After finishing 9-18 amid fierce NCAA Division II competition, men’s basketball looks toward the upcoming season with confidence and determination to improve. Last season, the challenges of increased competition, injuries, and ineligibility issues burdened the men’s basketball squad, but the team is more than ready to face another tough road in the Heartland Conference.
The experience of playing a difficult conference schedule will only help the Lions, who return most of their starters from last season including guard Josh Simmons who earned Honorable Mention All-Conference honors. Simmons was the Lion’s leading scorer and rebounder averaging 15.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. As a two-time Conference Player of the Week, Simmons’ experience will be a valuable asset to the Lions this season.
Head coach Josh Newman has the spent summer recruiting and evaluating players to replace the four who left last year. During the off-season, Lions head Coach Josh Newman added three Division I transfers and one incoming freshman to augment his roster of returning players:
“The fact that we can recruit good players from other states shows how great UAFS,” Newman said. Winning games will prove important but a championship is still out of the question due to the restrictions that come with provisional membership in NCAA Division II.
However, with the returning experience, added talent, and plenty of time to prepare, the 2010-11 basketball season looks promising for the Lions, who open the regular season against Hillsdale College on November 15 at Stubblefield Center.
The team also welcomes new assistant coach Keith Dickhudt, a 25-year-old from St. Paul, Minnesota, who holds bachelor and master’s degrees in mass communication, will oversee post players and video exchange and will assist with recruiting and academics.
Dickhudt was formerly video coordinator at NCAA Division I North Dakota State University, after working his way up from being student manager and graduate assistant manager. He spent five years with the North Dakota State Bisons and participated in that school’s 2009 transition from NCAA Division II to Division I.
The Lions have a full exhibition schedule this season; not only will they open the season at Missouri State University on November 6, they are also slated to play at the University of Tulsa on November 7, and will finish at the University of Missouri on November 12. The final game will be televised by Fox Sports Midwest.
Later in November, the team will open the regular season against Hillsdale Collage on the 15th and will compete in the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Invitational November 18-20. In December, the Lions will host the Dr. Douglas W. Parker Jr. M.D. Memorial Lions Classic on the 3rd and 4th, and will attend the Quincy University Classic in Illinois on the 18-19.
Additional information for the men’s team is available at http://www.uafortsmithlions.com/index.aspx?path=mbball&.
Joining the women’s basketball team this season as assistant coaches are LaToya Rose, former head junior varsity coach and assistant senior high coach at North Forest High School in Houston, Texas, and Ann Seufer, a former guard for the NCAA Division III Quakers of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.
Rose, a native of Magnolia, Arkansas, will act as recruiting coordinator and will direct the weight-lifting and conditioning program. She attended Walker High School in Magnolia, and graduated from Texas A&M University in 2002.
As a Lady Aggie, Rose played guard for four seasons, and ended her career 7th on the Aggies’ all-time 3-point field goals made list (107), and is 5th all-time in 3-point field goals attempted (371). She also played professionally for one season in Keflavik, Iceland.
Seufer, a native of Williamstown, Virginia, attended Williamstown High School and graduated from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina in 2010. She was the Lady Quakers’ all-time career leader in 3-pointers made (227) and attempted (717), and holds Guilford’s records for 3-pointers in a game (8) and season (62). She also ranked 15th among Guilford's scoring leaders with 1,027 points.
A National Honor Society member and dean's list business management major at Guilford, Seufer will be in charge of academics and game-day travel and will assist with the weight-lifting and conditioning program.
The two women replace former Lady Lions assistant coach Tiffany Swoffard, who was hired as an assistant coach at NCAA Division I Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.
The Lady Lions are practicing with a great deal of commitment and have the advantage of seeing a large number of returning players. The team finished last season 12-14 overall and 9-7 in the Heartland Conference.
Women’s basketball coach Louis Whorton has signed three new players for the team:
Additional information for the Lady Lions is available at http://www.uafortsmithlions.com/index.aspx?path=wbball&.
The University added Cross Country to their list of sports last year, and the team matured quickly in what is best described as a learning year. In their second season, the UA Fort Smith Cross Country teams are off to a running start under the direction of Head Coach Jason Merritt.
With mixed experience in both the men’s and women’s groups, the Lions finished 10th and the Lady Lions finished 11th on September 3 at the Baylor Bears Twilight Invitational. Seven men finished top 100 in the 6k event. Likewise, seven women runners finished the 4k race in the top 100 at the Invitational.
The men’s team has two returning starters, Sean Geraghty of Fort Smith and Rylan Williams of Waldron, Arkansas. They are joined by newcomers Blake Branham of Hackett, Arkansas; Tyler Davis of Charleston, Arkansas; TaBaris and TaTaris Earnest, twin brothers from Conway, Arkansas; Josh Garcia of Booneville, Arkansas; Kolby Jones of Marion, Arkansas; and Josh McDonald of Muldrow, Oklahoma.
The women’s team has two returning starters, Erica Burgess of Converse, Texas, and sophomore Jacqueline Bowen of Rogers, Arkansas. The women are joined by newcomers Monica Burgess of Converse, Texas, sister of Erica Burgess; Pamela Chavez of Van Buren, Arkansas; Nancy Guillen of Booneville, Arkansas; Carter Honea of Fort Smith; Amanda Moore of Cabot, Arkansas; Debra Silva of Muldrow, Oklahoma; Sarah Snyder of Fort Smith; Hanna Watlington of Fort Smith; and Rebecca Wheeley of Rogers, Arkansas.
During the season opener at the Baylor Bears’ Twilight Invitational at Waco, Texas, the men’s and women’s teams finished 10th and 11th respectively, with TaBaris Earnest and Erica Burgess leading the way.
The Lions and Lady Lions have also competed at:
Both teams are scheduled for the Heartland Conference Meet in Wichita, Kansas on November 6.
Additional information on both the men’s and women’s teams can be found at http://www.uafortsmithlions.com/index.aspx?path=mcross&.
The Men’s and Women’s golf teams each earned top five finishes at the Heartland Conference Tournament in Oklahoma City last May. At the tournament the Lions shot 16-over par 880 and the Lady Lions finished 63-over par 639 landing each in fifth place out of nine teams.
The Lions open this season with a mixed squad of returning golfers including senior Will Fogleman of Marion, Arkansas. Fogleman was named to the All-Heartland Conference Second Team last year. He is joined by freshmen Chad Matthews of Van Buren and Josh Alford, also from Marion. The Lions began their season on September 20 against Harding University at Stone Links Golf Course in Little Rock.
Led by seniors Jena Alexander, Johannah Hendrix, and Lacy Martin, the Lady Lions team brings experience and talent for the season. Their second provisional year in NCAA Division II began September 13 against Drury University at Ledgeston Country Club in Branson Missouri.
Statistics for the men’s team are available at http://www.uafortsmithlions.com/custompages/Men%27s%20Golf/teamcume.htm.
The Lady Lions volleyball team returns this season to polish their serving, setting and spiking skills, and with high expectations for another successful Division II year. The Lions began two-a-day practices August 16th with everybody back “in very good shape” according to Head Coach Jane Sargent.
Boasting a 32-4 record last fall, the Lady Lions completed their ninth 30-win season during which they upheld a 17-match win streak. The team returns this year with a roster of veteran players and two incoming freshmen.
Because the University is once again a provisional member of NCAA Division II, competing for regular season championships and post season play are out of the picture. For this reason, Sargent redshirted four key players:
All four seniors will sit out 2010-11 in hope of returning the following season to compete for a championship in the Heartland Conference and on the national level.
This season, three starters return including Fort Smith native Jettie Stec; senior hitter Brittany Hunt; and Chantlee Nash, middle hitter from Fayetteville, Arkansas. Joining this trio are two freshmen and a sophomore, added during the off-season for depth.
Over the Labor Day weekend, the Lions competed in the University of Nebraska-Omaha Showcase tournament. Despite losing to the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Emporia State, and University of Nebraska-Omaha, the Lady Lions overcame Chadron State with a shut-out victory.
Their current record is 16-12 overall, 6-0 home, 5-6 away, and 5-6 neutral.
Individual player statistics by game and cumulative stats can be found at http://www.uafortsmithlions.com/custompages/gallery/VB/teamstat.htm?path=wvball