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TAMUC – Sports

 

FOOTBALL

National Champion Lions promote Conrad to co-defensive coordinator.

COMMERCE – Texas A&M University-Commerce head football coach Colby Carthel has announced the promotion of linebackers coach Michael Conrad to co-defensive coordinator for the National Champion Lions.

“Mike has done an incredible job since the first day he joined our program,” Carthel said. “He has mentored some of the best linebackers in the Lone Star Conference the last two years and coordinated our kickoff coverage unit into being the best in all of college football. He’s a rising star in this profession, and we’re blessed that he’s part of this program.”

“I appreciate Coach Carthel giving me this opportunity, and I look forward to building upon the strong defensive foundation that has already laid,” Conrad said. “A&M-Commerce is a special place, and I couldn’t be more excited to continue working with our talented student-athletes, coaches, and administration. Being around the players is my favorite part of coaching, and I look forward to building upon the strong relationships already established. Commerce is a great place to call home, and under Coach Carthel’s leadership, the future of Lion football will continue to be bright.”

Conrad has been on the Lions’ staff since 2016. During the 2017 National Championship season, the linebacker unit featured three of the top four tacklers for the team’s championship caliber defense. Under Conrad, Brucks Saathoff was named First Team All-Lone Star Conference, finishing with 101 tackles. Neema Behbahani and Travon Blanchard were both named Honorable Mention All-LSC. Named to the All-LSC Academic team was Garrett Blubaugh. During the National Championship week, Blubaugh received the Elite 90 Award, given to the player with the best cumulative GPA in the national championship game.

The 2017 Lions fielded one of the top defenses in the nation. The Lions finishing 9th in the country in interceptions (19), 11th in defensive passing efficiency (98.41), 13th in tackles for loss per game (8.5), 15th in scoring defense (16.7) and 20th in both red zone defense (70%) and sacks (44). The Lions finished with the best total defense in the LSC (303.4), which featured the best passing defense (181.5) and the second-best rushing defense (121.9). The Lions were also 1st in the LSC in opponent yards per rush (3.06). Furthermore, they led the LSC in turnovers forced (25). Also, Conrad coordinated the kickoff coverage unit, which finished 1st in the nation with an 11.67 opponent yards per return average. In fact, this mark was not only the best in Division II but tops in all of NCAA football.

During the 2016 season, the linebacker unit featured four of the team’s top five leading tacklers and had five players record at least one interception. Under Conrad’s coaching, linebackers Brucks Saathoff, Hatari Byrd and Cameron Rogers garnered Honorable Mention All-Lone Star Conference honors. The team finished 11-2 to win its third consecutive LSC Championship. The Lions went on to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament, achieving their first NCAA playoff win since 1991.

The Lion defense led the nation in turnovers gained (38) and led the LSC in scoring defense (21.7). The Lions also finished 2nd in the LSC in third-down defense (32 percent), 2nd nationally in defensive touchdowns (7) and 23rd nationally in red zone defense (68.4 percent). Also, Conrad coordinated the kickoff coverage unit, which finished 1st in the LSC and 2nd nationally in kickoff coverage defense with a 12.78 opponent yards per return average.

In addition to coaching linebackers, over the last two seasons, Conrad has coached one of the top kickoff coverage units across the entire NCAA. During the Lions’ 2017 National Championship season, Conrad’s coverage unit was not only the best coverage unit in Division II, allowing just 11.67 yards per return, but it was also the best coverage unit in any Division of NCAA football. Their 11.67 average was more than a yard better than any other team in Division II, was better than two yards better than any FCS level team and better than three yards better than any FBS level squad.

During the 2016 season, the Lion kickoff coverage unit led the Lone Star Conference and was second in all of Division II, allowing just 12.78 yards per return. The unit’s average beat every team’s numbers at both the FCS and FBS levels.

Before arriving in Commerce, Conrad was on the defensive staff at the University of Arkansas in 2014-15. He was a graduate assistant at Iowa State in 2012-13 after serving as a secondary coach at West Texas A&M in 2011.

The Dyersville, Iowa, native began his coaching career as a student assistant and manager at Iowa State, helping the Cyclones reach the 2009 Insight Bowl. He graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in history in 2010 and maintained a 4.0 grade-point average while earning his master’s degree in higher education in 2013 from Iowa State.

Before attending Iowa State, Conrad played defensive back at Simpson College and was a two-year varsity starter at cornerback at Beckman Catholic High School.

 

FOOTBALL

National Champion Lions release 2018 football schedule.

COMMERCE – Texas A&M University-Commerce has released its 2018 football schedule for the National Champion Lions. The program currently features five home games and five road games for the Lions’ sixth season under head coach Colby Carthel. Please continue to follow LionAthletics.com for any schedule updates or adjustments.

TICKETS
An insufficient number of reserved chairback season tickets are available in Section D (center) for $100 and in sections C and E for $80. All chairback season ticket holders are encouraged to consider philanthropic support of our 424 talented student-athletes with a gift to the Lion Champions Fund. For information on LCF, please contact Taylor Phelps at (903) 886-5554.

Existing season ticket holders must renew their seats before the release date of May 1, 2018. Those wishing to upgrade from Sections C & E to Section D will receive priority on those seats. Please contact Lion Sales and Service at (903) 468-8756 or visit LionAthletics.com/ChampsTix to renew season tickets or make a new purchase. General admission seating is available for $65 for the season.

June 1 is the release date for information on single-game sales.

THE SCHEDULE
On September 8, the Lions will travel to Liberty, Mo., to take on William Jewell College in the second game of a home-and-home agreement. The Lions won 59-6 in 2017 in the two teams’ only previous meeting.

A&M-Commerce will open Lone Star Conference play on September 15 at Eastern New Mexico. It will be the Lions’ second game in the new Greyhound Stadium in Portales. The Lions have a 16-15 overall record against the Greyhounds, including wins in each of the last four seasons.

The Lions will host one of the premier non-conference matchups in Division II on September 22 for CommUniverCity Day, as the ThunderWolves of Colorado State-Pueblo will visit Commerce for a 6 p.m. kickoff. The ThunderWolves have qualified for the playoffs seven times in the last eight seasons and won the 2014 National Championship.

The first home conference game for the Lions will come on September 29, as Texas A&M-Kingsville will visit on Hall of Fame Day for a 6 p.m. kickoff. It will mark the 65th meeting between the long-time Chennault Cup rivals. The Lions have won the last six meetings between the schools.

On October 6, the Lions will head to Wichita Falls for an LSC matchup against Midwestern State. It will be the 14th all-time meeting between the two schools.

The annual battle for the President’s Cup will take place in Commerce on October 13, when the Lions welcome Tarleton State for a 4 p.m. kickoff on Youth Sports Day. It will be the 27th meeting between the two teams, with the Lions winning the last six matchups and retaining the President’s Cup for five years.

On October 20, the Lions make the trip to Silver City, N.M., for a Lone Star Conference game at Western New Mexico. It will be the third meeting between the teams, with the Lions winning both previous matchups.

The annual Homecoming game will be on October 27, when the Lions host West Texas A&M for a 4:00 p.m. kickoff. A&M-Commerce has won the last four games between the two schools, who will be meeting for the 34th time.

The final road game of the season comes on November 3, with the Lions visiting UT Permian Basin. It will be the third meeting between the teams, with the Lions winning both previous matchups. The Lions’ only last visit to the Permian Basin was a 58-21 win, though due to inclement weather there were only three-quarters of the game completed.

The regular season closes on November 10 when the Lions host Angelo State at 4:00 p.m. on Military Appreciation Day and Senior Day. A&M-Commerce will play the Rams for the 50th time, with Lions winning the last four matchups.

The NCAA playoffs begin on November 17, with the National Championship Game played in Kansas City, Kan., on December 15.

 

TRACK AND FIELD

 

Minna Svaerd, Jasmine Roberts named LSC Women’s Track and Field Athletes of the Week.

RICHARDSON– Named the Lone Star Conference Women’s Track and Field Athletes of the Week were Texas A&M University-Commerce Track and Field athletes Minna Svaerd and Jasmine Roberts. Svaerd was named Women’s Track Athlete of the Week and Roberts was named Women’s Field Athlete of the Week. They announced the awards Wednesday.

Svaerd– a freshman from Karlstad, Sweden– earned a provisional qualifying mark at the UTA Bobby Lane Invitational in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:01.37, the sixth best time in the nation this season.

Roberts– a senior from Statesboro, Ga.– earned the ninth-best triple jump mark in the nation and a provisional qualifying mark at the UTA Bobby Lane Invitational. Her score of 38-9 (11.81m) has her in the top ten nationally.

Svaerd, Roberts and the Lion Track and Field teams are back in action starting Thursday at two different meets in the state of Texas. The Lions will compete at the Bobcat Invitational in San Marcos from Thursday to Saturday. Other athletes will compete at the 91st Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin, also from Thursday to Saturday.

LSC OUTDOOR TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETES OF THE WEEK

Men’s Track
M-22     Charles Greaves, Texas A&M-Kingsville
M-28     Javier Lopez, Texas A&M-Kingsville

Men’s Field
M-22     Trivett Jones, Angelo State
M-28     Nils Fischer, Angelo State

Women’s Track
M-22     Kara Bickham, Tarleton State
M-28     Minna Svaerd, Texas A&M-Commerce

Women’s Field
M-22     Kaitlin Lumpkins, Angelo State
M-28     Jasmine Roberts, Texas A&M-Commerce

 

SOFTBALL

Softball holds at No. 9 in latest NFCA Poll.

LOUISVILLE, Ky.– The Texas A&M University-Commerce softball team remained at No. 9 in the country in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association rankings as announced Wednesday. The Lions are ranked No. 9 for a second consecutive week. The Lions for six weeks in a row is ranked nationally.

The No. 9 Lions continued their winning ways last week, sweeping conference-rival Texas A&M-Kingsville. The Lions won the final two games of the series on walk-off home runs in the seventh inning. The Lions are one of four teams from the Lone Star Conference in the NFCA rankings. Angelo State is ranked fourth, West Texas A&M is ranked 14th, and Tarleton State is ranked 20th. Colorado Mesa holds the No. 1 spot in the rankings.

A&M-Commerce is 13-2 in the LSC and is in a tie for first place with ASU at the midpoint of the season. The Lions return to conference action on Thursday, heading to Eastern New Mexico for a three-game series. The teams will play in a doubleheader on Thursday starting at 5 p.m. MDT (6 p.m. CDT). The teams will play the final game on Friday beginning at Noon MDT (1 p.m. CDT).

2018 NFCA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll – Mar. 28 (Week 6) 

 RANK  TEAM (First Place)  TOTALS  Record  Last Poll
 1  Colorado Mesa (14)   398  30-0  1
 2  North Georgia (2)  386  36-1  2
 3  Chico State  368  31-3  3
 4  Angelo State  336  29-4  5
 5  Dixie State  323  22-2  6
 6  Southern Arkansas  314  29-3  7
 7  Palm Beach Atlantic  295  22-2  10
 8  Winona State  285  21-3  8
 9  A&M-COMMERCE   278  28-3  9
 10  North Alabama  254  24-4  4
 11  Indianapolis  248  25-5  12
 12  Lenoir-Rhyne  211  26-6  11
 13  Minnesota State  192  19-5  14
 14  West Texas A&M  191  26-5  15
 15  Grand Valley State  164  19-5  18
 16  Harding  155  23-7  17
 17  West Florida  137  18-11  16
 18  UC San Diego  107  20-7  22
 19  Queens (N.C.)  91  27-5  21
 20  Tarleton State  88  30-6  25
 21  Southern New Hampshire  85  17-3  19
 22  Alabama-Huntsville  79  23-7  RV
 23  Sonoma State  64  21-10  13
 24  California Baptist  40  21-4  23
 25  McKendree  32  22-7  NR

 

Josh Manck

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