Mobley and Eyckmans named All-American

Mobley and Eyckmans named All-American

Posted on 15 July 2015 by Allen

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Eastern Kentucky University senior running back Dy’Shawn Mobley and senior offensive lineman Brett Eyckmans have been named to the STATS FCS Preseason All-America Team.

Mobley and Eyckmans were key offensive components of an EKU football team that went 9-4 and reached the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014.

Mobley was named a first team preseason All-American by STATS. As a junior, the native of Powell, Tennessee earned 2014 OVC Offensive Player of the Year accolades after leading the Ohio Valley Conference in rushing (1,491 yards) and rushing touchdowns (20). His rushing total was the sixth most in a single season by an EKU player. Mobley set a program record and equaled an OVC mark when he scored six touchdowns in the win over Murray State on November 15.

The 5-11, 215-pound back produced a league-high eight 100-yard rushing games in 2014. His 20 rushing touchdowns were the third most in OVC single-season history.

Mobley is one of only three OVC players named first team preseason All-America by STATS, joining Murray State kick returner Pokey Harris and Jacksonville State defensive back Jermaine Hough.

This is Mobley’s second preseason All-America honor this summer. He was named to Athlon Sports’ preseason team on June 25.

Eyckmans earned third-team preseason All-America honors from STATS. The 6-4, 290-pound left tackle started all 13 games for the Colonels last fall and was named first team All-OVC after opening several running routes for Mobley and company. He was the leader of an offensive line that helped Eastern average 220.5 yards-per-game on the ground last year.

Eyckmans, a native of Lexington, Kentucky, was voted EKU’s offensive lineman of the year by his teammates at the conclusion of the 2014 season.

Eyckmans is one of four OVC players on the third team, joining Southeast Missouri wide receiver Paul McRoberts and kicker Ryan McCrum and Eastern Illinois linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill.

In all, nine players from the OVC were selected to STATS’ Preseason All-America team.

Mobley, Eyckmans and the rest of the EKU football team open the 2015 season on Thursday night, September 3, with a home game against Valparaiso.

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Ian Clark to begin NBA Summer League with Denver

Ian Clark to begin NBA Summer League with Denver

Posted on 09 July 2015 by Allen

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Former Belmont University men’s basketball All-American Ian Clark (’13) begins year three in the National Basketball Association this week.

Clark will represent the Denver Nuggets in NBA Summer League action from Las Vegas. The Memphis, Tennessee native rejoined his teammates Monday, opening the first of a four day mini-cap at the organization’s training facility.
Denver begins summer league play Friday, July 10 versus Atlanta. The Nuggets will also face Sacramento (July 12) and Miami (July 13) before the format shifts to tournament play.

Las Vegas brings back positive memories for Clark, as two years ago for the Golden State Warriors he took the basketball world by storm. Authoring a remarkable story of perseverance and faith, Clark scored a then-record 33 points in the championship game against Phoenix en route Most Valuable Player honors.

Clark played the 2013-14 campaign with the Utah Jazz, before splitting last season between Utah and Denver.
Among Clark’s summer league teammates is 2015 first round draft choice Emmanuel Mudiay.

Bruin fans can follow Ian during NBA Summer League here.

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EKU annouce 2015-16 Women’s Basketball Schedule

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EKU annouce 2015-16 Women’s Basketball Schedule

Posted on 09 July 2015 by Allen

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Eastern Kentucky University women’s basketball head coach Chrissy Roberts released the Colonels’ 2015-16 schedule on Wednesday.

EKU will travel to eight states and face teams from 10 conferences, two of which (Western Kentucky and Tennessee State) played in the NCAA Tournament and five of which (Richmond, East Tennessee State, Missouri State, Wright State and UT Martin) played in the WNIT in 2014-15.

“A goal of ours this season is to be competitive against those caliber teams,” Roberts said. “Those tough games early on will only make us better as we get prepared for OVC action.”

The Colonels open the season by hosting Georgetown College on Friday, November 13. They immediately hit the road to play at Richmond on Sunday, November 15. The Spiders defeated EKU, 70-56, last year in McBrayer Arena. They finished the year 19-14 and beat Stetson in the first round of the WNIT before falling to Duquesne, 48-47, four days later.

After hosting Western Carolina on Saturday, November 21, EKU will again hit the road to play Miami (Ohio) in Oxford on Tuesday, November 24. The Colonels defeated the RedHawks in both 2012-13 and 2013-14. The two teams did not play last year.

Eastern will close out November by hosting East Tennessee State on Friday, November 27. The Buccaneers went 21-12 last year and lost to North Carolina State, 73-58, in the first round of the WNIT.

The Colonels will run a veritable gauntlet to open December. They open the month by travelling to Springfield, Missouri to face Missouri State on Saturday, December 5. The Lady Bears went 18-15 last year and reached the WNIT. EKU will then host Wright State at McBrayer Arena on Sunday, December 13. Wright State won 25 games last year and also reached the WNIT.

On Wednesday, December 16, Eastern will travel to Bowling Green to face Western Kentucky. WKU set a Conference USA record for wins in a season last year (30) and nearly upset Texas (66-64) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. EKU and WKU have not met since November 14, 2009.

Following the in-state showdown versus Western Kentucky, EKU will travel to the Sunshine State to play in the Gator Holiday Classic from December 20-21 in Gainesville, Florida.

The Colonels will close out the month of December by hosting Davis & Elkins College on Wednesday, December 30.

EKU will open conference play on the road at Austin Peay on Saturday, January 2. Other conference highlights include hosting traditional OVC power and 2014-15 WNIT participant UT Martin on Thursday, January 7 and hosting defending OVC champion and 2014-15 NCAA Tournament participant Tennessee State on Saturday, February 13.

The Colonels will wrap up the regular season on the road at Tennessee Tech on Saturday, February 27.

The OVC Tournament is scheduled for March 2-5 in Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium.

“The OVC schedule will be grueling, as it is every year,” Roberts added. “But, I believe we have a talented enough team to emerge from the crowd and be the ones cutting down the nets in Nashville come March.”

EKU returns its top two scorers from a team that went 9-17 last year. Junior Michaela Hunter averaged 14.8 points-per-game and 6.3 rebounds-per-game, while senior Shameekia “Polly” Murray was named second-team All-OVC while averaging 14.0 points-per-game and 4.4 rebounds-per-game.

11/8/2015 Ohio Valley University (Exhibition) Richmond, Ky. TBD
11/13/2015 Georgetown College (Ky.) Richmond, Ky. TBD
11/15/2015 University of Richmond Richmond, Va. TBD
11/21/2015 Western Carolina University Richmond, Ky. TBD
11/24/2015 Miami University (OH) Oxford, Ohio TBD
11/27/2015 East Tennessee State University Richmond, Ky. TBD
12/5/2015 Missouri State University Springfield, Mo. TBD
12/13/2015 Wright State University Richmond, Ky. TBD
12/16/2015 Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, Ky. TBD
Gator Holiday Classic
12/20/2015 TBD Gainesville, Fla. TBD
12/21/2015 TBD Gainesville, Fla. TBD
12/30/2015 Davis & Elkins College Richmond, Ky. TBD
1/2/2016 Austin Peay State University Clarksville, Tenn. TBD
1/7/2016 University of Tennessee at Martin Richmond, Ky. TBD
1/9/2016 Southeast Missouri State University Richmond, Ky. TBD
1/14/2016 Eastern Illinois University Charleston, Ill. TBD
1/16/2016 Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Edwardsville, Ill. TBD
1/20/2016 Murray State University Richmond, Ky. TBD
1/23/2016 Tennessee Tech University Richmond, Ky. TBD
1/27/2016 Jacksonville State University Richmond, Ky. TBD
1/30/2016 Morehead State University Richmond, Ky. TBD
2/3/2016 Tennessee State University Nashville, Tenn. TBD
2/6/2016 Belmont University Nashville, Tenn. TBD
2/13/2016 Tennessee State University Richmond, Ky. TBD
2/17/2016 Jacksonville State University Jacksonville, Ala. TBD
2/20/2016 Morehead State University Morehead, Ky. TBD
2/24/2016 Belmont University Richmond, Ky. TBD
2/27/2016 Tennessee Tech University Cookeville, Tenn. TBD

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Brandi Goodman signs with Skyhawks

Brandi Goodman signs with Skyhawks

Posted on 09 July 2015 by Allen

utm

Reigning Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year Kevin McMillan has announced the addition of local Obion County Central product and Memphis transfer Brandi Goodman to the squad’s 2015 signing class.

Hailing from neighboring Troy, Tenn., Goodman joins the Skyhawks after a brief two-year stint at Memphis where she appeared in 14 games in 2013-14 after missing much of the season and her entire sophomore year due to injury. In limited action, she averaged 2.9 points and 2.4 rebounds per game while chipping in seven steals and a pair of blocks. Her best performance in a Tiger uniform came against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in her second career game, scoring 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting. She later tallied career highs with six rebounds in 26 minutes against Southern Methodist.

Prior to her stop at Memphis, Goodman prepped at Obion County Central High School under head coach Lyle LaRue. Goodman was a three-time all-state honoree and helped lead the Lady Rebels to the Class 2A state championship game in 2012. She was named District 13 AA MVP, along with being named to the all-region 7AA regular season and all-tournament teams. She helped lead Obion County Central to 118 career wins in her prep career, including a 35-3 mark as a junior. She left the Lady Rebels as one of just four players in school history to score over 2,000 points. She averaged a double-double with 22 points, 14 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per game as a senior while finishing as a finalist for the Tennessee Miss Basketball award. Her 1,600 career rebounds finished just short of 120 boards short of the school record.

Goodman joins fellow signees Teddy Vincent (Martin, Tenn.), Emily Eubank (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), Emanye Robertson (Memphis, Tenn.), Eryn Foster (Memphis, Tenn.), Ta’Naisha Hill (Huntsville, Ala.), Dakota Smith (Jackson, Tenn.) and Myah Taylor (Dyersburg, Tenn.). The group joins a Skyhawk program which has notched five consecutive postseason appearances, including four trips to the NCAA Tournament and the program’s most recent WNIT berth.

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Colonels add Weaver

Colonels add Weaver

Posted on 18 June 2015 by Allen

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All-state point guard Dujuanta Weaver from Louisville has signed to play at Eastern Kentucky University beginning this upcoming season, head coach Dan McHale announced today.

“We are thrilled to welcome Tay to the Colonel family,” McHale said. “He will add to our backcourt depth and fit into our style of play nicely. He had a great career at Doss High School under Tony Williams and will continue to thrive in our up-tempo system.”

Weaver, a second team all-state selection and the Courier-Journal Sixth Region Player of the Year, hit 60 three-pointers and averaged 16.9 points per game while leading Doss High School to quarterfinals of the 2015 Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys Sweet Sixteen. He shot 44 percent from the field and grabbed four rebounds per game.

Doss High School finished the 2014-15 season with a 27-7 record and won the sixth region championship. Weaver scored 13 points with five steals and three assists in a 56-50 victory over Williamsburg in the first round of the Sweet 16. The 5-foot-9 guard had 10 points, five assists and five rebounds in a second round loss to Covington Catholic.

“Being from Kentucky, Tay understands how special it is to play college basketball in this great state while getting a valuable education from EKU,” said McHale.

In addition to Weaver, Nick Mayo (6-foot-8, 225, forward), Greg King (6-foot-7, 225, forward), Anthony Pratt (6-foot-6, forward), Jarelle Reischel (6-foot-5, 210, guard) and Cameron Williams (5-foot-11, 170, guard) will join the Colonel program for the upcoming season as well.

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Jones Shines in Sweden

Jones Shines in Sweden

Posted on 16 June 2015 by Allen

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Former Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball player Jaron Jones averaged 12.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in six games this past season with the Solna Vikings in the Swedish Basketball League.

The Lexington, Kentucky native played in the team’s first six games of the season. He scored 22 points in the season-opener against Uppsala on Oct. 5. He had 16 points against LF Basket on Oct. 9. Jones grabbed a season-best 11 rebounds to go along with nine points and two steals in a victory over Sodertalje on Oct. 18. He had 17 points and four rebounds in his final game of the season against Eco Orebro on Oct. 24.

Jones shot 40 percent from the field. He went 13-of-30 from three-point range for 43 percent. Jones’ season was cut short due to an injury.

This was the second European team Jones has played for. In the summer of 2012, he signed to play for the Apollon Basketball Club in Limassol, Cyprus. In the winter of 2014 he played five games for Caborca in the Mexican league. Jones averaged 19.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and two steals in his five games south of the border.

The 6-foot-5 Jones played two seasons for the Colonels. As a senior in 2011-12, he averaged a team-high 17 points per game. He was second on the team in rebounding (4.4 rpg) and field goal percentage (53.1 percent). Jones ranked fifth in the Ohio Valley Conference in scoring that season and had the fourth best field goal percentage.

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Former Bruins Standing Out as Pros

Former Bruins Standing Out as Pros

Posted on 13 June 2015 by Allen

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Former Belmont University men’s basketball standouts enjoyed fine seasons this past year, and look to build upon their promising professional careers.

Ian Clark (’13), who graduated as the program’s NCAA Division I era leader in points (1,920) and three-point field goals made (340), completed his second season in the NBA.

The Memphis, Tenn. native played 30 games this past season, 23 for the Utah Jazz and seven for the Denver Nuggets. Clark averaged 1.9 points per game on 36 percent three-point shooting. Clark was also recognized by the Jazz organization for outstanding community service.

Clark is scheduled to participate in NBA Summer League for the Denver Nuggets in July.

Kerron Johnson (’13), a two-time conference tournament Most Valuable Player and author of the game-tying and game-winning shots in the 2013 OVC Championship, completed his second season of professional basketball as well. After one season in the Australian NBL for the New Zealand Breakers, Johnson came into his own this season for MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg of the German Bundesliga.

The Huntsville, Ala. native shot over 50 percent from the field and averaged 14.2 points, 3.8 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game. Johnson scored 38 points in his German debut, and was named to the 2015 Beko BBL All-Star Game.

Earlier this week, Johnson told BelmontBruins.com that he was headed to Indianapolis to take part in Indiana Pacers’ mini-camp June 13-18.

J.J. Mann (’14), another conference player of the year for the Bruins, finished off his first season of professional basketball. After an early transfer from Poland, Mann shined for Redwell Oberwart Gunners of the top professional league in Austria.

The Smyrna, Ga. native averaged 13.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and a league-leading 2.0 steals per game on 41 percent three-point shooting.

Mann, who is engaged to marry former Belmont women’s soccer standout Amy Jo Anderson (’14) next month, told BelmontBruins.com earlier this week that he is weighing his options for next season, but that Belgium could be top billing among several European suitors.

Alex Renfroe (’09), Belmont’s second of four NCAA Division I era All-America selections, just completed his sixth season of professional basketball.

Renfroe was among the top players in the German Bundesliga, playing for respected organization Alba Berlin. As you may remember, Renfroe’s year got off to a flying start, as he and Alba Berlin stunned the reigning NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs in an exhibition game.

From there, the Hermitage, Tenn. provided his consistent production in all facets, averaging 10.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game in BBL play. Alba Berlin had its championship run halted in overtime of the final game. Renfroe also averaged 9.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game in EuroLeague action.
And earlier this week, Renfroe received a prestigious invitation to play for Bosnia and Herzegovina in the upcoming 2015 EuroBasket Tournament – one of the top basketball tournaments in the world.

Renfroe will join forces with Bosnia and Herzegovina nationals and current NBA players Mirza Teletovic (Brooklyn Nets) and Jusuf Nurkic (Denver Nuggets).

Finally, as featured in Sporting News this week, former Bruin point guard Drew Hanlen (’12) continues to shine in his NBA Strategic Skills and Consulting business. Among his clients is NBA Finalist David Lee of the Golden State Warriors.

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Stommes shines in Sweden

Stommes shines in Sweden

Posted on 10 June 2015 by Allen

eku

Former Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball player Justin Stommes had a strong fourth season of professional basketball for the Helsinki Seagulls in the Finnish League, despite being limited to just 22 games.

Stommes was third on the team in scoring (13.6 ppg), rebounds (4.5 rpg) and assists (1.4 apg) while leading the squad in steals (1.6 spg). He shot 44 percent from the field and made 45-of-111 three-pointers for 41 percent.

The 6-foot-7 forward played in just 22 of the team’s 43 games, missing a stretch of 12 straight from the first of December to the end of January.

The Cold Springs, Minnesota native scored 10 or more points in 17 of the 22 games he played and grabbed five or more rebounds 11 times. He scored 20 or more points four times in a stretch of seven games early in the season. Stommes finished with 21 points against Kataja on Oct. 29, had 27 points and six boards against Namika Lahti on Nov. 16, scored 21 points with six rebounds against KTP Basket on Nov. 21, and ripped off 27 points with six boards against Kauhajoki on Nov. 29.

Helsinki finished the regular season with a 17-23 record, placing eighth among 11 teams. The Seagulls were swept in a best-of-five quarterfinal playoff series by KTP Basket. Stommes scored 17 points in the final game of the series.

Stommes was a four-year starter at EKU. He completed his career in 2010-11 and left Eastern as the program’s 15th all-time leading scorer (1,277 career points).

Stommes played in Germany during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. In 2013-14 he played in Holland.

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Oops… TSU now eligible for postseason after recalculation of APR

Oops… TSU now eligible for postseason after recalculation of APR

Posted on 04 June 2015 by Allen

TSU

TSU made a big announcement last week about their APR being too low and were going to be banned from the postseason in football. Now it seems that they made a mistake and will be eligible afterall.

Here’s the release from TSU.

The Tennessee State Athletic Department received news, Thursday, that due to a recalculation of the football program’s multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR), the team is not subject to a postseason ban or Level I penalty for the upcoming season.

“Although many perceive the APR as purely academic, it is actually more complex than that with retention being an equal part of the calculation,” Director of Athletics Teresa Phillips said. “The athletics department, university and football staff will continue to work together in meeting and exceeding the standards established by the NCAA.”

On May 27, the NCAA published its annual report in which the Tennessee State football program’s rate was deemed to be below the benchmark set by the NCAA.

With Thursday’s news, the Tennessee State athletic program continues its stretch of exceeding the NCAA’s APR threshold for all sports and has never been issued a postseason ban or penalty of any level.

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EKU ranked 14th in Preseason Poll

EKU ranked 14th in Preseason Poll

Posted on 04 June 2015 by Allen

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The Eastern Kentucky University football team is ranked No. 14 in the Sporting News’ FCS Preseason Top-25 poll, which was released in late May.

The No. 14 ranking is the highest preseason ranking the Colonels have received under head coach Dean Hood, who took over the program in 2008. EKU was also ranked No. 21 in Athlon’s preseason poll.

Eastern Kentucky returns eight starters on both offense and defense from a squad that finished 9-4 overall and advanced to the NCAA FCS playoffs in 2014.

Three all-conference players return on the offensive side of the ball including 2014 OVC Offensive Player of the Year Dy’Shawn Mobley. The senior running back led the league in rushing (1,491 yards) and rushing touchdowns (20) last year. His rushing total was the sixth most in a single season by an EKU player. Mobley set a program record and equaled an OVC mark when he scored six touchdowns in the win over Murray State on Nov. 15, 2014.

Senior offensive linemen Brett Eyckmans and Trey Shelton came away with All-OVC accolades a year ago as well.

On defense, five of the eight returning starters are heading into their senior campaign. Defensive back Stanley Absanon led the squad with four interceptions last fall. Absanon tallied two interceptions in EKU’s thrilling 17-10 win at FBS foe Miami (Ohio). Meanwhile, fellow seniors Trey Thomas and Marquise Piton combined for 20 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks up front in 2014.

Eastern Kentucky opens its 2015 slate on Thursday night, Sept. 3 with a home game against Valparaiso.

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Favre selected for 2015 U.S. Men’s National Team

Favre selected for 2015 U.S. Men’s National Team

Posted on 03 June 2015 by Allen

utm

Former University of Tennessee at Martin quarterback Dylan Favre has been selected as one of 45 United States football players to be selected to play on the 2015 U.S. Men’s National Team, assembled by USA Football.

The team will compete in the fifth International Federation of American Football World Championship, a seven-nation tournament held July 9-18 in Canton, Ohio. IFAF works with 78 countries – spanning six continents – which possess national federations dedicated solely to American football.

A native of Kiln, Miss., Favre joins the roster after finishing a two-year career under center for the Skyhawks. A former Ohio Valley Conference All-Newcomer, Favre used both his arm and legs to move the Skyhawk offense, notching 276 career rushing yards along with a pair of rushing touchdowns while through the air he accumulated 1,746 yards and 15 passing touchdowns. He led the OVC while ranking second in the nation in completion percentage as a junior, converting 71.1 percent of attempts.

The U.S. Men’s National Team includes athletes from 24 states and will compete in a field against national teams from Australia, Brazil, France, Japan, Mexico and South Korea. The IFAF World Championship has been held every four years since 1999. In 2011, the United States defeated Canada, 50-7, for the gold medal in Vienna, Austria. The U.S. beat Japan, 23-20, in double overtime in Kawasaki, Japan, to win the 2007 tournament, the first that included a team from the United States.

The U.S. Men’s National Team is led by former Boise State and Colorado head football coach Dan Hawkins. Hawkins was 53-11 at Boise State from 2001-05, winning four consecutive Western Athletic Conference titles. His teams compiled a 31-game WAC winning streak, the longest in conference history. His five seasons at Colorado (2006-10) included a win over No. 3 Oklahoma in 2007, the same year he led the Buffaloes to the Independence Bowl.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) granted IFAF provisional recognition in December 2013. Provisional recognition is the initial step toward permanent IOC membership, which IFAF could attain as early as 2016. IFAF’s permanent IOC membership would make American football eligible for a future vote to become part of the Summer Olympics lineup.

All games will be played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium and available via live stream or ESPN3. Matchups are July 9, 12 and 15 with consolation games and the medal round on Saturday, July 18. Kickoffs are noon, 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on July 9, 12, 15 and 18 to determine gold, silver and bronze medal winners.

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EKU cans Stein

EKU cans Stein

Posted on 01 June 2015 by Allen

eku

Eastern Kentucky University head baseball coach Jason Stein will not be retained, Director of Athletics Steve Lochmueller announced today. A search for the Colonels’ next head coach will begin immediately.

Stein posted a 178-201 record in seven seasons as head coach. The 1997 EKU grad led the Colonels to a share of the Ohio Valley Conference Championship in 2012. His 2013 team advanced to the championship round of the OVC Tournament.

Stein’s squad qualified for the six-team OVC Tournament four times in seven seasons. The Colonels went a combined 4-8 in conference tournament games, with three of those victories coming in the 2013 run to the championship round.

Eastern finished the 2015 campaign with a 21-29 record and placed eighth in the OVC with a 12-17 mark.

It will be interesting to see who the Colonels bring in to lead the baseball team. EKU made a splash by bringing in former Rick Pitino assistant Dan McHale earlier this year to be their new basketball coach

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EKU Football Starts Summer with Mission Trip to Haiti

EKU Football Starts Summer with Mission Trip to Haiti

Posted on 29 May 2015 by Allen

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For the third consecutive year, select members of the Eastern Kentucky University football team took a mission trip to Haiti to serve with the Hands and Feet Project in Jacmel. The group left Kentucky on May 17 and returned to the States on May 23.

This year, 20 players along with head coach Dean Hood and assistant coaches Garry Fisher and Jake Johnson took time out of their summer break to visit Haiti.

“The trip is always a humongous dose of perspective,” Hood said. “When you get down there, you realize we are very blessed to have the things we have in America. Haiti is the poorest of the poor.”

Many of the players were making their first-ever trip outside of the United States, while some others like Jon Floyd were making a return trip to Haiti.

“Last year made such a big impact on me,” Floyd said. “I had never seen anything that poor before. This was a huge eye-opener for me.”

The Colonels’ assigned project for this year was to help the orphanage piece together the beginning stages of an aquaponics farm, with the goal of making the orphanage self-sustaining with food consisting of fish, vegetables and fruit.

“What we accomplished in one week they said would have taken seven weeks,” Floyd said. “They called us the Haitian Bulldozers.”

Besides work on the aquaponics farm, the EKU travel party assisted in painting, moving cement and moving rocks. The majority of last year’s trip was spent moving rock in preparation for a foundation for a second boys building, which is now complete.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the work our guys did and their interaction with the kids,” Hood said. “Lots of people take mission trips to the orphanage in the summer, but not many of the people can handle the physicality of some of the projects like our guys can. What they accomplished was unbelievable.”

When not helping via physical labor, the Colonels spent a large portion of time just hanging out with the kids living at the orphanage. Soccer and basketball were huge hits with the boys while jump rope was a favorite for many of the girls.

The EKU football team has a personal connection with the Jacmel orphanage as the squad has been sponsoring a boy named Stevenson for the past three years. Each month, the coaching staff takes up a voluntary collection from the players and sends that donation to the Hands and Feet Project. That money has been used to provide school uniforms, medicine and food for Stevenson.

“You go down there to work, but you really go down there for the kids,” Floyd said. “There are more than 70 kids on the compound, and they all love you and hang on you.”

On one of the free mornings, several Colonels took advantage of an opportunity to swim in a coral reef. The week wrapped up on Friday with a tour around the city of Jacmel, which was ravaged by the 2010 earthquake.

Stanley Absanon, Jalen Allen, Jared Bowling, Zack Burgy-VanHoose, Floyd, Vincent Green, Raynaldy Gustave, Robby Irgang, JJ Jude, Alex Klingel, Cameron Kowalewski, Tyler Malone, Taylor Miller, Marquise Piton, Avery Pitt, ShaQuille Prather, Kagen Skidmore, Tyler Swafford, Trey Thomas and Kamareé Walden took part in the mission trip.

“Being a senior, I really wanted to help and you could see how much we meant to the kids,” said Thomas, who was making his first trip to Haiti. “People say how bad it is over there, but you really can’t tell until you go there yourself.”

The Hands and Feet Project provides holistic, residential care for children in crisis by building and operating Children’s Villages with multiple family-style homes led by Haitian House Mothers.

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Skyhawks see improvement under Robinson

Skyhawks see improvement under Robinson

Posted on 28 May 2015 by Allen

utm

The 2015 University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team posted several positives in its first season under head coach Rick Robinson.

The Skyhawks played considerably better as the season went on, compiling 17 wins and nine OVC victories this past spring. The 17 victories were the most for the program since 2011 while the nine conference wins rank as the second-highest OVC win total in school history, trailing only the 10-win teams from 2009 and 2011. UT Martin’s six road victories also marked the most for the program since 2010.

UT Martin seemed to have turned a corner in late March, winning 13 of its 17 games from that point forward. The Skyhawks posted a four-game winning streak for the second time since 2012 to begin that span and took three OVC series in that stretch. UT Martin knocked off then-league leader Belmont (March 27-29), won the OVC season series over Austin Peay for the first time since 1993 (May 1-3) and also won the road series at Eastern Illinois (May 8-10).

The Skyhawks also posted one of their most impressive victories in recent memory on April 7, defeating No. 15 Missouri State by a 6-2 margin. That marked the program’s first win over a ranked opponent since April 10, 2009. Despite the series loss, UT Martin played the Bears even on the scoreboard in the three-game series, holding its own against a Missouri State team that is currently 45-10 and enters this week’s NCAA Regionals as the No. 8 overall national seed.

UT Martin also nearly notched another big nonconference win at Memphis on May 12 before falling by a 2-1 margin in 16 innings. The Skyhawks were one strike away from the victory in the bottom of the ninth before the Tigers – who spent significant time in the national polls throughout the season – rallied for the walk-off win.

One area of significant improvement in 2015 was with the leather, as UT Martin posted a .963 fielding percentage. That marked the third-best season fielding percentage in program history, as the Skyhawks’ 72 errors in 52 games were the lowest since the 2009 team committed 63 errors.

The offensive numbers also proved to be a marked improvement from the recent past. UT Martin’s 493 hits were 116 more than last season and were also the most since the 2011 squad banged out 522 hits. The 2015 team also slammed 39 home runs (fourth-most for a single season in UT Martin history), nearly doubling last season’s total of 21.

A veteran-laden pitching staff also clicked throughout the season. The Skyhawk hurlers combined for 10 saves and 331 strikeouts, which ranks second and fourth, respectively, in UT Martin single season history.

Robinson bid farewell to several all-time greats in 2015. Despite only playing for two seasons, Taylor Douglas ranks eighth in program history in home runs (18) and ninth in doubles (33). His 72 hits, 18 doubles, 11 homers, 47 RBI’s and 127 total bases during his senior campaign all rank in the top-10 in UT Martin single season record book. Nico Zych concluded his four-year Skyhawk career ranked third in at-bats (675) and fifth in games played (189), hits (182) and assists (302). On the hill, Carter Smith put the finishing touches on his four-year UT Martin career by ranking fourth in strikeouts (175), seventh in innings pitched (213.1) and eighth in appearances (63).

Junior right-handed pitcher Patrick Bernard shattered the program’s single season and career record with eight saves, ranking second in the OVC in that category. His eight saves are tied for the most in school history and rank as the most in a single season at UT Martin.

Alex Martin’s 72 strikeouts (third), Matt Hirsch’s 32 walks (fifth) and Andrew Castillo’s 15 doubles (ninth) also rank near the top of their respective categories in the Skyhawk single season top-10 lists.

Meanwhile, Dillon Symon became the 10th player and fourth pitcher in UT Martin history to earn OVC All-Freshman accolades. Symon compiled a team-low 3.95 ERA over 20 appearances.

In addition, a pair of Skyhawks were honored as an adidas OVC Pitcher of the Week during the course of the 2015 campaign. Smith earned the award on Feb. 16 while freshman Matt Poteete garnered the accolade on April 20. It marked just the second time in program history that UT Martin accounted for multiple OVC Pitcher of the Week honorees in the same season.

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Scores

Temple 37 Vanderbilt 7 F
Alabama 33 West Virginia 23 F
Arkansas 21 Auburn 45 F
LSU 28 Wisconsin 24

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