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Friday, May 6, 2016

Coach Speak

Former Minnesota State assistant coach Jessica Keller led
Columbia College (Mo.) to a 27-6 record in 2015-16
A couple of months ago we tweeted a graphic regarding former members of the Minnesota State football staff who were now members of coaching staffs with programs in the Missouri Valley Conference.

A couple of them (Spence Nowinski at Illinois State and Joe Klanderman at North Dakota State) are also former Maverick student-athletes, but the rest of the names on the list - Luke Groth (South Dakota), Carl Pelini (Youngstown State) and Luke Schluesner, Jason Eck and Jake Dickert (South Dakota State) - came from the staffs of former coach Jeff Jamrog and current coach Todd Hoffner.

Other former Minnesota State student-athletes who now coach at the collegiate level include Tim Huber (baseball head coach at Augustana), who played baseball here when Dean Bowyer skippered the Mavericks, Matt Parrington (head coach at Macalester) also played for Bowyer, while longtime Gustavus women's hockey hockey coach Mike Carroll played baseball and hockey for Bowyer and Don Brose, respectively.  All-America outside hitter Jen Jacobs is a volleyball assistant coach at Augsburg, while former Maverick defensive back Jordan Malone is a current member of Todd Hoffner's staff at MSU and All-America goaltender Shari (Vogt) Dickerman has been a member of the Maverick women's hockey coaching staff since 2009.  Darren Blue, who played hockey and golfed for the Mavericks, has been an assistant coach with Minnesota State since 2000.  Speaking of golf, head coach of the Minnesota State men's team?  Bryant Black?  Yes, he played for the Mavericks.

Minnesota Duluth football head coach Curt Weise played quarterback for a few years at MSU before transferring to Wisconsin-Stevens Point and former Maverick defensive lineman Ben Halder is entering his eighth season as an assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.  Former Minnesota State All-American Jodi Wendt is the head women's golf coach at Winthrop (S.C.). Anna Voltmer (played for Ann Walker and Pam Gohl at Minnesota State) is an assistant coach with the women's basketball program at Hamline. 

Augustana football coach Jerry Olszewski was a member of Dan Runkle's football staff, as was St. Cloud State offensive coordinator Chris Mussman.  Jamie Skadeland, who was a graduate assistant with the Maverick women's volleyball program under former coach Dennis Amundson, has spent the last eight seasons as the head coach at Colorado School of Mines.  Aaron Roussell, who was a graduate assistant for two seasons on Ann Walker's women's basketball staff, is the women's basketball head coach at Bucknell.  The head coach of the track & field programs at St. Scholastica, Kirk Naumann, is a former graduate assistant with us, as was Steve Jones, who is an assistant track & field coach at Grand Valley State.

Megan Vogal, an assistant coach at UW-Green Bay, was a volunteer assistant coach with the women's basketball program when Gohl was the head coach. Suzy Venet (a former Walker assistant) has spent the last 11 seasons as the head coach at Mount Union (Ohio). Jess (Abrahams) Hartmann was on Lori Fish's women's basketball staff at MSU from 2004-08 and rejoined Fish at St. Cloud State where's she's been an assistant coach since 2013. And speaking of St. Cloud State, head coach of the Huskies women's soccer program is one of our former assistants, Gretta Arvesen.

Taking it step further in developing a list of former coaches and student-athletes who were members of our teams and staffs under our current head coaches, the list gets even longer.
Wrestling (head coach Jim Makovsky)
Ryan Ludwig - Head Coach - Northern Illinois University Wrestling
Sam Barber - Head Coach - Air Force Academy Wrestling
Adam Aho - Head Coach - University of Mary Wrestling
Brady Wilson - Assistant Coach - St. Cloud State Wrestling
Brandon Eichmann - Assistant Coach - University of Mary Wrestling

Baseball (head coach Matt Magers)
Brandon Potter - Head Coach - St. John Fischer College Baseball
Andy Judkins - Assistant Coach - Butler University Baseball
Shaun Wegner - Assistant Coach - UW-Whitewater Baseball
Adam Christ - Assistant Coach - University of Illinois Baseball

Women’s Golf (head coach Nick Campa)

Matt Ward - Head Coach - Mesa State Men's Golf

Football (head coach Todd Hoffner)
Jamie Bisch - Assistant Coach - Midland University (Neb.)
Mike Cunningham - Assistant Coach - Winona State
Chris Brunkhorst - Strength & Conditioning Coach - Minot State
Brian Bell - Assistant Coach - New Mexico State

Women’s Basketball (head coach Emilee Thiesse)
Jessica Keller – Head Coach - Columbia College (Mo.) Women's Basketball
Brent Pollari – Head Coach St. Mary's (Minn.) - Women's Basketball

Soccer (head coach Brian Bahl)
Nicole Dooher - Graduate Assistant Coach - Concordia St Paul Women's Soccer
Caitlin Graboski - Assistant Coach - St Thomas (Minn.) Women's Soccer

Softball (head coach Lori Meyer)
Kelsey Thompson - Head Coach - University of Sioux Falls Softball
Mollie Bjelland - Assistant Coach - Missouri Western Softball
Chelsea Erickson - Assistant Coach - Missouri Southern Softball
Kim Zarling - Head Coach - Beloit College (Wis.)

Men's Basketball (head coach Matt Margenthaler)
Gameli Ahelegbe - Assistant Coach - University of South Dakota men's basketball
Austin Hansen - Assistant Coach - University of South Dakota men's basketball
Nigel Jenkins - Head Coach - Waldorf University
Connor O'Brien - Assistant Coach - St. John's (Minn.)

"I feel like such a huge part of who I am as a coach came out of my experience at Minnesota State," said Jessica Keller, who led Columbia (Mo.) to a 27-6 record in 2015-16. 

"I was fortunate to join a women’s basketball program that had recently won a national title, with the memories and expectations still fresh in everyone’s mind and Pam Gohl and Amy Sander there to teach me how they got to the top. I got to know the program’s alumnae, who proudly shared their experiences, the sacrifices and expectations that brought them so much more than big banners. When Coach Thiesse was hired to lead the program, the methods changed but the expectation of achieving success on the court, in the classroom, and through all facets of the student-athlete experience remained. I learned not just new skills to teach the game from her, but how to successfully instill a new philosophy throughout an entire program, which would help prepare me to later lead my own team."

"Within the Maverick Athletic Department, I learned how to be part of a successful team that is greater than just the one I coached. I gained new perspective and insight on the many ways lead and motivate a group of individuals toward a common goal of becoming a champion. I have been able to model my coaching style from the various winning ways to which I was introduced at Minnesota State. I left with a sense of great pride that is shared by those in the Maverick Family, which motivates me to provide such a similarly rewarding environment for others wherever I work."

It's great to be a Maverick.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Mavericks' Purple Raen

Bobby Rae was an All-NCC third
baseman for the Mavericks in 1984
As an infielder for Minnesota State back in the mid-1980's, Bloomington native Bobby Rae hit .353 over the course of 70 games in two seasons of varsity baseball under the direction of head coach Dean Bowyer.

The Mavericks went 54-34-1 in 1984 and 1985 in capturing a pair of North Central Conference North Division titles and appeared in the 1985 NCAA DII Midwest Regional where they posted a second-place finish in Romeoville, Ill.  Rae garnered All-NCC First Team honors as a third baseman in 1984.

A 1986 graduate of the school, Rae has remained in Minnesota where he now serves as a vice president for RBC Wealth Management in Edina.

As it is with most Land of 10,000 Lakes natives, Rae has an affinity to the Twins and has been known to play a little boot hockey.  But with the recent passing of legendary Prince Rogers Nelson, his connection to one of the state's iconic musicians gives him some unique perspective on what it's like to be Minnesotan.

Not unlike Rae, Prince was a native of the state and his musical drama movie Purple Rain and Oscar-award winning soundtrack hit the theatres in 1984.  The movie was filmed in Minneapolis and Rae and one of his friends responded to a newspaper ad looking for extras. After showing up with a head shot and going through a short "audition" in a theatre across the street from First Avenue (the venue in which Prince rehearsed and performed in the movie) where they danced with a couple of girls in order to gauge their rhythm, they were asked to come back to First Avenue for actual filming of the concert scenes.

“It was cool," said Rae, who was already a Prince fan prior to the release of the movie and subsequent Purple Rain album.  "They had everyone show up at the theatre where they divided us into two groups. The first group would go shoot scenes in the morning. The next group would go over and shoot in the afternoon."

Rae, who said that he was paid $125 for his "role" in the audience, heard the unpublished songs from Purple Rain for the first time during his short stint in the movie business. “They had music playing, which was Prince’s music from the movie, which wasn’t playing commercially yet. We thought, "this is the greatest music we’ve ever heard".  But just to sit and watch how they filmed was really interesting. Obviously I’d never seen a movie be made before. In the four songs that my friend and I were in, they gave us the actions of I Will Die For You and the part you can actually see me in the Purple Rain scene, they had to show us how to raise our hands above our heads and that kind of stuff.”

Rae has remained a Prince fan since his brief brush with greatness and appreciated the fact the artist remained in the area where he grew up before passing.

"He liked his roots, I think. I don’t know if he liked it better because this is where he was from, but this is what he knew, versus Hollywood. He was just cool and while it's been somewhat surprising to see the outpouring and tributes globally, I guess that's the indication of how iconic he is.  You have Elvis. And Michael Jackson. Then there's Prince right there with them. I think it’s tremendous that a lot of people are reminiscing and remembering the music and his talent.”

                                               - contributed by Courtney Johnson, Athletic Communications Intern

Monday, April 4, 2016

Doran is Minnesota State's Net Gain

Draper, Utah., native Killian Doran is in her second season
with the Minnesota State women's tennis team
Going to school far away from home can be overwhelming. However, for Minnesota State tennis sophomore Killian Doran being a Maverick feels just like home.

Doran, a Draper, Utah native, is playing her second season for the MSU women’s tennis team and she could not be happier with her decision to make the move from the Beehive State to the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

“This campus is very similar to Utah State where my older sister went to school and I really liked that atmosphere,” said Doran on how she ended up in Mankato.  “So when I visited MSU it felt a lot like home and I was really comfortable.”

Tennis has been Doran’s love for a long time, but she has a lot of experience in many different sports.

“I did every sport under the sun,” the Corner Canyon High School graduate said. “When I was 10, my cousin started to play tennis and I followed in her foot steps and really fell in love with it and I’ve stuck with it ever since.”

A three-year tennis letter winner in high school, Doran helped Alta High School to a 24-4 record as a freshman and made it to the second round in the state tournament. The following year, Doran helped lead the team to a state title. She transferred to Corner Canyon as a senior and became their first regional champion and was ranked in the top 500 in the country.

As a freshman in 2014-15, she posted a 7-10 overall record playing #1 singles for the Mavericks, but was 7-4 in conference singles matches. Paired with Sarah McCann, the duo went 7-11 in doubles matches.  Playing mostly at #3 as a sophomore in 2016, she sports a 10-5 record, but definitely prefers one style of match to the other.

“I would have to say I like playing doubles more,” Doran said. “Because you have that partner, somebody there to keep you calm and it’s a little more fun because you get to do more at the net.”

Christie Williams, now into her fifth year as head coach of the Minnesota State women’s tennis program, has been very impressed with Doran’s improved play and leadership skills over the past two years.

“Killian has come a long way in terms of increasing her mental toughness and ability to win in close match situations, she is definitely a team leader and does a remarkable job of leading by example,” said Williams. “She always gives full effort in practice, is receptive to coaching and is organized. Her positive attitude does not go unnoticed. I have also received positive remarks from opposing coaches regarding her sportsmanship and competitive drive.”

Doran is having a fantastic year for the Mavericks and has pulled out several close, crucial wins for the team. However, as her individual play positively increases, Doran still has team goals on her mind.

“As a team one of our early goals was to beat the University of Sioux Falls which we did,” Doran said. “That was a really close match and for us to close it out was huge. I think overall we just want to stay positive and make it far in the tournament at the end of the season.”

Doran emphasizes that her focus on team goals comes from a genuine love for her tennis teammates.

“I think my favorite part of being a Minnesota State student-athlete is just my team. They really are like my second family and we do a lot together,” Doran said. “There are several us that live pretty far away from home so we’re able to spend a lot of quality time with each other, which is great. Just being a Maverick athlete in general is great because our school has so many successful teams and I love being a part of that.”

As far as free time goes, Doran tries to fill it with schoolwork and other positive organizations on campus.

“I’m a psychology major so that takes up a lot of my time, “ Doran said. “And I’m also in the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority on campus, which is a lot of fun. I joined my freshman year because I was looking for a way to get involved on campus, do community service and meet new people.”

Eventually, Doran would like to go to graduate school for sports and performance psychology, but while she’s at MSU she wants to make the most of her experiences.

“It’s great being a part of the athletic community and I feel proud that I can be someone to look up to,” Doran said. “As I continue to play these next few years I hope we can be successful as a team and make it through the NSIC tournaments.”

Doran and the rest of the Maverick tennis team continue to work their way toward the 2016 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament scheduled for April 22-24 in Minnetonka, Minn.

Contributed by Kelcie Richmond, Minnesota State Athletic Communications intern


Monday, March 28, 2016

Ries Has Eye on the Prize

Minnesota State junior pitcher Coley Ries had a trio of her
photos appear in Mankato Magazine
Second straight Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Pitcher of the Week recognition for Minnesota State junior pitcher Coley Ries? Third career no-hitter? School record for career strike outs?  You bet.

A two-time All-NSIC selection, Ries has been on fire in 2016, tossing her third career no-hitter in a 5-0 win vs. Central Oklahoma and pitching 45.1 scoreless innings up until last Tuesday’s game against the Concordia-St. Paul Golden Bears.
The Eagle Lake, Minn., native is right at home when it comes to being a player in Mankato. Eagle Lake is situated just east of Mankato and Ries was an all-state performer for Mankato East High School. “I grew up here, and I always wanted to play somewhere that is already developed. I’m fortunate in having my family be able to watch me play and having the community be able to watch as well,” said Ries.

The multi-faceted righthander loves playing softball on the field and was also a talented tennis and basketball player in high school, but off the field, she has other interests.

Ries has an eye for taking pictures, something that started two years ago when she got a camera for Christmas. At first she was taking pictures of things like her dogs or just something she thought was  photo worthy.

On vacation with her family in Florida, she took several images that caught her eye and recently her work was featured in Mankato Magazine, a local monthly publication. When these photos were posted in the magazine, many people were surprised to see her name under the photos. “It is fun to get my pictures out there. I have gotten messages from people who didn’t know I took pictures; it makes me feel appreciated for my pictures,” Ries said.

Taking pictures is more for fun, just a hobby of Ries’. Not only does she take pictures of her dogs or nature, but she takes family photos for people as well. Mike Hastings, coach of the Maverick men’s hockey team is one of those people who had his family photos taken by Ries.

 “Coley is passionate about the game, she is a competitor and doesn’t like to lose,” said Lori Meyer, head coach of the Minnesota State softball program. “Off the field she is fun and has a lighter side to her. She is a teammate, a friend, and really enjoys her dogs.” Meyer, who is in her 31st year at the Maverick softball helm, feels that Ries’ work ethic for photos “carries over into her softball pitching abilities.”

The end goal, both Ries and Meyer agree, is to have those abilities help lead the Mavericks to success in NSIC regular season and a place in the NCAA Division II postseason tournament. Off to a 21-9 mark in the first 30 games of the 2016 campaign, Minnesota State, with Ries' watchful eye on the prize, is well on its way to reaching those goals.


                                                                            contributed by Shelbie Werden, Athletic Communications intern

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Williams Hurdling Her Way to Success

Minnesota State's Altoniece Williams established a
school record in the 60m hurdles this year
8.36 seconds.

That’s all it took for Altoniece Williams to break her school record in the 60-meter hurdles. And on the cusp of the NCAA Division II national championships, that performance ranks as the second-fastest time in nation.

A sophomore at Minnesota State who is pursuing a major in criminal law and corrections, Williams is a Miami, Fla., native which most everyone one would know, is more than 1,700 miles from Mankato.

Following high school, Williams spent a year at Iowa Central College running track where she caught the eye of Chris Parno, who coaches Minnesota State’s sprinters and hurdlers.  

 “Altoniece came to Minnesota State for a track meet last season as a member of the Iowa Central team and then I saw her at two other track meets. I also know her junior college coach which made it easy to recruit her here.”

“I wanted to experience something new and different,” said Williams about venturing northward from the Sunshine State. Intent on experiencing something different and getting away from the heat of Miami, Williams points out that while she’s experienced success on the track, she also enjoys her time in Minnesota. “I really enjoy the snow and the weather. I had never experienced snow until I went to Iowa. I made snow angels and snow balls and even tasted the snow when I saw it for the first time.”

Concentrating being the best that she can be as a well-rounded student-athlete, Williams does not do much outside of track and school work.

Jen Blue, the who was named 2016 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Women’s Indoor Track & Field Coach of the Year after leading the Mavericks to the league team title appreciates what Williams has contributed to the program in her first year in Mankato.

“Altoniece is a team player and leads by example. She has a solid work ethic and works hard every day at what she does,” said Blue. “Not only do her coaches know how hard she works, but she knows if she puts in the time and effort she will see the results she has been hoping for.

“I push myself to try and get better every day,” said Williams. “My goal is to be number one and it is always great to break my own records, but I also try to improve myself each week.”

Williams competed in the 200 meters, the 60-meter hurdles, and the 4x4 relay at this year’s indoor conference meet a post personal bests of 8.36 in the 60m hurdles and the in the 200m (:25.00).

The Mavericks compete in the NCAA DII championship meet March 11-12 in Pittsburg, Kan., where Williams will make her national debut.

Contributed by Shelbie Werden, Athletic Communications Intern


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Franklin Finding His Niche

Minnesota State's C.J. Franklin was a member of the
 2014-15 WCHA All-Rookie Team as a freshman

Success can have a different meaning to many people.  For Minnesota State hockey sophomore forward C.J. Franklin his success doesn’t always have to show on the stat sheet after a game.

Franklin has spent his entire hockey career playing at the wing position, specifically left wing. However, things have recently changed for the second year Maverick and about six weeks he was moved to the center position.

“ I think I switched mainly so I could get speed coming through the zone and attacking from the middle,” Franklin said. “I did go through a slump earlier this year but then we made the switch and it’s helped a lot I think.”

When the 2015-2016 season started Franklin had high hopes as he came off a very impressive freshman year with the Mavericks. Selected to the 2014-2015 WCHA All-Rookie Team, Franklin registered nine goals along with 19 assists for 28 points in 37 games Those numbers tied for sixth on the Maverick scoring charts as the program rolled to Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular season and postseason championships. However, through the first half of this season, the shots weren’t going in as easy as they use to for Franklin.  A switch to the middle of the ice helped get things going.

“Playing center is a lot different than playing wing,” Franklin said. “We’re getting the puck out a lot quicker which means more time on the offensive end. So I feel like that’s a big part of why my offense is succeeding.”

Mike Hastings, who in his first three years as head coach of the Mavericks has guided his program to a trio of NCAA tournament appearances, feels that while Franklin’s numbers haven’t necessarily taken the leap that some thought they might in his second year with the program, knows that there are other ways to measure a player’s impact on the team.

“His success in the second half of the season is really a combination of a few things. The move to center was fresh and just allowed him to receive the puck inside the dots,” Hastings said. “But ultimately it’s his work ethic and him getting his confidence back that have been just as important and just because he hadn’t been scoring doesn’t mean he wasn’t playing well.”

Franklin’s work ethic started long before he advanced the junior and college hockey ranks. He played at Forest Lake (Minn.) High School under coach Aaron Forsythe, who played defense for Minnesota State for four seasons (2000-04).

“You know, I didn’t really put two and two together (that Forsythe is a former Maverick) right away because I didn’t talk to that many schools when I was playing in high school,” Franklin said. “I knew he supported Minnesota State and we may have an a conversation once or twice, but it’s more of a coincidence more that anything.”

Before arriving in Mankato, Franklin toiled with Sioux Falls of the United States Hockey League where he was named an alternate captain his last season with the Stampede and tallied 54 goals an 111 points 115 games in his two years with the Stampede.

Joining the Mavericks last year was very exciting for Franklin and he knew right away he wanted to do his best for the team.

“Last year was a turning point in my career because I came in expecting to make a difference,” said Franklin, who was selected in the fifth round (129th overall), by Winnipeg in the 2014 National Hockey League draft.  “Coach made it obvious that he wanted me to come in and play so I felt more pressure last year and I think the difference this year is that it has been more of a learning experience.”

“Right now our team goal is to finish the second half strong and try to win out the rest of the year going into the playoffs,” Franklin said. “I think we need to take it one weekend at a time and we can’t be dropping points, every point and every goal is crucial for us and our goals.”

As it is with most college athletes, being a part of a program is what Franklin feels is enjoying the most about his Minnesota State hockey experience. “Being a part of a tradition, really a winning tradition if I can help that out that’s a morale booster,” Franklin said. “And really just coming to the rink every day with the all the guys, it’s really just something special.”

Contributed by Kelcie Richmond, Minnesota State Athletics communications intern

Thursday, March 3, 2016

If it ain't broke, don't fix it

Sports has its unbreakable records, right?

Gretzky has a passel of them (51 goals in 39 games, 51-game point-scoring streak, three consecutive 200-point seasons, 2,857 career points....you get the idea).  Joe DiMaggio had his 56-game hitting streak. Cy Young won 511 career games. Ty Cobb hit .367 over the course of his 24-year major league career. Cal Ripken, Jr. played in 2,632 straight games. Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths. Wilt Chamberlain averaged 50.4 points per game in 1962 as a member of the Philadelphia Warriors. The Boston Celtics won eight straight NBA titles from 1959-66.  Eric Heiden won every men's speedskating event at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.

It gets the mind to wandering, as it is wont to do when one does what one does. In my case, the question becomes what are our unbreakable records?  Are there any? Given that our sports date back the 1920's, one would think so.

So, after some reflection, let's peel back the onion to see what comes up.  For your review, here's a list. Certainly not an end-all, be-all compendum as certainly there are others. Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves.

There are many others, so just a smattering listed above. A question we had upon compiling this was which one is the most unlikely to be broken.  Ted Nelson's record in the 800m has held up more than 50 years. Brad Henry pinned his opponent in four seconds. Jason Hoppe set a NCAA record when he did not allow a run (earned or otherwise) in 55 straight innings and Butch Meyeraan was perfect when he made 20 of 20 free throws in a game vs. UW-River Falls in 1961.  In order to get past Lori Meyer's career wins mark, a coach would have to average 35.1 victories a season for 30 years.  Well, Lori's still coaching. And winning. Good luck with that.

It's great to be a Maverick!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Leap of Faith

Jim Dilling is in his third year as head coach of the
Minnesota State men's track & field program
Most people view injuries as a setback in their athletic careers. Third-year Minnesota State men’s track and field coach, Jim Dilling, on the other hand is not like most people.

Following a successful high school athletic career in Fond du Lac, Wis., Dilling ventured to southern Minnesota looking to play football for the Mavericks.

He left Mankato five years later a four-time NCAA Division II national champion in the high jump and in 2007 finished atop the field at the U.S.A Track & Field Outdoor national championships.  In doing so he represented his country at the 2007 World Championship where he posted a 16th-place finish in Osaka, Japan.

Dilling’s journey, which eventually led to his current position leading the Maverick men’s track and field program is an interesting one.

It all started during Dilling’s freshman orientation when track and field coach and Minnesota State Hall of Fame inductee, Mark Schuck, tried to convince him to come out for track instead of football.

“Mark had tried to get me to come out when I had met him at orientation as an incoming freshman, but at the time I wasn't too interested as I doubted my ability to compete collegiately as a high jumper," said Dilling. "With a 6'6" high school personal best, I wasn't sure what progressions were possible in the event,"

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending how you want to look at it, Dilling’s life changed forever after his decision to give up football and pursue track and field after two broken collar bones which occurred during football workouts. Not only did this decision allow him to have great success as an athlete, but unknowingly, also set him up to become the school’s next men’s track and field coach.

Schuck had a feeling that Jim could be a special high jumper. He didn’t know how easy it would be to coach him.  “He’d listen to an old lady on the street if it helped him become a better high jumper,” said Schuck. “Having been a student athlete here myself, I can relate on an extremely personal level with members of my team. I understand the demands of the sport and the commitment levels necessary to be successful in the classroom. The key is proper balance with priorities and that is where being an alumni of this program holds real value, because they know that you have been there before.”

Dilling, who established an NCAA DII indoor record when he leapt 7-6 in 2006 and following his career as a world class high jumper (he finished 11th at the 2008 Olympic Trials and spent time competing internationally), returned to Minnesota State where he served as a graduate assistant and an assistant coach on Schuck’s staff. Schuck retired following the conclusion of the 2012-13 school year and Dilling was named head coach of the program that August.

Under Dilling’s leadership the program achieved its first #1 ranking in a national poll last year. And, under his leadership, the Mavericks are beginning to attract a strong stable of high jumpers. Currently five Mavericks rank in the top 25 for Division II. No other team has more than one.

Philosophically, being successful is rewarding for Dilling, but it is not the most important thing. “Helping others learn to harness their own ability and reach their true potential is more rewarding than any accolade one can achieve on their own,” said Dilling, who at 6’ 5” towers over most people. 

“People frequently ask me if I miss competing in the sport. Not at all because to me I still am competing each and every day with myself to make these young men and women better than they were the day before.”

Schuck believes Dilling is the perfect coach for the Mavericks. “Jim has all the ingredients to be a great coach. He’s very knowledgeable, personable, and most importantly his relationship building is 

- contributed by Jesse Larson, Athletic Communications intern

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Casey Lloyd has been calling Minnesota State basketball
games since the early 1970's. He was inducted into the
Maverick Hall of Fame in 1998.
Casey Lloyd has a lifetime of stories to tell.  Many of them centering around Minnesota State Athletics.

A 1971 graduate of the school, the Butterfield, Minn., native began broadcasting Maverick Athletic events as an undergrad, joined the radio station which held the broadcast rights to Maverick football and men’s basketball in 1975, and has continued calling games, almost unabated, in the four decades since. Well known in the community as the play-by-play announcer for football and men basketball, he’s also served in play-by-play capacities for and women's basketball, and men's hockey.

Lloyd has spent most of his adult life travelling across the country along with the Minnesota State teams, and that is something the coaches really value.  Lloyd was with the Minnesota State men’s basketball team that advanced to the 2011 NCAA Elite Eight in Springfield, Mass., and “having him along with us with meant everything,” said head coach Matt Margenthaler. “He just might be our biggest fan and he truly does bleed Purple and Gold.”

Margenthaler adds that Lloyd’s encyclopedia-like knowledge of the program is important. “Casey is so special because he has so much knowledge of the present and the past of Maverick Athletics. Our players need to know who came before them and Casey plays an important role in us continuing to build our culture.”

His contributions to his alma mater were recognized in 1998 when he was inducted into the Minnesota State Athletics Hall of Fame and also garnered the Kolpack Media Award from the North Central Conference that same year.

Known for finding unusual places to eat on the road, Lloyd has been told many times that he should write a book about his culinary adventures. He has also served in a media relations director and chief public address announcer capacity at several state and national amateur baseball and softball events held in Mankato and spends his time broadcasting Road America during the summers. He also has volunteered his time to the community by teaching StreetSmarts School, where he helps teenagers obtain their licenses and learn how to drive safely.

But, unquestionably, he is most known for his involvement in Maverick Athletics. Having worked in that environment for as long as he has gives him insight into how things have progressed. Lloyd's background with the school, which include working with former coaches such as Butch Raymond, Dan McCarrell, Dean Bowyer, Don Brose and Dan Runkle, gives him a unique perspective. Many of the school’s programs are enjoying a run of success and to the gregarious Lloyd, it’s obvious as to why. “It’s pretty simple. The school has done a great job of hiring good people to run the programs. These coaches want their players to succeed in every aspect of their lives.”

A long time ago, a Drake University broadcaster gave Lloyd a valuable lesson in being a successful broadcaster is remembering to just be you. And throughout his life Lloyd has learned that you can’t get stuck on one thing.  “The more interests you have in life, you will live happier and healthier,” said Lloyd. “And, ultimately, the most important lesson of life is that relationships are what you remember and there is no more important value then family.”
                                                                               contributed by Kaitlyn Kanne, Athletic Communications intern


Monday, February 15, 2016


Paul Selman (right) leads Minnesota State with 23 wins
Being a student-athlete is one busy lifestyle.  You go to school as a full-time student, you practice for your respective sport every day, you’re on the road constantly for competition, and you try and balance a social life on top of all of that.  Now take that into perspective, and imagine if you did not just one, but two sports as a student-athlete.

It’s a rare feat that not many people have done historically, especially in modern times.  Dave Winfield, Jackie Robinson, Jim Brown, Deion Sanders, Bo Jackson and Jim Thorpe are just a few notable athletes to have participated in multiple sports at a high level.

There have been several athletes at Minnesota State that have played more than one sport including the likes of Chris Reed (football, track), Keyvan Rudd (football, track), Nathan Hancock (football, track), Sidni Trotter (soccer, women’s basketball), Jenna Peterson (hockey, softball), Kelvin Rodgers (football, track,), Ben King (football, baseball), Michael Lawrence (football, track), Donnell Bowyer (football, baseball), Jared Ziemke (football, basketball), Ryan Dutton (football, baseball),  Lester Mitchell (basketball, track), Tywan Mitchell (football, basketball), Monte Dufault (basketball, baseball), Nancy Kelly (volleyball, softball), Luonna Van Meveran (volleyball, track), Mike Yonkey (football, track), Joel Nielsen (football, baseball),  Mike Carroll (hockey, baseball) and Gene Glynn (basketball, baseball). 

It's possible that from the list above, you might notice that there aren’t any track and wrestling combos.  Until now.

“It’s been roughly 20 years since we have had a multi-sport athlete of any kind on our team," said Jim Makovsky, who’s in his 23rd season in charge of the Minnesota State wrestling program. “It’s rare enough that you see a multi-sport athlete in football and track, let alone wrestling and track,” 

The wrestling and track student-athlete Makovsky is referencing one of his current team members in Paul Selman.

A native of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, Selman attended Glenbard West High School, where he exceled in not one, not two, but three sports -  soccer, wrestling, and track.  After graduating, he enrolled in nearby Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., where he was a member of the soccer and track programs at the NCAA Division III level.  Selman had a tremendous freshman season, attaining  indoor and outdoor track and field all-conference honors in the 100-meter dash while qualifying and competing at the 2015 NCAA DIII national outdoor track and field championships.

While participating in soccer and track, Selman missed participating in his third sport from high school, wrestling.  It was at that time that he met two of the coaches from the Minnesota State wrestling team in Makovsky and assistant coach Marc Harwood, who helped him get back into the sport he loved and missed so much.  Agreeing to transfer to Minnesota State to participate in track, Selman would then switch his second sport from soccer to wrestling. 

He currently leads Minnesota State in his freshman year with the Mavericks with 23 wins, while holding a 23-9 record overall while wrestling at 133 for the 14-rated Mavericks.

 “Paul is learning a lot this year since coming back to wrestling. He’s a great athlete, a hard worker, and he’s gone on to have a steady season,” said Makovsky.

While competing at the college level in sports that run concurrently poses challenges, Selman feels that in his instance, track and wrestling complement each other fairly well, albeit with some adjustments.

 “In wrestling, you run a lot, so it helps keeps me in shape going into track in the spring, and the same goes with track complementing wrestling.  I had to get out of any procrastination habits I had and get all of my homework done ahead of time.  Time management has been key for me, and I couldn’t do it without the support from my teammates and coaches”, Selman explains.”

He also said that due to the timing of practices and competition, his primary focus during the winter will be limited to wrestling, but would plan on competing in the outdoor track season.

In the meantime, there's the matter at hand with the conclusion of the wrestling season drawing near with regional and, hopefully, national tournament competition slated. The Minnesota State men's outdoor track and field season begins near the end of March. It's likely Mr. Selman has that date written down on his busy schedule. 

                             contributed by Cameron Klade, Minnesota State Athletic Communications Intern