Tag Archives: WSU Raiders

Raiders Back to the Screen

Greetings readers,

Wright State and Dayton’s CW recently came to an agreement to air some Men’s Basketball games, as you can see in this press release from wsuraiders.com.

As someone who grew up in the Dayton area, I remember as a kid watching WDTN during the evening news and seeing the WSU updates, with the Raider Viking logo on the side. I don’t remember the game highlights, but I remember seeing the logo. Along the way, I’ve purchased a few old media guides, with the most recent one being from 1996-1997. In the media guide, there was an insert talking about the games that would be broadcasted on Channel 2.

Fast forward to 2011, a pair of new mascot suits, and a college degree in my hand; and Channel 2 has struck a deal with Wright State for rights to broadcast the games. The main difference is: the games will air live on Channel 26, which is Dayton’s CW and there will be three games live.

I say it’s about time that Wright State got back to the airwaves. It’s been way too long since we seen the Raiders on TV (it might have been Schilling’s first year where the contract ended, but this is all just a guess. Point is, they haven’t been on TV in awhile.)

You might argue with the fact that WWRD actually was on the scene a few years back, but not everyone got that station. It took me awhile to figure out that it was Time Warner Cable Channel 997-ish (this was when the first game was on. I think it was changed shortly afterwards to Ch. 23.) Point is though, not everyone got that channel.

I think it’s great that local television is picking Wright State games up again. Next year hopefully, we’ll see more games on the set.

Source of information from Wright State University’s Athletic website.

Until next time,

-Lee

Vikings Drop the Baseball

Greetings readers,

It’s a sad day for the Cleveland State baseball program, as the university has decided to cut the program after this season after 79 seasons. The decision was made by the university for budget reasons. According to the article from cleveland.com, this will save CSU about $450,000.

This will not affect the Vikings’ membership in the Horizon League or in NCAA Division I. The Horizon League doesn’t require schools to have a baseball program, and the minimum amount of teams to play in D-I is fourteen.

It is a sad day for fans of college baseball when you see a team pack it up and call it quits. However, there were a few things that made it somewhat difficult to follow Vikings baseball (at least away from the internet.)

The Vikings played at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, which is twenty miles away from Cleveland State. Before the move a few seasons back, CSU played at Pipe Yard Stadium in Lorain, which was thirty-some miles away. Not the easiest trip to make, day in and day out. While playing at Progressive Field would have been nice for the Vikings (and a lot closer), the costs would be through the roof unless the Cleveland Indians and the University could reach a deal. Unlikely? Probably, but still would have been neat to see.

Another reason is the lack of success that the Vikings have had. Cleveland State has failed to record a winning season since 1989, when the Vikings went 24-21. The Green and White got close to winning seasons a few times since then (like going 23-26 in 1993, and 22-24 in 1991.) That is not a knock on anyone who has played or coached, that is just stating the facts right out of the media guide.

Once CSU disbands the baseball program, the Horizon League will only have six teams playing baseball. I once heard that the minimum amount of teams that the conference requires to sponsor a sport was six. Detroit (UDM) was the last university to disband their program in the HL, after the 2004 season for budget reasons. While this makes it possible for teams to play each other twice in a season at each venue again (some schools only see each other once in the regular season), it is the borderline number to keep the sport in the conference. What if someone decides to drop before the 2012 season? Will baseball soon become history in the Horizon League?

As a former Sports Director at Wright State, I have seen the Raiders and Vikings play ball several games. While most have been wins for Wright State, the Vikings have always had some great talent. I remember one Josh Hungerman playing for CSU before becoming a member of the Colorado Rockies farm system. He was a starting pitcher, who would later become the DH for CSU. Currently, Anthony Sambula (see picture) is about to graduate from Cleveland State as a senior and has snagged a few HL Pitcher of the Week awards in 2011.

As a positive for the league, it is nice to see five teams in the league at home and away once again. As a possibility for scheduling, the traveling teams could be the Ohio teams of Wright State and Youngstown State, followed by the Indiana schools of Valparaiso and Butler, then pair up UIC and Milwaukee together for baseball. Another positive is that all the players currently on CSU’s roster will be able to play somewhere else without waiting a year.

Despite no winning seasons since 1989, I will still miss the away gray pinstripes of the Cleveland State Vikings playing at Wright State. I will miss the Vikings taking the diamond at Nischwitz Stadium, wearing the green alternative jerseys with a font that looks like Cincinnati’s (the Bearcats, not the Reds.)

As a closing note, I want to wish everyone in that organization nothing but the best in their futures. You have bright futures ahead, keep your head up and play hard for the last few weeks of 2011.

Sources of information from cleveland.com, csuvikings.com, and baseball-reference.com. Picture from the Horizon League website at horizonleague.org.

Until next time,

-Lee

Rebuilding the Wright Way

Greetings readers,

Today’s post is a little different. I’m writing about my alma mater, Wright State University. Granted, I’m a new graduate, but I still feel that it’s important for me to be updated on new happenings. For a little preview for those that aren’t familiar with what’s going on: Wright State is looking to roll out a Master Plan to rebuild the university. Three snapshots were made to ensure that short-term and long-term goals could be accomplished.

Wright State is unique, due to the woods that split the academics and the athletics side of the campus up. These are part of an old farmland that now have their uses for the Biology Department. It’s a nice walk through the woods, and you can actually traverse from the education side of things over to where most of the sports are played in about 15 minutes (your results may vary.)

In the Master Plan, there’s many changes coming but for the purpose of this blog I’ll stick with the Athletic side of things. If you follow along with the link I provided, this should be near the back of the slideshow.

In Phase I, which is scheduled to be completed in three to five years, the Athletics Core will try to extend Raider Road all the way to Kauffman Road. If you aren’t familiar with WSU, Raider Road is the road that runs by the Nutter Center (basketball arena), the Setzer Pavilion (practice/office arena for basketball), the softball field, and the parking lot that is used for the Tennis Courts and Nischwitz Stadium (baseball). Raider Road ends at University Boulevard which takes you to State Route 844 or back to the main part of campus. At the intersection, you will see Lot 20 (it’s a long way from the dorms but a lot cheaper to park there) and Alumni Field (soccer) closer to 844. To complete the description, Kauffman is the road that borders Wright State to the north. There are currently three entrances to campus from the road, and two link to Lot 20. The other connection is from Wright State Road, which ends at an angle at University. To do this, the lot will need to be cut in size as the road will need to pass the soccer field.

Along with extending an important road in Phase I, Wright State also wants to fill in some of the pond near the Nutter Center to create more parking spaces, which many basketball fans have brought to attention numerous times. Along with creating a pedestrian spine and landscapes for University and Raider, the recreation fields would move from the Student Union area to behind/next to Alumni Field. Nearby the Athletic core, there would be a Sports Medicine building by Kauffman.

Phase II is a short one for the Athletic side of things, as the relocation of the recreation fields is scheduled to be complete in five to ten years. However, there is another Sports Medicine building (labeled Sports Medicine II) nearby.

In the final Phase, which is scheduled to take ten plus years, the Athletic core is looking to build a “Field House” and an Aquatics Center.  Along with adding some fields to the northwest part of Wright State (that’s the corner of Zink and Kauffman, which is where the majority of the on-campus and off-campus apartments are located), there is a plan to add more parking spaces by opening a one-level parking deck north of the Nutter Center, which should be right next to Gate Nine.

In the final slide, there is Student Housing planned on the southwest corner of University and Raider, which is currently an untouched field of grass. The tennis courts are relocated to the north of Alumni Field, which happens in Phase I.

As you can see, there are a lot of improvements being planned. I didn’t touch on any other part but the Athletic core, mainly because this is a sports blog. I could have mentioned that there are plans to replace the Forest Lane apartments, where I spent three years living on campus. There’s also a few parking garages in the works.

All and all, this is a fantastic plan. Granted, no two people are going to agree on one same thing being the best or worst, but it’s a solid plan to keep Wright State with the times. I know when I come back for Alumni functions, I’m going to be surprised on how much the campus has changed.

It’s my alma mater. Hail Wright State, Hail Wright State U. Go Raiders!

Until next time,

-Lee

The Sports Director Says Goodbye

Hello readers,

This is a different type of post. It’s my farewell letter to WWSU. This is the place that I grew into the sportscaster that I am today. It’s been four and a third years, and it was a fun ride. You have no idea how many times I have tried to write this piece or how many times I’ve edited this.

This has been the toughest post to write, since it has been an important part of my life since Fall Quarter 2006.

I remember walking into the station, when we were located under the stairs because the original station was being remodeled.

It was a cramped space, with a few desks and a few computers. There were doors to the other student organizations behind us, but nobody was ever allowed to open those doors. I never did find out where the sports equipment was kept, but I assume that it was hidden in the clutter. Needless to say, it was a tight space during the meetings. Not everybody had chairs to sit down in. That is where I trained to become a DJ. This is also the time I had my first attempt as sportscasting.

My first game on the air was the Women’s Basketball team taking on the Athletics in Action team, as an exhibition. The Raiders ended up losing, but this began a journey into the field. I remember calling a good chunk of the basketball season (including the Bracket Busters win over Cal State Fullerton) and the baseball season. One of my fondest memories is at a baseball game in 2007, calling a game with the same guy that I started my broadcasting career with. He ended up choking on peanuts during a baseball game and that became a running gag throughout the game. He was alright though, and I believe that was a Raider win over Milwaukee.

I did apply for the Sports Director position in 2007, having no expectations to actually get the job but rather wanted to take a gamble. Sure enough, I didn’t get the job for my sophomore year but it would set things up for the future.

For the 2007-2008 school year, I took on a football game along with all of the women’s basketball games along with a good chunk of baseball games again. I didn’t get the chance to cover the men’s basketball team because of the Sports Director’s decision. I did get better with all the experience and hints during my sophomore year, as it gave me the confidence to apply once again. I ran against someone who had about the same experience I did, but what set me apart was the ideas I planned according to the General Manager. I wanted all of the sportscasters to dress and broadcast more professionally, I wanted to bring a slogan to the broadcasts to set the games apart, and I wanted to improve how things were done.

In September of 2008, I became the WWSU Sports Director and would hold that title until now. In school years, that is two and a third years as the Sports Director. If I haven’t lost you yet, I’d like to share my experience.

I think my first year was the best year as the Sports Director. I had people helping me for every game, I brought hockey into the mix, and I used budget money to get every single broadcaster a sports polo for broadcasting games that weren’t basketball. While we did have some screw-ups, including one where a parent complained that I was talking about the cold too much, I think we established to the listeners that sports do matter to us. We started off broadcasting Fairborn High School home football games, which went okay. I had four people broadcast those football games, and yes one of those people is me. I believe the Skyhawks went 0-4 when WWSU was there, but it’s a blurry memory to me now. That would be the last time we called high school football during my stay at Wright State.

We then brought hockey to the airwaves, and it started off incredibly bumpy. While the arena told us there were phone lines available, they turned out to be digital phone lines which can’t work with the Zercom we still have (unless you make an adapter out of sixty separate parts.) So, what did I do as the person who didn’t like to back out of a deal because nothing was going our way? I used my cell phone and called the game, literally. We did have problems with the other coach (not saying who or what team) thinking I was talking trash about their team, but that was not the case. It didn’t help that other people kept messing around up near the broadcaster’s table. That is the only game I had to leave early, due to my phone being completely dead and I grown tired of fighting with the other bench about what they thought I said. I think this made me grow even more as a sportscaster, and as a person. All in all though, the rest of the games went alright.

Basketball has been on WWSU since the late 1970’s, when the station was born and closed-circuited (meaning you stayed in one spot to listen.) For the Men’s games, we sat up in the other media booths, where we still are today. We used to call games from half-court for the Women, but we had to trim some of our spending and moved to about the same location as we are for the men (turning the lines on and off were costly.) This is where I ran into a problem over-stuffing the broadcast with people, where I would be the main guy on the air and the others would just tag along and not say too much of anything. I fixed that problem in my second year, but I grew from this. Also, I learned to share only positive facts about people, because some people flip out when they hear what you say. Bad things, keep between you and the other sportscaster. Got it.

Baseball was also a blast. This was the time the SID (Sports Information Director) gave me a Bob Carpenter scorebook late in the season. I still have this book as I look forward to using it at my new gig at WSWO. We were usually outside, right behind home plate on the concourse. It was a bit chilly earlier in the season, but I think everyone got over that quickly. This was my favorite time, as I would come up to the ball park (sometimes walking from my apartment) and just relax and shoot the breeze with the SID. I learned a lot about the team, the sport, and everything else. I have to say, he was my mentor until he took another job at Tulane. I look back on junior year and I look at all the things I learned.

The second season saw the birth of Wright State football, along with soccer and volleyball. I covered the entire volleyball season (minus two games, due to being overstretched) and most of the soccer season. Football was a popular choice for sportscasters as it brought them a college team they could be proud of that isn’t Ohio State.

I will be honest, I think this was a bad year for me. I took over the majority of those games, sometimes without anyone putting me on the air (that’s right, I ran the board AND broadcasted at the same thing [my personal fastest time is 3 minutes! Don’t tell anyone!]) I did half of the games I called by myself. I did about twenty games without a producer. I look back and wonder if people didn’t want to see me suffer and turn insane during the year since it was a struggle to find people on a regular basis. I tell you though, I saw a bunch of sports and learned a lot from everyone.

Originally, I wasn’t going to be hired back as the Sports Director for Fall 2010, but luck came my way. I had to trim a lot of sports (by a lot, I mean the non-conference soccer games, volleyball, and the majority of hockey) and I had to research on the latest technologies for new equipment. However, the staff helped me out by giving me a producer every game. I had a few back out, but people were right there to help me out. Out of all the games during Fall Quarter, I called all but four (three football since I run the scoreboard and one soccer game due to another game at WSWO.) I really feel like I smoothed out during this last quarter and I hope I’m ready for the real world. Currently, I have a broadcasting internship with the Troy Bruins and a volunteer sportscasting gig with WSWO, which is the voice of the Wayne High School Warriors.

On a regular basis, I have had fans, visitors, and listeners alike tell me I do a good job and talk Raider sports with me. Most of the Athletic Department know how I am, which is a great thing for the job. I think I won over my co-workers at WWSU, since I won the Co-Director of the Year Award for 2008-2009. I’m often been described as the hardest working person at the station, as I put in a lot of hours working on stats and games. I really hope the Athletic Department also thought of me as someone that genuinely cared about the teams.

I felt as if the job got me an identity (and no, I’m not talking about the press passes.) I think it really helped me see what I can become. I’m still a little rough around the edges, but I know I can succeed as a sportscaster.

I want to thank all of the people of WWSU who I’ve worked with, as it was a pleasure to get to know you all. I really have enjoyed getting to know all of you (and hopefully, the feeling is mutual.) I might visit every now and then, but I need to move on from the station. I hope the only way for me to go is up.

Until next time,

-Lee

Shooting Hoops with the Raiders

Hey folks, just an update on my blog. I have decided to stop updating with the daily articles, unless it deals with career updates. I don’t want to burn people out and I don’t want to burn myself out. That said, look for it at least twice a week.

Also, the interview with the Yellow Nation Army went over very well. I will try to see on how I can get the interview onto my WordPress page. In the mean time, I now continue with my blog. Originally it was going to be a preview of Fall Sports which I might write about sometime next week.

As you might know, I am a student at Wright State University. The Raiders play in the Horizon League, with nine other teams with all of them being in major mid-western cities. I can’t tell you how many stories I hear from students saying “Oh, we are Division I?,” or “We have sports?” In fact, we do have sports and have a history of around 40 years and history in Division I since the 1987-1988 seasons.

Basketball is arguably the jewel of WSU Athletics. Playing inside the beautiful Nutter Center, the arena has seen more of a personal touch. There are more banners displaying the excellence of the basketball teams. You can see more green and gold rather than white or old Dayton Bombers colors. This year is a special season in the making.

Both the men and the women are with new coaches. Coach Bridgett Williams was let go after nine seasons along with all her staff and Coach Brownell took some of his old staff with him to Clemson.

In their place: Coach Mike Bradbury for the women’s team and Coach Bill Donlon for the men. Coach Bradbury comes to Wright State from Morehead State University, where he was the head coach of the Eagles for a couple of years. He also has coaching experience at Xavier of the A-10 and Cincinnati. Coach Donlon was the Associate Head Coach for Brad Brownell all four years he was here with WSU and has been tagging along with Coach Brownell since 2002 at North Carolina-Wilmington.

Both teams have released their 2010-2011 schedules. Both teams play the other nine teams in the Horizon League at home and on the road. The women have five home games out of conference with two being exhibition matches against Georgetown KY (yes, the same place that the Bengals train at) and Kentucky State and the men have six home games with no exhibitions and two non-Division I opponents.

Let’s talk about some of the new players coming in as well as some leaving the program. For the men, we see the loss of four seniors (John David Gardner, Todd Brown, Cory Cooperwood, Ronnie Thomas), two juniors (Scott Grote and Walter Offutt who didn’t play a single minute at WSU), and two freshmen (Tyler Koch is going to Ball State as a walk-on, Paul Darkwa is transferring to Columbus State in Georgia). The women lose three seniors (Erica Richardson, Charne Dixon, and Kanisha Ward), but gain a whopping eight freshmen into the mix. The men will get a transfer from North Carolina State next year, as well as five other freshmen (one will be redshirting).

As you can see, the Raiders will be bringing in a chunk of youth. The women will have the majority of the games on the road while the men have two Big Ten teams on the schedule (we might not play Purdue in the Chicago Invitation Tournament but we will be kicking off the season at Indiana).

As a media member, I am excited to see both teams on the court. It will be a great year for Raider basketball.

Until next article, see you around.

-Lee