- From the mic with Bill Culhane
"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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Eat em up Cats!
- From the mic with Bill Culhane