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TAMUC – Sports

No. 23 Lions welcome Western New Mexico for 94th Homecoming Game.

COMMERCE – The No. 23 Texas A&M University-Commerce football team returns home as Lion Nation converges on Ernest Hawkins Field at Memorial Stadium for the 94th Homecoming Game on Saturday against Western New Mexico. 

WHO: Western New Mexico University at Texas A&M University-Commerce

WHERE: Commerce | Ernest Hawkins Field at Memorial Stadium

WHEN: 3:00 pm on Saturday, October 26

RECORDS: A&M-Commerce is 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the Lone Star Conference after falling to Tarleton, 35-21. Western New Mexico is 1-6 overall and 1-3 in the LSC after falling to Eastern New Mexico, 48-17, in the Chile Bowl last week.

RANKINGS: A&M-Commerce is ranked No. 23 in the AFCA Coaches’ Poll and No. 24 in the D2Football.com Media Poll. WNMU is unranked

TELEVISION: The game will be televised live on Nexstar stations throughout the Southwest – CHANNEL INFORMATION

LIVE AUDIO: Lion Sports Network — KETR 88.9 FM, Commerce (http://www.ketr.org)

LIVE VIDEO: TBA

LIVE STATS: http://www.statbroadcast.com/events/statbroadcast.php?t=1&gid=tame

TICKETShttp://WeAreLionsTix.com

ALL-TIME vs. THE MUSTANGS

• This is the fourth game between the Lions and Western New Mexico.

• A&M-Commerce is 3-0 all-time vs. WNMU.

• A&M-Commerce took a 38-24 win over WNMU in Silver City in 2016.

• The Lions earned a 52-3 win at home in 2017.

• A&M-Commerce routed WNMU 55-7 in Silver City in 2018. The Lions had three non-offensive touchdowns and scored 34 points in the second quarter of that game. 

SENIORS SUCCEED OVER CAREER SPAN

• The 2018 senior class claimed the school record for wins in four years with 43 with a win at Minnesota Duluth in last year’s playoffs.

• The 2019 Senior Class tied that record with the win over Midwestern State, with their 43rd win in their 50th game.

• They are two games away from tying the school record for most games played by a senior class.

• This year’s Senior Class is also in second behind with the 1951-54 Class for the highest winning percentage by a Class.

Years Record Pct
2016-19 43-8 84.3
2015-18 43-10 81.1
2014-17 42-10 80.8
1951-54 36-5-2 86.0
2013-16 35-14 71.4
1957-60 34-7 82.9
1972-75 32-13-1 70.6
1936-39 31-8 79.5
1990-93 31-16-1 65.6

BAILIFF BEGINS ON RIGHT FOOT
• Lion Football head coach David Bailiff was hired in December 2018 as the 20th head football coach at A&M-Commerce.
• Since East Texas joined the Lone Star Conference as charter members in 1931, Bailiff is the 13th head coach of the Lions.
• He has won all five of his “firsts” games at A&M-Commerce

FIRSTS GAMES
First Game NUEVO LEON Sept. 7 W 83-0  
First Road Game at Western Oregon Sept. 14 W 34-27  
First LSC Game EASTERN N.M. Sept. 21 W 45-27  
First LSC Road Game at Tex. A&M-Kingsville Oct. 5 W 33-6  
First National TV Game MIDWESTERN ST. Oct. 12 W 54-28  
First Regional TV Game WESTERN N.M. Oct. 26    
  • Bailiff was the head coach at Texas State University from 2004-06 and at Rice University from 2007-17. The Lions’ 2019 season will be Bailiff’s 15th season as a collegiate head coach.
    • As a collegiate head coach, Bailiff has led a team to the NCAA Division I National Semifinals and has made five total postseason appearances with a 5-2 postseason record.
    • The 2005 Texas State Bobcats were Division I National Semifinalists, and Bailiff led the Rice Owls to four bowls with a 3-1 record in those games.
    • Bailiff has led teams to 10-win seasons in three seasons (one at Texas State, two at Rice). Under his watch, the Owls had the most wins in school history over a two (18), three (25), and four (30) year periods. Rice’s 18-9 mark from 2013-14 was the second-best of any FBS program in Texas.

    LION COACHES IN THEIR FIRST SEASON

Year Coach Overall LSC
2019 David Bailiff 5-2 3-1
2013 Colby Carthel 7-5 2-4
2009 Guy Morriss 5-5 5-4
2004 Scotty Conley 4-6 4-5
1999 Eddie Brister 4-7 4-5
1986 Eddie Vowell 2-9 1-5
1964 Ernest Hawkins 2-7 1-5
1954 J.V. Sikes 6-3-1 5-0-1
1951 M.A. “Catfish” Smith 9-2 5-0
1946 Bob Berry 2nd Stint 5-2-2 3-1-1
1942 Dennis Vinzant Only Season 4-3-1 2-0-1
1935 Bob Berry 1st Stint 6-2-1 3-1
1931 J.W. Rollins 3-6  

WE’RE GOING STREAKING!
• By qualifying for their fourth straight NCAA Division II Playoff berth in 2018, the Lions have the third-longest active playoff streak in the nation.
• Only Northwest Missouri State (15 straight) and Ferris State (five straight) have longer active playoff streaks than A&M-Commerce.
• In Lone Star Conference history, only A&M-Kingsville (1992-98, 7 straight) has a streak of more than four appearances.
• The Lions have also advanced to the regional semifinal round for three consecutive seasons. National runner-up Ferris State has reached the regional semifinal four times in a row.

LIONS CONTINUE RANKINGS RUN
• The Lions held their grip in the top 25 at No. 23 nationally in the 2019 American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches’ Poll released Monday.
• A&M-Commerce has been ranked in 60 consecutive AFCA polls, dating back to the 2015 preseason poll.
• This is A&M-Commerce’s 66th all-time appearance in the AFCA poll since its inception in 2000.
• In the polls recognized by Division II as the top rating system, the Lions have been recognized as a nationally ranked team 115 times since joining Division II in 1981.

NO SMALLS FEAT
• Quarterback Miklo Smalls has established himself as one of the most accurate efficient passers in the LSC and Division II.
• In six eligible games, Smalls has won the LSC Offensive Player of the Week award twice.
• Last week at Tarleton, he had season highs with 29 completions, 39 attempts, and 288 yards.
• Against Midwestern State, Smalls completed 70.3 percent of his passes in the game with five touchdown passes and 186 yards through the air. He also had 24 rushing yards.
• He completed passes to nine different receivers, and all five touchdowns were caught by different receivers.
• He now has a 14:2 touchdown to interception ratio in conference play
• He also won Lone Star Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors for his game against Eastern New Mexico, completing 13-of-15 passes for 243 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.
• His passing efficiency rating of 297.413 in that game is the second-best single-game performance by a quarterback in Division II this season.
•His 86.7 completion percentage in the game is seventh-best in the nation this year of passers with 15 or more attempts in a game.
•His 72.8 percent (123-of-169) completion percentage for the season ranks fifth in Division II.

SMALLS GAME-BY-GAME

Date Game C A I Yds TD Effic Comp Pct
9/14 at Western Oregon 24 32 0 240 1 148.31 75.0
9/21 Eastern N.M. 13 15 1 243 4 297.41 86.7
9/28 at CSU-Pueblo 24 36 1 235 0 115.94 66.7
10/5 at Tex. A&M-Kingsville 14 20 0 222 3 212.74 70.0
10/12 Midwestern State 19 27 0 186 5 189.35 70.3
10/19 at Tarleton 29 39 1 288 2 148.18 74.4
  Total 123 169 3 1,414 15 168.80 72.8

RAMSEY IS ELECTRIC
• Junior defensive back and return specialist Dominique Ramsey has been one of the most electric players in all of Division II whenever he touches the ball.
• He is a double major student-athlete in mathematics and electrical engineering.
• In the Midwestern State game, he recorded 150 all-purpose yards, including a highlight-reel 65-yard kickoff return to open the game and set the Lions’ first score up on a short field. He also dazzled on two scintillating punt returns. The Lions scored within five plays after each of his kick and punt returns.
• All told, Ramsey had 65 kick return yards, 48 punt return yards, 14 interception yards, 15 rushing yards, and 8 receiving yards.
• He had two interceptions in the game, including a key snag in the end zone near the end of the first half to snuff out an MSU scoring threat which would have narrowed the deficit in a key spot. He also had an interception to help seal the game in the fourth quarter. He also made five key tackles in open space on the perimeter to limit MSU yards after the line of scrimmage.
• At Tarleton, he had a 55-yard kickoff return on the way to 112 return yards with 95 kickoff return yards and 17 punt return yards. He also had eight tackles.
• Earlier this season, his 55-yard punt return for a touchdown in the ENMU game earned him Lone Star Conference Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
• He became the first player in the Lone Star Conference to return a punt for a touchdown this season, averaging 35 yards per punt return.

• He now has five career returns for touchdowns:

Date Type Opponent Yards
9/21/19 Punt EASTERN N.M. 55
11/17/18 Punt at Minnesota Duluth 79
11/10/18 INT ANGELO ST. 99
10/27/18 INT WEST TEXAS A&M 84
9/22/18 Punt COLORADO ST.-PUEBLO 72
  • He currently ranks second in the LSC and fourth nationally in punt return average at 16.2 yards per return.
    • He also ranks first in the LSC and second nationally in kickoff return average at 34.2 yards per return.

    REBOUNDING FROM A SETBACK
    • The Lions have been exceptional in responding to the rare loss in the last few seasons.
    • The last time A&M-Commerce lost consecutive games was 2016, with a loss in the LSC playoff championship game followed by a loss at Ferris State in the first round of the NCAA playoffs.
    • The last time A&M-Commerce lost consecutive regular-season games was in 2013, with losses to No. 4 West Texas A&M and No. 23 Midwestern State in weeks 3 and 4.
    • In the last eight games after a loss, the Lions have picked up a win, dating back to the 2016 season opener after ending the 2015 season at Ferris State.

    NEEMA LEADS THE WAY
    • Senior linebacker Neema Behbahani has been one of the most consistent players on defense in his four years with the Lions, and he is the team’s leader in total tackles over the course of his career.
    • The Plano Senior high product is the team’s career leader in total tackles, solo tackles, assisted tackles, and tackles for loss.

Player Solo Ast Total TFL Sack INT

 

Celeste Vela earns second-consecutive Setter of the Week honor.

RICHARDSON– Texas A&M University-Commerce student-athlete Celeste Vela has been named the Lone Star Conference Setter of the Week. It is the second consecutive week Vela has earned the distinction. 

Vela– a sophomore from Guadalajara, Mexico–had another efficient week running the Lions’ 6-2 offense, averaging nearly 6.7 assists per set, as she helped lead the Lion offense to hit a blistering .278 on the week. She also had eight aces and 27 digs over the week. In A&M-Commerce’s sweep of St. Mary’s, Vela had 18 assists, helping the team hit .388 overall. She also recorded five aces in the match, a single-game career-high. Vela then had 37 assists in the team’s five-set win over TWU, while even playing a significant defensive role, recording 18 digs. In the final match of the week, Vela had 18 more assists in the Lions’ sweep of MSU, helping the team to a .349 hitting percentage, while also adding a pair of aces and six digs. It is her second consecutive Setter of the Week honor and the fourth of her Lion career. 

Vela and the No. 23 Lions return to the court tonight at 6 p.m. as they host Southeastern Oklahoma State at the Field House. A&M-Commerce then returns to LSC action with road matches against Tarleton on Friday and DBU on Saturday. 

Tickets to Lion Volleyball home matches can be purchased by visiting WeAreLionsTix.com, by calling (903) 468-8756, or by visiting the Lion Sales & Service Box Office inside the Field House during business hours. 

2019 LONE STAR CONFERENCE VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Offensive

Sept. 10     Shelley Chapron, A&M-Commerce

Sept. 17 Lauren Kersey, Tarleton State

Sept. 23 Tatyana Tuialii-Umi, Tarleton State

Oct. 1 Selena Batiste, West Texas A&M

Oct. 8 Sundara Chinn, Angelo State

Oct. 15    Bina Njikam, A&M-Commerce

Oct. 22 Melissa McNeil, St. Edward’s

Defensive

Sept. 10 Sofia Tonga, Tarleton State

Sept. 17 Keely Hardin, DBU

Sept. 23 Makenna Hanssen, Angelo State

Oct. 1 Chandler Vogel, West Texas A&M

Oct. 8 Makenna Hanssen, Angelo State (2)

Oct. 15 Sofia Tonga, Tarleton State (2)

Oct. 22 Maya Smalls, St. Edward’s

Setter

Sept. 10 Kayla Brannon, Tarleton State

Sept. 17 Strealy Sizelove, DBU

Sept. 23 Amari Franklin, Tarleton State

Oct. 1 Lindsey Ledyard, Angelo State

Oct. 8 Meghan Parker, Angelo State

Oct. 15    Celeste Vela, A&M-Commerce

Oct. 22   Celeste Vela, A&M-Commerce (2)

 

Shelley Chapron named Under Armour Student-Athlete of the Week.

COMMERCE– Texas A&M University-Commerce middle blocker Shelley Chapron has been named the Under Armour Student-Athlete of the Week by Lion Athletics. 

Chapron– a junior from Houston (St. Pius X)– was an all-around factor for the Lions, bolstering both the offense and the defense in their undefeated week last week. As a defender, Chapron totaled 15 blocks in three games, averaging nearly 1.4 blocks per set, while also totaling six digs. Offensively, she had 23 kills, six aces, and hit .426. She had four blocks and a pair of aces in the Lions’ sweep of St. Mary’s, while also adding four kills. She then had six blocks and four digs in the team’s five-set win over TWU, while also adding a team-high 13 kills while hitting .520. In the final match of the week, Chapron had five more blocks, two digs, and three aces in the team’s sweep of MSU. Chapron also had six kills in the match. Chapron continues to lead the LSC in total blocks and also leads the league in total points scored so far on the year. 

The Under Armour Student-Athlete of the Week will be awarded by Lion Athletics each week during the academic year.

2019-20 UNDER ARMOUR STUDENT-ATHLETES OF THE WEEK

Sept. 10 – Timon Kemboi, Men’s Cross Country

Sept. 17 – E.J. Thompson, Football

Sept. 24 – Cora Welch, Soccer

Oct. 1 – Sydney Andersen, Volleyball

Oct. 8 – Brandi Stalder, Women’s Cross Country

Oct. 15 – Dominique Ramsey, Football

Oct. 22 – Shelley Chapron, Volleyball

 

The Gold Standard: Vol. 5

Welcome to our October edition of the Gold Standard, where we focus on direct reflections from my office and personal viewpoints on issues facing our student-athletes, our programs, our institution, and even the national intercollegiate athletics landscape. Very directly, we also want this to serve as a platform for direct communication with my office.  

If you have any ideas for topics that you would like addressed or features you would enjoy, please email us HERE. It is OUR program, not just mine, not only our coaches, not just our student-athletes. It takes a collaborative and positive spirit to uphold our Best in Class mission, and your investment of time is essential and appreciated. 

As we have begun another historic year of academic and competitive success, we hope you enjoy helping define our Standard and THANK YOU for helping us maintain its high level.  

WHEEL(ER)S OF SUPPORT!

Usually, scoring 54 points against Midwestern in football, scoring two great volleyball victories, and having soccer win a vital home match would define a great home weekend. The highlight of our Hall of Fame weekend two weeks ago, however, came from the Wheeler family, who made a landmark athletics gift to our program. You can read about it – and watch it – HERE! 

PLAN TO CHECK OUT THE PLAN

Last week, we publicly launched our 2019-22 Athletics Strategic Planand it was a very invigorating process. Those in the corporate world can relate that strategic planning is sometimes categorized as a “check the box” exercise – or a “necessary evil” to fulfill a policy requirement. Our coaches and administrative staff can tell you that – while some may share those feelings – I passionately embrace the strategic planning process. I genuinely believe it is an efficient and effective accountability tool. It generates dialogue that brings out the highest levels of thought leadership, and it provides both an emotional and analytic barometer for success across all key pillars of our intercollegiate athletics program. It is also extremely gratifying to share the process with our student-athletes, our coaches, our administration, our Athletics Council, our President’s Executive Team, and our entire Lion Family of constituents. If you have specific questions or feedback, please email me. 

LONE STAR CONFERENCE TRANSITION 2019, PART II

At the end of September, a soon-to-be-former LSC rival in Stephenville announced their decision to pursue Division I membership. Many of our alumni, fans, and campus partners have inquired about the effects this will have on our institution and the Lone Star Conference. Very directly, my primary concern is the void in our immediate football schedule over the next two years (which we are diligently working to fill). Beyond that, our resolve as an institution and our competitive goals in this conference will not change – no matter who we subtract or add.   

With consecutive years of the best overall athletics proficiency in our 104 years of competing in athletics, I encourage you to join us in our mindset that Lion Athletics will stay true to our Best in Class mission – academically, athletically, and in developing our student-athletes personally – no matter who is among our competitive brethren. 

LET’S EXPAND OUR (STUDENT) BRAND!

As we continue to engage our campus and promote student involvement around our athletics events, we are excited to roll out some new in-game promotions and campus awareness activities as we head towards an exciting winter of basketball in the Field House. Recently, Associate Athletics Director Taylor Phelps and I led a series of planning meetings – both with our athletics marketing group and two key campus leaders who understand the benefits of student participation and engagement in campus life. Vice President for Student Success Dr. Thomas Newsom and Executive Director of Marketing and Communications Michael Johnson are both ferocious advocates of improving the “Lion Roar” at home events.  

As we mentioned last month in this space, we want to continue to elevate our student section environment at all Lion facilities – Hawkins Field, the Field House, Soccer Field, and Cain Field. We will continue to partner with our friends in Student Affairs and throughout campus to cultivate and elevate this environment. One initiative we are going to launch this winter is to help brand our student section. We will engage Greek Life, our Marching and Basketball Bands, our student-athletes, and all student constituents who may be interested in helping us continue elevating our tremendous student support! Be on the lookout for details about this initiative, or contact our new Sharod Williams, our new Director of External Relations, at sharod.williams@tamuc.edu if you have any thoughts or recommendations.

 

Lion women tied for 12th at West Region Preview

CARLSBAD, Calif. – The Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s golf team sits in a tie for 12th place after the opening round of the West Regional Preview on Monday. 

The tournament is at the site of the Division II West Super Regional tournament in May 2020, and most of the top teams in the region are participating. A&M-Commerce is ranked 21st nationally in Golfstat ratings released last week, which is the Lions’ highest known ranking. A total of 10 of the 17 teams in the field are ranked in the top 50 nationally. 

The Lions shot a 323 (+35) and tied for 12th place in the field with Cal State Los Angeles. 

Paige-Lee Garris (West Palm Beach, Fla.) and Sophie-Charlott Hempel (Pirmasens, Germany) are tied for 36th on the individual leaderboard at 8-over par 80. Garris had one birdie on the day, and Hempel carded no worse than a bogey on the challenging course. 

Sarah Wongsinth (Udon Thani, Thailand) is in 45th place at 9-over par 81, Lauren Bentley (League City – Clear Creek) is in 50th place at 10-over par 82, and Makena Thomas (San Antonio – Reagan) is in 62nd place at 12-over par 84. 

The Lions’ final event of the fall season concludes Tuesday with a shotgun start at 8:30 am Pacific time Tuesday.

 

Lion men 10th after opening round at Hrncair Invitational

DUNCAN, Okla. – The Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s golf team is in 10th place after the first round of action at the Jerry Hrncair Invitational hosted by Cameron University on Monday. 

The Lions shot a 14-over par 302 in Monday’s round with some of the top competition in the Lone Star Conference and surrounding areas. They sit only four strokes away from sixth place in a competitive field. 

Alex Welch (League City – Clear Springs) and Simon Hass (Lorch, Germany) are tied for 32nd place on the individual leaderboard, each shooting a 3-over par 75 in the opening round. Welch was one of the most consistent players of the day with 13 pars. 

Zach Burch (Lubbock – Cooper) and Chance Mulligan (Dallas – Bishop Dunne) are one stroke back of that duo, tied for 44th at 4-over par 76. Burch had an eagle and four birdies in his round. 

Tyler McDonough (Horsehoe Bay – Llano) is in 83rd place at 9-over par 81, and Dallas Millin (Wright, Wyo.) is in 93rd at 12-over par 84 while competing as an individual. 

The tournament and the Lions’ fall schedule concludes with 18 holes of action on Tuesday. 

Rank Team Total Par
1. Oklahoma Christian 287 -1
2. St. Mary’s 290 +2
3. Midwestern State 292 +4
4. Harding 293 +5
5. Cameron 294 +6
6. Arkansas Tech 298 +10
Southern Arkansas 298 +10
8. Texas A&M International 300 +12
9. Southern Nazarene 301 +13
10. A&M-COMMERCE 302 +14
Southeastern Oklahoma State 302 +14
12. Dallas Baptist 304 +16
13. UT Tyler 305 +17
14. Oklahoma Baptist 306 +18
15. Arkansas-Fort Smith 310 +22
Cameron B 310 +22
17. Fort Hays State 327 +39

 

A&M-Commerce 302 +14 t-10th
Simon Haas 75 +3 t-32nd
Alex Welch 75 +3 t-32nd
Zach Burch 76 +4 t-44th
Chance Mulligan 76 +4 t-44th
Tyler McDonough 81 +9 t-83rd
Dallas Millin# 84 +12 t-93rd

 

Lion’s vault to No. 23 in latest AVCA rankings

LEXINGTON, Ky.– The Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team is the No. 23 ranked team in this week’s American Volleyball Coaches Association coaches poll, as released Monday. The Lions moved up two spots in this week’s poll, and in 19 of the 20 AVCA polls are nationally ranked. 

The Lions are coming off of an undefeated week, winning three home matches against Lone Star Conference opponents. The Lions earned sweeps over St. Mary’s and Midwestern State, and also received a five-set win over Texas Woman’s. The Lions hit .278 over the weekend, averaging almost 14 kills per set. The defense held opposing hitters to a .156 average. The Lions are now 16-4 on the year, 9-1 in LSC play and 6-0 in their division. 

Five of the Lions’ 2019 opponents are either nationally ranked or receiving votes in this week’s poll. Central Missouri ranks 10th, while Regis is ranked 12th, and Angelo State is ranked 15th. Tarleton and Tampa are also receiving votes. 

The Lions finish their four-game homestand on Tuesday as they host Southeastern Oklahoma State. The match will be at 6:00 pm at the Field House. A&M-Commerce then returns to LSC action with road matches against Tarleton on Friday and DBU on Saturday. 

Tickets to Lion Volleyball home matches can be purchased by visiting WeAreLionsTix.com, by calling (903) 468-8756, or by visiting the Lion Sales & Service Box Office inside the Field House during business hours.

2019 AVCA Division II Top-25 Coaches Poll – Oct. 21 (Week 7)

Rk. School (1st Place) Pts. Record   Prev. 
1 Cal State San Bernardino (46) 1150 17-0 1
2 Nebraska-Kearney 1099 19-0 3
T-3 Northern State 1005 17-2 6
T-3 Washburn 1005 17-2 4
5 Minnesota Duluth 967 17-2 7
6 Western Washington 956 17-1 2
7 Concordia – St. Paul 827 15-4 5
8 Wayne State (Neb.) 752 17-3 11
9 Lewis 716 19-3 10
10 Central Missouri 663 14-6 9
11 Southwest Minnesota State 614 13-6 12
12 Regis 575 16-3 15
13 St. Cloud State 556 15-4 8
14 NW Missouri State 499 14-5 14
15 Angelo State 488 19-1 18
16 Hillsdale 474 16-3 16
17 Winona State 445 15-4 20
18 Ferris State 432 16-4 13
19 Wheeling 325 18-3 21
20 Rockhurst 273 17-6 17
21 Upper Iowa 204 13-6 19
22 Michigan Tech 174 16-4 24
23 A&M-COMMERCE 135 16-4 25
24 Cal State L.A. 80 12-5 NR
25 Missouri-St. Louis 70 20-2 NR

Others receiving votes and listed on two or more ballots: Wingate 60; Minnesota State 56; Chaminade 48; Tarleton 47; Azusa Pacific 29; MSU Denver 28; Alaska-Anchorage 25; Colorado School of Mines 25; Tampa 23; Ashland 17; Sioux Falls 15; Central Oklahoma 13; Barry 7; South Carolina-Aiken 7; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical (FL) 2

 

Texas A&M University-Commerce extends Bruister’s contract through 2023.

COMMERCE – Texas A&M University-Commerce has announced a multi-year contract extension through the 2023 season for head softball coach Richie Bruister. 

Bruister – the only head coach in the program’s four-season history – has compiled a record of 182-89 (.672) with the Lions, leading A&M-Commerce to three NCAA Division II Championship appearances and a South Central regional championship. 

The Lions have 40 wins or more in each of the last two seasons and were the South Central Region’s No. 2 seed in 2019, hosting the regional tournament. 

“First and foremost, our Lion family is thrilled that Richie, Kim, Cole, Anna Claire, and Logan will continue to be part of our Lion Athletics family,” said A&M-Commerce director of athletics Tim McMurray. “As we discussed the unprecedented progress and development of our program through its first five seasons, Richie and I agreed continuity was key. This extension is about the legacy of student-athlete success that has already been established in this program, but it is also a testament to the mindset we both believe – that our brightest days for Lion Softball are still ahead.” 

In the Lions’ four seasons of competition, Bruister’s program has had four national player of the year honors, 10 All-American honors, 14 all-region honors, two Lone Star Conference Players of the Year, 28 all-Lone Star Conference selections including 10 first-teamers, 13 LSC Gold Gloves, a CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year, two CoSIDA Academic All-Americas, six CoSIDA Academic All-District selections, and 53 NFCA Scholar All-Americans. The Lions have won over 73.1 percent of their home games, with a 79-29 record at the John Cain Family Softball Complex. 

“I would like to thank the good Lord for this blessing and can’t begin to express how humbled, honored, and excited I am to continue to lead Lion Softball,” Bruister said. “My family and I are very proud to continue to call A&M-Commerce and the City of Commerce home. Our university and athletic department are leading the way in Division II thanks to the vision of President Dr. Mark Rudin. I’d also like to thank Tim McMurray for his leadership and work ethic as we continue to build a Best in the Class athletic department. The student-athletes and coaches who have built this program for the ground up deserve thanks for their hard work and commitment to excellence.” 

Bruister is entering his 16th season as a collegiate head coach, all in Division II. He previously coached at Henderson State from 2004-08 and at Texas Woman’s from 2009-13 and has a career record of 528-286 (.649). He picked up his 500th career win in the 2019 season. 

All told, he has coached 73 all-conference players, 28 all-region players, and 15 All-Americans. Bruister has earned two conference Coach of the Year honors and a National Coach of the Year award. He has had a winning record in 14 of his 15 seasons, including all five seasons at A&M-Commerce. 

Bruister received his associate’s degree from Hinds CC in 1997 and then went on to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in 1999 and his Master of Science degree in 2000 from Mississippi State. He and his wife, Kim, have three children: Cole, Anna Claire, and Logan.

 

Lions come in at No. 23 in this week’s AFCA poll.

WACO– The Texas A&M University-Commerce football team is ranked No. 23 in this week’s American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches’ Poll, as announced by the AFCA on Monday. 

The Lions were beaten 35-21 by No. 4 Tarleton in a matchup of heavyweight Lone Star Conference programs last week to fall to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the LSC standings. Miklo Smalls completed 74.3 percent of his passes for 288 yards with two touchdowns, and Jalon Edwards-Cooper led all players with 13 tackles, including a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss. 

Four A&M-Commerce opponents in 2019 are ranked in the top 25 or receiving votes. Tarleton held at No. 4 in the nation, while CSU-Pueblo jumped to No. 13 this week. Angelo State returned to the rankings at No. 22, and Eastern New Mexico is receiving votes in the poll. 

A&M-Commerce has been ranked in 60 consecutive AFCA polls, dating back to the 2015 preseason poll. It is A&M-Commerce’s 66th all-time appearance in the AFCA poll since its inception in 2000. In the polls recognized by Division II as the top rating system, the Lions have been known as a nationally ranked team 115 times since joining Division II in 1981. 

A&M-Commerce hosts its annual Homecoming game on Saturday, as Western New Mexico comes to town for a 3 p.m. kickoff, with the match regionally televised on Nexstar channels throughout the Southwest. Tickets for the game are available at the box office, online at WeAreLionsTix.com, or by calling (903) 468-8756.

2019 American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches’ Poll (Oct. 21, 2019)

Rank School (1st votes) Rec. Pts. Prev.
1. Valdosta St. (Ga.) (30) 7-0 774 1
2. Ferris St. (Mich.) 7-0 737 2
3. Minnesota St. 7-0 708 3
4. Tarleton St. (Texas) (1) 7-0 663 4
5. Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) 7-0 644 5
6. Notre Dame (Ohio) 7-0 608 6
7. Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.) 7-0 586 8
8. Indianapolis (Ind.) 6-0 526 10
9t. Colorado School of Mines 7-0 519 11
9t. Slippery Rock (Pa.) 7-0 519 9
11. Central Missouri 7-0 421 14
12. Wingate (N.C.) 7-0 417 13
13. Colorado St.-Pueblo 6-1 368 15
14. Northwest Missouri St. 6-1 343 7
15. Bowie St. (Md.) 7-0 337 16
16. Grand Valley St. (Mich.) 6-1 311 17
17. Kutztown (Pa.) 7-0 305 18
18. Harding (Ark.) 6-1 247 21
19. Indiana (Pa.) 6-1 209 22
20. West Florida 5-1 177 24
21. West Chester (Pa.) 6-1 151 12
22. Angelo St. (Texas) 6-1 142 25
23t. A&M-COMMERCE 5-2 71 20
23t. Henderson St. (Ark.) 6-1 71 NR
25. Virginia Union 6-1 67 NR


Dropped Out:
 Pittsburg St. (Kan.) (19), Minnesota-Duluth (23)

Others Receiving Votes: Pittsburg St. (Kan.), 39; Dixie St. (Utah), 37; Sioux Falls (S.D.), 20; Fort Hays St. (Kan.), 12; Missouri Western St., 11; Fayetteville St. (N.C.), 5; Minnesota-Duluth, 5; Truman St. (Mo.), 5; Eastern New Mexico, 4; Frostburg St. (Md.), 4; Tiffin (Ohio), 4; Nebraska-Kearney, 3; Assumption (Mass.), 2; Southern Arkansas, 2; Miles (Ala.), 1.

 

 

Josh Manck

Associate Athletics Director for Marketing and Communications | Texas A&M University-Commerce

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Marcus Jensen

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