Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Anything Can Happen Day

Time to catch up on a few subjects and run some quick hits from across the Conference, hence "Anything Can Happen Day"...if that old pop culture reference eludes you, help awaits at the end of today's post...

NFL DRAFT
Kudos to Liberty RB Rashad Jennings (pictured), selected in the 7th round by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jennings was the Big South's Offensive Player of the Year both coming into and out of the 2008 season on his way to All-American status. He joins fellow Big South alums Tyler Thigpen (CCU QB, Minnesota 2007) and Brian Johnston (GWU DE, Kansas City 2008) as 7th round selections in three consecutive seasons. The highest Big South pick remains Jerome Simpson's 2nd round selection by the Bengals last year. But wait, there's more...because after the conclusion of the Draft, Gardner-Webb WR Dobson Collins signed a free agent deal with the San Francisco 49ers. A big "congrats" SHOUT-out to Rashad & Dobson--good luck with your pro careers!


NCAA TOURNAMENTS

The recent Big South Championships mean representatives at the next level, and we know some of those match-ups now...
Women's Tennis--Winthrop will travel to Clemson again, where the Lady Eagles were ousted (4-0) by the Lady Tigers a year ago. They'll try to return the favor Friday, May 8th.

Men's Tennis--Radford (and FOUR-time Conference Player of the Year Martin Sayer, pictured at right) will play as the third seed in the Knoxville Regional, facing second seed Duke (host Tennessee has the top seed of the regional and will play fourth seed ETSU). The Highlanders will hit also hit the court Friday, May 8th.
Women's Golf--Coastal Carolina is bound for the NCAA East Regional, to be played in Gainesville, FL. There are 21 teams at the Regional, with only eight squads advancing to the next round of competition. They'll play it out May 7th-9th.

FLAME BURNING THE TRACK
Liberty's Sam Chelanga is fast--you may know that part already, considering how many races he's won and records he's set while running for the Flames (see him pictured in lead at right). But do you know what he did a few days ago in New York at the NY Road Runners Distance Carnival? Oh...he won the 10k... with a time that broke the old NCAA best time...by FIVE SECONDS (an eternity for these things)...to set the best mark in the WORLD this year at 27:28:48.
That's all...thought you should know.
Almost forgot, one more thing--he beat FIVE Olympians in that race.
Sam Chelanga, we'd salute you--if we could only catch up with you...good grief, man, that was fast!!!!

AND THEN THERE WERE TWO...
...Championships, that is...Softball will play out its final showdowns with the Big South Conference Championship in Radford, May 7-9 (all games streaming on The EDGE). Radford and Winthrop have a big leg up on the competition going in, but will they be the last two teams standing come the final day? Could be interesting... Baseball has three weeks before we know who clinches a berth in the Regionals, but Liberty and Winthrop will be among the teams giving Coastal Carolina a firm challenge this time around. They'll play out the double-elimination bracket May 19-23 at Asheville's McCormick Field (UNCA will be the host school for the event at the minor league park, but the Bulldogs are not expected to make the eight-team field).

GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN
The Big South Conference family lost a member this week, always a sad thing to note...but this passing seems especially poignant given the Big South's 25th Anniversary celebration: Conference co-founder George Christenberry, President Emeritus of Augusta State University, died last week at age 93. Dr. Christenberry, an inaugural member of the Big South Hall of Fame, was the first Conference President, and the Big South's highest academic honor for student-athletes bears his name. He leaves a remarkable legacy in education and holds a permanent place of honor for all of us in the Big South Conference.

I'll wrap the news and notes for now--and turn things over to this week's "On The EDGE" for the scoop on what's coming next for our week in video streaming...

video


Okay, okay, you've been patient...
"Anything Can Happen Day" was the Wednesday theme of...


The Mickey Mouse Club:
M-I-C (see you real soon), K-E-Y (why? because we like you), M-O-U-S-EEEEE.
And that's SHOUT...out!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Today's Buzzword: Synergy

No one likes overused business buzzwords, like say, "buzzword," but here's a quick note about "synergy"... Why? Because the new internet landscape nearly demands it!

If you've been paying attention lately, you've seen that the Big South has grown from its main website of several years time, to the addition of this blog just over a year ago (a matter of some debate at the time, actually), to the rapid expansion this year into YouTube, facebook, and Twitter!

We encourage you to keep up with the Big South Conference through any and all of these methods--whatever is convenient, fun, interesting, and valuable for you. You'll see some content overlap, of course, but we feel that each of these "new media" has something special to offer and brings some unique content to the table.

Anyway, back to "synergy": no doubt you've seen each of these elements promoting the others--SHOUT posts like this pointing out all these outlets, Twitter updates sending followers to the main site, facebook status links to the blog, and so on, bringing users from one to another (working together, feeding into and out of each other: synergy).

The latest addition to this circle (or "web" if I may): recent Twitter updates feeding directly to SHOUT, appearing in the right column of the page. At this time, it's set to show the last three "tweets" (not a big fan of that terminology, but what can you do?)...

There you have it: another day in the life of what you might call the Big South Online Network, one big happy synergetic family!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On The EDGE?

Between you and me, I usually just knock those weekly EDGE promos/updates out on the first take and run with them like that...but some days you just can't talk, or the audio doesn't work, or the graphics aren't there, or, like today: (D) all of the above. Good grief.

Here's what finally came together after some botched trials and errors--hope it works!
video


And THIS JUST IN...the Men's Golf Championship finished up today, with Coastal Carolina University taking the crown--that's an unbelievable SIX straight titles for CCU Men's Golf!

Congratulations, Chanticleers!

The only championships left for 2008-09 now are in softball and baseball, so get ready for the race to the wire in those sports...and that's SHOUT--out!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Parade of Champions

Why use words when we have pictures (and links, too) to salute the winners today?
Here are the five Big South Conference 2009 team champions crowned in the last week--congratulations to you all!!!





WOMEN'S GOLF:
COASTAL CAROLINA








MEN'S TENNIS:
RADFORD










WOMEN'S TENNIS:
WINTHROP







MEN'S OUTDOOR
TRACK & FIELD:
LIBERTY







WOMEN'S OUTDOOR
TRACK & FIELD:
COASTAL CAROLINA


Friday, April 17, 2009

Weekender Quick Hits

Not going to take much of your time, but here are some things to chew on for this weekend...

SOFTBALL -- The Big South's top two teams right now will face off in a nationally-televised game on ESPNU this Sunday at 2pm, when Winthrop visits Radford...get the details at this link.

TENNIS & TRACK -- It's a good time so far for the favorites/top seeds/defending champions. For tennis, last year's winners have each clinched spots in their respective finals: Radford for the men and Winthrop for the women. At track & field, the defending outdoor champs (and indoor winners) each hold leads on the rest of the group: Liberty for the men and Coastal Carolina for the women. Come late Saturday afternoon, we'll have four more champions with their titles in hand--will it be a series of repeats or will someone else break through?

GOLF -- Congratulations to Coastal Carolina, Big South Women's Golf Champions for 2009! They settled that title on Wednesday afternoon. By next Wednesday afternoon, we'll know if the men can make it a CCU sweep on the links...the Chanticleers will be the favorite among the field, but anything can happen once the ball starts rolling, so stay tuned.

BASEBALL -- The final month of the season begins, and that turns every Conference series into crunch time. This weekend we have two full series (Friday-Saturday-Sunday) being streamed on The Big South EDGE: Coastal Carolina at High Point and Winthrop at Liberty, both of which could have significant impacts on the standings...good thing you don't have to miss any of the action thanks to the video streaming, right? Look into the Baseball Weekly Pass, which would allow you to get all six of those games for the price of two!

Okay, folks, that's all for now--have a great weekend (and good luck to your favorite Big South teams)!



Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Championship Week(s) are Here!

Hello, Championships!

Women's Golf...started Monday, finishes today, Coastal Carolina with the lead going into today's play (Charleston Southern won the title last year). In the awards announced this week (full story at this link), Charleston Southern’s Olivia Jordan-Higgins and Coastal Carolina’s Aruka Felgueroso were voted the 2008-09 Big South Co-Women’s Golfers of the Year by the League’s head coaches.

Track & Field...the men's and women's outdoor championships will be staged Thursday-Saturday at Radford. Be advised: most events will be streamed live on The Big South EDGE, but not all will be available because host school RU is using more than one location for the championships...all the throwing events, for example, will not be at the track site--and therefore won't make the streaming coverage.

Tennis...the men's and women's tennis championships will be played Thursday-Saturday at Winthrop. Winthrop has the top women's seed and Radford has the top men's seed, as was the case last year when those programs won their respective crowns at the same site. Speaking of deja vu, I'll be the host/MC for the tennis student-athletes' banquet tonight at WU, just like a year ago (and honestly, it was a surprise then, but I knew in advance this time)! These matches will also be streamed--separate video streams for men's and women's coverage are both included in the subscription price...here's the video update with more (on location at the WU tennis press box):

video

As banquet host, I know the award winners already--but I'm sworn to secrecy; you'll never get it out of me!

Men's Golf
...the final championship of this initial spring swing is men's golf, which, like its counterpart, will be held at The Patriot Golf Club in Ninety-Six, SC. Play runs next Monday-Wednesday (4/20-22), with defending champion and event host Coastal Carolina as the top seed.

Then we all get a moment to catch our breath before diving into the May championship tournaments for softball (5/7-5/9) and baseball (5/19-5/23).

Always a fun ride at this time of year--hang on and enjoy!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Behind the Scenes: Moe & The Highlander

No, the post title today is not a reference to some arcane indie production crossing the Three Stooges with sword-wielding immortals, but somebody's probably going to green-light that any day now.

But seriously (or at least semi-seriously) folks--it's time for our last installment of the original and uncut school-supplied mascot dance videos! So far you've seen the offerings from PC, UNCA, LU, CCU, and WU...leaving us with RU and VMI (making seven in all, no video this time around for HPU, CSU, and GWU).

VMI Keydets & Moe...
video


RU & The Highlander...
video


Speaking of the Highlander--here's some "you may have missed it" coverage devoted to the hirsute Scotsman from RU's NCAA Tournament appearance:
#1 on list of "Best Dressed March Madness Mascots" at SI.com.
"...might have the best mascot in the tourney," according to the blog from Mouthpiece Sports.
And there's plenty more where that came from--do a search for "Radford Highlanders mascot" and you'll get a bunch of articles and blogs from tourney time ranging from the curious to the awestruck over the unusual character from the Big South (including one that had RU's symbolic hero in its "elite eight" bracket of mascots--where it got burned by the Arizona State Sun Devil before it could make the Final Four).


Before I hit the dusty Easter Monday trail away from the blog posting world for the day, here come a couple Big South SHOUT-outs!!!!


--to Megan Frazee, LU senior (pictured), selected by the San Antonio Silver Spurs in the WNBA Draft with the 14th overall selection--the first pick of the draft's second round and the first pick San Antonio had in the draft. Way to go, Megan, and best of luck to you in the WNBA!


--to Dustin Johnson, CCU alumnus, second golfer in history to log CONSECUTIVE EAGLES in Masters play at Augusta--that's back-to-back holes, a par five and a par four. He carded a couple of eagles in Friday's round as well, so those holes alone should give him a pretty good set of glasses as a memorable souvenir from his first Masters (Augusta National presents a pair of crystal goblets for an eagle). He finished one under par in his opening try at the "tradition unlike any other," which is a tremendous feat (tied for 30th with the likes of former champions Larry Mize and Vijay Singh, among others)--nice work, Dustin!

Speaking of golf, the Big South Women's Golf Championship has begun in Ninety-Six, SC. Best of luck to all the competitors (and watch out for the track and tennis championships hitting before the week is out)!

We hope you make frequent stops at www.BigSouthSports.com, but don't forget--we also need more followers on Twitter/BigSouthSports and more fans at our Big South Facebook page...plus you're always welcome to see what we've got at YouTube/BigSouthSports!!! SHOUT...out.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Coach Update

New Liberty Men's Basketball Head Coach: Dale Layer...announcement made Wednesday afternoon--learn more at BigSouthSports.com.

Breaking News--Coach Announcement!

Liberty will announce its new Head Coach for Men's Basketball in a news conference at the LU campus this afternoon (Wednesday, 4/8, event starts approximately 4pm).

While campus reps are mum on the name going into the announcement, we can say the big moment will be available on The EDGE in a FREE and LIVE video stream!

Click here to view the schedule of upcoming EDGE events (with the LU coach announcement topping that list at the time of this post).

The new team leader will be the eighth head coach in the history of the Liberty program, and will replace Ritchie McKay, who recently stepped down to take an Assistant Coach position with Virginia.

Behind the Scenes: Chauncy & Big Stuff

Not to keep anyone in suspense any longer--time for more from our trip through the dance videos of our Big South mascots. Today we take in a pair from the Palmetto State: Coastal Carolina's Chauncy and Winthrop's Big Stuff (and after that, we'll hit the weekly On The EDGE review)...enjoy!

Coastal Carolina...
video


Winthrop...
video

And now...another edition of "On The EDGE"...here we go:
video

Don't forget--CHAMPIONSHIP TIME is back:
Women's Golf April 13-15,
Outdoor Track & Field (Men/Women): April 16-18,
Tennis (Men/Women): April 16-18,
Men's Golf: April 20-22.
Best of luck to all the competitors!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Behind the Scenes: Blue Hose/Rocky/Sparky

You know, a lot of people enjoyed the Big South's "Dancing Mascots" tourney promo...in fact, when shown in arenas, it often turned into cheering contests for the mascot of choice. It was all done in fun and we enjoy sharing the laugh with everyone (even if we can't do it on YouTube--and no, we don't want a song substitute from the generic audio library, thank you).

But the edited group video is only part of the story. We've all gotten such a kick out of the original material in the Conference office, we've decided that (since all of college basketball is closing out the season this week) it's time to share that source video with you--that's right, here's your chance to see the uncut clips that came in from our schools!

Today's SHOUT will have three of the seven (not ten, as three member schools had either no video available or file was unusable). In the next few days, we'll follow with more--but please be clear--we do not claim to be putting them in any particular order.

So with no further adieu, "overture, curtain, lights..."

Presbyterian...
video


UNC Asheville...
video

Liberty...
video

That's all (for now) folks!

By the way, don't forget you can find us on facebook (become a fan of the page & keep up with us whenever you enjoy facebook--today linking back here to SHOUT!), follow us on Twitter (with quick drops earlier today on the Baseball and Softball Weekly Awards), watch us on YouTube (with all the Best of the Best stories and your weekly On The EDGE promos), and--as always--get all the latest updates on BigSouthSports.com (home of the Big South Conference)!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

As the Conference Turns...

A variety-pack of things to report and share today...let's jump right into the headlines...



Liberty's Ritchie McKay Makes "Cavalier" Move
Turns out Seth Curry isn't the only one leaving Lynchburg for the ACC these days...just a week after the Conference Freshman of the Year announced his departure from Liberty (and subsequently his impending arrival at Duke), Curry's former coach stepped down from his post at LU today (4/1). Early reports--including ESPN's Andy Katz, among others--had Ritchie McKay (pictured) taking an Assistant Coach position at Virginia under new Head Coach Tony Bennett (must...fight off...singer...jokes). Late in the afternoon, that was confirmed by McKay and Liberty in a joint release. For McKay, it is an opportunity to work with someone he considers a close friend and mentor in Bennett, so the move makes sense for him on a personal level. For Liberty, the questions created for the Flames in a world without Curry grow exponentially with the head man out the door, so stay tuned...



The Cautionary Tale of Dustin Johnson
Previously in this space, we have lauded the successes of former Coastal Carolina golfer Dustin Johnson. One of the Big South's 25th Anniversary "Best of the Best" honorees and now a two-time event winner on the PGA Tour, Johnson got arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Myrtle Beach on Monday. According to his statement, released by the PGA Tour, Johnson says, "I made an error in judgment that I deeply regret...rest assured, I will definitely learn from my mistake." In addition to breaking the law, Johnson has done two things that student-athletes (and all of us, really) should pay close attention to: he has turned his positive publicity (currently 40th in the world and 9th in FedEx Cup standings) into negative notoriety in an instant with one bad decision; and he has prompted news agencies to dredge up his past, so that the AP story and versions of it, running in countless media outlets, cite not only the DUI, but also legal trouble from 2001...nothing is forgotten in the Information Age. We would have been writing about an up-and-coming golfer approaching his first Masters, but instead...


Okay, are we done with those stories?
Good.


Liberty Takes Sasser Cup Lead
After the fall sports, Coastal Carolina led the Big South's overall standings in the Conference all-sports competition (Sasser Cup). Add in the swing through the winter championships, and Liberty has overtaken Coastal for the lead heading into the decisive spring sports. Along the way, Liberty has pulled down titles in men's cross country, volleyball, football, men's indoor track, and women's basketball--and LU currently holds the lead for the Men's All-Sport honor. Coastal Carolina has claimed championships in women's cross country and women's indoor track--and CCU currently holds the lead for the Women's All-Sport honor.


The Big South Conference: We Are EVERYWHERE
Well, at least we're TRYING to be. It all started with BigSouthSports.com a while back, naturally, but things couldn't stop there--so just over a year ago BigSouthSHOUT joined the family as another chance to pick up on Conference stories. But wait, there's more! Last fall, the Big South was one of the first college outlets to make a "Vortex" available so you could take widgets to the next level (grab YOUR Vortex). Already this year, we have seen even more additions to the online spread of the Big South with the Conference's own YouTube channel (YouTube.com/BigSouthSports)--and now you can find us on facebook and Twitter! Be a fan of our facebook page...follow us on Twitter...and keep reading SHOUT.


The EDGE
All right, enough words--let's try some video: time to preview the week ahead in video streaming on The Big South EDGE!
video

Welcome to April, everybody--six more team champions to be crowned this month: golf/tennis/outdoor track each for men and for women...should be fun!