So, who was most responsible for bringing Joey Porter's $200,000 donation to Colorado State? That would be former CSU quarterback Terry Nugent (1980-83), the second-leading passer in school history (just 38 yards shy of Kelly Stouffer's 7,141). Nugent works for UBS Financial Services and manages Porter's investment funds. He reportedly was the one to initiate the idea. Nugent, by the way, was in attendance at Saturday's Green and Gold Scrimmage game. Porter, however was not. He, along with former Ram teammates Erik Olson and Adrian Ross were partying near Porter's hometown of Bakersfield, Calif., and Olson, who was supposed to be Porter's wake-up call, failed to do his job.
At least one injured player who sat out this spring questioned whether CSU's high number of spring injuries is tied to strength/conditioning coach Greg Scanlan's training regimen. According to the player, under Scanlan's two-year watch, athletes are getting faster and stronger, but for some reason are seemingly becoming more prone to injuries.
Most Ram fans know that former Bronco quarterback Gary Kubiak's son--safety Klint Kubiak--will be on the CSU roster this fall. But just about all of the 4,000 or so fans on hand at Saturday's Green and Gold scrimmage were caught off guard when the relative of a much more famous former Broncos quarterback took the field. Justin Elway, cousin to Hall of Famer John Elway, is a 6-0, 200-lb walk-on quarterback from Los Alamitos, Calif. Justins grandfather and Johns deceased father, Jack, are brothers. Justin Elway, a sophomore transfer from Occidental College in Los Angeles, did not line up under center Saturday, but did run some routes as a receiver. Elway, who grew up in Montana, also considered transferring to Montana State before deciding on CSU. At Occidental, Elway threw for 947 yards and 13 touchdowns last season for the Division III Tigers, and led the team to four consecutive wins (in which he had 10 touchdowns and one interception) to close out a second-place conference finish. He rated 19th nationally in passer efficiency. He doesn't, however, compare himself to his more famous cousin. I dont think I have the best arm, but Im accurate," Justin Elway told D3Football.com. "I may not be the fastest guy on the field, but I try to be the smartest. I think I win games more with my brain than my physical ability.
By all accounts, the 2005 version of the Ram defense should be vastly improved. Coaches say they've seen considerable progress in the players' physicality and the way they have been "flying around" more this spring than last year. Defensive coordinator Steve Stanard credits that to coaches taking a slower approach to installing/teaching defensive schemes, rather than the "throw everything at you at once" theory. Players have responded by appearing more comfortable and grasping a better understanding of what they are supposed to be doing on each play.
In addition to the press box/luxury suites makeover Hughes Stadium is receiving this summer, athletic department officials are planning to install a "stadium wrap" on the cement wall that encircles the field. This green and gold decorative wrap will feature CSU logos to give the stadium's interior a more appealing look.
Athletic department officials currently have two samples of the new "alternate" gold jersey, with a third version yet to come. RamNation was given a sneak preview of two samples Saturday. One version is a lighter gold--similar to Georgia Tech colors, with thinner green numerals outlined in white. It features the Ram logo on the collar and says "Colorado State" below the collar, much like the team's current white jerseys. They are sharp, but the color is too light and does not accurately match the gold on the helmets. The second jersey is a darker gold that does match the helmets. However, this jersey features thicker, more blocky numerals without a white outline. The jersey looks much the 1995 style, except in gold. It also has the Ram logo on the collar, but does not say "Colorado State" below the collar. The final product will likely be a combination of the two current samples. The third sample should arrive within the next month. Head coach Sonny Lubick will have the final say on which jersey to pick. Whichever it is, it will be worn with new white pants (samples were not yet available), and per NCAA rules, will only be worn at home. These new jerseys and pants will become an "alternate uniform" that will complement the current set of jerseys and pants. So, the team will have a base set of three uniforms, with the capability of mixing and matching jerseys/pants to create up to nine different looks if desired.
The Colorado State club baseball team has made a big-time name for itself among the club sports ranks, going 27-1 during the 2003-04 campaign and rolling on to win the National Club Baseball Association World Series. Showing how far this club program has come, the Florida Marlins drafted Colorado State pitcher Nathan Nowicki in the 19th round of the 2003 Amateur Player Draft, making him the first player ever to be drafted out of the NCBA. But here's the most shocking part: According to CSU Senior Associate A.D. External Operations/Media Relations Director Gary Ozzello, the club team currently has a bigger budget than the athletic department had for the Division I program before it was dropped as a school-sponsored sport in the summer of 1992. The club team receives a limited annual stipend from the university, but the majority of the teams funds are generated by the players and coaching staff through fundraising activities and fees (each player pays $350/semester). While it is one of the best club programs in the nation and certainly raises a lot of money, the team is far from a Division I program. The team, which is coached by former CSU pitching star Frank Gonzalez, primarily competes against other club teams, but it occasionally plays junior colleges. The team went a combined 1-5 vs. Lamar CC and Otero JC earlier this season.
Director of Athletics Mark Driscoll attended the recent Final Four along with men's basketball coach Dale Layer. Admittedly a football guy, Driscoll reportedly came back with a fiery spirit and increased enthusiasm for basketball and how important a successful program can be for a university.
Retired numbers became a hot topic on the message board last week. CSU has five retired: No. 48, Fum McGraw (football and administrative legend); No. 12 Sherri Danielson (the first All American in volleyball in school history and player on 1984 U.S. Olympic team); No. 23, Bill Green (CSU's only men's basketball consensus All-American; first-round draft pick by the Boston Celtics); No. 21, Eddie Hanna (star football player who died during the 1949 Raisin Bowl season); No. 24 Becky Hammon (women's basketball All American and current professional).
While officials around the Mountain West Conference celebrated the announcement of the NCAA's certification of a second bowl game in San Diego--the Poinsettia Bowl--the game that the conference keeping a close eye on is the Insight Bowl in Phoenix. Although the bowl still has a year left on its contract with the Pac-10 and Big East, MWC officials have expressed confidence that the bowl will look to the Mountain West to replace the Big East starting in 2007. If the Pac-10's bowl alignments remain the same, the game would pit an MWC team vs. the Pac-10 No. 4. If a deal can be worked out, there's a good chance the Insight Bowl could become the home for the MWC's champ. Of course, the MWC would hope the bowl would eventually improve its minimum payout of $750,000. The Insight Bowl is run by the same group that puts on the Fiesta Bowl where Utah crashed the BCS last year. The 16-year-old bowl game has been fairly popular since moving from Tucson to the 42,915-seat Bank One Ball Park in Phoenix in 2000. This year, the MWC champ is likely destined for the Las Vegas Bowl or the San Francisco Bowl, assuming a deal is not struck with the Liberty. The MWC is pushing for no more than a one-year deal with the Liberty Bowl, and does not want to commit the league champ to the game. If a deal with the Liberty Bowl is signed, the MWC will have four bowl games this season. The Fort Worth Bowl is expected to join the lineup next year.
The Green and Gold scrimmage game was one of Trae Pepper's favorite events. Even though he passed away in march, Trae's wife Lisa, and two kids Hailey and Taren, attended the game Saturday. Lisa says the family is managing to get by in this tough time, and the kids were in high spirits Saturday. Taren was seeking out his favorite player--David Anderson--for an autograph. Meanwhile, a poker game organized by Nate Robertson and Kevin Hammer and hosted by Armando Monge's "Edwards Pipe and Tobacco" store, raised nearly $500 for the Trae Pepper Memorial Fund. To make a donation, please visit Trae's page HERE.
For you Denverites, or anyone who can't get into the Fort Collins Ram Club golf tournament at SouthRidge golf course, you better sign up quickly for the brand-new Ram Club event in Denver, to be played at the Jim Engh-designed Fossil Trace golf course in Golden on Monday May 23. Fox Sports has signed on as the title sponsor for the tournament. To find out more or place your reservation over the phone, call 970-491-4666. Or, click here to obtain the brochure/reservation form to fax in. The deadline is May 11. The entry fee is $150, and includes post-golf dining.