Around 60 high school juniors--many of whom are considered legitimate Division I prospects--attended Colorado State football's “Junior Day” Sunday. The event, which is not open to the public, provides an opportunity for prospective athletes to learn more about Colorado State and for Colorado State to learn about the players, but no physical workouts are permitted at the event. Typically, head coach Sonny Lubick meets with the players as a group, then the players break down by position with the assistant coaches. They watch video tape of how CSU practices and go through tours of various facilities, including the stadium, weight room and campus. Prospects also have a chance to visit with a host of academic advisors to learn about the courses and majors that CSU offers.
If the old 16-team Western Athletic Conference were still intact, it may have had the makings of a powerhouse conference in 2005. Five of college football's 20 winningest active head coaches are currently coaching for teams in the "old WAC". Rice's Ken Hatfield is No. 5 with 167 career wins, Air Force's Fisher DeBerry is No. 7 with 161, San Jose State's Dick Tomey is No. 8 with 158, UTEP's Mike Price is No. 11 with 137 and Colorado State's Sonny Lubick is No. 15 with 116. In addition, former New Mexico coach Dennis Franchione (now at Texas A&M) is sixth with 166 wins and former Wyoming coach Joe Tiller (now at Purdue) is tied for 18th with 101. Lubick is seven games behind Tennessee's Phillip Fulmer and Michigan State's John L. Smith. He's ahead of such names as Minnesota's Glen Mason (110), Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez (108) and Oregon's Mike Belotti (101). Lubick's .624 winning percentage is 13th best among active coaches.
When linebacker Nate Kvamme knocked Kansas State starting quarterback Matt Miller out of the 1995 Holiday Bowl with a big hit, it appeared Colorado State would have a shot at beating the talented Wildcats. Instead, a previously unheralded backup quarterback entered the game, leading his team to a 54-21 victory over the Rams with one of the most impressive quarterbacking performance in the bowl game's history. Then-junior Brian Kavanagh, who replaced Miller early in the second quarter of that game, completed 18 of 24 passes for 242 yards and 4 touchdowns, earning the game's Offensive MVP award. His four touchdowns equal performances by Jim McMahon (BYU, 1980) and Major Applewhite (Texas, 2001) for the Holiday Bowl's all-time best. Kavanagh was recently voted into the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl Hall of fame and will be part of induction ceremonies June 16 in San Diego.
Former New Mexico linebacker was Nick Speegle was a sixth-round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns during last month's NFL draft. Though Speegle wasn't invited to the Senior Bowl or the NFL combine in Indianapolis, he was targeted by NFL teams for his toughness. Speegle recently told the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper a story exemplifying his toughness, which grew legendary in Albuquerque during the Lobos' 2003 game vs. Colorado State. He developed a staph infection in his right armpit during the season, and before the November 7 game vs. CSU (a 37-34 Lobos victory), trainers cut a quarter-sized boil out of his armpit. "They had to hold me down and while I bit down on a mouthpiece," Speegle told the paper. "That was the worst experience of my life." Speegle played the entire game and notched his first sack of the year. "After the game, you still have a hole in your armpit and they had to clean it with hydrogen peroxide and stuff it with gauze. It's not a pretty story," Speegle said.
Former Ram defensive tackle Bryan Save (2000-03) recorded two sacks for the Cologne Centurions in their 20-17 win over Frankfurt Saturday in NFL Europe action. His second sack of the day was a key play in the game, coming during a late fourth quarter drive by Frankfurt. Save, who is the starting left tackle, now has four sacks in seven games for the league-leading Centurions. He signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent in January.
Heading into his third season as an assistant coach at UCLA, former Ram linebacker/assistant coach Brian Schneider will be granted more responsibility in coaching special teams according to head coach Karl Dorrell. This year, Schneider will be in charge of all special teams units in addition to coaching the outside linebackers and nickel backs. He previously helped with the outside linebackers and nickel backs, but on special teams, only oversaw punt coverage/punt return teams. CSU's special teams thrived under Schneider during his six-year tenure prior to leaving for UCLA.
Salina (Kan.) Central junior tailback Jake Sharp (5-10, 173 lb), a CSU football recruit for 2006, recently took part in the invitation-only Nike training camp on the Kansas State University campus, one of 12 such camps being conducted this spring across the nation. Sharp, who earned all-state honors following his junior season this year when he rushed for 2,330 yards and 33 touchdowns is one of Kansas’ top prospects for the coming season. He performed so well at the camp, that KU offered him a scholarship on the spot—his first. He earned the highest SPARQ rating — based on speed, power, agility, reaction and quickness — among the camp’s 230 participants. While he says he is still considering “a lot of schools”, he lists CSU as one of his top three, among KU and Kansas State. He plans to visit Colorado State as one of his five official recruiting trips.
Ever wonder who designed/developed Moby Arena? Don Dethlefs of Sink Combs Dethlefs, was the company of choice way back in 1966. The company’s other notable projects include Denver University's Ritchie Center, Fresno State's Save Mart Center, San Diego State's Cox Arena, and Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Arena and Thomas & Mack Center. The company is one of several internationally recognized arena development specialists being hired by Wiens Development Group, LLC to help develop a new 6,000-seat events center in Broomfield.
At the end of every school year, each student-athlete (along with the head coach and athletic director) must renew his/her scholarship for the next year. It was rumored while the women's basketball coaching search was in limbo that star freshman Sara Hunter might not sign her scholarship. However, at the conclusion of the press conference to announce Jen Warden as the new coach last Wednesday, Hunter walked in with a smile on her face and handed her signed scholarship form to athletic director Mark Driscoll. Hunter, and everyone but Annika Walseth (who announced several weeks ago that she will transfer), will return to play for the Rams in 2005-06.
Former Colorado State women's basketball assistant Jeff Dow has been named a finalist for the vacant Southwest Minnesota State women's basketball coaching position. He is one of four finalists in line to replace Kelly Kruger, who resigned as the Mustangs coach in April after 14 seasons in that position.
Becky Hammon had two points in 18 minutes in the New York Liberty's 68-62 preseason loss to the Detroit Shock Sunday. She is still working on overcoming the lingering affects of her ACL tear and the challenge of switching from shooting guard to point guard last season. Hammon no longer wears the knee brace that restricted her movement last season, and Liberty staff members believe this is the year she will return to her form prior to the injury. Hammon was a WNBA All-Star selection in 2003, despite playing in just 11 games. She became a full-time starter for the first time in her career last season, averaging team highs of 13.5 points, 4.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game. She has become one of the most popular players in the WNBA, as her No. 25 jersey was the third-largest seller among WNBA players two years ago. She also had a sandwich named after her at the renowned Carnegie Deli, putting her in company with such celebrities as tennis player Venus Williams and comedian/actress Roseanne Barr.
How athletic is incoming CSU volleyball player, Jaime Strauss, from Windsor High School? Until this season, her tennis experience had consisted of “three weeks in physical education class”. Yet, she and doubles partner Paige Daniels became the first-ever Windsor High School participants to make the Class 4A State High School Girls Tennis Championships. They earned a No. 2 doubles slot after taking second place in last week's regional competition in only their eight match of the season as a team. The duo lost their opening match of the Championships this weekend in Pueblo to Mullen's Patty Pogge and Lindsay Heringer who took third. The 6-foot-1 senior Strauss signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at CSU this fall.
Athletic Director Mark Driscoll and Alumni Executive Director Marc Shkolnick are hosting a Mountain West Conference Welcome Event for Texas Christian University at 6:30 p.m., May 26 at Dave & Busters on I-25/Colorado Blvd. Tickets cost $25.00/person, which includes buffet dinner and cash bar. TCU head football coach Gary Patterson will be in attendance, as well as various alumni from both schools. Call the CSU Alumni Association at 800-286-ALUM to purchase tickets. Reservations must be made by May 20.
Sonny Lubick and the Colorado State football program have donated a gameday package for an auction put on by Denver radio station 630 KHOW to benefit the family of Denver Police Officer Donald Young, who was killed in action last week. The package for the ESPN nationally televised September 29 game vs. Air Force includes a pregame meal with the team and coaching staff, access to pregame meetings and team chapel, bus transportation to the stadium and two tickets and/or sideline passes. The auction ends Wednesday at 7 p.m. MST. As of today, the bidding reached $1150.