Monday, December 22, 2008

Recent History Lesson

As promised, a holiday week retrospective...and this isn't even the whole year, only the current academic/athletic calendar: a listing of just some of the big things that have happened this fall and early winter for the Big South Conference, courtesy of Assistant Commissioner Mark Simpson (and we therefore offer a big SHOUT-out to Mark S.)...enjoy the look back, and Happy Holidays to one and all!!!


July 24, 2008
The Big South officially kicks off its 25th Anniversary with a special banquet honoring the Top 25 “Best of the Best” moments in Conference history. The Conference also unveils its new tagline, “Developing Leaders Through Athletics.”

July 24, 2008
The Big South Conference, as part of its 25th Anniversary celebration, presents the League’s new Leadership Award to former Commissioner, Dr. Edward M. “Dick” Singleton. The award is named in honor of Dr. Singleton and was created as part of the Big South’s “Developing Leaders Through Athletics” initiative to recognize a former Big South student-athlete or administrator that has exhibited exemplary leadership and character during their professional career.

August 15, 2008
At the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, former Radford distance runner Goran Nava establishes a new Serbian national record in the 1,500-meter event with a time of 3:42.92. He finished sixth in Heat 2 of the first round and was 0.62 seconds off of the semifinal qualifying time.

August 18, 2008
At the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, former Coastal Carolina women’s track & field standout Amber Campbell places 21st in the preliminaries of the hammer throw. She achieved a mark of 67.86 meters on her first throw, but then faulted on her final two throws in attempting to reach the top 12 to advance to the finals. She fell just short, as the final qualifying distance was 69.36 meters. However, Campbell was the top American finisher in the 50-competitor field.

August 30, 2008
A record seven former Big South football players made opening day NFL rosters in some capacity: Gardner-Webb’s Brian Johnston (Chiefs), Charleston Southern’s Maurice Price (Chiefs), Liberty’s Vince Redd (Patriots practice squad), Coastal Carolina’s Jerome Simpson (Bengals), Coastal Carolina’s Quinton Teal (Panthers), Coastal Carolina’s Tyler Thigpen (Chiefs) and Coastal Carolina’s Mike Tolbert (Chargers).

Sept. 8, 2008
Liberty’s football team is ranked No. 25 in this week’s The Sports Network poll, the school’s first national ranking since 1998, when the Flames were ranked tied for No. 24 with Troy State in the preseason ESPN/USA Today Division I-AA poll released on Aug. 31, 1998. The ranking marks the fifth-straight season the Big South has had a nationally-ranked football team.

Sept. 8, 2008
Winthrop men’s soccer player Matthew Skonicki is named to the and National Team of the Week for his performance the week of Sept. 1-7.

Sept. 16, 2008
Former Charleston Southern baseball pitcher Todd Parnell makes his Major League debut with the New York Mets, pitching a scoreless eighth inning against the Washington Nationals. Parnell, who was called up to the Mets on Sept. 1, became the second CSU pitcher in less than two months to appear in the majors.

Sept. 17, 2008
Former Coastal Carolina football player Tyler Thigpen is named the Kansas City Chiefs starting quarterback for the Sept. 21 road game at the Atlanta Falcons. It is Thigpen’s first career NFL start.

Sept. 20, 2008
High Point University is featured on ABC’s “Good Morning America” program. The special features the transformation taking place at HPU, including the school’s growth in academics, as well as student life on the HPU campus.

Sept. 23, 2008
Former Winthrop men’s basketball player Michael Jenkins is selected as the No. 1 overall pick by the Albany Patroons in the 2008 Continental Basketball Association (CBA) draft. Big South all-time leading scorer Reggie Williams was selected in the fifth round (23rd pick overall) by the Pittsburgh Xplosion.

Oct. 5, 2008
Former Coastal Carolina All-American golfer Dustin Johnson wins the PGA Turning Stone Resort Championship, his first career win on the PGA Tour. Johnson earns $1.08 million with the victory and moves from 128th to 41st on the PGA Tour money list. The win also earned him a two-year exemption on the tour, as well as berths in next year’s season-opening Mercedes Championship, plus the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship majors.

Oct. 15, 2008
Coastal Carolina University announces the addition of Zola (Budd) Pieterse as a volunteer assistant coach for the track & field programs. Best known for training and competing barefoot, Pieterse was a two-time Olympian, having competed in the 1984 Los Angeles Games and the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Oct. 18, 2008
Liberty’s Sam Chelanga won the Pre-Nationals Cross Country race in Terre Haute, Ind., with a record time of 22:51.3 in the men’s 8K race. His time broke the course, meet, school and Big South Conference 8K records, which were previously held by former Liberty National Champion Josh McDougal (22:56.4 at the 2007 Pre-Nationals).

Oct. 28, 2008
Coastal Carolina’s men’s golf team is named Golfweek’s National Men’s Golf Team of the Week for its final-hole victory at the Bank of Tennessee at The Ridges Intercollegiate. Entering the final round, the Chanticleers were tied for second, two shots behind the leader, and the squad posted a 1-under on the final hole to claim the team victory.

Oct. 30-Nov. 6, 2008
A total of 17 Big South student-athletes are named ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District for the fall season. A League-record six football players were honored, in addition to six women’s soccer players, four men’s soccer players and one volleyball student-athlete.

Nov. 2, 2008
VMI’s women’s soccer team completes the largest turnaround in Big South Conference history, as the Keydets tie for second-place in the regular-season standings with a 5-3-1 League record. VMI was tied for last in 2007 with a 1-6 mark, and entered the 2008 season with a 2-29 record in Big South games.

Nov. 6, 2008
Coastal Carolina Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR) and University Professor and Coordinator of Health Promotion Sharon Thompson is named the South Carolina Governor’s 2008 Professor of the Year for four-year institutions of higher education. The prestigious annual award recognizes excellence in teaching and student advising.

Nov. 10, 2008
Liberty men’s cross country runner Sam Chelanga is featured in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” section for his dominating performance at the Oct. 18 Pre-Nationals meet.

Nov. 11, 2008
Winthrop men’s soccer player Matt Lacey receives two national honors as he is named to the Soccer America National Team of the Week and the National Team of the Week for leading Winthrop to the regular-season championship.

Nov. 13, 2008
Radford women’s soccer player Caitlyn Roan is named to the Soccer America Women’s Team of the Week following her MVP performance during the Big South Tournament.

Nov. 14, 2008
VMI’s men’s basketball team defeats the Kentucky Wildcats, 111-103 at Rupp Arena to open the 2008-09 college basketball season. The victory propels the two-time defending national scoring champion Keydets back into the national spotlight, as the team goes on to receive a Top 25 vote in the Associated Press poll, as well as a No. 25 ranking in the Mid-Major Top 25 poll, its first-ever appearance in the national poll.

Nov. 15, 2008
Liberty sophomore Sam Chelanga wins the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Cross Country Championships, helping the Flames match their highest-ever finish at the regional meet (fifth-place). It is the fourth time in five years that a Liberty runner has won the regional meet. Chelanga qualifies for the NCAA Cross Country Championship with the victory.

Nov. 16, 2008
Liberty cross country runner Jordan McDougal receives an at-large berth to the NCAA Cross Country Championships based on the strength of his 12th-place finish at the Southeast Regional. McDougal will join teammate Sam Chelanga at the national meet, marking the first time since Liberty joined the NCAA Division I ranks that the Flames will send multiple runners to the Cross Country Championship finals.

Nov. 17, 2008
Winthrop forward Matthew Skonicki is named to the National Team of the Week for the second time this season.

Nov. 18, 2008
Liberty and UNC Asheville meet in the earliest Big South men’s basketball Conference opener, as the game is part of ESPN’s special “24 Hours of College Basketball Marathon” television program and is broadcast live nationally on ESPN. The Bulldogs defeat the Flames, 84-56 at the Justice Center in Asheville.

Nov. 18, 2008
Liberty volleyball player Kallie Corbin is honored by Collegiate Volleyball Update ( as a Top Performer for matches played between Nov. 10-16. Corbin was honored by twice during the 2007 season.

Nov. 20, 2008
Liberty’s Sam Chelanga is named the USTFCCCA Southeast Region Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year. He is the second consecutive Liberty athlete to receive the regional honor.

Nov. 20, 2008
Former Coastal Carolina men’s golf All-American Dustin Johnson is named one of five finalists for the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year award. Players were nominated for each respective award by the PGA Tour Player Advisory Council and Player Directors.

Nov. 24, 2008
For the second consecutive year, the Liberty men’s cross country team placed a runner in the top two at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, as Flames sophomore Sam Chelanga battled Oregon senior Galen Rupp neck-and-neck, before Rupp edged Chelanga in the final straightaway. Chelanga earned All-American honors with his Runner-up finish.

Nov. 24, 2008
After a 4-0 start, Coastal Carolina’s women’s basketball team receives votes in the Associated Press Top 25 national rankings, its first-ever appearance in the AP poll in school history.

November 2008
A total of 17 Big South student-athletes are named ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District for the fall season. A League-record six football players were honored, in addition to six women’s soccer players, four men’s soccer players and one volleyball student-athlete.

Dec. 1, 2008
Liberty men’s basketball freshman Seth Curry is named Dick Vitale’s “Diaper Dandy of the Week” after averaging 23.0 points and .510 percent from the field in three wins, including a victory at Virginia.

Dec. 8, 2008
For the first time in Big South history, two men’s basketball teams are ranked in the 10-year old Mid-Major Top 25 national poll. Liberty’s first-ever appearance in the ranking came in the No. 13 position, while VMI was ranked No. 21.

Dec. 10, 2008
The Big South Conference has a record 12 men’s soccer players named All-Region by the NSCAA. Winthrop led the way with five selections, followed by Liberty (3), Coastal Carolina (2), High Point (1) and UNC Asheville (1).

Dec. 12, 2008
Big South men’s soccer players Daniel Revivo (Winthrop) and Joshua Boateng (Liberty) are named NSCAA All-Americans, marking the first time that the Big South has two men’s soccer All-Americans since 2003.

Dec. 17, 2008
Liberty junior setter Kallie Corbin is named an Honorable Mention All-American by the AVCA, the Flames’ first-ever Division I volleyball All-American and the third in Big South history.
Dec. 19, 2008
As mentioned in our last SHOUT, All-American honors are earned by four Big South football players, led by AP First Teamer Rashad Jennings of Liberty. The others receiving recognition: Philip Ashley (CSU), Jeffrey Williams (GWU), and Demario Deese (GWU).
Well that's all for now...I'm hitting the road tomorrow for Christmas with family... meanwhile, Hanukkah starts tonight and runs throughout the week -- so SHOUT wishes everybody the very best at the close of the year and we look forward to a fantastic year in 2009!

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