June 2008 Archives
Sorry for the delay in between posts, but things are kind of slowing down here in the AOB for a little bit from the media relations front (except for the football media guide!). On the other side of our wall, the women's basketball staff is getting ready for the upcoming Evaluation Period which runs July 6-15th. In that short period of time, the women's basketball staff plans on hitting 15 different tournaments around the country, including stops in Texas, Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and Florida. Following that evaluation period, there is a quiet period from July 16th-July 21st before the next evaluation period begins on July 22nd. That evaluation period runs until July 31st and will find the four members of the staff out on the road at 15 different tournaments, covering stops in Kentucky, Illinois, North Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, New Yok and Mississippi. The first signing day for the kids of the 2008-09 signing class will be November 14th until November 21st for the early signing period. The regular signing period will be April 16th to May 21st. That's 30 stops in about 16 total days.
And speaking of newcomers, the staff still is not done adding newcomers for the upcoming season. Check back sometime next week and we should have information regarding another newcomer for the upcoming season!
Nine different 2008 Football wallpaper are now available for fans to download at GoTigersGo.com.
Fans can access the wallpaper by clicking on the "Wallpaper" link on the right side bar on the football page or by clicking here.
Fans with Microsoft Outlook on their computers can download and install Memphis Tiger schedules into their calendar! 2008 Memphis schedules for football, men's soccer and women's soccer are now available. Access the schedules here or click on the "Download Sport Schedules To Microsoft Outlook" link on the schedule pages.
Long summer waiting for Tiger Sports to crank up again. I'm very excited about the start of Lady Tiger basketball this fall. I have been really impressed with Coach McFerrin and her staff in the limited time I've spent with them. I think you'll be really impressed with them the very first season.
Tamika Whitmore is having another great year, playing this season for the Connecticut Sun. Through 13 games, she's averaging almost 14 points and over 5 rebounds per game. Hard to believe, but Whitmore is in her 10th season. The Sun is currently leading the Eastern Conference.
Summer wood-bat baseball is underway for several of the Tigers, here's an update on how they're doing.
Adam McClain Luray Wranglers, Valley Legue,16 games, .232ba, 3hr, 15rbi
Cole Shelton, Woodstock River Bandits, Valley League, 12 games, .204ba, 1hr, 5rbi
Brach Davis, Woodstock River Bandits, Valley League, 3games, 1-0, 3.32era, 19ip, 21k's
Tyler Huelsing, Brazos Valley Brahmas, Texas Collegiate League 8 games, .286, 2 doubles, 6rbi's.
Chad Zurcher, Northshore Navigators, New England Collegiate, 7games, .214ba
Worth Tate, Danville Dans, Central Illinois Collegiate, 4games, 0-1, 11.25era, 4ip
I'm spending my summer looking for a house and trying to drop all the weight I put on during the season travelling.
I'll talk again with you soon and give you an update on the Tiger Baseball pros.
Monday night was the Fast Break Club's Meet and Greet with the entire coaching staff, a bunch of folks that it's hard to get all in one room! The reception was well-attended and thanks to everyone for coming out. I loaded a photo gallery from the evening's festivities to our website at www.gotigersgo.com. In the left hand column of our home page, go to Photo Galleries, and the gallery is loaded there. It is also located in the link below:
June 16, 2008 -- Fast Break Club Meet and Greet
A majority of the team is on campus and taking summer classes. The team will have a new strength and conditioning coach in the next week or so. As you may know, Carrie Yerty left Memphis to become the volleyball head coach at Wyoming, meaning her husband, Lee, also left the staff at Memphis, where he was the strength and conditioning coach for volleyball and women's basketball, as well as tennis. So there has been a bit of upheaval for the team since the season ended with an entirely new coaching staff and some new support folks as well.
Next up on the women's basketball calendar is recruiting, which begins on July 6th. The coaches will hit the road to begin the evaluation period for the next recruiting class, looking for likely four more players with the senior class of Paris Leonard, Jessica Jackson, Jessica Hall (assuming she is back for this season) and Ashley Thornton heading in to their final collegiate basketball seasons.
Gaylon Hall, the Fast Break Club president, would also like to get a couple of dates out there for women's basketball fans. July 23-25th marks the River City Classic, an event that the Fast Break Club works the concession areas for, and is in need of volunteers. Also, on September 5th, the Fourth Annual Women's Basketball Golf Scramble will be held in Bartlett at Quail Ridge. Entry forms are located at www.gotigersgo.com in the right hand column of the women's basketball page. Hole sponsorships are also available and prizes are being collected to be used as door prizes. So if you can help out, contact Gaylon at 901-372-4677 or by email at email@example.com.
A nice surprise on Friday. After I had left the house and arrived at AutoZone Park to do PA for the Redbirds, I found out that Chris Kirkland was drafted in the 36th round by the Mariners, making him the fourth Tiger drafted this year!
Kirkland was our primary catcher for the last two seasons after spending a year at Alabama and Chipola Junior College. This season, coach Rock let Chris throw a few innings because he had thrown at Chipola and in High School at South Doyle. Kirkland was gunned up to 96 mph so Seattle will take a chance and see if he develops.
Chris is one of the toughest players I've seen. In 2007, Kirkland had his jaw broken going into second base at Rice when he was hit with a relay throw, he stayed in for another inning. He missed the Conference Tournament the next week, but came back to catch both games of the NCAA.
Well as summer heats up, the women's basketball staff is now all in the office and is preparing for a pair of summer camps, beginning with a team camp this coming weekend (June 14-15th) and then the individual camp (June 16-19th).
While that is going on, former Lady Tiger Tamika Whitmore has helped her new WNBA team, the Connecticut Sun to first place in the WNBA Eastern Division with a 7-1 record. Whitmore, who was traded from Indiana in the pre-season while she was playing over in Europe, is averaging 15.2 ppg and 5.0 rebounds per game and has helped the Sun to four straight wins. That streak will be on the line Tuesday, June 10th when the Sun plays at the Lynx at 7 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2.
For fans who cannot catch the ESPN2 game, the WNBA is also offering 90 games on their live webcasts for free. I saw the link on the Sun's website under their schedule page: http://www.wnba.com/schedules/ in the right hand column.
Congrats to the three Tigers that were selected in today's Major League Baseball draft!
Junior Scott McGreggor went in the 15th round to St. Louis, senior Neil Schenk went in the 23rd round to Tampa Bay, and Junior Will Hudgens was taken in the 23rd round by Cincinnati.
For me, it was special to see Neil Schenk get drafted, couldn't have happened to a nicer guy or harder worker. Schenk signed with the Tigers out of Briarcrest and was immediately thrown into the weekend rotation as a true freshmen. It's a role that a true freshman usually isn't thrust into, but coach Rock had no choice his first year. But, Neil never complained and went out and did his job every start. His sophomore year he was moved to the bullpen and struggled his first year there, but made the transition his junior year and flourished in 2008. He logged his first and last careers wins against East Carolina. He was also the University's Male Scholar Athlete of the year. He's been a great ambassador for the baseball program, he'll definitely be missed.
Scott McGreggor has been a consistent presence in the weekend rotation for coach Rock. His first year McGreggor was all-freshman throwing three complete games. From that year on, SID Jason Redd and I referred to Scott as "CG" McGreggor for his complete games. Scott has been a strike thrower in his three years here and you can always count on him pitching you late into the game even when he didn't have his best stuff. Scott never made a big deal about a good or bad outing, just a guy that came in and did his job.
Finally, Will Hudgens. What a story it was. After playing football for a few seasons, Will got the itch to play baseball again and asked Coach Rock if he could have a chance. After the OK was given by Coach West, Will got his chance. Rock initially thought he may be a guy that could give him some bullpen innings during mid-week games, but nobody knew what was in store for 2007. Will's first appearance came in relief in Millington and he got the win against Mizzou, he followed that up with a relief win at #6 Clemson. As a starter, Will beat two more ranked teams, #30 Southern Miss, and #2 Rice. The win over Rice in the semi-finals at the Conference Tournament was a huge win for the program. But, what I'll always remember about Will is that he always had a smile on his face and something funny to say.
Although Schenk is gone, McGreggor and Hudgens will now have to weigh the pros and cons and make the best decisions for themselves and their families as to wether they will go pro or stay another season.
Congrats to all three Tigers, they were all a big part of this program.
The University of Memphis will be the host school for at least three Conference USA Championships in 2008-09. The Tigers will host the cross country championships on November 1, 2008; the volleyball championships just about three weeks later from Nov. 20-23rd and the C-USA Men's Basketball Championships, Mar. 11-14th in FedExForum.
-Tammy DeGroff, Asst. SID
Mark your calendars, the Lady Tigers will participate in the 2009 C-USA Championships Mar. 5-8 in New Orleans, La., as Tulane will host the next C-USA Championships....Cafe du Monde Beignets here we come!
As I promised, I'm checking in with you all and I hope the start of summer is treating you well.
What a year for Conference USA baseball. CUSA got 5 of 9 teams in the NCAA's, the most since 2002 when CUSA sent 5 of 12. What's more impressive is that all five made it to their regional championship games with Rice advancing to the Super-Regionals to Host Texas A&M this weekend.
About a dozen baseball players have made their way to their summer wood-bat teams that stretch from Texas to New England. This is a great tool in the development of young players. Each one will play about 50 games and get another couple hundred plate appearances swinging a wooden bat and the pitchers get some more innings on their arms. It's amazing how much these players have improved when they come back for fall workouts.
Looks like Coach McFerrin has rounded out her staff and will stretch her recruiting grounds. I especially like how she's going to look nationwide for players, already targeting Chicago and Detroit. Hmm, broadening the recruiting base and targeting Chicago and Detroit, seems like I've seen this philosophy before and it really paid off. I'll have more about the Lady Tigers once I get a chance to sit down with coach later this summer.
It's been a long time coming. As I'm sure everyone should know by now, I came to this team as a walk on my freshman year in 2004. My original intentions were to join the track team to stay in shape for the following football season. Because we were experiencing the D'Angelo Williams reign, I landed myself a permanent spot on the track team. For two years I felt that some people doubted me and thought that I couldn't be a valuable asset to the team, which I thought was odd being that I was slowly becoming one of the top performers on the team and were improving my times faster than the athletes who were receiving a scholarship. I quickly changed their minds during my sophomore year when my times began dropping consistently. For my first two years on the track team I ran for free; and the little money that I did end up receiving was practically next to free. By the time coach Robinson took over the program it was still hard to get much of anything with the damage that was on the programs funds. This situation haunted me for all four years of my track career at the U of M, but I still decided to stick with it and do my thing.
Sometimes I laugh inside when I think back. One of the things that tickles me most is the fact that two walk-on athletes, Sam James and myself, were always looked at as the ones who would never make it far with the program. Then by my senior year I looked around and realized that we were the only two left out of a big group of sprinters whom started with us. This achievement alone kept me head strong these last two years and allowed me to hang on. Going into my senior year and knowing that the team was about to be overwhelmed with a big group of young freshmen, at first I had the mentality that I would stay to myself, but I quickly realized that I could not do that with the way that I am. The will to want to help others quickly dawned on me that I would make a good coach as well as an athlete. With that being said, I have decided rather than just moving on to do what I do, that I would try to stay and become an affective member of the coaching staff here at the U of Memphis. Hopefully, all that will work out and I will have a chance to spread my knowledge about the sport to help this program become the best in the conference and even in the nation.