Sixth and final in a series examining incoming members of the AAC
The American Athletic Conference is moving closer to a transition on July 1 that will bring Alabama-Birmingham, Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice and Texas-San Antonio into membership from Conference USA.
The AAC will lose Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston to the Big 12.
Houston was ranked No. 1 for a portion of the 2022-23 basketball season and was a No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament, but was knocked out in the Sweet 16 with an 89-75 loss to Miami (FL).
FAU carried its AAC banner-to-be into the Final Four with a stunning run that included victories over Memphis, Fairleigh-Dickinson, Tennessee and Kansas State before losing to another Cinderella, San Diego State, on a buzzer beater.
It was an excellent basketball postseason for the incoming teams as North Texas topped UAB, 68-61, for the NIT championship and Charlotte captured the College Basketball Invitational in Daytona Beach with a 71-68 triumph over Eastern Kentucky.
Connecticut won the NCAA Tournament, 76-59, over San Diego State in Houston as former East Carolina standout Tristen Newton led the Huskies with 19 points and 10 rebounds, both game highs.
Cincinnati’s farewell tour in the AAC includes a 3-game baseball series at No. 9 ECU that is scheduled to start on Friday at 5 p.m. (ESPN+), weather permitting.
Know the foe: Texas San Antonio Roadrunners
The university traces its start to a ceremony held in front of the Alamo on June 5, 1969. Prior to that time, San Antonio lacked a public, four-year higher education institution. A group of Mexican-American community leaders, city business leaders and politicians joined forces for the founding.
A 600-acre site at the intersection of I-10 and highway 1604 was chosen for the campus.
UTSA has grown to an enrollment approaching 35,000.
UTSA has one of the most distinctive nicknames in college athletics, the Roadrunners, but the teams were almost known as the Armadillos.
An election was held in 1977 to determine the nickname and two choices emerged — Armadillos and Stars.
But the election results were voided, and Roadrunners was the winner in a second election.
Rowdy the Roadrunner hatched from an egg at a basketball pep rally on Nov. 24, 1981.
Coker coaches football opener
Texas-San Antonio played its first football game on Sept. 3, 2011, defeating Northeastern State, 31-3, at the Alamodome before a crowd of 56,743.
Attendance was the most ever for a start-up game, surpassing South Florida, which attracted 49,212 on Sept. 6, 1997, against Kentucky Wesleyan.
The Roadrunners coach was Larry Coker, who guided Miami to a national title in 2001. He played at Northeastern State.
“As far as this being our opening game for the city, the university and for the players, I just can’t say enough about how well they responded,” Coker said at the time.
The Roadrunners went 12-2 in 2021, including an 11-0 start under coach Jeff Traylor.
North Texas spoiled the perfect season with a 45-23 win in Denton, TX, as the Mean Green converted three USTA fumbles into 21 points.
The Roadrunners topped Western Kentucky, 49-41, for the C-USA championship before falling to San Diego State, 38-24, in the Frisco Bowl.
USTA repeated as C-USA champions in 2022 with a 48-27 win over North Texas in the championship game.
An 18-12 loss to Troy in the Cure Bowl in Orlando put the Runners at 11-3 for the season.
The spring game is Friday night at the Alamodome.
USTA opens the 2023 season at Houston on Sept. 2. The Roadrunners travel to Tennessee for a Sept. 23 matchup.
ECU visits the Runners on Oct. 28.
USTA is coming off a 10-22 season in basketball that included a 4-16 record in C-USA.
Former Kansas State and NBA player Steve Henson has been coaching the program since April of 2016.
Home games are played at the Convocation Center on campus. The compact gym is also known as “the Convo” and “”the Bird Cage.”
The Runners are 25-8 on the diamond after a 5-1 win at Texas A&M on Tuesday night.
Coach Pat Hallmark has been at USTA since 2020.
The Runners lead C-USA in earned run average (3.60) and batting average (.315).
NBA champions with the San Antonio Spurs, Bruce Bowen and Devin Brown, are among notable USTA alumni.
Fountain of good fortune
The Sombrilla Fountain is a recognizable landmark on campus.
Touching the wall on the week of finals supposedly brings good luck on exams.
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