The South Alabama Lady Jaguar Softball team is in Tuscaloosa and will play Georgia Tech today at 3:30 pm in their first ever appearance in NCAA Regional play after defeating rival Louisiana-Lafayette in the Sun Belt Conference Championship. This will be the first time both schools have faced each other on the diamond. Georgia Tech season record stands at 36-21 overall. Most recently, the Yellow Jackets beat Virginia, No. 19 Florida State and Virginia Tech to become the 2012 ACC Tournament champions to get the #2 seed in the Tuscaloosa Regional. Visit the USAJaguars.com page for links to information about the Tuscaloosa regional and for links to live radio coverage this afternoon.
Coach Joey Jones and the South Alabama Football team announced recently that they have promoted Brendt Bedsole from Director of Football Operations to be an on-field coach. Last month coach Kurt Crain died unexpectedly. Coach Brian Turner will return to coaching the entire defensive line, defensive coordinator Bill Clark will coach the inside linebackers and Coach Bedsole will coach the outside linebackers according to an interview on WNSP’s Morning Sports Show. Coach Bedsole has coached at three Universities before; Samford, Murray State and Auburn as well as Hoover High School before joining the Jaguar staff.
Myles Gibbon, the Jaguars first starting quarterback, graduated on Saturday and will be transferring to a school closer to his native home in Canada. He has two years of eligibility remaining and can play immediately since he has graduated with his undergrad degree. Gibbon was responsible for the throw to Courtney Smith for the first ever touchdown in Jaguar history against Hargrave Military Academy.
Gibbon started six of the programs seven games in it’s first season, missing the last game with an injury. That season he led the team in total offense with 632 yards, was 29-of-51 passing for 538 yards and six touchdowns and rushed for 94 yards and two more touchdowns. He then started the first two games of the 2010 season and played in seven of the Jags 10 games that year, passing for 325 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 68 yards and a touchdown. Last season, however, he played sparingly yet rushing for 105 yards and passing for just 82 yards and one touchdown. His career totals as a Jaguar stand at 865 yards passing with nine touchdowns and ran for 267 yards and three touchdowns, a total offense of 1,132 yards. He was responsible for 12 scores total.
Congratulations on your graduation Myles, you have been an excellent ambassador for the South Alabama program and remain a role model for student-athletes entering the program.
The South Alabama Lady Jaguar Softball team won their first Sun Belt Conference Championship on Saturday when they defeated top seeded, and ranked #6 nationally, Louisiana-Lafayette Rajin’ Cajuns 3-1 in Boca Raton Florida. This was only ULL’s fourth loss of the season.
On Sunday evening it was announced on the national selection show aired on ESPNU that South Alabama will participate in the regionals being held in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on May 18-20. The opening game of the double elimination tournament will being at 3:30pm on Friday, May 18 and will feature the Lady Jags (39-15) vs Georgia Tech (36-21) at Rhodes Stadium on the campus of the University of Alabama, who is the #2 seed. Alabama will open tournament play against Tennessee-Martin (39-20) at 6pm on Friday night. South Alabama will be the #3 seed in the regional. Alabama is the #1 seed, Georgia Tech is the #2 seed and Tennessee-Martin is the #4 seed.
The winner of the Tuscaloosa regional will play the winner of the Louisville Regional which includes the teams from Louisville, Kentucky, Valparariso and Michigan, in the NCAA Super Regional.
“The biggest thing is how proud I am of our program,” said USA head softball coach Becky Clark. “There’s a lot of work that has gone into to this by a lot of different people. I think one of the biggest things is what a great job they do of representing the university. Our athletic department is about citizenship, graduation and championships and I think of a better group that represents that than our softball team.”
As posted earlier, ESPN Gameday will be filming a commercial on a fan selected campus this summer and South Alabama is in a good position to be that campus. Voting is open now and runs through May 10th so spread it to all your friends and family now. Click HERE to vote now! You will need a Facebook account to vote.
A series of press conferences are expected tomorrow for schools who have been invited to join Conference USA. Sun Belt schools University of North Texas and Florida International are expected to join Charlotte, Texas-San Antonio and Louisiana Tech in announcing their acceptance of an invitation to join Conference USA. Old Dominion is currently studying a possible move to Conference-USA from FCS.
The potential division split in Conference USA could look something like this:
Eastern Division: UAB, Charlotte, East Carolina, FIU, Marshall and Southern Miss
Western Division: Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Texas-San Antonio, Tulane, Tulsa and UTEP
This leaves the Sun Belt with South Alabama, Arkansas-Little Rock, Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic, Georgia State, Middle Tennessee, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Texas State, Texas-Arlington, Troy and Western Kentucky. Of those 12 schools, Texas-Arlington and Arkansas-Little Rock do not have football programs. It was feared that along with FIU and UNT that it was possible that Middle Tennessee and FAU could also leave for C-USA.
So the Sun Belt will continue to look for at least two more schools who have football programs in order to round out a conference membership of 12 football-sponsoring schools in order to have a championship game.
But who are they looking at? Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson said on Wednesday that four to six FCS schools within the current Sun Belt geographic footprint have inquired about joining the conference. Those FCS that want to join FBS in 2013 must apply by June 1, 2012 in order to do so. However, Benson cautioned that the Sun Belt would only add schools if they thought it would improve the conference.
Two potential schools looking to move up to the FBS level would be Georgia Southern and Appalachian State. Some rumors going around the internet is that current WAC members New Mexico State and/or Idaho could join the conference. But Benson dismissed those as being “premature”. Denver University is leaving the conference this summer, much to the remaining schools delight, as travel to Denver was exhausting and costly. But adding New Mexico State and Idaho, even just for football, would be equally as detrimental.
A school that is possibly being overlooked for possible expansion is Lamar. Lamar has an enrollment of nearly 15,000 students, however their endowment according to Wikipedia is only $87 Million. But when I visited their campus in 2010 when they hosted South Alabama, it was a beautiful campus with some very nice facilities for the basketball and football programs. It would also give Texas State and in-state rival.
The Sun Belt Conference released a press release today announcing that Texas State Univeristy will join the conference beginning July 1, 2013 and will begin conference competition for the 2013-2014 academic year.
“Texas State University has worked very hard to be ready for FBS competition and joining the Sun Belt Conference represents a new opportunity for our future,” said Texas State University President Denise M. Trauth. “The Sun Belt’s record of competitive success over more than 35 years provides a tradition of excellence that we are happy to join. Our students and alumni will bring a very strong fan base that will welcome these new opportunities. Just as Texas State is the rising star of Texas, we believe that the Sun Belt is also on the rise and we are happy to be a part of its future.”
“On behalf of the presidents and chancellors of the Sun Belt Conference, it is my honor to welcome Texas State University as the newest member of our league family,” said Sun Belt Conference Executive Committee President and Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins, Jr. “We are not the same conference we were 10 years ago. The Sun Belt is strong athletically as demonstrated by the fact that our bowl record over the last eight years is better than five other BCS conferences. We are stronger academically, as 90 percent of our teams have achieved an Academic Progress Rates of 925 or higher. Texas State is an excellent addition to our strong, growing conference.”
Texas State is located between Austin and San Antonio in San Marcos. It is home to over 34,000 students and opened in 1903. They are the only university in Texas to have graduated a US president in Lyndon B. Johnson in the class of 1930.
TSU sponsors 16 varsity programs including football, whom former University of Alabama head football coach Dennis Franchione is the current head coach. Their mascot is the Bobcat and they will play their first season at the FBS level in 2012 and will be eligible to compete for football conference championships and bowl games when they join the Sun Belt in 2013.
“Texas State is a great addition to the Sun Belt Conference as the Bobcat athletic program is destined for success in the Football Bowl Subdivision,” said Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson. “The Sun Belt Conference’s rise to prominence will continue with Texas State as part of our league.”
“We are very excited about becoming a member of the Sun Belt Conference in 2013,” said Texas State Director of Athletics Dr. Larry Teis. “We know that our student-athletes will be eager to succeed in the Sun Belt, and we will enter the conference ready to compete. We look forward to building new rivalries with some Sun Belt schools and renewing rivalries with others. The Sun Belt Conference encompasses eight states from Texas to Florida that are rich in college athletic traditions, especially in the sport of FBS football.”
Texas State’s budget for athletics ranks in the upper half of the current Sun Belt Conference membership, and its undergraduate enrollment ranks near the top of the league’s current membership.
Welcome to the conference TSU!
ESPN Gameday will be filming a commercial on a fan selected campus this summer and South Alabama is in a good position to be that campus. Voting is open now and runs through May 10th so spread it to all your friends and family now.You will need a Facebook account to vote.