Aug 14, 2013
I hope your summer was an enjoyable one and that you had the chance to spend time with your family. As a department, we visited nine communities throughout the state this summer to meet and greet alumni and fans. The MarooNation events were part of an ongoing, conscious effort to engage our core audience, and I know our coaches and I enjoyed meeting so many die hard fans.
Fall is my favorite time of the year. Our student-athletes arrive back on campus full of enthusiasm, and our freshmen are nervously excited about the next step in their careers. In an effort to develop camaraderie, we host a "Welcome Back" student-athlete event. This event includes all coaches, staff and student-athletes engaging in a variety of fun activities. All teams and staff are intermingled. We started this last year and received rave reviews from our kids.
I'm really looking forward to the upcoming fall sport season. Our football team returns 17 starters, including three preseason all-conference selections. We also have six home games and one BCS game against Big Ten foe Iowa. Season ticket sales are at a four-year high, and if you haven't gotten your tickets yet, call our ticket office at (417) 836-7678 to reserve your tickets today. Season tickets are just $100 for a reserved chairback seat. I also hope you plan to participate in the great tradition of tailgating at Bearfest Village prior to every home game. It's free and starts three hours prior to kickoff. The first game is Thursday, Aug. 29 against Southland Conference opponent Northwestern (La.) State. Our second home game is Saturday, Sept. 21 and is also a night game. Bring the family out because we have plenty of fun activities planned, including fireworks after the game against UCA.
Both of our soccer teams are looking forward to a successful year. Jon Leamy returns most of his starters and expects to be vying for a conference championship on the men's side, while Rob Brewer has a lot of key pieces back from a very young women's team last year. I encourage you to come out to Plaster and take in some great college soccer action.
Excitement around the MSU volleyball team is also on the rise. The team is primed to make another run at the NCAA Tournament, and I expect big things from Melissa Stokes and her team this fall. We will also look for our cross country and field hockey squads to continue to get better with both clubs featuring young, talented and exciting personnel.
For more information on all of our teams - news, stats, videos and more - make sure to visit MissouriStateBears.com or follow us on Twitter (@MissouriStBears) and Facebook.
Throughout the year I will be breaking down our five departmental goals and how I see them interfacing with our teams, University and you. My purpose is to better define what we are trying to accomplish and how everyone can be "All In" to make us the best we can be. It takes a total team effort to be a successful department. We're finishing the final year of our original five-year strategic plan. We will begin meeting with various stakeholders this year to develop a new long-range plan, and I encourage you to voice your opinions by providing feedback to me as you can.
I'm very excited about the progress we have made regarding the facility student fee. We have met several times with the students over the summer planning our strategy for the upcoming vote during Homecoming 2013. The students have been involved in the planning of the facilities as well as the promotion of the vote. It's a perfect scenario for all groups to work together to accomplish a common goal. Everyone involved is working together to make the overall student experience a better one here at MSU. If the vote is passed, we will begin construction at Plaster Sports Complex immediately after the final home football game. In addition to the east bleachers, we will begin work on a new soccer/track complex located just south of Glass Hall. This facility will also be available for student and recreation use. The final facility piece will be a new turf field just north of Harrison where the old softball field is currently located. This will also be a shared facility between campus recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics. This area will be the new home of our field hockey program and will also accommodate lacrosse. With the recent opening of the Foster Recreation Center, coupled with these new additions, the campus should see a great transformation, all for the betterment of the student experience.
I hope you have been following the progress of our Men's and Women's Basketball locker room construction online. The project is expected to be completed in November, and we will be planning an open house for all fans closer to the completion of the project. This will be another great addition to our facilities. Click on the construction button at MissouriStateBears.com to see the latest progress.
The deadline for men's and women's basketball season ticket renewals has passed, so if you haven't renewed your 2013-14 tickets, I encourage you to do so. The increased demand for women's basketball tickets has been amazing. Thanks to all of you who have jumped back on board and those who have continued to support the Lady Bears throughout the years. Kellie Harper and her staff have really worked hard in the offseason to implement their system, amp up recruiting and get after it in the weight room.
I'm equally excited about our men's program under third-year head coach Paul Lusk. We have depth and size for the first time in his tenure. I think you'll really be encouraged by the product the Bears will put on the floor this year. Again, I hope you will consider purchasing season tickets to support our entire department. We have many affordable options for you to purchase tickets. To find out more about what we have to offer contact Tom Ladd at (417) 836-3302 or the ticket office at (417) 836-7678. You can always buy tickets online as well at MissouriStateBears.com.
There are many exciting things happening with Missouri State Athletics. We still have much to accomplish, but I'm encouraged by the support you all our providing. Thank you for your "All In" mentality as we strive to be the best every day.