The two recent Ram Club golf tournaments were tremendous financial successes for the athletic department. The Fort Collins event, held May 20 at SouthRidge Golf Course, raised around $12,000. Meanwhile, the May 23 Denver tournament, at Fossil Trace Golf Club in Golden, raised $7,200. In its first year, the Denver tournament was a huge success considering the lack of prior relationship with course management (and lack of discounted green fees). All earnings from the event go to the Ram Club to help defray the cost of student athlete scholarships.
Another recent first-time event was also a success. The May 12 "Evening with Sonny Lubick", which was hosted by Colorado State Ram fans Bruce and Susan Lipien at their Arvada home, attracted more than 30 guests who had dinner and socialized with Lubick and other athletic department staff. The event, which was modeled after a similar fundraiser put on each year by several Nebraska alumni, brought in $4,700 for the CSU football discretionary account. The event would have raised an additional $1000, but CSU officials had to make a last-minute tent rental due to late-afternoon rain showers. The athletic department plans to host a similar event next year. CBS Channel 4 local news anchor/CSU alumnus Jim Benemann has offered to host the event at his Centennial home.
While the Mountain West Conference television contract with College Sports Television (CSTV) doesn't fully kick off until 2006, the league currently has three games lined up to be televised by the new network this season: TCU at SMU September 10, New Mexico at UTEP September 24 and Air Force at Navy October 8. CSTV currently lists 18 college football telecasts on its 2006 schedule. ESPN and ESPN2, meanwhile, are slated to televise 10 MWC games in the final year of the contract, with ABC airing an additional five. The MWC schedule features a minimum of 28 national or regional televised games for the upcoming season, including eight syndicated "Mountain West Game of the Week" telecasts on ESPN regional television. The MWC will start off with a bang, having a record eight of the nine institutions' games being televised during Week 1. Wyoming's trip to Florida is currently the only MWC game not scheduled for a telecast that weekend.
Another college football prognosticator has given his preseason breakdown on CSU and the MWC. Phil Steele, annually one of the most accurate college football analysts, picked Utah to repeat as conference champs, with CSU finishing second. He predicts a first-ever CSU visit to the Las Vegas Bowl to face Oregon State. The rest of the MWC race, according to Steele, will shake out like this: tie for third, San Diego State and BYU; tie for fifth, TCU and Wyoming; tie for seventh, New Mexico and Air Force; and last place, UNLV.
In an interview during Saturday night's Colorado Rockies telecast, University of Colorado A.D. Mike Bohn said he'll consider moving the Rocky Mountain Showdown to Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium during years that CU has seven home games, but implied that in other years, he plans to keep the game on campus. Over the next three seasons, CU has only six home games currently on the slate, but the current schedule does not account for the permanent 12th game that will go into effect in 2006.
After originally omitting CSU from the 2005 volleyball schedule, CU volleyball coach Pi'i Aiu has agreed to play CSU in Moby Arena this season. The exact date isn't yet finalized, but the two teams will play either Monday August 29 or Tuesday August 30. It will be CSU's first regular-season match of the year and will be part of the season ticket package.
Ram volleyball coach Tom Hilbert is currently looking for a permanent assistant coach to fill the spot of Andy Klussmann, who has not been cleared to return to coaching (and likely will not be cleared for some time to come) as Klussmann is still recovering from a June 2004 car crash that severely injured Andy and claimed the life of his wife Janna. Andy had been an assistant under Hilbert since 2000. Ron Holland, of Weld County, Colo., was convicted May 20 of reckless, drunk driving and is awaiting sentencing. He faces up to 30 years in prison.
New Mexico basketball coach Ritchie McKay, the former CSU coach who bolted Fort Collins after just two seasons (1998-2000), may not be popular with Ram fans, but he certainly is with former Lobos forward Danny Granger, who is projected to be an NBA Lottery pick in Thursday's draft. Granger credits McKay and the rest of the Lobos basketball staff for developing him during his two years in Albuquerque following his transfer from Bradley University. "Coach McKay gave me a lot of opportunities I don't think I would have had at Bradley," Granger told the Peoria (Illinois) Journal Star newspaper. "They encouraged my perimeter game. They gave me a chance to bring the ball up the floor like a point guard in a lot of situations. They gave me the freedom to do things I had never done before." Granger, who was a third-team All-American (18.8 ppg, 8.9 rpg), said he's been told that he'll likely be drafted anywhere from No. 5 to No. 17.
Former CSU golfer John Hayes is one player withdrawal away from participating in the U.S. Open this week at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina. Hayes, who wrapped up his CSU career this spring, missed an automatic bid to the tournament by one stroke at a sectional qualifier at Columbine Country Club last week. He was a "second alternate" and Thursday moved up to first alternate after PGA veteran Darren Clarke withdrew from the tournament to be with his wife who is undergoing cancer treatment. Hayes left for Pinehurst Sunday to be on hand just in case.
Speaking of golf, the MWC is becoming a powerhouse in men's golf. Five MWC teams qualified for the NCAA regionals (including CSU) at the end of May, and four made it to the 2005 NCAA Men's Golf Championship at the Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, MD, with three finishing in the top 8 making the MWC the only league in the country to place three teams in the top 10. BYU led all MWC teams with a fourth-place finish, while New Mexico was fifth and UNLV tied for eighth. UNLV boasted the top player in the nation this season--Ryan Moore--a first-team All-American. New Mexico's Spencer Levin also made first-team All-American, while BYU's Oscar Alvarez made the second team. (Incoming MWC member TCU had a player--J.J. Killeen--on the third team.) Moore, by the way, was awarded the Golfstat Cup, which is presented to the men's collegiate golfer with the lowest yearly scoring average. His 69.08 average places him second all-time for the low scoring average in a season (the award has been presented since 1995-96). He was also recently named the 2005 Nicklaus Award winner, presented annually to the outstanding player in Division I golf. Moore was the MWC's highest individual finisher at the NCAAs, tying for fifth.
The MWC has set the date for the annual Front Range Kickoff Luncheon, featuring CSU coach Sonny Lubick, Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry, and Wyoming coach Joe Glenn. This year's event will be August 18 at the Denver Tech Center Marriott (I-25 and Belleview). Conference commissioner Craig Thompson will also speak at the event. A reception and silent auction start at 11 a.m., lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. and the program concludes around 1:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25/person or $250 for a table of 10. Click here to print and fill out the registration form (please make sure to circle on the form that you are a CSU fan), or call 970-491-4666 to reserve your spot. Officials are expecting another sellout, which this year would be an all-time high of nearly 700 people. If interested in sitting at the RamNation table, email us as soon as possible. You can reimburse us for your spot at the event.
Lastly, congratulations to senior track and field star Loree Smith who became the first female CSU athlete to ever win a national championship Saturday at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with a throw of 224 feet, 8 inches, which was nearly six feet better than the next-best throw. Smith, along with senior thrower Adam Trainor and senior distance runner Mike Nicks, have all qualified with the ‘A’ standard for the USA National Championships June 23-26 in Carson, Calif.