Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Greetings, Big South friends, fans, family, and followers...Happy New Year!

Tonight marks an annual turning point--and I'm not talking about NBA free agency here.

With the end of June and the start of July, it's the functional transition point from one year's calendar to the next. For the Big South, we move from one fiscal year to the next, but it also represents a definable moment where "this year" becomes "last year" and "next year" becomes "this year"...or is that confusing?

By and large, it means we can do a little less looking back and a little more looking forward.
After all, July may be the thick of summer, but before the month is out we
will hit Big South Football Media Day. And once you're there, it's a full-tilt countdown to the season itself--for all the fall sports, really--and the whole thing is rolling again.

So there is plenty on the planning tables here...stepping up things for the Big South Network with an effort toward more original programming to support the huge number of live events that we will again have available...improving the interactive content quality through this blog, plus our main Facebook and Twitter pages, and possible additions to that social networking family...and of course an overall commitment to making our events and championships the best they can be, along with enthusiastic support for our branding and mission: Developing Leaders Through Athletics.

Some of you are bound to ask about our, no changes for this year (Texas wouldn't return our phone calls--we thought they were ready to move...and if you're new to SHOUT, that qualifies as wild sarcasm, so please don't take that kind of remark seriously).

In fact, Presbyterian College still has one more transition year for most sports--the final year of the NCAA's lengthy process. PC will be eligible again in its "fast-tracked" sports (softball and men's tennis), but any potential championships in other sports will have to wait another season. As for Campbell University, the Fighting Camels will play one more year in the Atlantic Sun before a welcome return to the Big South next year.

Put another way, no sports will have more than nine teams competing for titles this year (2010-11)...but next year (2011-12) we'll see plenty with eleven squads fighting for the crown.

Before we go, a nod from Big South SHOUT to the South Carolina Gamecocks for winning the College World Series and the NCAA Baseball Championship...USC has been waiting for that one a long time--and they had to go through the Myrtle Beach Super Regional and Coastal Carolina to get to Omaha. CCU played the Gamecocks tough in two games, but came up just short. In the end, we see how strong USC was, but that also speaks volumes for the kind of team the Chanticleers put on the field this past season. Good work by both teams!

Shameless plug time: Coastal Carolina 2010 Big South Baseball Champions shirts are still available through the Big South Online Store!!! If you haven't visited the new store yet, go give it a look. Expect big things there in the upcoming year as well...

That's my time, folks, you've been great--drive home safely. SHOUT--out...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wrapping Up--or Starting Over?

Truth is (regarding the title question), it's a little of both...when a season draws to a close, it's easy to think of it in terms of reviews, wraps, and retrospectives--and there's always a need for that kind of thing--but it remains a fact of the modern athletics industry (collegiate or professional) that there is no longer an "off-season"...only PRE-season.

When we last left SHOUT at the previous post, we were in the thick of the Conference Baseball Championship Tournament. Since then, top-seeded Coastal Carolina did indeed take that title, albeit with somewhat more drama than an undefeated Big South season would imply. Liberty fought CCU for that crown, and although the Flames had a good overall record, they wound up on the outside of the NCAA bubble looking in...

As for the Chanticleers, they hosted the Myrtle Beach Regional, which saw the ouster of NC State, Stony Brook (our football associate member--hello, Seawolves!), and Coastal nemesis College of Charleston. The CCU-CoC duels wound up being wild rides with high scores, multiple ties, lead changes, extra innings, arguments, and more thrills. In the end, the Chants survived and kept their #4 national seed (a first for the Big South) alive into the Super Regionals to face another Palmetto State rival: South Carolina.

Many of you are aware, but here's the quick rehash so we're all on the same page: many years ago, Coastal was part of the USC system and was under that umbrella. The familiarity between the two led to a similarity between mascots and a sharing of team colors (since dispatched and replaced by CCU). The relationship shifted when the kids wanted to move out of the house, so to speak, as Coastal broke from the USC network and went on its own. Aside from the exceptionally rare forced/accidental pairing (not set scheduling), the two had not met in competition since. Voila, instant subtext for the Super Regional. Add in a little grousing from the Gamecock faithful on how ticket selling was handled, and you know you've got some bitterness off the field.

Meanwhile, on the field, you had two of the nation's top teams squaring off, and the match-up was indeed a quality one. The games had plenty of intrigue, as many of CCU's post-season efforts did. Unfortunately for Coastal, the "dream season" would end with a two-game exit against USC rather than with a trip to Omaha. A shame, really, but after all, it was still a tremendous season--and only eight squads get to make that trek to Rosenblatt Stadium.

But it's not ALL baseball, not with the conclusion to the Outdoor Track & Field season happening in grand fashion at the NCAA Championships in Eugene. Seven Big South student-athletes competed at the event, all doing their programs proud, but none more so than Liberty running star Sam Chelanga. The distance specialist dominated the 10K race to claim HIS SECOND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR (going with his individual title in cross country). Before coming back to Liberty, he had a shot at another giant win, but finished the meet with a runner-up finish in the close and yet...

We naturally salute Chelanga for that feat and for being the Big South Conference Male Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year, along with his female counterpart for the OTFAY honor: UNC Asheville's Natalie Pearson. Great seasons for both competitors and well-deserved honors also--so consider our SHOUT-out just the icing on the cake, okay?

Yeah, so there's the what?

Well, since you asked...would you believe we're already more than halfway through June?
The month began with the annual Big South Spring Meetings, where lots of policy adjustments and decisions affecting the coming year are made. A number of other meetings dot the summer schedule, but the tent pole holding everything up between the end of one academic-athletic calendar and the next is Football Media Day. You may not believe it, but that's mere weeks from now, just over a month--on July 29th, and then it's full speed into fall sports...oh my...anyway, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the Dads out there...SHOUT--out!