Official Blog of Texas State University - San Marcos Department of Athletics.

Welcome Back...

Written by Bill Culhane on 10:22 PM

- From the mic with Bill Culhane

Welcome Back...

"Great day to be a Bobcat!", you proclaim. Well, I respectfully see your day and raise you a day. What an "unnnbelievaabbllee" (thank you Coach Wacker) 48-hour period we had in Bobcat Nation last week. After an extensive and thorough search, we enthusiastically welcomed back Dennis Franchione as our head football coach. At Strahan the following day, not only did the men's basketball team win their Southland Conference opener, the Bobcats shot the ball the likes of which these eyes haven't seen in a while. The details...

August 1994. I attended my first Bobcat football practice as the newly named color analyst for the Texas Sta...wait a sec...Southwest Texas football radio broadcasts. My son Cory, who just turned 5, in tow. Cory was excited about and preparing for kindergarten. Jim Bob Helduser, one of the nicest, most caring people I've ever known, was our head coach. Among the early details I learned was that Coach Helduser had been hired to replace his boss, a guy named Dennis Franchione, as the Bobcat head man. In those days, the "big game" for the Bobcat football team was, i.e, Texas A&M-Kingsville (yea, still Texas A&I to me too) or maybe Sam Houston State.

As the days, months, years, seasons moved along, I came to learn more about Coach Fran's records and success in San Marcos, and observed from afar his ascension through the regional, then national football world. However, it was always looking at Coach Fran via pages in a media guide, shots on television, and the memories of people here with Coach Fran for his two seasons.

We fast forward to January 2011. Cory is a senior in college. He's excited about and preparing for graduation. Texas State is looking to name the man who will help mold and lead our football team as we prepare for our entry into the world of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and our future home, the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).

Opinions, rumors, hints, ideas ensued and circulated. We all had them and/or heard them and the wait was interesting and exciting as anticipation enveloped Bobcat Nation. The selection committee did their due diligence and last Friday we were introduced to our new head coach, Dennis Franchione. Upon hearing the news, my initial thoughts were: well done, excellent hire. I fully acknowledged that my thoughts weren't worth a whole lot. The response from others was vastly more important to me.

As I walked into the Sac-N-Pac Room for the introductory press conference, the turnout instantly validated that there are many who agree this process was well done, an excellent hire. I sensed before and during the press conference, and it was confirmed afterwards, Coach Fran gives us instant "splash" throughout Texas and across the country. Support was also abundantly evident from the Board of Regents, many local people and business owners, former players, boosters, university faculty, staff, and students, current athletic department folks and football student-athletes, I35 corridor media...the lengthy list goes on. Yes, every group of people you could envision were there in support of Coach Fran and the future of Bobcat football. Welcome back Coach Fran!

I spoke with a few of Coach Fran's former Bobcat players and it is obvious that they love and respect him. Equally, it is clear that Coach Fran loves this university and respects the task in front of him in launching our football program forward. In the years to come, what will be the "big game" for the Bobcats, and 30,000 screaming fans at Bobcat Stadium? Navy, Wyoming, ??, or ??, ... Isn't the thought exhilarating? For the record, count me in and I cannot wait to help Coach Fran and our Bobcats achieve their goals.

Drive home from press conference. Finish game prep for the SLC opener. Eat. Sleep. Back to San Marcos for Bobcats v Demons. In summary, in the 299 men's basketball games that I broadcasted prior to Saturday, I don't recall many significant games where the Bobcats shot the rock like they did versus the Demons. Welcome back shooters! The Cats went 29-54, 53.7% from the floor, a scorching 9-14, 64.3% on three point attempts. You fully expected everything the Bobcat shooters put up to drop in...nearly did. Light the Star, Cats 84-71 victors. Robert Fisher, courtside with me on Saturday, and I had a difficult time selecting just two Bobcat "stars of the game" to join us for the postgame show. Akin to Saturday, that is usually a positive dilemma. Congratulations Bobcats.

The Bobcats travel to Burton Coliseum this Saturday, January 15th, for a 3pm tipoff with league leading McNeese State (2-0). Lake Charles, Louisiana has kind of been the "Bermuda Triangle" for men's hoops over the years. Tune into KTSW, 89.9 or txstatebobcats.com for the game to see if the Bobcats can change things. Brant Freeman and I will commence our pregame show at 2:45pm and witness a 2-0 start in league play for the Bobcats.

Special note: Brant and I have been doing a weekly BobCast (clever naming provided by John McElfresh, Texas State athletics) podcast to share our updates and thoughts on the world of Bobcat athletics.

Please visit http://txstatebobcats.com/podcasts.aspx?tab=podcasts for the shows.

Reminder: If you have any questions or feedback, you can contact me at lightthestar@gmail.com

Eat em up Cats!

Bill

Blogging Maroon & Gold (January 7th, 2011)

Written by Brant Freeman on 5:52 PM

Blogging Maroon & Gold (January 7th, 2011)

Bobcat fans and followers,

We’re a few days into the New Year, so I hope you had a happy and safe holiday! I know we’re all looking forward to what 2011 will bring us, and things are about to get pretty exciting around these parts with the hiring of a new head football coach coming soon (EDIT: Just as I was ready to send this, the news broke that Dennis Franchione had been hired, blog and podcasts on that coming soon!). Top 10 lists are cliché when looking back at the previous year, and to that I say so what? They’re fun and I wanted to do one anyway. And be honest, some of you watch David Letterman ONLY to see the nightly “Top Ten”. I know there are times I watch “Sportscenter” just to see the Top 10 plays. Just don’t be disappointed that my Top 10 doesn’t include anything from the Norwegian Man/Wife Games like Sportscenter seems to include every 3rd Wednesday. Without further ado, here’s my Top 10 stories/moments in Bobcat Athletics for the year 2010…

#10 – Increased Media Coverage
Yes, I’m a bit biased since I am the media per se, but there’s no denying Texas State ’s inclusion in nightly sportscasts, radio shows and headlines. How about all the news coverage as the Texas State athletic department prepared itself for the move to the FBS? This year’s coach’s show was moved to 104.9 FM ESPN Austin…the television show, “Inside Bobcat Football” was shown on News 8 Austin Non-Stop Sports Channel from 7 pm on Mondays every hour until 6 PM the next day, and was also shown state wide on Time Warner Cable’s “Texas Channel”. When the WAC announcement was made, the Bobcats were featured not only on local media outlets, but on ESPN.com and ESPN television as well. Expect similar exposure to come with Dennis Franchione as the next head football coach at Texas State .

#9 – Bobcat Men’s Basketball team defeats Sam Houston State in OT 101-97
The Bearkats destroyed the Bobcats earlier in the season by 31 points and had arguably the best backcourt in the Southland with Ashton Mitchell and Corey Allmond. Add big man Gilberto Clavell (35 points 10 rebounds this game) and Sam Houston was stacked. A 14-1 conference record going in, and the eventual tournament champs (blew out SFA in tournament finals, played Baylor, an elite eight team, tooth and nail in NCAA 1st round), the 14-15 (8-7 in conference) Bobcats didn’t stand much of a chance, right? Texas State erased a 10 point 2nd half deficit, overcame a quiet game from the bench (5 starters all scored in double figures, combining for 83 points) and got one heck of a performance from John Rybak in the senior’s final home game (25 points on 9-14 shooting, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks). Throw in the fact the game was on SLC TV, and it was one of the most memorable wins for the men’s program in the last 10 years.

#8 – Texas State Football defeats Southern Utah 42-28 at Bobcat Stadium
In a season full of low points, the win over the Thunderbirds was surely a high point for the Bobcats. One would think that a non-conference game against a team from Cedar City , Utah is just another game. But if before the season started, and you told me that Texas State would only win 4 games, but I got to choose who those wins came against, I would say: Houston (wishful thinking), SFA (more on that later), Sam Houston State…and Southern Utah. Since 2003, the Bobcats had played the Thunderbirds four times and were 1-3. None of those SUU teams were special, in fact, most of them were bad, and the Bobcats were arguably the better team each meeting (like the ’08 team, SUU finished 4-7 that year, TXST went to FCS playoffs). Sweet revenge came this year, as the Bobcats pounded the T-birds behind 224 rushing yards and a career night from WR Darius Bolden (5 catches, 108 yards, 1 TD). Texas State also held All-American WR (and future NFL player) Tysson Poots to 49 yards receiving. Ironically, the 6-5 Thunderbirds probably had the better team this time around. Go figure.

#7 – Women’s Golf Dominates the SLC
A program that tends to get overlooked, Texas State ’s golf team gave fans a reason to pay attention this season. 2010 SLC Coach of the Year (Mike Akers), SLC Freshman of the Year (Kristia Puisite) and the 2010 SLC Championship (coming from behind to defeat Sam Houston and Central Arkansas). And in the SLC Tournament, the Bobcats set a conference record with a score of 885, shattering the previous record by 22 shots. Enough said.

#6 – Bobcat Stadium Improvements
Durospine Pro Turf. Never heard of it before this last football season, but it sure looked nice didn’t it? Along with the announcement of 12,500 to be added at Bobcat Stadium’s North End, and with the removal of the track and Texas State ’s Football Stadium is going to look awfully impressive by 2012. Just in time for something I’ll get to in a bit…

#5 – Texas State Football defeats SFA in Nacogdoches 27-24
What a tough game to watch for 3 quarters and the first five minutes of the fourth. While the Bobcat defense was holding SFA’s explosive offense in relative check, the Texas State offense was doing next to nothing the whole game. Everyone seemed to be going through the motions at one point. Even when the Bobcats got their first touchdown, you figured it was just going to be a ho-hum 24-6 final, just another notch on the belt for the Lumberjacks. Then the following happened in the next 9 minutes of the game: fumble SFA, TD Texas State (2 point conversion), 3-and-out SFA, Da’Marcus Griggs punt return TD Texas State, fumble SFA, Hawkins to Dillard 28-yard TD Texas State (missed XP), SFA missed 47-yard field goal. It was just a game for 51 minutes. It was SFA’s only conference loss (in the last two seasons, SFA’s only losses came at SMU, at Texas A&M, Montana, Villanova and Texas State twice) and Texas State’s only conference win. If you’re only going to get one Southland win, make it count, right?

#4 – Bobcat Baseball/Softball teams win regular season titles
Softball: Co-championship with SFA (3rd straight title)…3 All SLC players (Chandler Hall, Leah Boatwright, Jenna Emery)…4 All SLC-Tournament players (Hall, Emery, McKenzie Baack and Anna Hernandez)…SLC Title game

Baseball: SLC Champs (2nd straight title)…5th round draft pick (Jason Martinson – Washington Nationals)…2010 Newcomer of the year & Pitcher of the Year (Carson Smith)…6 All SLC players (Smith, Martinson, Kyle Livingstone, Kyle Kubitza, Bret Atwood, Jeff McVaney)…5 All SLC-Tournament players (McVaney, Martinson, Kubitza, Tyler Sibley, Clint Vest)…SLC Title game

Call me when either of these programs loses its steam, as long as coaches Ricci Woodard (softball) and Ty Harrington (baseball) stick around, that’s not happening for sometime.

#3 – Bobcat greats now looking down from above
Texas State lost two of its most significant figures in 2010, Lewis Gilcrease and J. Garland Warren. Dr. Gilcrease lettered in football, basketball and track and field at Texas State (then known as Southwest Texas State ), earning nine letters. He was an NAIA All-American and selected in the 9th round of the NBA draft by the Boston Celtics, the first Bobcat player ever taken in the draft. He was a founding member and helped organize the University Bobcat Club, served on numerous Texas State University boards and was inducted into Texas State 's “T” Association Hall of Honor in 1978, and his basketball jersey was retired in 2004. Trust me when I say I’m leaving off more to save space. Warren was one of the great business men the city of San Marcos has ever seen, and was a tremendous supporter of Bobcat Athletics and was a member of both the Texas State Touchdown Club and the Bobcat Club. His initials were placed on the back of the football team’s helmets this past season. RIP Lewis Gilcrease and Garland Warren.

#2 – Karen Chisum wins #700
Not many early season wins over Prairie View A&M garner headlines. But Texas State ’s sweep over the Panthers on September 7th was pretty significant. That victory was the 700th in Head Coach Karen Chisum’s 31-year career (all at Texas State ), making her just one of six coaches to reach that milestone in Division I volleyball. In typical Coach Chisum fashion, she said after the game that she was glad it was over with and was ready to move on, giving all the credit to her players. By the way, she’s 84 wins shy of 800. Don’t put it past her.

#1 – WAC Announcement
If I were putting together a list of the Top 10 moments of the last decade this would still be number one. The WAC? Who envisioned this even when “The Drive” was initiated? Teams to have come through the WAC: TCU, Utah , Arizona , BYU, Air Force, Tulsa , Boise State , Hawaii … now Texas State . Football games have been scheduled against Navy and Wyoming (home and homes) recently, with more coming. Bowl games are the goal for football. The Bobcats will no longer be in a 1-bid conference for the Olympic sports. More games on ESPN in the coming years. I could go on. This is, without a doubt, the most exciting time in Texas State athletics. We Are Coming will soon become We Are Here. Just don’t call it the WAH in 2012.

Eat ‘Em Up!

- Brant (Comments? E-mail me at txstradio@gmail.com)

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About Me

The Drive is more than new buildings and championships. It's an increased sense of pride. The essence of Texas State makes this school one of the best universities in the country. Get Loud, Be Proud! It's A Great Day to be a Bobcat!

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