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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Best Ever?

We're now completely finished with the fall sports seasons and what did we learn?

We learned that our fall sports teams had a pretty good fall, that's what we learned.  O.k., an understatement for sure, as pretty good doesn't do what just happened justice.  At all.

Old news to many of you, but just to reiterate - the Maverick football team just completed its most-successful season ever.  13 straight wins to start with.  A Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Southern Division title.  A Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference overall title.  A berth in the NCAA Division II tournament.  A bye in the first round as a result of being the #1 seed.  Win over Northwest Missouri State in a second round game and a vanquishing of Missouri Western in a national quarterfinal game with both games played at historic Blakeslee Stadium. Then a national semi-final game at The Blake with Valdosta State traveling from Georgia to take on the Mavericks.  Crazy to think about it, but MSU hosted three NCAA football tournament games in 2012 and two of those games were in December.  IN DECEMBER! While the Mavericks may have lost to Valdosta to finish 13-1 for the year (Valdosta ended up winning the national title, by the way), the season was anything but unforgettable and certainly unprecedented.

The Maverick women's soccer team, meanwhile also entered uncharted waters by advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight after capturing its first-ever regional championship.  MSU also claimed its first-ever NSIC regular-season title and including a #1-ranking for two weeks in October, was ranked in the top 25 of every poll in 2012.  The Mavericks finished the year with a 17-1-5 overall record. Nicole Dooher was the league's Offensive Player of the Year, Lauren Sommers the NSIC Defensive Player of the Year, Caitlin Graboskie the conference Newcomer of the Year and Peter McGahey the NSIC Coach of the Year. It had never happened before, but this year the Mavericks swept the NSIC postseason individual awards. MSU led the NSIC in virtually every statistical category and set 21 team or individual school records along the way.

The Maverick men's cross country team returned to the NCAA national meet for the first time since 2008 and posted a 20th place finish.  And although the women's cross country team didn't make it to the NCAA meet (they finished seventh at the regional meet after placing 13th at the same meet the year before), at one point they were rated #20 in the nation.

The question has come up as to whether or not this is the best-ever start for the Maverick Department of Athletics. The Directors' Cup standings, which awards points to schools based on how they finish in NCAA competition in order to determine the top athletic departments in the nation, have the Mavericks in sixth place following the completion of the fall sports season. The Maverick football team finished third nationally and women's soccer placed fifth. Throw in men's cross country and MSU had three teams score points nationally this fall.  Since the inception of the Directors' Cup in 1995-96, the previous best for MSU following the fall was a seventh-place rating in 1995-96 (women's cross country was fourth nationally that year and men's cross country was fifth).

MSU has had other great falls prior to 1995-96, when the Directors' Cup standings were inaugurated.  For example, in 1987-88 the men's cross country team finished second and the football team played in a NCAA quarterfinal game.  Based on the system used by the Directors' Cup folks, MSU would have received 160 points in 1987-88, placing it 17th in this year's standings. MSU has been credited with 210 points this year, based on the national finishes of football, women's soccer and men's cross country.  The next-best point total of 164 points for the Mavericks was in 2007-08 when men's cross country was fifth, women's soccer was ninth and women's volleyball was 33rd. MSU was rated 14th following the fall that year based on those 164 points.  You heard it here - a case can be made that this is the best fall ever for Minnesota State Athletics.

It is interesting to note that when the Mavericks finished second in the final Directors' Cup standings in 2008-09 (our best final finish ever), MSU stood 22nd after the fall.

Have a great Holiday Season everyone!  It's great to be a Maverick!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Mavericks

This year's Christmas video from Minnesota State Athletics.

Merry Christmas from the Mavericks

Lot's to be thankful for.  Tremendous student-athletes, welcoming campus, supportive community, fans and alumni.

Wishing you all the joy, hope and wonder of the Holiday Season.

It's great to be a Maverick!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Get Your Ya Yas Out

Senior wide receiver Adam Thielen helped
lead the Mavericks to a 13-1 record this year.
Some quick catching up to do here as classes wind down and we make the final sprint toward Christmas.

Needless to say, the incredible fall our teams have been experiencing has been soaked in success.

The football team hosted three NCAA play-off games, dispatching Northwest Missouri State and Missouri Western before falling in the national semifinals to Valdosta State (Ga.) this past Saturday. The Mavericks went undefeated, racking up 13 straight wins, before falling to the boys from the Peach State at Blakeslee Stadium.  Historic, indeed.

The women's soccer team, which advanced to the Elite Eight, finished an incredible 17-1-5 on the year.  The Mavericks staged an unbelievable comeback late in the national quarterfinal game at Grand Valley State to send the game into overtime, only to eventually fall in a seven-round shoot-out to the host Lakers.

Character, leadership, family. We heard these words constantly as the teams worked their way through their seasons.  Same thing for the men's cross country team which made it back to the national meet for the first time 2008 and posted a 20th-place finish. The women's cross country team, which made an appearance in the national top twenty poll for the first time in a while this year, finished seventh at the regional meet and with several youngsters leading the way, are trending upward. The Maverick volleyball squad finished 18-11 and spent much of the year in the national top twenty poll. Included was a MSU win over Concordia on September 18th, the program's first win over the eventual national champions since 2002.

And so on it goes with our winter programs now in full swing.  More on those programs the next time, with lots of success there, too, to expound upon.

A few other things we did want to mention.

A big congratulations goes out to softball coach Lori Meyer with the announcement that she has been selected for induction into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2013.  Meyer, who has been skippering the Mavericks since 1985, has racked up more than 900 wins during her outstanding career.  Simply no one better.

A couple of notes on former Minnesota State football coaches with Jerry Olszewski being named a finalist for the head job at Augustana and Chuck Martin coaching in the NCAA Division I national championship game as a member of the staff at Notre Dame.  Olszewski, who has constructed a 32-18 mark in the last five years as the head coach at St. Olaf, had two stints on the MSU football staff (1993-97 and 1999-02).  Martin was on MSU's staff as a graduate assistant in '92.

It looks like Bemidji State will be looking for a new director of athletics this spring with the announcement that Rick Goeb's contract will not be renewed.

How 'bout this great play by senior forward Eriah Hayes of the Minnesota State men's hockey team. A lot of people thought it might be ESPN Top Ten Plays of the Day worthy.

Lastly, want to point out that more than 25,000 fans attended MSU home events over the course of the past two weekends with Blakeslee Stadium, Taylor Center, Myers Field House, All Seasons Arena and Verizon Wireless Center all hosting Maverick competitions. 

Truly great and proud to be a Maverick the past 14 days.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Living With the Lockout

Former Minnesota State forward David Backes is part of the
NHL PA negotiating team
Normally at this time of year, the National Hockey League is well into its regular-season schedule.

Teams would have been done with training camp and done with the preseason games. However, with the league owners locking out the players due to the fact that the two sides lack a collective bargaining agreement, two months worth of games have been lost. And while negotiations have been taking place, it appears that things aren't about to change.  NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has been quoted as saying that with the two sides deadlocked, that maybe they should step away from the process for a couple of weeks.

We thought we might check in with a couple of former Mavericks who have been affected by this situation.

St. Louis Blues team captain David Backes, who played for Minnesota State from 2003-06, has been heavily involved with the National Hockey League Players Association the last several months as member of the organization's negotiating team.

"(This involves) being at the meetings and having input on which direction we should go," said the Blaine, Minn., native. "We inform those that are not at the meetings and learn about the process and history of negotiations."

He and a number of his teammates also head to the rink where they skate four times a week under the guidance of their own hired coaches, then go to the gym to work out. Backes, who with his wife Kelly assists Five Acres Animal Shelter with Backes' Buddies, currently is in enrolled in six credits of online courses at Minnesota State and expects to complete his degree next fall.

Forward Ryan Carter of the New Jersey Devils, who patrolled the ice for the Mavericks from 2004-06, is riding things out in the Twin Cities.

"Having a long season last year and playing in the finals through mid June can take its toll on the body two fold," said Carter, whose Devils lost to Los Angeles in last year's Stanley Cup Finals. "Obviously it's a lot of games in high-intensity hockey. And it makes for a much shorter off season and less time to recover. This is part of the reason I have not looked into playing in other leagues throughout this lockout and have decided to make sure that when a season begins that I am healthy and ready to play. Another reason is the quality of skates and workouts that I have been involved in. Fortunately for me I come from Minnesota and the Twin Cities seems to be a hot spot for NHL players to reside. Four to five times a week a group of 30 NHL guys get together for an hour-and-a-half and play. Half the time is spent practicing drills being run by coaches that kindly step in and guide us and the other half is spent scrimmaging. Intensity is high, though there is no bone-crushing contact and the pace keeps us in pretty good shape. To supplement, I spend a few hours a couple times a week in the gym and training on a skating treadmill at Acceleration Minnesota."

Hockey continues on in other venues outside of the world's top league. Several former Mavericks are playing in Europe or in North American minor professional leagues. Forward Kael Mouillierat, who spent most of last year one step below the NHL as a member of the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers, is in Boise enjoying a banner season with the Idaho Steelheads of the East Coast Hockey League. Mouillierat, who spent 2006-10 with Minnesota State and one and half seasons with Idaho before making the jump to the AHL last season, ranks second in the ECHL with ten goals and stands seventh in scoring with 20 points in 13 games. With several former NHLers assigned to AHL-affiliates as a result of the lockout, it's likely that the Edmonton, Alta., native is back in Idaho due to the trickle-down effect.

"Boise is a great city and definitely one of the best places to play in the ECHL," said Mouillierat. "I've enjoyed my time here and have been treated extremely well. Obviously I would have liked to have been back in the AHL, but am happy to back here for another year.  It was a great experience in Bridgeport last season and I was lucky enough to get a chance to earn a full-time role on the team and tried to make the most of it.  I learned a lot in my time there and what it takes to get to and stay at that level, as well as what it takes for guys to make the next step to The Show."

Given his domination of the competition at the ECHL level, it's possible he could be back in the AHL once things are settled at the NHL level.

And depending on how the NHL and the NHLPA continue to work with each other, Backes and Carter could be back on NHL ice soon. But one never knows for sure.

Brad Smith, a 1992 MSU graduate who interned in the Maverick athletic communications office in the early '90s, worked with the Minnesota Wild in media relations and team services from 2000 until the 2004-05 season in which an entire season was lost due to a lockout. No NHL games were played that year and Smith, who also worked for the Minnesota Twins prior to joining the Wild, said that the situation was tough.

"The lockout in 2004 was nerve wracking and awkward in many ways for the front office during that time," offered Smith, who transitioned to a successful real estate career after leaving the Wild.  "There were so many unknowns and so many erroneous reports about was happening with the negotiations ("they're close and an announcement could come tomorrow" and it wouldn't happen).  Even after they announced the official cancellation of the season, there were reports that maybe they would open the season back up. There was a lot of animosity in the front office because they chose to lay some people off, cut different hours for others, etc. A lot of people moved on to different careers at that time, including myself."

Here's hoping the NHL is back up and running soon. It'd be nice to see MSU alums performing in the best league in the world and others continuing on with the goal of getting there.

It's great to be a Maverick!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hand and Foot

Senior wideout and holder Adam Thielen (left) holds for
Sam Brockshus (right) in MSU's win over MSU Moorhead
earlier this season.

The relationship between a holder and a kicker is one of the more unique ones in sports.  It is one built on trust, one that must be solidified on repetition.   For Minnesota State senior holder (and wideout) Adam Thielen and junior kicker Sam Brockshus, it is one that blossomed over the last three years.

Thielen has served as the primary holder for Brockshus for the better part of each of their careers, minus a few games missed when Thielen was injured and Brockshus’ redshirt season a year ago.  But it is safe to say that for the majority of Brockshus’ 225 points, it has been Thielen putting the ball on the ground for the hold.

“It took a little time for each of us to get used to each other,” said Thielen.  “But it probably took more time for Sam to get used to me than the other way around.  Like anything, we practice it quite a bit, especially during two-a-days.”

Thielen has taken his leadership role seriously this season as he serves as one of four team captains.   

He enters this week’s game as MSU’s active leader in receptions (53), yards (804), receiving touchdowns (6) and receiving yards per game (89.3).  In the Mavericks’ 30-20 win at Winona State on Oct. 20, Thielen hauled in ten catches for 128 yards and three touchdowns.  Additionally, he has caught 28 passes over the last three games for 394 yards and five touchdowns.

Ironically enough, Brockshus also recorded one of his best games as a Maverick against the Warriors as well, as he turned in a 12-point effort after nailing all three of his field goal and extra point attempts, including a career-long 47-yarder.  For the season, the Spencer, Iowa native has hit on 15-of-19 field goal attempts and 38-of-39 PATs en route to scoring a team-high 83 points this season.

For both of them they were named the NSIC Offensive and Special Teams player of the week for the effort.

Thielen, a native of Detroit Lakes, Minn., and sophomore offensive lineman and longsnapper Josh Meeker were the only players to have their hands on all 30 points in the win over the Warriors.
When asked about the career-long 47-yarder by Brockshus, Thielen knew it was true without even looking up.

“I knew right away,” said Thielen.  “I can tell the way it comes off my hand, how he kicks it, and by the sound.”

Kickers are known for being a bit quirky, but if there any quirks about Brockshus, they aren’t known, at least to us. 

“Prior to every kick, Adam tells me the same thing,” says Brockshus.  “ ‘Tempo.’ Once he says that, I know we are good to go.  Sometimes he gives me a high five but not much other than that.”

The duo is close both on the field and off it.

“We have a great relationship,” said Thielen.  “He is guy you want to be around.  It makes it easier to be on the field with a guy who doesn’t blame the holder when things go wrong.  And I don’t blame him either.”

“Adam does a great job keeping me relaxed,” said Brockshus.  “Both on the field and off he is very easy going.  He is such a great leader for this team.”

For both of them, their seasons are mirroring their careers.  Thielen ranks second in career receptions (177), third in receiving yards (2,430) and fourth in touchdown receptions (18) while Brockshus ranks second in points scored (225), second in PAT kicks made (123), tied for second in PAT kicks attempted (129), fourth in field goals made (34), and sixth in field goals attempted (47). 

Jamie Pass (left) holds for Kenny Navitsky in a contest
against North Dakota State on Oct. 2, 1993
But they aren’t the only duo ranks so highly amongst the school’s all-time holder/kicker combinations.  Perhaps prior to the Thielen/Brockshus tandem, the most prolific holder and kicker combo was Jamie Pass and Kenny Navitsky.  Pass, who was one of MSU’s most successful quarterbacks, held for Navitsky who is the Mavericks all-time leader in points scored (241), PAT kicks made (136), PAT kicks attempted (147), field goals attempted (62) and tied for the all-time lead in field goals made (35).

Much like Thielen and Brockshus, Pass and Navitsky had a great relationship on and off the field as well.

“He was my best friend and my roommate,” said Navitsky. “A lot of people don’t realize it, but the reason he came in to hold is that I went through a span of holders after Augie Hubbard graduated.  After that I had three different guys during camp and it was a disaster.  Finally, Jamie literally said ‘I am going to hold for you.’  Coach Runkle wasn’t over the moon for it, but he took charge.  His confidence obviously was overwhelmingly contagious. I am a confident guy but Jamie walked on a cloud of confidence and that is huge when you are a kicker, because when you get a good snap and good hold, you have no excuse not to make it.”

Brockshus has his sights set on virtually all of Navitsky’s records, but you wouldn’t know it by talking to him.

“It is hard sometimes not to get wrapped up in records and whatnot,” said Brockshus. “I take the approach that the reason I have scored so many points is purely a direct reflection of how good the teams have been since I have been here and how lucky I have been to be a part of some really good teams that score a lot of points and some great defenses that give the offense and myself good field position.  It (the records) is something I try not to think about too much but it does come up and it has really been an honor to be a part of.”

Friday, October 19, 2012

We're #1 and, um, some other stuff

Peter McGahey has led the Minnesota
State women's soccer team to a #1
ranking for the first time in the program's
With several of our programs doing so well this fall, it seems like it's been week after week of each team topping one another in terms of accomplishments.

The football team is undefeated. The Maverick men's cross country team won its first two meets of the year. The volleyball team defeated four-time defending national champion Concordia in a five-set match played before a large and noisy crowd in Taylor Center, etc.   

So you knew it was going to take something truly significant to really cause a stir.  That moment came Tuesday morning when it was announced that the National Collegiate Soccer Coaches Association released information that the Maverick women's soccer program had been rated #1 in the nation. 

Obviously being ranked as the top team in the land is unique, but for coach Peter McGahey and his crew the ranking took on added meaning due to the fact that it's the first time for the program.  That and the fact that at most schools, no matter what the sport, it really doesn't happen every week.

Besides women's soccer this week, recent Minnesota State teams rated #1 include: women's basketball (March 3, 2009. MSU was ranked #1 three times that year), wrestling (Feb. 7, 2008. MSU was rated #1 twice that year), men's basketball (Feb. 1, 2005).Women's soccer is rated #1 for the first time in the program's history.  So besides being the first time for women's soccer, it's also only the fourth time for a MSU team recently and the first since women's basketball back in 2009.

The Mavericks, who stand 12-1-1 on the year, head into this weekend riding a ten-game winning streak and a 12-game unbeaten streak.

As mentioned, a number of teams are enjoying great years.  Besides the #1 ranking by women's soccer, football is #2 in D2Football.com poll/#9 in AFCA poll, volleyball is rated #13, men's cross country ranks #16th and women's cross country is #20th. 

Speaking of cross country, the Maverick men are perfectly positioned for a return trip the national meet, which takes place Nov. 20 in Joplin, Mo.  Prior to that is the NCAA central region meet, which also is scheduled to take place in Joplin on Nov. 3.  The Mavericks are rated third in the region with the top four teams at the national meet receiving auto bids to the national meet.

The MSU women, meanwhile are rated fourth in the region with the top five teams in the region receiving auto bids based on regional meet performances.

Both teams are scheduled to compete at the 2012 NSIC meet this weekend (Saturday) at the Lee Bolstad Golf Course in Minneapolis.  The meet website is located here.

One other thing before signing off this afternoon.  Congratulations to Mike Hastings, first-year head coach of the Minnesota State men's hockey program.  The Mavericks earned a 4-1 nonconference road win at Alabama-Huntsville last Friday in giving the Crookston, Minn., native a win in his debut.

In the event you were curious as to how other MSU coaches did in their first outings as Maverick coaches, here you go...

Lori Meyer (softball): 7-0 loss at lost Texas Tech, 1985
Jim Makovsky (wrestling): 35-8 win over Iowa Central,1993
Matt Margenthaler (men's basketball): 86-76 loss at Wisconsin Parkside, 2001
Nate Owens (women's swimming) 163-64 win at Northern Iowa, 2004
Dennis Amundson (volleyball): 3-2 win over Michigan Tech, 2005
Peter McGahey (women's soccer): 3-2 home win over Metro State, 2008
Matt Magers (baseball): 6-4 loss at Southwest Baptist (Mo.), 2009
Eric Means (women's hockey): 5-2 win at Maine, 2009
 Christie Williams (women's tennis): 9-0 win vs. Bethany, 2012

Next up is new women's basketball coach Emilee Thiesse.  There's an exhibition game at the University of Minnesota Nov. 4, but her first real game as head coach takes place Nov. 16 vs. Black Hills State at a tournament hosted by Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D.

It's great to be a Maverick!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Keeping You Apprised (Updated)

Minnesota State netminder Danielle
was named WCHA Defensive
Player of the Week
after the Mavericks
hosted Wisconsin last weekend

The National Hockey League owners may have locked out the players, but that doesn't mean that everything puck-related has come to a complete standstill.

The Minnesota State women's hockey team opened up its 2012-13 campaign this past weekend with a pair of home games with second ranked Wisconsin (the Badgers won Friday's game 3-2 with a shoot-out goal and then claimed a 3-2 win in regulation Saturday).  MSU continues action this weekend with two games at the University of North Dakota.

The Maverick men's hockey squad hosts the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns Sunday at Verizon Wireless Center in an exhibition tilt that is scheduled to get underway at 5:07 p.m.  One thing of note in that game is that Devon Kalinski, the younger brother of former Minnesota State forward Jon Kalinski, is a sophomore winger for Lethbridge.  The elder Kalinski is currently a farmhand with the for the Washington Capitals and is in camp with their American Hockey League affiliate in Hershey.

Other former Mavericks in AHL camps include Travis Morin (Texas),  Kael Mouillierat (Abbottsford), Ben Youds (Rockford) and Tyler Pitlick (Oklahoma City).

The names of former Mavericks appear on several East Coast Hockey League rosters:  Cameron Cooper (Las Vegas), Channing Boe (Las Vegas), Joe Schiller (Las Vegas), Geoff Irwin (Ontario), Andy Sackrison (South Carolina), Zach Harrison (Alaska), Trevor Bruess (Florida) and Rylan Galiardi (Gwinnett).  Defenseman Kyle Peto (Rapid City), forward Adam Mueller (Wichita) and goaltender Austin Lee (Missouri) have hooked up with Central Hockey League teams.

Several others are playing Europe (Andy Hedlund, Kurt Davis, Nick Canzanello, Michael Dorr, Aaron Fox, Steve Wagner and Mike Zacharias) or are awaiting the NHL owners and the NHLPA to find common ground on a new collective bargaining agreement (David Backes, Ryan Carter and Tim Jackman).

Hope to see you at a rink sometime this winter.  It's great to be a Maverick!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Ten Things You Need to Know About the 1987 Football Team

1987 MSU Football team
This week is unquestionably one of the best weeks to be a Maverick.

Not only is it Homecoming, but the annual Minnesota State Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony is slated for Friday, as well.

And, as usual, this year's induction Class is exceptional.  Trackster Dale Bahr was the national indoor 800m champion in 1992.  Goaltender Ken Hilgert backstopped the men's hockey Mavericks to a third-place finish at the NCAA DIII national tournament in 1985-86.  Mankato native Pat Coleman was an All-American and the North Central Conference's Most Outstanding Men's Basketball Player in 1995-86 and besides being one of MSU's all-time top second basemen, Theresa Mackey held several school offensive records when she completed her MSU career in 1993-94.

The MSU football team from 1987 was unique for several reasons and here's the top ten things you need to know about them.

  1. The Mavericks ran the option and set a school record for rushing yards in a season with 3,607 yards and total offense (4,212 yards) in 1987.
  2. This team went 9-3 and set a school record for wins and games played in a season.
  3. This team went 8-1-0 in conference games en route to the school's first North Central Conference title.
  4. Sophomore linebacker J.R. Buckley led the team in tackles with a school-record 158 stops.
  5. MSU completed only two touchdown passes all season.  Tony Diggs, who led the Mavericks in receiving in '87 with 29 catches, had both TD receptions.  One came in the last regular-season game of the year and one came in the play-off game at Portland State.  No other MSU player had more than eight receptions or had a TD reception.
  6. This team was the first football team to participate in the NCAA tournament when it played a quarterfinal game at Portland State.  The Mavericks lost to the Vikings 27-21 in a game that ended controversially when MSU thought it had completed a pass into the endzone. Officials ruled the pass incomplete when the Maverick receiver was stripped of the ball by a PSU defender.
  7. MSU's win at North Dakota State snapped a 19-game home field undefeated streak by the Bison.
  8. QB Greg Von der Lippe was named the NCC Offensive Player of the Week after leading the Mavericks to a win at Northern Colorado Oct. 3. He was hurt in the game and his MSU career was finished.  Back-up Mike McDevitt stepped in and led the Mavericks to a 5-2 mark in MSU's remaining seven games.
  9. The Mavericks had four players with at least 400 rushing yards on the 1987 roster in Dave Scofield (899), Mike McDevitt (799), Tony Jones (525) and Greg Von Der Lippe (437).
  10. MSU went 3-8 the next year.
It's great to be a Maverick!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Posit - Kendra and Lisa

A couple of days before Jim Rueda of the Mankato Free Press published his "I was wrong about Kendra" article, which appeared on July 18, we were discussing where Kendra Huettl stacks up compared to other great Mavericks.  Both in this era and previous eras.

Whereas JR's column talked about his perception five years ago as to whether or not Kendra, a Mankato native, would be able to have an impact as a softball player with the Mavericks (she did), our conversation was one in which now that her career is over, is there anyone, male or female, who has been as successful on and off the court as Kendra has been?

Kendra is probably the most decorated student-athlete in the history of the school. By decorated we are referring to awards she has won.  And, in fairness to other great MSU student-athletes (of which there are many), the opportunity to win awards nowadays is much greater than it was 25 years ago. There are many more organizations doling out awards, athletic departments are doing a better job of publicizing accomplishments and the web has opened the door for more people to have a say, so current intercollegiate student-athletes have more opportunities to get recognition.

That being said, there's no denying Kendra's greatness as a softball player during her time at MSU which spans the last four seasons (five if you count a redshirt year).  She holds school records for career strike outs and appearances and ranks highly in several other statistical categories as well. And while she was a NSCA Third Team All-America this year, it was her academic accomplishments that seperate her from the rest of the field. Named the Capital One Academic All-American of the Year for DII Softball this year (along with just about every other conceivable award she could win), she had a 3.99 grade point average and graduated with a degree in nursing.   She's one of our all-time top softball players and will be remembered as one of the school's top all-around student athletes.

Her MSU doppleganger, albeit from a different era, is women's basketball player Lisa (Walters) Sukalski. Inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998, Lisa was a silky and graceful forward/center who led the Mavericks to their first-ever women's basketball North Central Conference title and first-ever NCAA tournament appearance as a sophomore in 1985-86.  Lisa, who like Huettl was the national Academic All-America of Year for her sport, MSU's top female student-athlete and the league's top female student-athlete as a senior, owns several of MSU's scoring and rebounding career records. The Henderson, Minn., native epitomized the term student-athlete, combining success on and off the court. And, again not unlike Kendra, one of Lisa's most likable traits was that it was pretty obvious that while she appreciated the awards, her focus was on the team and on her school work.

Lisa, who spent a year playing professionally in Sweden after graduating from MSU, was inducted into MSU's Hall of Fame immediately after becoming eligible following ten years after playing for the Mavericks.

We fully expect that Kendra will follow a similar path.

It's great to be a Maverick.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Back in the Day - Vikings Move to Mankato

University press release announcing that the Minnesota Vikings
would begin holding their
summer training camp in Mankato beginning in 1966

One of the great things about our office is you never know what you'll find and research projects oftentimes get waylaid by something you come upon by happenstance.

This happened a few years ago when I found a box of files that apparently had once belonged to former MSU football coach and athletic director Bob Otto.  The box contained a variety of files not necessarily related to each other, but undoubtedly related to the goings-on within the athletics department during his tenure as men's AD from 1970-83. And, as it turns out, carried over some files from one of his predecessors, John Hodapp.

Hopdapp served as MSU's director of men's athletics from 1964-68 and was here during the time that negotiations took place to bring the Minnesota Vikings to Mankato for summer training camp.  The Vikings had spent the summers of 1961 through 1965 in Bemidji, but as we all know, eventually moved to Mankato for camp in 1966 and have been here ever since.  Eric Stromgren writes in his Up North Sports Report that there's some question as to why camp moved, but alludes to the fact Mankato being closer was one of the primary reasons.

In any event, a plain folder in the box entitled Minnesota Vikings contains a number of documents including training camp contracts, news paper clippings, receipts and various financial statements. There's also correspondence between former Vikings general manager Jim Finks, former Vikings coach Bud Grant, Otto and Hodapp.

While some things haven't changed all that much (with the exception of the one summer that the Vikings were housed in Julia Sears Residence Community, they've always been housed in Gage for example), a couple of things from the first contract stand out. Yes, training camp was longer with the first camp in 1966 running from July 12 through August 31.  And while I don't know what the Vikings pay for lodging and three meals a day now, but back in 1966 the cost was $7.90 per man per day. Also, back in 1966, an attached "special services contract" indicates that the Vikings paid a rental fee of $1,000 for the use of the football fields, locker rooms, showers, equipment room and training room.

Things seemed a lot simpler back then.

Have a great weekend.  It's great to be a Maverick.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Maverick, Huskies Hoops Rivalry Corralled

As the old phrase goes, all good things must come to an end and no, we aren’t talking about the McRib’s stay at your local McDonalds, but instead, the 34-year run of Minnesota State and St. Cloud State playing their traditional home and home in basketball. 

Head men’s basketball coach Matt Margenthaler announced the 25-game schedule today with four nonconference games and a 21-game Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference schedule (you can view the schedule by clicking HERE).  After a double-and-triple take I came to the realization that MSU and SCSU will only play once this year and here is why.

As most of you know by now, the NSIC welcomes Sioux Falls and Minot State this season, pushing the league to 16 teams.  In both men’s and women’s basketball – along with many other sports – the league will be split into a north and south division in order to accommodate scheduling.  

That being said, Minnesota State will play in the South Division while league rival St. Cloud State will participate in the North Division.  Since MSU plays every team in their division twice (SMSU, Augustana, Sioux Falls, Concordia, Wayne State, Upper Iowa and Winona State) it will only play the Northern Division (Bemidji State, St. Cloud State, Minnesota Duluth, MSU Moorhead, Northern State, MSU Moorhead, Minot State and U-Mary) teams once.  

So, that leads us to this year’s schedule.  Due to the unbalanced schedule, MSU plays St. Cloud State just once this year – and most likely every year in the near future.  This year’s contest is slated for Jan. 18 at Hallenbeck Hall on the campus of St. Cloud State.

While it’s not the rivalry of Michigan/Michigan State, North Carolina Duke, etc., the St. Cloud State/MSU rivalry is a pretty darn good one.  Over the past 34 years the two teams have faced each other at least twice a year – and on nine occasions they have faced off three times in a year.  As cliché as it sounds, the match-up is generally always one that you can “throw the records out the window when these two teams play” type of game.  

Despite the fact that SCSU owns an 88-78 record all-time against MSU, the series has become extremely competitive with Margenthaler at the helm.  Over the past 26 games (SCSU owns a 15-11 edge during that span), the total point differential between the two teams is two points (2,041 for MSU, 2,039 for St. Cloud State).  Five games have been decided by three points or less and 12 games have been decided by ten points or less.   Finally, the Mavericks average margin of victory in the series is 12.5 points while SCSU’s average margin is 9.8 points.  Needless to say the two teams get after each other every time on the court. 

However, maybe as in the case with life, maybe absence will make the heart grow fonder.  While we’re not calling for a love fest between the two teams, but maybe the fact that this year – since we only play the Huskies once – the Mavericks can have a large following up to Hallenbeck Hall for that Friday evening game and vise versa next year when the Huskies travel to the Taylor Center. 
Speaking of schedules, the men’s and women’s cross country schedules, men’s and women’s indoor track schedules, men’s hockey schedules, soccer, volleyball and football schedules for next year are all online.  It should be safe to say that the women’s basketball schedule should be announced in the near future as well.  As always stay tuned to www.msumavericks.com for more information. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

True Grit

In sandpaper terms, grit refers to the number of abrasive particles per inch of sandpaper. The lower the grit the rougher the sandpaper and conversely, the higher the grit number the smoother the sandpaper. You’re going to need #40 if you want to strip some paint off that chest of drawers and #600 if you want to knock the dust nibs off of your wood project.

Grit relative to sport is not as easily definable, but usually is used to describe a team’s or player’s resilience, sticktuitiveness, self-sacrifice, toughness, etc. No matter what sport, a player who is said to be “gritty” will undoubtedly have a big “want to” factor. These are the kind of heart-and-soul players every team wants and all good teams have them.

Having worked in the department since 1985, it’s relatively easy to point to several instances where we’ve seen evidence of Maverick student-athletes that were of the #40 grit variety.

John Kelling
Safety John Kelling was named to three All-America teams as a senior in 1991 and was recognized as the National Defensive Player of the Year by the Football Gazette. A player who came to MSU as a walk-on, but was starting by the end of his freshman season, Kelling was a hard-hitting, athletic player who was a part of a stifling MSU defense that helped the Mavericks to a NCAA play-off appearance in 1991. The Rochester, Minn., native, who was inducted into our Hall of Fame in 2004, played the last four games of his junior season with a cast on a broken right hand. He finished that year with a team-high four interceptions.

Football defensive back Donnell Boyer, who also played outfield for the Minnesota State baseball team, cracked his sternum during a kick-off return his junior season in a game vs. Bemidji State in 2001 and continued to play. The Maverick football team of the early 1990’s threw the ball a ton and we saw wide receiver John Davis (1993-97) get up after taking an unbelievably hard hit over the middle and continue to play. As did another diminutive receiver, Jeff Spikner (1992-95). Running back Sean Treasure, who played in 2004 and 2005, was ran out of bounds on the visitor’s sideline where he dropped after smacking into the unforgiving Blakeslee Stadium cement infrastructure. He, too, stayed in the game.

Men’s hockey defenseman Tyler Elbrecht suffered a broken arm in the first game of the 2011-12 season and was said to be out for a minimum of eight weeks. Yet, less than six weeks after having surgery in which a rod and screws were inserted to piece his radius and ulna back together, Elbrecht was back on the ice, manning the blue line in a game vs. the University of Minnesota.

Third baseman Geno Glynn, who recently signed as a pitcher with the Sioux City Explorers of the American Association, was named MVP of the 2009 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament. The following weekend, the Mavericks headed to Grand Junction, Colo., where they played in the NCAA Central Region tournament. Glynn, who hit .545 (12-for-22) with nine runs scored, two home runs and 10 RBI in five games at the 2009 NSIC tourney, continued to hit at the regional, but a debilitating hamstring injury limited him to designated hitter’s duties. Glynn drilled a couple of balls into the gap, but instead of sliding into second for doubles, the line drives were just long singles as Glynn limped down to first where he would be replaced by a pinch runner.

Theresa Mackey, a second baseman, played softball for the Mavericks from 1991-94. The Boone, Iowa native stood atop nine different career statistical categories upon graduation and was named MSU’s senior female student-athlete of the year in 1994. There was a time where Mackey took a ground ball in the face during pregame at Caswell Park in North Mankato. It was a bad one, with the bad hop breaking her nose and sending her to the emergency room for repairs. She made it back in time to start MSU’s second game that day.

Amanda Umhoefer
Most recently, the MSU softball team was hosting NCAA Division II Central Region games on campus. The Mavericks were playing Concordia and second baseman Amanda Umhoefer, was batting. With the count 1-0, Umhoefer took a cut at a rising fastball which, subsequently, deflected back into her face. The Mankato native took a ride to the emergency room and the next day with a bandage covering her stitched up nose and sunglasses hiding a couple of black eyes, there she was, back out at second base. “There was no way that I wasn’t going to play,” said the fifth-year senior.

There are many other examples. Andy Mazurek, an All-North Central Conference center along the offensive line for the football Mavericks from 1993-96, started all four years and although he must have played with bumps, bruises and other infirmaries during that time, didn’t miss one game, having played in 46 straight contests. National champion wrestler Jason Rhoten, along with basketball guards Joe Williams and Tiffany Moe come to mind. Men’s hockey forward B.J. Abel and baseball catcher Matt Haefner, too, were gamers. There are countless outhers.

It’s also a tribute to our athletic trainers and team doctors that these student-athletes have always been game-ready.

It’s great to be a gritty Maverick!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Added Value

Franklin Rogers Park in Mankato
 Undeniably, it's been an unbelievable run for the Minnesota State baseball team here the last couple of weeks.

The Mavericks captured the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular-season title and as the top team in the league, was the number one seed at the NSIC post-season tournament. It was pre-determined that MSU would serve as the host for the six-team go-round, but having the tournament in Mankato would mean that the Mavericks would advantageously sleep in their own beds for the duration of the four-day event.  MSU won the tournament and as the top seed in the region, earned the right to host a regional for the first time since 1988. Again the Mavericks were successful, winning all four games this past week at Franklin Rogers Park and earning a trip to the NCAA DII National Championship Tournament. 

The Mavericks, who stand 48-10 for the season, will not be sleeping in their own beds for the national tournament, with the eight regional championship teams from around the country all meeting in Cary, N.C., beginning this Saturday to determine the best in the land.

Hosting postseason league events is nothing new for Minnesota State Athletics. And, in fact, NCAA regional and national events have also become the norm.  Especially when you take a glance at the last five years.

The 2011-12
Hosted NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships
Hosted NSIC Indoor Track and Field Championships
Hosted NSIC Soccer Tournament
Hosted NCAA DII Softball Central SubRegion Tournament
Hosted NSIC Baseball Tournament
Hosted NCAA DII Baseball Central Region Tournament

Hosted NSIC Soccer Tournament
Hosted NCAA DII Central Region Tournament (MBB)
Hosted First Round NSIC Tournament Game (MBB)
Hosted NSIC Baseball Tournament
Hosted NCAA DII Softball Central Sub-Region Tournament
Hosted Midwest Conference Diving Championships

Hosted NCAA DII Football Playoff Game
Hosted NCAA DII Central Region Tournament (MBB)
Hosted NCAA DII Women’s Golf Regional
First Round NSIC Tournament Game (MBB)

Hosted NCAA Division II Central Region Tournament (WBB)
Hosted First Round NSIC Tournament Game (MBB)
Hosted First Round NSIC Tournament Game (WBB)

Hosted NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships
Hosted NSIC Indoor Track and Field Championships
Hosted WCHA Men’s Hockey First-Round Series
Hosted First Round NCC Tournament Game (MBB)
Hosted NCAA DII Central Region Wrestling Tournament
NCAA DII Soccer Central Regional
NCC Soccer Tournament

A few observations.

27 events in the last five years. The last two conference baseball tournaments, the track & field, golf, wrestling and swimming events - hosting has been earned by MSU teams as regular-season league champions. So, for the most part, the high number of events is indicative of our extremely successful programs. And it hasn't just been one program.  It's been several.

The Greater Mankato Convention and Visitors Bureau recently was quoted as saying that the NSIC postseason baseball tournament brings an estimated $80,000 worth of economic impact to town. While we don't have all the numbers, it's safe to assume that the Mavericks vs. Gophers men's hockey postseason series, in which Verizon Wireless Center was packed to the rafters for three straight scintillating games in March of 2008, would provide a much higher number.  Same thing for the men's basketball regional in 2009-10 and the women's basketball regional in 2008-09. So there's a financial effect.

Lastly, while there's a strong belief that hosting postseason events provides a competitive advantage for our teams, something earned through regular season success, there's also the long-term benefit. One in which such events allows us to proudly showcase our facilities, the University and the city. These events bring back alumni and provide opportunities to make positive impressions on future students and student-athletes.

It's great to be a Maverick!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ties That Bind

Bob Matuska was a
quarterback for the Mavericks
in the late '70s-early '80s
while his sister Kathy was
a member of the women's
basketball team from 1980-84
Fathers, Sons, Mothers, Daughters, Brothers, Sisters.  Grandfathers, even

It struck us recently following a Minnesota State softball game, one in which the Erickson sisters (Chelsea and Lindsey) had yet again played key roles in another Maverick victory, that there have been several families involved with our successes over the years.

And by families, we were referring to multiple members of a single family who had played varsity athletics for the Mavericks over the years.

So we started putting together a list and came up with several families which had more than one member who played a sport at MSU.  This list appears below and, yes, it's a partial list (c'mon, it was off the top of our heads).  Send us a note if you know of others and we'll add them.

Some quick observations - not always, but for the most part, the families stick to one sport within that family (softball players play softball, pole vaulters pole vault, etc). And, again for the most part, we're talking team sports amongst the individual sport cohorts. Not always, but most of the time.

And while brother combinations are the most common, sister groupings like the three volleyball-playing Sandstroms aren't that far behind.  There have been fathers and sons who have competed for teams at MSU, along with mothers and daughters, but probably the most unique tie comes from the Swanson family.  Grandfather Ken played basketball for MSC from 1947-50 and was inducted into the school's Athletics Hall of Fame in 1988. His granddaughters Amy and Angie played hoops for the Mavericks from 1992-96 and 1996-2000, respectively.

They say that blood is thicker than water. If so, then these folks must be bleeding purple!

Andrews - Glenda (volleyball, 1981-82), Arin (basketball, 2002-06), Alex (basketball, 2005-09), (mother & siblings)
Black - Bryant (golf, 2006-10), Bennett (golf, 2010-SA),  (siblings)
Bresnahan - Bob (baseball, 1977-80), Jay (baseball, 2006-09, Jamie (basketball, 2011-SA) (father & siblings)
Davis - Carl (hockey, 1975-79), Kurt (hockey, 2007-11) (father & son)
Dusosky - Shannon (soccer, 1997-2000), Amber (soccer, 1999-2003) (siblings)
Carroll - Mike (baseball & hockey 1975-80), Steve (hockey, 1977-81), Pat (hockey, 1981-85) (siblings)
Connelly - Steve (football, 1989-92), Craig (football, 1993-96) (siblings)
Englehart - Marie (soccer, 1998-01), Michelle (soccer, 1998-01) (siblings)
Erickson - Chelsea (softball, 2009-12), Lindsey (softball, 2011-SA) (siblings)
Essel - Buzz (hockey, 1972-76), Bill (hockey, 1974-78) (siblings)
Follmer - Jim (hockey, 1979-82), Pat (hockey, 1974-77), Tom (hockey, 1985-86) (siblings)
Forliti - Steve (hockey, 1977-81), Pat (hockey, 1985-87) (siblings)
Glynn - Gene (baseball & basketball, 1975-79), Geno (baseball, 2006-08) (father & son) 
Heller - Brent (football, 1998-01), Brian (football, 1998-01) (siblings)
Johnson - Randy (baseball, 1980-83), Nolan (baseball, 2010-SA) (father & son)
Johnson - Steve (wrestling, 1969-71), Ross (wrestling, 1995-97) (father & son)
Jutting - Troy (hockey, 1982-86), Todd (hockey, 1985-89), Trent (hockey, 1989-90) (siblings)
Kelly - Tim (football, 1982-85), Marty (football, 1984-87), Pat (football, 1990-93, Kathy (volleyball), Nancy (softball, volleyball, 1986-89) (siblings)
Klinsing - Marti (soccer, 2007-08), Danni (soccer, 2001-04) (siblings) 
Knoll - Dale (basketball & baseball, 1939-42), Dean (basketball, baseball, TF, 1940-46) (siblings) 
Lepel - Joel (baseball, 1976-80), Tim (baseball, 1985-88), Tom (baseball, 1985-88) (siblings)
Mackley - Brittany (hockey, 2004-08), Ariel (hockey, 2008-12) (siblings) 
Matuska - Bob (football 1978-81), Kathy (women's basketball, 1980-84) (siblings)
McElvogue - Brooke (softball, 2006-09), Courtney (softball, 2010-SA) (siblings)
Morrow - Jake (basketball, 2005-09), Taylor (basketball, 2007-11) (siblings) 
Noreen - Joanne (basketball, 2005-09), Jenny (basketball, 2008-12) (siblings)
Norgren - Aaron (wrestling, 2008-SA), Paul (wrestling, 2010-12) (siblings)
Odegaard - Greg (baseball, 1980-81), Chris (baseball, 2007-09), Matt (baseball, 2008-12) (father & sons)
O'Brien - Dan (baseball, 1972-76), Connor (basketball, 2011-SA), (father & son)
Peterson - Cevin (TF, 1974-77), A.J. (TF, 2001-05) (father & son)
Pfenning - Nikki (soccer, 1995-98), Jen (1997-2000) (siblings)
Saatzer - Dan (hockey, 1977-78), Dave (hockey, 1975-79) (siblings)
Sandstrom - Kari (volleyball, 2001-04), Stef (volleyball, 2004-07), Kelly (volleyball, 2006-10) (siblings)
Schuck - Mark (basketball, cc/tf, 1966-70), Angie (track & field, 1988-90) (father & daughter)
Schweizer - Frank (cross country/tf, 1956-60), Mike (cross country/tf, 1986-90) (father & son)
Stadum - Chad (baseball, 1991-95), Jeremy (baseball, 1994-98) (siblings)
Sudbeck - Adam (baseball, 2004-07), Jeremy (baseball, 2012) (siblings)
Stuart - Ed (track & field, 1977-82), Adrian (track & field, 2001-05) (father & son)
Swanson - Ken (basketball, football & baseball, 1947-50), Amy (basketball, 1992-96), Angie (basketball, 1996-00) (grandfather & siblings)
Walters - Cheryl (basketball, 1983-87), Lisa (basketball, 1984-88) (siblings)
Van Gilder - Wade (baseball, 19994-97), Ryan (baseball, 1995-97) (siblings) 
Weldon - Dan (football, 1999-02), Matt (football, 2000-03) (siblings)
Weller - Dale (baseball, 1963-65), Dan (baseball, 1965-69) (siblings) 
Wolle - Mike (basketball, 1991-95), Kris (volleyball, basketball, 1999-03) (siblings)
Woodall - Larry (baseball, 1976-79), Dan (baseball, 2005-07) (father & son)
Ziemke - Josh (basketball, 1998-04), Jared (basketball & football, 1999-03) (siblings) 

Others receiving votes:  Bowyer (Dean didn't play here, but the longtime Maverick skipper coached his son Shane, who did), Kaus (Ben played baseball and basketball and younger brother Nick is currently a redshirt with the baseball team), Ries (softball recruit Coley's mom, Sue, played tennis from 1979-81) and McCann (tennis recruit Sarah is the daughter of Ron, who played baseball here from 1978-80).

It's great to be a Maverick (family)!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Hockey

Former Maverick forward
Ryan Carter is a member of the
New Jersey Devils

Nope, not quite ready to name the new head coach yet, but thought we could take a look at a few things Maverick Hockey related.

Former Minnesota State men's hockey forwards David Backes and Ryan Carter are about to embark on the 2012 Stanley Cup play-offs with St. Louis (Backes) taking on San Jose and New Jersey (Carter) playing Florida in best-of-seven first-round series.  The St. Louis vs. San Jose series starts Thursday and the New Jersey vs. Florida tussle begins Friday.

Carter, incidentally, brought the Cup back to Mankato after his team (Anaheim) won it in 2007.  Also, Backes is being mentioned as one of the top candidates for the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward. Stories related to this development are located HERE, HERE and HERE.

Other former Mavericks still in regular-season action in the American Hockey League include Jon Kalinski (Norfolk), Travis Morin (Texas), Kael Mouillierat (Bridgeport), Tyler Pitlick (Oklahoma City) and Ben Youds (Rockford). The AHL regular season ends this week and it looks like that while Norfolk, Bridgeport and Oklahoma City will make the play-offs, Texas and Rockford will not.  The current league standings are located HERE.

A bevy of former Mavericks have plied their trade in the East Coast Hockey League this year and with eight teams still alive in the 2011-12 play-offs, there's still a few who wore the purple and gold playing.  Defenseman Channing Boe's Las Vegas Wranglers start their quarterfinal series with Idaho Monday.  Joe Schiller, who just completed his four-year MSU career, saw action in eight games at the end of the regular season with Las Vegas, but hasn't seen any play-off action. Forward Michael Dorr plays for South Carolina and the Stingrays are slated to start their series vs. Kalamazoo Friday.  Forward Zach Harrison is in his second season with Alaska and the Aces play Stockton beginning Friday. And the Florida Everblades, who boast Trevor Bruess and Rylan Galiardi, are scheduled to take on Elmira starting Friday.

A complete listing of former Mavericks who played professional hockey this year is located HERE.

Former Maverick defenseman Chad Brownlee's new single - Smoke in the Rain - ranks 11th on the Canadian Country Music charts.  Here's the video:

A couple of MSU men's hockey recruits appeared in Central Scouting's final rankings with Teddy Blueger of Shattuck-St. Mary's coming in at 116 amongst North American skaters and Stephon Williams, who plays for Sioux Falls of the USHL, rated 34th on the North American goaltenders list.  The lists are located HERE.

Emilia Andersson, a member of the Minnesota State women's hockey program, is playing for Sweden at the IIHF Women's World Championships in Buffalo, N.Y., April 7-14 in Burlington, Vt.  Former Maverick forward Nina Tikkinen, who won a bronze medal playing for Finland at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, is playing, as well.

It's great to be a Maverick!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

In the Long Run

Rummy Macias coached the
Maverick Wrestling program for
38 years
One of our departmental interns recently asked if our softball coach, Lori Meyer, had been coaching here as long as Dean Bowyer.

The answer was "not quite," but it also got the wheels turning as to where Lori's time here fits in relative to longevity.

Meyer, a 1982 Upper Iowa grad who served as a graduate assistant coach with the MSU softball and volleyball teams for a couple of years prior to being selected to guide the Maverick Softball program in 1984-85, is in her 28th year as a head coach and enters this weekend with a career won-loss mark of 909-571-3.

Bowyer, who spent four years as the head coach of the baseball program at Minot State prior to coming on board here in 1976-77, built a 990-487-7 mark in 32 years with the Mavericks and was inducted into the school's athletic hall of fame in 2009.

Georgene Brock spent 33 years as MSU's Director of Women's Athletics from 1965 through 1998, but no female coach has been as tenured as long as Meyer. Women's golf coach Nick Campa currently is in his 21st year and Phil Rhoade coached women's swimming for 21 years. Mary Willerscheidt had a 19-year stint with the women's basketball program.

Not unlike Brock, C.P. Blakeslee, whose name adorns our football stadium, spent forty years in Mankato, serving as an administrator and coach from 1921-62.  Blakeslee, who was the school's AD from 1924-38, coached several sports, including football, basketball, golf, gymnastics track and baseball, but none longer than 27 years.

Including a 13-year period from 1970-83 as men's AD, Bob Otto had a 29-year run in Mankato.  He coached the football program for 17 years and the men's basketball program for one year.

Hall of Famer Paul Waldorf had two periods in which he coached men's tennis that totalled 27 years (1949-65 and 1966-77).

Earl "Bud" Myers, who worked at MSU from 1949-78, guided the men's track program for 23 years from 1949-1973, along with the men's cross country program from 1956-1978, a 23-year span.

Don Brose spent 30 years as head coach of the Maverick Men's Hockey program,  amassing a 536-335-79 record from 1969-2000.

Mark Schuck, the men's head track & field coach for 14 years, just completed his 33rd year as head coach of the men's cross country program.

Legendary Rummy Macias, who will celebrate his 90th birthday this summer, came to Mankato in 1950 to start the MSU wrestling program and 38 years later, following the 1987-88 season, he retired with a career record of 299-207-12.

So, the all-time coaching career years list goes like this: Macias (38 years), Schuck (33 years and still active), Bowyer (32 years), Brose (30 years), Meyer (28 and still active), Blakeslee (27), Waldorf (27), Myers (23), Rhoade (21), Campa (21) and Willerscheidt (19).

Some amazing names mentioned there.  People with buildings named after them and people in the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame. A MSU Athletics Mount Rushmore, if you will.

While we're not sure that Schuck will surpass Macias, it's likely that Meyer and Campa will to continue to move up the list.

It's great to be a Maverick!