ACU Names Allen Ward as Ninth Director of Athletics

first_imgExternal support is at an all-time high at Murray State, highlighted by receipt of the largest gift in the history of the program – $3.3 million for the naming of the Community Financial Services Bank (CFSB) Center. Ward was at the helm as MSU’s athletics facilities were transformed by more than $13.5 million in enhancements, touching virtually every sport.  Last year the Wildcats won the Southland Conference championship in women’s cross country for the second time in three seasons and finished sixth in the conference’s Commissioner’s Cup standings. ACU has finished sixth each of the last two years after a third-place finish in 2015-16 and a sixth-place finish in 2014-15. The league-wide competition measures its best overall programs and ACU has finished in the top half of the standings each of the last four years. ABILENE, Texas – Allen Ward, who led the athletics program at Murray State University the past 13 years, has agreed to become the ninth director of athletics at Abilene Christian University, ACU president Dr. Phil Schubert announced at a Monday afternoon press conference.  “I’m so looking forward to using the powerful tool of NCAA Division I athletics to tell ACU’s story and help it achieve its mission,” Ward said. “What intrigues me even more is the opportunity it provides to impact others for Christ. We have a higher purpose at ACU and I’m a firm believer that intercollegiate athletics is the front porch to ACU’s life-changing message. “We are looking forward to Allen’s leadership,” Schubert continued. “We have a tremendous staff of coaches and administrators and I believe we have an opportunity over the next several years to make great strides in Division I.” Ward, 51, joined the Murray State program in March 2005 after serving the previous 14 years in several roles at the University of North Texas, including the final seven years as senior associate athletics director. Ward has spent 27 years in collegiate athletics, including serving as the director of athletics at Murray State since March 2005. The Racers play NCAA Division I FCS football in the Ohio Valley Conference and its men’s basketball program is annually one of the top mid-major programs in the nation. Under Ward’s leadership, the Racer Club was established as MSU’s annual fundraising arm, varsity softball was added as a sport, additional staff was added in key areas vital to student-athlete well-being and achievement, a comprehensive Title IX plan was developed to ensure compliance, and numerous events were digitally broadcast live and in HD each season. “I’d like to thank Dr. Schubert and the members of the search committee for the invitation to join the leadership team at this extraordinary university,” Ward said. “My family and I are excited for the opportunity to join the Wildcat family and fully immerse ourselves on campus and in the community. I look forward to returning to Texas, and I envision great things for ACU. When Ward joined MSU athletics, its overall Academic Progress Rate (APR) score was 911. Last year it grew to 986. Student-athlete graduation rates now consistently outpace the general student body with the 2018-19 difference expected to be 14 percent. “There was a tremendous amount of interest in this job from across the nation,” Schubert said. “Allen brings a significant depth of NCAA Division I experience from a highly successful program. Murray State has had great competitive success, and it’s also seen tremendous growth in the academic performance of its student-athletes. As I got to know Allen throughout the course of the hiring process, it became clear that he exemplifies the spiritual fit we are looking for in the leader of our athletics program. During his tenure at Murray State, the Racers have captured 39 Ohio Valley Conference championships and participated in NCAA Tournament play 29 times. Under Ward’s leadership, MSU has been one of the top overall athletics programs in its league, finishing in the top three in the OVC Commissioner’s Cup race six times since its inception in 2009, including second place each of the last two years. “My vision for ACU athletics will be simple: provide every opportunity for student-athletes to win a championship and ensure they earn their degrees,” he said. “At the same time, we will all work to promote a culture in which our young men and women develop intellectually, physically, and most importantly, spiritually. Preparing Christian leaders to make a real difference in the world through athletics is our objective.” “I’ve been blessed during my 13 years at Murray State to experience remarkable success,” Ward said. “And the credit belongs to a great group of coaches, an incredible staff, top-notch student-athletes and a passionate fan base. Those same elements are evident at ACU, which means there’s great promise for the Wildcats in Division I.” “ACU will be recognized as a leader in the Southland Conference in all that we do,” he said. “From winning championships to graduating student-athletes, I am fully committed to working closely with an incredible group of coaches, staff and student-athletes to position us for success. It’s a team effort and it starts at the top with Dr. Schubert. His support – coupled with the passion of Wildcat fans everywhere – is a recipe for accomplishing something very special.” Murray State – a university of almost 10,500 students – has won 25 OVC conference championships in men’s basketball and reached the NCAA Tournament 16 times, including last spring when the Racers lost to West Virginia in the first round. During Ward’s tenure at MSU, the Racers won six regular-season men’s basketball championships, four conference tournament titles, reached the NCAA Tournament four times (2006, 2010, 2012 and 2018), the NIT (2011 and 2015) and the collegeinsider.com Tournament (CIT) in 2014. In the classroom, ACU student-athletes boasted a cumulative 3.17 GPA for 2017-18, the highest such mark since Abilene Christian began tracking the measure. The re-branded Wildcat Club – the official athletics fundraising organization – has contributed more than $6.25 million through the Wildcat Annual Fund, capital and endowment gifts, as well as donations to sport-specific funds. The club’s membership grew to 980 in 2017. In the last five years, the Wildcats won Southland titles in women’s basketball (twice), women’s cross country (twice) and men’s tennis. The track and field program has been revitalized and sent 14 athletes to the NCAA West Preliminary meet in May. Squads from women’s soccer, volleyball, women’s basketball, men’s and women’s tennis and softball all qualified for Southland postseason tournaments in their first year of Division I eligibility (2018-19), with the volleyball team advancing to the championship match despite being seeded eighth. And the men’s basketball team posted its first winning regular season since 2007-08 and earned a bid to the CIT. Ward replaces Lee De Leon, who announced in late May his resignation to accept a role in athletics administration at Purdue University. Ward’s first day on the job in Abilene will be Monday, Aug. 6.  A native of Rolla, Missouri, Ward earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from William Jewel College and went on to earn his M.Ed. in physical education and sports administration from Wichita State University in 1991. He and his wife, Sharon, have two children: Nathan and Nicole. Ward takes over an ACU athletics program that in 2018-19 will be in its sixth year as a Division I affiliate and second year eligible for all Southland Conference and NCAA post-season tournaments. The 2018 season will mark ACU’s second season to play at Anthony Field at Wildcat Stadium, its first on-campus home for football since World War II. last_img read more

Jose Mourinho happy to sacrifice Spurs’ winter break in quest for FA Cup glory

first_imgJOSE MOURINHO would be happy to sacrifice Spurs’ winter break if that means making it through to the fifth round.The Tottenham boss has a tricky FA Cup trip to Southampton today.1 Boss Jose Mourinho is happy to sacrifice Tottenham’s winter break if they can progress in the FA CupCredit: PA:Press AssociationAnd if they draw this fourth-round tie, a replay is provisionally booked for Wednesday week.That would cut short the North Londoners’ winter break but Mourinho said: “It is what it is.“I’m not happy the break comes at the wrong moment — because the break should be before the Champions League.“In the end, before the Champions League we don’t have a break.“We have to play Aston Villa on the Sunday, before playing Red Bull Leipzig two days later.“But we really don’t care about the break.ALIVE IN THE COMPETITIONIf we have to play Southampton in a second match, it means we are still alive in the competition and it is better than losing.“If we can choose a result, we are going to, of course, try to win the Cup match. If we get a draw though, we are still alive. To play at home in the replay is better than to lose.”Tottenham return to the Saints after losing 1-0 at St Mary’s in the Premier League on New Year’s Day.Mourinho said: “What do I expect from them? I expect a team that is 24 hours fresher than another, because they have 24 hours advantage in relation to that.“Also a team with big self-esteem and confidence. Again, a very difficult team to play against.“We learned there that it is hard and it is going to be hard again.”Spurs will be without striker Harry Kane — who has not played since rupturing a tendon in his hamstring.He did it when scoring what he thought was an equaliser at St Mary’s — which was ruled out by VAR.Mourinho said: “Southampton were lucky. The Kane goal, decisions, the injury to Harry, an injury to Tanguy Ndombele at the beginning of the game.“We had to fight against so many things that we cannot control.“The only thing we can control is the spirit the players showed in our win against Norwich on Wednesday and the desire to do things well.“It is just a game — I don’t think about the competition.“If it was Southampton away in the league, it would be exactly the same.MAKE YOUR DEBUT Bet £5 get £20 in free bets for new customers at Ladbrokes“In the league we could get top four, top six, we can be out of the top six.“In the FA Cup, let’s just see.Latest Tottenham newsHARRY ALL FOUR ITKane admits Spurs must win EIGHT games to rise into Champions League spotGossipALL GONE PETE TONGVertonghen wanted by host of Italian clubs as long Spurs spell nears endBELOW PARRSpurs suffer blow with Parrott to miss Prem restart after appendix operationPicturedSHIRT STORMNew Spurs 2020/21 home top leaked but angry fans slam silver design as ‘awful”STEP BY STEP’Jose fears for players’ welfare during restart as stars begin ‘pre-season’“At this moment there are 32 teams, so let’s try to be in the last 16.“Again, full respect to what Southampton are doing — we know it will be difficult.”Alan Brazil is angry at suggestions that Jose Mourinho deploys ‘old school’ tactics at Tottenhamlast_img read more

Phil Collins helps ‘childhood hero’ Jimmy Greaves with donation during illness

first_imgROCK LEGEND Phil Collins has made a “substantial donation” to help former England star Jimmy Greaves in his battle against illness.The ex-Chelsea, West Ham and Tottenham striker was admitted to hospital last week and the Genesis drummer – who says Greaves is a “childhood hero” – is doing his bit to help out.3 Rock legend Phil Collins has made a ‘substantial donation’ to help his ‘childhood hero’ Jimmy Greaves who is in hospital3 Greaves was admitted to hospital in Essex last week with an un-specified conditionGreaves has struggled with health problems since he suffered a stroke nearly five years ago and Spurs confirmed he was admitted to hospital near his Essex home last Tuesday.No specific condition has been mentioned but the 80-year-old is not believed to have contracted coronavirus or suffered another stroke.And Greaves’ agent Terry Baker gave an update on the legendary striker’s condition saying “no news is good news” and revealed how lifelong Tottenham fan Collins is helping out.CHELSEA NEWS LIVE: Follow for the latest Blues newsHe said told the Star: “Phil Collins phones me regularly to see how Jimmy is and made a substantial donation.We have had thousands of people enquiring after Jimmy and sending love.”We thank you for that from the bottom of our hearts. It’s still a case of no news is good news at the moment.”Jimmy isn’t a well man but he is in hospital receiving the best possible care thanks to the amazing doctors and nurses of the NHS at this difficult time for everyone.”Greaves now uses a wheelchair and is cared for around the clock by family and professional carers who visit him several times each day.MOST READ IN FOOTBALLTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battleTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubI SAW ROORodallega saw Rooney ‘drinking like madman’ & Gerrard ‘on bar dancing shirtless’ExclusiveRIYAD RAIDMan City’s Riyad Mahrez has three luxury watches stolen in £500,000 raidNEXT STEPJonny Hayes set to move to English Championship having been let go by CelticREF RELEASEDChampions League ref Vincic released by cops after arrest in prostitution raidKEANE DEALEx Man United youth ace David Jones says Roy Keane negotiated a contract for himHe retired almost 49 years ago, but he still holds the record of most goals in the English top flight with 357.Greaves is also still at the top of the pile for Tottenham after scoring a record 266 goals in 379 appearances.The legendary forward also bagged 44 goals in 57 games for England and was part of the 1966 World Cup winning squad.3 The Genesis drummer is a lifelong Spurs fanHarry Redknapp speaks emotionally about the great Jimmy Greaves who is recovering in hospitallast_img read more

Vatuvei to aid Warriors’ forward effort

first_imgStill without experienced prop Ben Matulino due to injury, and with his forwards having struggled at times to assert themselves in contests against the Knights and Storm, Kearney’s inclusion of the 109kg Vatuvei effectively gives the Warriors another middle forward to lean on early in tackle counts.Vatuvei replaces 22-year-old utility back Tuimoala Lolohea and will line up across the field from Ken Maumalo, with the pair giving the Warriors a combined 214kgs of bulk on the flanks.”[Manu] will bring a strong carry, he carries the ball pretty strong and I think the experience he brings with his game [is important],” Kearney said of Vatuvei, who played for the club’s reserve-grade side in the opening two rounds.”He has played over 200 games of NRL, he has done the business in the past.”He has done really well [in reserve grade], he didn’t get the opportunity to play any of the trials so the idea was to give him some game time and I am happy with that.”The Bulldogs have named five international forwards for the Round 3 encounter at Forsyth Barr Stadium, ensuring they will present a huge challenge for the youthful Warriors’ pack.Despite being ranked fifth in the NRL Telstra Premiership for metres gained after the first two weeks, 15-season veteran Jacob Lillyman told NRL.com he believed his fellow big men had plenty more to offer.”There is always room for improvement, we can certainly step it up a level and we will try and do that this week,” Lillyman said.”A few of the young forwards have shown maturity beyond their years”Sammy [Lisone] and I have been on the bench and our goal over the last two weeks was to just try and bring some energy and lift the team a little bit, and I think we have done OK.”We know how tough the Bulldogs are, and their backs are to the wall a little bit.”They don’t go away… we are under no illusions, it’s going to be a really tough game.”Meanwhile Vatuvei will have fond memories of his only previous competitive game at Forsyth Barr Stadium, having scored a crucial try for the Kiwis in a 16-14 victory over England at the venue during the 2014 Four Nations.Now in his 14th season in the top flight, Vatuvei will line up against first-grade debutante Marcelo Montoya, who comes in for the injured Kerrod Holland.‌last_img read more

Wallabies believe in both sides of Bledisloe coin

first_imgKurtley Beale and Samu Kerevi add some X-Factor, while the inclusion of debutant Curtis Rona on the wing with Henry Speight brings more finishing ability, but it’s the other side of the coin that has hurt the Wallabies in the past.The Wallabies missed 38 tackles in last year’s Bledisloe opener, conceding 42 points in the process.Since then, defence coach Nathan Grey has become a full-time Wallabies assistant and Cheika was adamant those issues had been sorted out.“We’ve been working hard on that area,” he said.“Last year, when I look at that game, I still believe that I over-trained them in the lead-up.“I think that, because I was stressed about their fitness, that’s a mistake we haven’t made this year.“We’ve worked really hard on the D because we know it’s got to be a very important part of the game because of how potent they are in attack and we’ll take a few risks sometimes to get the outcome we want but I believe we’re well-prepared in that area.”The All Blacks reshuffled backline will test their defence, with Cheika acutely aware of the threat new fullback Damian McKenzie poses in his first start.“I think we’ve seen in Super Rugby the threat Damian McKenzie poses – You leave him a metre either side to run and he’ll kill you,” he said.“I think for us, considering our situation, all our focus has been on ourselves and getting our team travelling at the right speed and also prepared with everyone clear in their role to go out there and do the job on Saturday night.”The British and Irish Lions showed a defensive blueprint that proved successful against the All Blacks, rushing out of the line and cruelling the All Blacks’ space.While Cheika took note of that, he said they wouldn’t be cutting and pasting the Lions’ tactics, two months on from that series.“You’ve got to look at what we’ve got, how our players play and what they can do and what they can’t do and go to our strengths and play to that,” he said.“I wouldn’t be looking to copy what they did.“Obviously, you watch the games like you do any and try to make some analysis out of it of what you might be able to pick up from there in the opponent but I wouldn’t be looking to copy anything from them straight up.”The final quarter of the game could prove crucial and the Wallabies have a bench with plenty of experience, in the likes of Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sekope Kepu and Rob Simmons, an element that hasn’t been so common in a year of transition.Cheika has felt the full spectrum of Bledisloe results at ANZ Stadium and says the side certainly understands the gravity of the task ahead of them.“2015 we were able to have a win and we felt the high and how important that was to the game and how good it felt and then in 2’16 we suffered the reverser result and felt the other end of that, of how important the game is,” he said.“There’s absolutely no doubt that it’s a huge match, huge match for our fans and we’ll certainly want to go out there and make them proud on Saturday night.”last_img read more

Pacific nations still winless at Women’s World Cup

first_imgThe Cook Islands were thrashed 76-0 by New Zealand with the Kiwi Ferns running in 14 unanswered tries – six of those to winger Honey Hireme.The Moana also conceded 58 points in their opening match against Australia and second rower Crystal Tamarua said they knew it was going to be tough going up against the top three teams in the world in the group stage.But she said it was still an honour to represent their nation.”We just put our country on the map and just to play with pride and no matter what the result is it’s good to be on this journey with the girls and to experience league at a top stage,” she said.Papua New Guinea were beaten 22-8 by Canada, who achieved their first ever World Cup victory.Martha Karl and Christie Bulhage scored for the Orchids, who lost their opening match of the tournament 38-8 against England.Coach Dennis Miall said they gave their best but made too many handling errors and took the wrong options in attack.”We did well with our defence but we could not hold on to the defence for the rest of the game,” he said.”The girls ran up hard and strong and went off again and came on and off and I think that was where we went down.”The final round of group matches is on Wednesday with PNG up against New Zealand and Cook Islands taking on England. Photo: NRL Photos Honey Hireme bagged six tries against the Cook Islandslast_img read more

‘Simply wrong’ that South African teams are leaving Super Rugby

first_imgWales Online says the Durban-based Sharks are set to leave the competition to join the European PRO14 competition for 2019-20.The Cheetahs and Kings, who were cut from the down-sized Super Rugby last year, already play in the competition which includes teams form Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.The report said that the Lions and Stormers would likely follow suit.Despite the Lions making the Super Rugby final last year South Africa’s franchises feel they are handicapped due to the different time zones.But SANZAAR chief executive Andy Marinos has described the report as unfounded.”SANZAAR – through its joint venture partners – Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa – is currently engaged in a detailed strategic planning process that will deliver a roadmap for the organisation, Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship from 2018-2030,” he said.”As part of this process the partners have fully committed to the strategy and future participation.”Any talk of a change to the stakeholder relationship and partners withdrawing, and so-called Trans-Tasman competitions is unsubstantiated speculation and simply wrong.”South African rugby has also seen an exodus of top players who chase lucrative deals in Europe, with the move to the PRO14 considered a way of stopping that trend.The Cheetahs finished third in their conference this season to make the play- offs, and PRO14 organisers believe the inclusion of further South African sides would increase the standard of the competition.Last week a Fairfax report revealed that Super Rugby bosses were looking at expanding into the USA, which now appears to be a contingency plan should the South African franchises jump ship.last_img read more

Clash of titans at Lae today

first_imgOn Friday, Tigers were running the ball at the Lae League grounds with much confidence.Coach Stanley Tepend has emphasised the basics the boys need to adhere to in a game that the home side will not want to take lightly.Tigers are leaders with 18 points on the overall points ladder despite losing to the Eastern Pool front runners TNT Simbu Lions a fortnight ago in the first crossover.And despite a poor start, the never say die Wigmen, who are on third place with 16 points after a successive winning streak in eight games, will try to prove their class away from home to maintain the winning pace.The Wigmen will have no problem with the venue as they tasted victory in their final two outings during the 2014 Digicel Cup season when they last played in Lae. They ran over Tigers in the semi final and then defeated the Agmark Gurias in the grand final.With the addition of former Kumuls Larsen Marabe, Nickson Kolo and Joshia Abuvu, and a crowd support expected from the Highlands, the Wigmen will run onto the field with confidence as well.Both teams will be coming to the game with massive form after a week’s bye due to the Pacific Games opening and this Lae match will be an interesting show that the fans should not miss.Both sides will also have two of the rising local coaches, Tepend and Andrew Andiki for Wigmen, calling from the sides.Topping both the Eastern Pool and the crossover points ladder, the Tigers are hot favourites for the minor premiership.last_img read more

TVWAN picks winner for its World Cup comp

first_imgWith over 25, 000 entries from the subscribers, the winner is yet to be contacted and announced as they must have a play box and a passport to be considered eligible.Chief executive officer for Digicel TV Ralph Siebenaler was proud to press  the magic button to generate the draw for the competition.Mr Siebenaler said TVWAN was excited to be launching the competition as it helps to engage them more directly with their viewers.  Papua New Guineans are more passionate about rugby league and TVWAN would like to give the opportunity for its viewers to watch the 2015 Rugby World Cup live.The winner will receive 2 return tickets, 4 nights’ accommodation, tickets to watch the final game and AUD $1500 spending money.“We look forward to rewarding the winner and once again Digicel TVWAN commends all the participants of the competition,” Mr. Siebenaler said.last_img read more

Muruks buried at Kalabond

first_imgOlo racked up14 points (three tries and one conversion) to give the home side their second win for this season after three rounds.Leading 20-0 going into the second half, the Gurias kept up the intensity, starving the Muruks of possession. The Muruks were their own worst enemy with poor ball control and defence ruling their game.Olo made light work of the weary Muruks as he danced around several defenders to cross over for his third try of the game in the 60th minute.The score went up to 30-0 five minutes later when Jason Missian sliced through the Muruks’ defence to score under the posts. Taking over the kicking duties, Olo had no trouble converting the try.The Muruks managed to find the try line after 78 minutes when Boas Minape caught the defence napping and rushed over to score on the wing. Minape’s attempt to convert his own try was unsuccessful right on the full time siren.This is the second loss this season for the Southern Highlands side.last_img read more