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April 2008 Archives

Brightwell's Blog #22

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Just got back from Autozone Park where I do public address in the summer. Our new women's basketball coach, Melissa McFerrin, was there to throw out the first pitch..it was a strike. Great to see her getting out and being seen in the community. The Lady Tigers were there as well and looked like they enjoyed themselves.

Tiger baseball travels to Houston this weekend. Memphis split four games with the Cougars last year and Brennon Martin got his first complete game of his career when Memphis beat them 12-4 in the opening game of the conference tournament at East Carolina.

Brightwell's Blog #21

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It's a beautiful day at Nat Buring Stadium as I sit in the press box a few hours prior to tonight's game with Ole Miss. This will be the last non-conference game in this park as it's known as Nat Buring.

The Tigers have 12 games left in the regular season and will be looking for a strong finish that will hopefully put them in the Conference Tournament in New Orleans.

After the two losses to Tulane over the weekend, the rain-out on Sunday may have been what the team needed, and extra day of rest for the stretch run.

I'm looking foward to a packed house tonight and I hope to see all of you out here.

May Calendar Wallpaper Added

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Calendar wallpaper for May has been added to GoTigersGo.com.

There are seven different Memphis calendars to choose from featuring schedules from Baseball, Softball, Track and Field, Men's Golf, Women's Golf, Men's Tennis and Women's Tennis.

Fans can access the calendar wallpaper by clicking on the "Wallpaper" link on the left side bar or by clicking here.

Brightwell's Blog #20

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It was a wild mid-week series at Middle Tennessee. We lost leads in the 9th inning in both games but were able to garner a split in Murfreesboro. The Tigers played the longest game in school history by time on Wednesday, over a five-hour, 14 inning marathon. The game featured a 7 run rally by the Blue Raiders in the 9th and a six run 14th to give Memphis the 17-11 win.

2007 Football Media Guide Places 4th Nationally

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07-fbmg-cover-300w.jpgThe 2007 University of Memphis football media guide placed fourth nationally in the 2007-08 CoSIDA Publications Contest. Among 42 Division I entries, the guide finished behind Notre Dame, UCLA and Florida State.

The Tiger publication finished first in District 4, which is comprised of DI schools in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama.

The 206 page guide was edited by Memphis Director of Media Relations, Jennifer Rodrigues, and designed by Assistant Media Relations Director, Brandon Kolditz.

Virginia Tech finished fifth and the U.S. Naval Academy came in sixth. Oklahoma State's publication was selected for the best cover.

Good Luck Tigers!

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Yesterday marked the last day of classes for the 2007-08 Memphis women's basketball roster and today (Thursday) is Study Day across campus, meaning I envision lots of U of M students doing some last minute cramming for exams that begin tomorrow. This afternoon is the M Club Senior Luncheon, where all seniors who have finished their eligibility and are getting ready to graduate will be honored by their respective head coaches and will get introduced to the M Club staff. M Club Director Tim Duncan has made some big changes in the M Club this year, and is trying to connect our current student-athletes with former student-athletes to help everyone get off to a good start in their post-U of M lives.

Good luck to the Lady Tigers with exams....study hard and have a good summer!

Off Week

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This week was a bad week for not only me, but the entire sprint group. We went to the meet expecting it to be super big with some big teams and maybe even some pro athletes, but we were quickly disappointed on that note. Though we didn't get the big teams or the pros, the meet still turned out to be pretty fast. In fact, I ran in one of the fastest overall races in the 110m hurdles since my freshman year. Even though I really didn't expect that much from myself with me going to the meet with an injured knee, I was still overwhelmed in the finals of the race when I placed last. I have not placed last in a race since my sophomore year in high school when I first started running the hurdles. It is truly frustrating right now because a whole season has gone by and I have not even broken 15.00 yet in the 110m hurdles. It was no better in the 400 meter hurdles- in fact, it was even worse. I got out in the race and was in the lead for the first 250 meter at least and after floating over one of the hurdles completely lost all my momentum and concentration and ended up walking across the line at 1:02. This was the most embarrassing meet of my college career. I am hoping that this does not follow me up to conference because I am going to have to suck it up. But as of now, I'll just stick to my blame on all the stress of trying stay up in school and graduate. Lately, my mind has been focused more towards me graduating in May and I have not been able to focus mentally on track. I know inside that I could have still run well in that 400 and that it was me being mentally tired that lost me that race. I feel that things will be better by the time conference comes since I'll be done with all the school work and worrying about projects and this and that. "Conference USA, here I come!"

Brightwell's Blog #19

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I've had several people ask me about the current Tiger baseball season and the record so today I'm going to break it down.

Season-Ending Banquet

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First off, let me apologize for the lack of posts on the women's basketball blog. In deciding to launch a blog for women's basketball, none of us knew that a coaching change was going to be so close around the corner, and without a staff, I opted to not ask the girls to post in order to give them some time to process everything that was going on.

Sunday night, April 20th, was the season-ending Fastbreak Club banquet. The Fastbreak Club did a great job of making sure the girls were recognized for their work this season and handled what could have been an uncomfortable situation very well. Freshman Savannah Ellis received the Most Improved Player award, much-deserved for a player with a bright future ahead of her. Junior Paris Leonard was named the Most Valuable Defensive Player, quite an honor for a player who will likely be our next Lady Tiger to 1,000 career points in her senior season. I don't know what Lady Tiger fans thought, but I thought the biggest growth in Paris' game from her sophomore to her junior seasons was definitely her defense. Jessica Hall received the Most Valuable Offensive Player Award. Imagine all those points having to sit on the sidelines over the past two seasons due to injuries for J-Hall...she's made a really remarkable comeback and was also one of 14 players from across all NCAA divisions (I, II and III) across the country to be selected a finalist for the V Foundation's Comeback Award, quite an honor. Ashley Thornton received the Lady Tiger award and the Les Phillips award. Both are awarded to the player who best exemplifies what it means to be a Lady Tiger. The Les Phillips award is a perpetual award, meaning anyone who walks in the women's basketball office back by the door to Coach McFerrin's office can see the plaque in honor of the former Lady Tiger booster hanging on the wall.

A little later that evening, new head coach Melissa McFerrin landed in Memphis and in arriving at the hotel, crossed paths with some of us leaving the banquet. I think it's fair to say everyone was impressed and excited to meet Coach McFerrin, although we did kind of ambush her in the lobby of the hotel -- sorry coach! So far, Coach McFerrin has had a busy few hours. She had not even been in Memphis for a full 24 hours when she had already knocked out some local school visits and made an appearance at the Tiger Scholarship Fund spring tour event at the DeSoto Civic Center. Today (Tuesday) is the last day women's basketball can be out on the road recruiting, so today will likely be more of the same for Coach McFerrin. Women's basketball enters a Quiet Period beginning on April 23rd, which lasts until July 5th. The NCAA's website defines a Quiet Period as the time when coaching staff can only make in-person recruiting contacts at the member institution, which means Coach McFerrin, in addition to having to hire a staff, will also only have the opportunity to host potential recruits here at the U of M for the remainder of this recruiting cycle. She can begin the evaluation period for her class of 2010 on July 6th when the next Evaluation Period begins.

For this year, the late signing period for basketball ends on May 21st. As of now, Memphis did ink two signees earlier this season (NCAA rules prohibit me from mentioning them again in a second release, but you can find the first releases I did on both signees under women's basketball, news headlines, on our website). For fans who may not know, women's basketball has 15 scholarships. We had 14 players this season, including one walk-on, and lost two to transfers during the season and one to graduation next month (Aroha Jennings).

Brightwell's Blog #18

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Last Night I had the pleasure of meeting our new Lady Tiger coach, Melissa McFerrin, briefly after the Lady Tiger banquet. From the short time I got to spend with her, I was impressed.

She had just arrived from the airport and wasn't really expecting to be greeted by anyone, but myself, a few boosters, and four players were waiting. As soon as she entered the lobby, she knew who the majority of the group was. She knew the home-town of all four players that were there by heart, which showed me she was ready to dive right in to this program. I was also really impressed by how friendly and confidently she spoke to all of us; I'm sure the last few days have been a blur to coach McFerrin.

I also like the way she speaks about Memphis becoming the class of the Conference. I think that is so much better than just wanting to be competitive. It looks like she is really embracing this opportunity and I hope it will be a long and successful tenure for Coach McFerrin.

Tomorrow baseball plays at Middle Tennessee and I'll break down some numbers for you before we bus out.

Brightwell's Blog #17

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It's a rainy day at the Ballpark, sitting here getting my prep work done a few hours before our game against Dallas Baptist. Hopefully this is the last batch and we can get our 6:30 game in tonight. Hope to see a lot of you out at the park this weekend because we only have 10 home games left at Nat Buring.

If you haven't heard of Dallas Baptist, they are a very good team. They are currently 32nd in the RPI and have two wins over Rice and one over Baylor and have the number 30 strength of schedule. They were an NAIA power and turned D1 a few years ago so this will be a very tough weekend. Baseball plays a double-header tomorrow beginning at 1:00 and it should be a beautiful day. As always, feel free to email me during the broadcast on 91.7 fm at MEMPHISRADIO@HOTMAIL.COM

Checking in for John McDonnell Invite

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This past weekend at Ole Miss, I hurt my knee pretty bad in the prelims of the 110 hurdles. I got out pretty good and the race was looking real good until about half way through. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but it kept me from continuing the rest of the meet. Since Saturday the knee has heeled a little, but it is still too weak for me to compete full speed. Hopefully, it will be ready by this Saturday, because this meet is very important for me. If my knee is better, this will have to be the meet for me to qualify for regionals in at least one of my events.

Team wise, I think some of the freshmen are really starting to pull their weight at the meets and step up to the collegiate level. Hopefully, we can go into conference with a good attitude and pull another win on C-USA.

Brightwell's Blog #16

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It's a beautiful day in Murray, Kentucky as Memphis is about 20 minutes away from first pitch against the Thoroughbreds. The MSU baseball team is the only team that didn't switch to Racers. It was an interesting trip today as the bus took a wrong turn and couldn't clear an over-pass, so we had to turn around in a farmer's field. But we made it on time and are ready to face the `Breds at 3:00. Tomorrow night, we'll be in Jackson, TN for the second time this year to face UT-Martin at 6:05, hope to see you in the "Big Potato Chip", Pringles Park.

Checking in for Ole Miss

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This past weekend at SEMO was ok, but it could have gone better. Though I placed 1st in the 110m hurdles my time of 15.03 was not satisfying at all. (The prize bag that came with it was nice though!) I did good, but not great in the 400m hurdles placing 4th. I believe my lack of sleep caught up to me by the time we got to the hurdles and had some affect on my performance; but I am still pleased with how well I pulled it off anyway. I'm not going to even talk about the 4x4 relay, which was a waste of energy. (The time was horrible beyond belief.)

My performances during the past weeks have not really been up to where it should be, so this weekend at Ole Miss I will have to really step it up. I especially need to bring down my time in the 110h to prepare me for both the Ark. meet coming up and conference, as well. Team-wise, we have a few dinged up athletes but they seem to still be trying their best to pull their weight so only time will tell how well we end up.

Brightwell's Blog #15

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Tuesday night provided some much needed relief after such a tough loss in Monday's title game.

The Tiger baseball team beat perennial power Mississippi State in 9-8 in 10 innings in dramatic fashion with Cole Shelton's 2-out, 2-run single in the bottom of the 10th. It was the first win over the Bulldogs since Ryan Martin hit a game winning Homer against State in 2003 at AutoZone Park.

It was an emotional lift for a team that had lost 9 straight and now heads on the road for a 5-game swing beginning this weekend in Orlando against UCF.

Brightwell's Blog #14

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It's been a frustrating season thus far for Coach Schoenrock to say the least. After watching the 12th ranked Rice Owls come from behind to win 7-6 yesterday, the team fell to 11-19 and lost their 9th straight. As in all other sports, a bounce here or there and it could be much different. Memphis has lost 9 one-run games, so if we win just four of those we are 15-15. The road doesn't get any easier because tomorrow we host Mississippi State at Autozone Park before going on the road to UCF. The good thing though about this team, is despite the struggles, the team is still a very cohesive unit and doesn't point blame, Rock's teams have always played hard and stayed together in the good times and bad. Tonight is obviously a historical night, being an Alum (1996), it's extra special to me. I was less than a year old when the Tigers played in their last title game and was in 5th grade when we lost to Villanova in the Final Four. I know it's been said before, but it's great to see how our city becomes one when Tiger basketball does well, no other entity in this city has as much unifying capability as Tiger basketball.

Checking in for SEMO

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After last week's extreme workouts, I have found a new confidence in what I'm capable of doing. The workouts were more mental than physical in my opinion and really challenged the rest of the team and I, on how bad we wanted to finish it. Practice went pretty well this week and we are hoping to really get things going this weekend at SEMO. Hopefully, for me, this meet will be much better than the last.

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