For all of you procrastinators who have not yet renewed your Colorado State football season tickets, call 800-491-RAMS first thing Monday morning to ensure that you keep your same seating location. Starting Monday, any unsold seats and unrenewed season ticket locations will be made available to the public.
Former CSU quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt, now a Denver Bronco, threw his first pass to future Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice in minicamp practice Wednesday. Van Pelt said he couldn’t believe how quick and agile Rice still is at the age of 42. He added that he could never imagine himself playing football at that age due to his more physical style of play, but told us that he plans to tone down his bullish style and learn to slide to avoid the type of hits that can cause injuries and missed playing time. Van Pelt also said the game is “slowing down” for him, because he’s learning the system so much better, and picking up reads quicker. When asked if he misses the simplicity of the CSU offense, he responded: “Yeah, I miss it from the standpoint of it being so easy to learn, and it allows you to just run around and play. But, I don’t miss it from the standpoint that we’re at a higher level now, and that simple offense couldn’t work here. There are so many more sets and protections to learn to keep the defense off balance. That’s what takes so long to learn, but I feel I’m there.“ Van Pelt added that he feels confident that he can earn the No. 2 job behind Jake Plummer and is “more focused than ever” to do that. He concluded by saying: “Just stay tuned, I’m going to make those CSU fans proud."
Former CSU running back Marcus Houston was signed by the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. He’ll be competing with five other running backs for a roster position. The Alouettes have their first preseason game Thursday.
It appears AutoZone Liberty Bowl executive director Steve Ehrhart isn't extremely confident that the bowl game will keep its affiliation with the Mountain West Conference for the 2005-06 season. Ehrhart has talked to every major conference, except for the Pac 10, to find a suitable opponent for the Conference USA champ, which will keep its tie-in. The Southeastern Conference seems to be a clear-cut favorite, and according to a quote from SEC commissioner Mike Slive in the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Ehrhart has been "very aggressive" in pursuing a tie-in with that conference. The SEC has seven bowl contracts that are currently up for renewal. The MWC and C-USA have been sending their respective champions to the Liberty Bowl since the MWC's inception in 1999.
Utah is the only MWC team to crack The Sporting News' preseason Top 25, coming in at No. 25.
The MWC has included an NFL-style coach's challenge as part of its proposal for instant replay this season and now will wait for approval from the NCAA in the next few weeks, MWC spokesman Javan Hedlund told the San Diego Union-Tribune last week. If the proposal is approved, the MWC may be the only league with a coach's challenge as part of its instant replay package, Commissioner Craig Thompson said. Other conferences that are considering instant replay are proposing procedures similar to the Big Ten's, in which only an official is allowed to call for a replay. Conferences are submitting their own individual replay proposals this year as the NCAA continues to experiment with and consider replay options. In 2006, the NCAA may adopt more uniform replay standards for all conferences, according to the Union-Tribune.
A newly redesigned version of the CAM the Ram mascot costume has recently been completed. CSU will debut the new-and-improved CAM at football games this fall. The head will be similar to the old version, but with some slight improvements, mainly in the comfort and ease of sight for the person wearing it. The body suit will feature bigger muscles and shorter fur. CAM will now sport a CSU jersey for each game, rather than the homemade-looking “CAM” shirt.
The annual Ram Club scholarship fund drive surged a bit last week, increasing to $1.4 million in cash and gifts. This year's goal is $1.7 million and 2,600 members. Around 1,700 people have renewed or joined the Ram Club as of last week. Last year's drive brought in around 2,300 members and raised a best-ever $1.63 million. The volunteer portion of the drive ends June 30.
By comparison, CU athletic director Mike Bohn told the Boulder Daily Camera last week, that the CU athletic department's "Your Team" campaign hopes to raise $3.7 million by September 1, calling the figure "a pretty lofty goal." As of last week, that fund stood at $1.245 million, which includes a $1 million gift from an anonymous season-ticket holder and long-time fan. Bohn told the paper that annual giving to the athletic program is up 5.5 percent from a year ago. Like CSU, Colorado has a large gap between the amount of dollars raised and what the athletic department pays in scholarships (CU's is $1.9 million; CSU's is around $2.5 million). Both schools currently must pay for the remaining scholarship bill through the operations budget.
As a senior at Colorado State University in 1987, Jay Kornegay planned to take his usual spring break visit to Mexico. But, a group of his friends talked him out of it, opting instead to go to Las Vegas. Upon arriving at Bally's on the Strip, Kornegay walked into a sports book for the first time, and felt overwhelmed with the brightly lit boards showcasing game lines, favorites/underdogs, overs and unders. "I had no idea what was going on," Kornegay recently told the Contra Costa Times. "I felt like an idiot.". Now 18 years later, Kornegay runs such brightly lit boards as the race book manager at the Las Vegas Hilton. Before graduating from CSU with a business management degree, Kornegay's only gambling experience was at the Cloverleaf greyhound racing track in Loveland, where he learned to wager on the dogs by accompanying a few of his CSU professors to the track. That, combined with his virgin trip to Las Vegas in 1987, intrigued him enough to pursue--and land--a job in the sports book at Harrah's Lake Tahoe where he learned the business before. He then moved to Las Vegas and took a similar job at Bally's in 1988. CSU Assistant Athletic Director of Development Mike LaPlante met with Kornegay during CSU's basketball visit to UNLV last season and got Kornegay to commit to joining the Ram Club.
Boise State has hired a replacement for former head women's basketball coach Jen Warden, who accepted the same position at CSU three weeks ago. Gordy Presnell, former coach of the Division II Seattle Pacific Falcons, accepted the job Friday. He led Seattle Pacific to 18 winning seasons, seven conference championships, 16 postseason tournament appearances, three NCAA Division II Elite Eight appearances and a 396-127 record in 18 seasons. Presnell also interviewed for the Boise State job three years ago, when Warden was hired. Presnell will make $90,000, which is $10,000 more than what Warden made with the Broncos. Warden's base salary at CSU is $115,000.
Ashtin Williamson, a prep signee with the CSU softball team, was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Colorado Thursday. The graduate of Loveland High School hit .378 this season with 28 runs scored and 27 stolen bases to lead the Indians to their first Class 5A state championship. The 5-foot-1 speedy center fielder/leadoff hitter was also an all-conference and all-state selection, and was named the player of the year by the Loveland Reporter-Herald, Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News and the Colorado Sportswomen’s Hall of Fame.
The Longmont Daily Times-Call Friday named incoming CSU track and field athlete David Eischeid its Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Eischeid had a heck of a senior season at Longmont High School, winning the Class 4A state title in the long jump (with a leap of 23 feet, 3.5 inches), placing fourth in the 200 meters (22.07 seconds), taking fifth in the triple jump, and anchoring the state championship 400-meter relay team. He also competed in the 100 meters, running it in 11.18 seconds. At both the Runner’s Roost Invitational in Fort Collins and the Boulder County Invitational, he was named the meet’s Most Valuable Athlete. He won Northern Conference championships in the long jump, triple jump and 200 meters. Eischeid was also an all-conference defensive back for the Trojans’ football team.
As part of the next Ram Afternoon Club get-together in Denver, the CSU Alumni Association will release its first-ever edition of the "Green and Gold Pages" directory for alumni-owned and operated businesses. The event will be hosted Thursday, June 23 at the Rio Grande restaurant in downtown Denver (1525 Blake Street) from 5:30-7:30 p.m. No RSVP necessary.