in the fold in the next few weeks.

For complete information on this year's signing class, go to  

Fans can also see two different FREE video interviews on the ACU Web site detailing Thomsen's thoughts on the 2009 ACU signing class.  Fans will have to sign up to be a Wildcat Insider on the ACU Web site, but you don't have to purchase a plan in order to see the videos. 

Once you've signed up, simply click on the "On Demand" button to find the archived information.  Thomsen's interview with the local media is the first video listed, followed by h is interview with ACU radio play-by-play voice Grant Boone.

Wildcats sign Mesquite Horn WR

ABILENE -- ACU head football coach Chris Thomsen released his first group of signees Wednesday at 11 a.m., and its led by Class 5A all-state wide receiver Taylor Gabriel of Mesquite Horn High School.

Gabriel finished the season with 90 catches for 1,354 yards and 13 touchdowns to earn Texas Sports Writers Association first team Class 5A all-state honors.  He was an Associated Press second team all-state pick and the District 11-5A MVP.

The Wildcats' first release also included San Angelo Lake View High School quarterback John David Baker, who threw for 2,245 yards and 22 touchdowns and ran for 668 yards and 18 touchdowns, leading the Chiefs to the area round of the playoffs.

ACU signees:
• Taylor Gabriel, WR, 5-9, 170, Mesquite (Horn HS)
• John David Baker, QB, 6-0, 190, San Angelo (Lake View HS)
• Darian Hogg, WR, 6-2, 180, Arlington (Seguin HS)
• Brock Niederhofer, OL, 6-2, 245, San Antonio (Churchill HS)
• Zac Scoggin, OL, 6-3, 290, Austin (Bowie HS)
• Blake Rudd, LB, 6-0, 205, Dallas (Christian HS)

ACU JC transfers:
• Mark Sprague, P, 6-1, 215, Blinn JC (Dickinson HS)