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Continued Herald sports coverage

The Herald continues to cover Topper sports like no one else. Find our latest coverage at wkuherald.com/sports.

We’ll maintain this blog as an archive of our coverage between January 2009 to August 2010.

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WKU Luncheon Live Blog

LIVE: WKU football Aug. 30 luncheon

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Some WKU sports Friday afternoon notes

A Nebraska connection

Check out this interesting link from the Omaha World Herald. It talks about Head Coach Willie Taggart’s connection to Tommie Frazier of Nebraska.

Frazier preceded Taggart as quarterback at Manatee High School (Fla.) And in timely fashion, Manatee’s showdown with Plant High School (Fla.) is featured tonight as part of ESPN’s High School Football Kick Off. The game begins at 6 p.m.

We’ll get some comments from coach Taggart and see how closely he’ll be watching tonight’s game at today’s practice.

Dasher suspended

Multiple sources reported earlier today that Middle Tennessee quarterback Dwight Dasher — essentially the best player in the Sun Belt Conference entering this season — will be suspended for the Blue Raiders’ first four games of the season.

The news was broken with a statement by MTSU Athletic Director Chris Massaro.

While there are a lot of sides to the story involving student-athlete Dwight Dasher, all parties agree that there was a $1,500 loan. Therefore, due to a violation of the NCAA amateurism legislation, we are declaring Dwight Dasher ineligible for competition but will be seeking his reinstatement. While we are seeking reinstatement, Dasher will be allowed to practice. It is anticipated that Dasher will miss some competition.

Click her to read the full story from the Daily News Journal in Tennessee, which includes Massaro’s complete statement.

Local lineman offered by Western

Chad Bishop, preps reporter for the Bowling Green Daily News, said on his blog today that Joe Manley has been offered by Taggart after watching the Bowling Green High School football team last Saturday.

Bishop’s blog has some great information on Bowling Green-area prospects. Check it out here.

Don’t call him Sherry

Former Louisiana-Lafayette wide receiver Jason Chery — now a Green Bay Packer — made a name for himself last night with a punt return against the Indianapolis Colts.

What’s on tap

The Western volleyball team begins its season today on the road at Purdue, and the women’s soccer team will look for its first first win Friday at Ole Miss before playing its home opener this Sunday.

The penultimate fall camp session for the Topper football team takes place this afternoon. Look for reports on that later from our beat writer, Zach Greenwell, and find us at tomorrow’s Family Fun Day.

Jonathan Lintner

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Monday links and video

Vow of silence: WKU’s O-line tight-lipped until losing streak snapped
Notebook: Running back Rainey not to be tackled during practice
In-state basketball recruit Hammond has WKU on her radar

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What we’ve missed and why

This is Jonathan Lintner, sports editor at the Herald this fall.

The plan leaving class last May was to have a new Herald website up and running for this school year, but since it’s not the school year yet, the site isn’t finished. Even though we never planned to use this blog again (and ceased posting), it’s back — at least for a few weeks.

So throughout the WKU football team’s fall camp, this is where Zach Greenwell, this year’s football beat writer (and former women’s hoops writer) will post his daily reports.

Practice (and posting) begins Monday with a 6 p.m. practice. The football team’s media day is Tuesday. Look for any breaking news this semester on the Herald’s main site, wkuherald.com, and follow the Herald sports staff on Twitter by clicking here.

In the meantime, we’ve missed a lot. Here are some links from stuff we missed via WKUsports.com and Nick Baumgardner of the Bowling Green Daily News.

Aug. 6: AD Ross Bjork’s announces personnel changes

Aug. 5: WKU to face Minnesota in opening round of Puerto Rico Tip-Off

Aug. 5: Swimmer Donahue finishes eighth at national championships

Aug. 5: Mullins added to softball staff

Aug. 3: Two don’t qualify for WKU football team

Aug. 2: Football Tops to play LSU in 2011

July 31: Nick B’s basketball recruiting roundup

July 27: Anthony Winchester to take high school head coaching spot in Indiana

July 20: A.J. Slaughter signs with Italian League team

July 20: Sun Belt media day two

July 19: Sun Belt media day one

June 14: Duane Hall tabbed as new WKU strength coach

July 10: Allen Edwards named assistant men’s basketball coach

June 30: Jordan Swing won’t return to WKU hoops team

June 27: WKU men’s basketball adds walk on

June 25: Evans selected by Utah Jazz with NBA Draft’s 55th pick

June 9: Payton selected on day two of MLB First-Year Players Draft

June 9: Four more Toppers hear names called in MLB Draft

June 9: All 19 WKU teams above NCAA’s APR standards

May 31: Nick B’s WKU baseball wrap

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Bjork announces personnel changes

Hey guys, football beat writer Zach Greenwell here. I just wanted to pass along something media outlets in Bowling Green received earlier today from WKU Director of Athletics Ross Bjork.

Bjork released a letter addressed to the athletics staff that details several changes and updates made throughout the department.

The most prominent of those moves is the promotion of Todd Stewart, former associate athletic director for communications, to Senior Associate Athletic Director.

The following is Bjork’s letter in full:

Dear members of the WKU Athletics Staff and Coaches,

 Greetings!  It has truly been a pleasure working with each one of you during my first 103 days here at WKU.  As I have stated numerous times, we have a tremendous and dedicated staff and I sincerely appreciate all of your hard work on behalf of WKU and Intercollegiate Athletics.  I hope all of you have been able to recharge your body, mind, and spirit by spending quality time with friends and family this summer.  Now that August has arrived, we quickly approach the start of our fall sports seasons and we will be seeing more of our student-athletes in the coming days and weeks ahead.  I know you share my excitement and anticipation for 2010-11 and our continuance of the Championship Effort required for us to exceed our past academic and athletic accomplishments. 

As we move into this time of year and the end of my initial transition, I want to personally inform everyone of a few noteworthy changes since we completed 2009-10.  First, as you know, we have upgraded our head coaching positions for men’s and women’s golf to full time status.  WKU is in the heart of a tremendous golfing community, and our programs have the great potential to benefit from the outstanding courses and community resources in the area.  I am confident we will see improvement in both programs with the proper full time leadership.  Most importantly, our student-athletes deserve the best program possible.  Pam Herriford is chairing the committee leading a national search to identify and hire the best candidates.  We anticipate having both positions filled near the start of the upcoming fall semester.

A lot has taken place during my first 3 months as we have been super active on campus, in the community, and out in the region – Spreading the Red, for WKU Athletics.   As I arrived at WKU, I felt it was extremely important that our mission and core values be clearly established for all of us to appreciate our true purpose and to crystallize that our beliefs should be centered within the University’s vision.  Therefore, I encourage you to view our new WKU Athletics Mission Statement and Core Values to take a look at how we will proceed forward.  As I told the Board of Regents last week, I believe in our resolve and commitment to our student-athletes and want to thank our administrative council (Pam Herriford, Craig Biggs, Todd Stewart, BJ Burton, Jim Clark, Darrell Horn, and Anita Madison) for crafting our new mission statement and core values. 

On the administrative front, I believe our department’s efficiency and overall operation will be enhanced by creating the position of Senior Associate Athletic Director – a definitive “number two” person for athletics.  I have chosen Todd Stewart to serve in this capacity to work directly with me and our administrative council on advancing WKU athletics on a daily basis.  Todd is the ideal fit for this role, as he has a solid understanding and appreciation of WKU Athletics coupled with 23 years of significant and unique experiences at multiple levels.  In addition to working at WKU the last two years, he also served four years as an Associate Commissioner with the Sun Belt Conference office, has 15 years of experience in the National Football League working with the Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns, and worked two years in the University of Tennessee’s athletic department.

As the athletic department’s Senior Associate AD, Todd will serve as the second in command for all aspects of athletics and our 19 sponsored sports.  He will assist me in strategic initiatives that advance the mission of Athletics, serve as a critical advisor for all important decisions for the department, and help formulate and implement the department’s communication strategy, vision, and philosophy.  He will also assist me in the day to day management of football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and baseball and will oversee all aspects of scheduling for football, basketball, and other sports as needed.  Todd will work in a strategic fashion with all External Relations including Ticket Sales, Development, IMG, and Marketing to create specific plans for revenue growth and new forms of communication and outreach.  He will continue to oversee all components of communications and media relations.  In addition to Todd’s new role, we are excited about the promotion of Michael Schroeder and the addition of Melissa Anderson to our media relations staff.

On the development front, we have hired Brandon Spurlock as our Assistant Director of the Hilltopper Athletic Foundation.  Brandon, who holds his BA from WKU, previously worked at WKU as a student manager with football and a student assistant with HAF in 2007. He will report to Jim Clark and be responsible for coordinating our Annual Fund Operations to recruit new members, renew current members, and ensure donor benefits are fulfilled.  Brandon will also help grow our Active Donor Portfolio, oversee special events for the Hilltopper Athletic Foundation, and assist in the management of the Diddle Arena Luxury Suites and the Topper Club at Houchens-Smith Stadium.  Brandon worked the previous two years as a Development Assistant at the University of Tennessee.

Matt Morrison, who has served as our Assistant Ticket Manager since October of 2008, has been promoted to Ticket Manager.  He will now be responsible for the management of all phases of ticket operations including ordering and distribution along with processing season and individual game ticket orders for football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, volleyball, soccer and softball.  He will also supervise the ticket office staff in processing both on site and mail orders and coordinate with HAF on all reseating and special projects. 

In order to be more proactive with our ticket sales efforts, we have created the position of Ticket Sales Coordinator and hired John Patterson.  He will report to Craig Biggs and be responsible for generating a new season ticket base, single game sales, and group ticket sales to all constituents of WKU athletics including database list generation and subsequent communication via cold calls, direct mail and other activities.  He will also help maintain the Ticketmaster computerized ticketing system and ticket sales records and assist the Marketing Department with the planning, coordinating, and implementation of the marketing strategies for ticket sales, special promotions, and sponsorships.  John previously worked at Vanderbilt University as an Athletic Ticket Office Associate, Marshall University, and was a football student-athlete at the University of Memphis.

There are numerous other coaching and staff hires that have also been completed this summer and we will announce all of the new employees at our August full staff meeting on August 31st at 8:00am.  I am excited and confident in our new administrative set up and the addition of our new employees as they begin their duties on the Hill. 

As you have heard me state before, if we only maintain, we fall behind.  Therefore, change is a consistent component of collegiate athletics and the announcements today will create greater opportunities for all of our staff and mainly our student-athletes, who we serve each and every day.  Continue to look for more exciting movement as we continue down the path.  I cannot wait until we kick off, get on the pitch, and spike the ball in Diddle Arena in the coming weeks.  Let’s have a great 2010-11 and I look forward to seeing and talking to all of you soon.  As Willie Taggart says: ‘Let’s all Chase Greatness and Catch Excellence in the Process!”

 Cheers to you,

 Ross

— Today’s post marks the Herald’s return to blogging and posting content. Sports editor Jonathan Lintner will have an update in the next few days on what the Herald’s future plans are and what new features we have in store this year.

As for me, I will be following football fall camp from beginning to end and plan on having fresh content from each day’s practice beginning next week, so be looking for that.

Until then, enjoy the weekend and thanks for reading.

-Zach Greenwell

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WKU SGA sponsoring T-shirt drive

Western’s Student Government Association is hoping to spread the reach of Red Towel Territory.

The effort will start right in its backyard.

SGA President-Elect Colton Jesse said students can receive a free Western T-shirt this Wednesday from 12 a.m.-2 a.m. on one condition — that they give up a shirt from another school in exchange.

According to the group’s Facebook page, shirts will be handed out at the Java City in the library. A May 4 Herald article adds that the shirt exchange will continue in the SGA offices throughout finals week.

Jonathan Lintner

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