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 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

Musician Huey Lewiss struggle shines spotlight on Ménières disease

first_img Source: May 16 2018The recent news revealing musician Huey Lewis’s struggles with Ménière’s disease has shined a spotlight on the neurological disorder. The symptoms, which include unpredictable bouts of dizziness, hearing loss and ringing in the ears, may get progressively worse over time and can greatly interfere with work, driving and daily activities.60-year-old Nancy Jackson, of Aurora, Ill., first experienced the symptoms of Ménière’s disease about eight years ago. Initially, the incidents would only happen a few times a year, but the vertigo was extreme and accompanied by nausea and vomiting.”It would knock me out for the whole day,” said Jackson. “The room would spin and the only way to stop it was to close my eyes and lie down.”At first she attributed the symptoms to allergies, but as they became more frequent, sometimes happening almost every day, she sought out medical advice.According to Andrew Fishman, MD, director of neurotology and cranial base surgery at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, the exact cause of Ménière’s disease is unknown, however, it is believed to be related to pressure and fluid in the inner ear.”The inner ear membranes swell and pop causing the fluids to mix-up and the signal for balance to go haywire,” said Dr. Fishman. “It typically occurs only in one ear and patients often describe a ringing and feeling of fullness in the ear and progressive hearing loss.”For some patients, like George Janke of Batavia, the symptoms also include severe migraines and balance problems.”I first thought it was just an ear infection, but it just kept getting worse,” said Janke. “When the anti-migraine medicine didn’t work, I decided it was time for vestibular surgery.”To confirm the balance disorder is a vestibular (inner ear) disorder, one of the tools Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital uses is rotational chair testing. During testing, a chair slowly rotates as an examiner measures the patient’s ability to reflexively visually track an object.Related StoriesNerve transfer surgery restores upper limb function in people with tetraplegiaBordeaux University Hospital uses 3D printing to improve kidney tumor removal surgery’Traffic light’ food labels associated with reduction in calories purchased by hospital employees”The inner ear is essentially a gyroscope that helps steer the eyes while the head is moving,” said Dr. Fishman. “If you have a problem with the vestibular nerve, the eyes won’t move correctly.”Additional diagnostic tools include hearing tests, speech discrimination testing, Electrocochleography (ECoG), CT and MRI.The first line of treatment is reducing daily salt intake and prescribing an oral diuretic to reduce the pressure in the ear. According to Dr. Fishman, approximately 80% of patients with Ménière’s disease can control symptoms by switching to a low sodium diet.For the 20 percent who don’t respond, treatment may include vestibular physical therapy or injecting corticosteroids and other chemotherapies into the tympanum, or middle ear, through the eardrum. If the symptoms are severe and persistent, surgery may be an option.Jackson and Janke opted to undergo a vestibular nerve section. The procedure involved cutting the nerve that connects balance and movement sensors in the inner ear to the brain. Both also had bone anchored hearing aid implant surgery to rehabilitate the associated hearing loss in the impacted ear.While the vertigo attacks have completely been cured, Jackson and Janke initially continued to experience some balance problems. With the help of physical therapy, they have learned to adapt and can once again enjoy full lives. Janke is thrilled to be driving again and Jackson is looking forward to teaching crochet to middle school students at summer camp.”I have my life back. I no longer have to live in fear that the dizziness will strike,” said Jackson.Ménière’s disease typically starts between the ages of 20 and 50 years. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) estimates that approximately 615,000 individuals in the United States are currently diagnosed with Ménière’s disease and that 45,500 cases are newly diagnosed each year.last_img read more