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News Nuggets, 08.29.03

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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

ECU and U of L coaches establish new pre-game traditions


08.28.03: Muse pushes Pirates' cause with ACC chief... .. Nix wins national coaching honor... .. Revered former TCU football coach passes... .. More...
08.27.03: Logan teams up with Hinton on weekly sports show... .. Injury no barrier to recognition for Art Brown... .. Southern Miss, LSU schedule two-game series... .. More...
08.26.03: J.T. set for Cyberspace hookup with fans... .. Early TV exposure plentiful for C-USA teams... .. Nevels wins scramble for Army starting QB job... .. Green Wave elects team captains... .. Attrition depletes Billikens' projected hoops roster... .. More...
08.25.03: Southern Miss 'community blitz' package includes ear of corn... .. Tough Louisville hoops slate heavy on national TV exposure... .. More...
08.24.03: USM-Cal game selected for HD-TV telecast... .. ECU-Houston game celebrates region's military bases... .. Charlotte slate features two Final Four teams... .. More...
08.23.03: New ECU depth chart packed with answers... .. Butkus committee eyes seven C-USA players... .. Hawaii Bowl lands new title sponsor... .. More...
08.22.03: Pirate offense percolates, QB battle heats up... .. Bearcats offer incentives for fans to attend ECU game... .. Cincinnati player penalized for unapproved game... .. More...
08.21.03: Michigan programs oppose schedule shifts to Friday night... .. Clock ticking on ECU starting position battles... .. More...
08.20.03: Private money rolls in for TCU basketball palace... .. Bearcats' hoops slate loaded with heavyweights... .. Berry starts unraveling Army QB logjam... .. More...
08.19.03: Muse taps in-house talent to buy time for AD search... .. C-USA saddled with another Friday night game... ..  League official Teter accepts Cincinnati position... .. More...
08.18.03: Work ethic reaps dividends for USM walk-ons... .. Tigers take preseason trip to Liberty Bowl... .. More...
08.17.03: Pirates' final open practice touches all bases... .. AP poll identifies Horned Frogs as Top 25 material... .. More...
08.16.03: East Carolina's go-to running back sidelined for 2003... .. Pirate football legends headed to Hall of Fame... .. 'Uptown' Pirate Radio sets sail for football season... .. More...
08.15.03: ECU harvests brightest crop of newcomers yet... .. Ailing Schwab waits patiently for new lungs... .. Calipari picked for UNICO's Lombardi Award... .. More...

New head coaches at East Carolina and Louisville are on the same wave length when it comes to how they want their players to make their entrance for home games.

The Pirates will trek to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium through the buzz of the fans' parking lot two hours before each home kickoff. First-year ECU head coach John Thompson has embraced the idea of the "Pirate Walk" as a worthy new tradition.

"I think the Pirate Walk will create a lot of excitement for the fans and team," Thompson said. "I know that our players enjoy that and having everyone come from tailgating to be a part of this tradition is exciting."

Starting at Harrington Field, ECU's baseball stadium located off of Charles Boulevard, the football team will be dropped off by the team buses near the third base side of the stadium, where the Pirates will begin a five-minute stroll up to the team locker room in the Ward Sports Medicine Building.

Along its journey, the team will be ushered by the Marching Pirates and the ECU Cheerleaders through throngs of festive and tailgating fans, down the gravel road located between the Pirate Club lots and the Cliff Moore Football Practice Facility.

"For the fans, I think it is a chance to see a different side of the team," said Thompson. "When they step off that bus, they can see how focused the players are about going to war and representing the university. This walk is a critical time in our game preparation."

The Pirate Walk is expected to grow into a major part of the game-day at ECU — so much so that Thompson has it listed on the players' game weekend itinerary.

"I have seen the walk tradition happen at a lot of places like Tennessee, Ole Miss and Auburn. I think that it adds to the football atmosphere, and I know that it will help our team get ready to play and we'll play better because of that."

The Pirate Walk will first occur at ECU's home game against West Virginia on Saturday, Sept. 6. With kickoff scheduled at 7 p.m., the Pirate Walk will get underway promptly at 5 p.m. beginning at Harrington Field.

The thought process that inspired the Pirate Walk was similar to the one which motivated new Louisville coach Bobby Petrino to adopt a pre-game ritual that will be called the "CardMarch." Petrino cited hundreds of letters and e-mails as the deciding factor in coming up with the name for the new custom.

"We received an overwhelming response," said Petrino. "We'd like to thank the fans for their participation and their input. It was great to see the originality in some of the responses, and I was glad that our fans had some fun with it."

The CardMarch is a creation of Petrino that will take place prior to each Cardinal home game. The team will be dropped off at the South side Denny Crum Overpass two hours and 15 minutes prior to kickoff. With the assistance of the U of L marching band and cheerleaders, the team will walk through the Green Lot and into Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Fans are invited to arrive early and create an entrance way for the players as they head into the stadium.

"We wanted to do something that our fans could relate with and be a part of," said Petrino. " We hope this a ritual that our fans will embrace and build it into something special. It's important to have traditions, and we hope we can start one that will be special to all Cardinal fans."

Fans will be able to greet the team for the first CardMarch on September 20 at 12:45 p.m. when the Cardinals host UTEP at 3:00 p.m. in the team's home opener..

Pirates' Dougherty, Houston's McClary on Guy Award list

Two Conference USA players are among 32 players named as candidates for college football's most prestigious award for punters. East Carolina's Ryan Dougherty and Houston's Jimmy McClary have been named to the Ray Guy Award watch list, the Greater Augusta Sports Council announced on Thursday.

Dougherty, a native of Orlando, Fla., is a sophomore academically and a redshirt freshman in terms of football eligibility. Highly touted as a recruit in 2002, Dougherty has been impressive in spring and fall scrimmages, averaging well over 40 yards per punt. Dougherty will be taking over punting duties from Jarad Preston, who ranked among the nation's top dozen punters during each of the past two seasons.

McClary will punt for the Cougars for the third straight season and was recently named to the preseason All-Conference USA first team. Last season, McClary averaged 38.9 yards per kick with 14 placed inside the 20-yard line. More importantly, McClary's net average of 35.9 placed the Cougars in the top 35 in the nation in this category. He has not had a punt blocked in 125 attempts.

Ray Guy, the award's namesake, was an All-American punter at Southern Mississippi and went on to a fabled career as a punter for the NFL's Oakland Raiders. A native of Thomson, GA, Guy was unsurpassed in his ability to impact the outcome of games with hang time and ball control. Since his retirement, Ray Guy has sought to bring heightened awareness and recognition to the punter position at all levels, and to spotlight the contributions and talents that these young athletes bring to the playing field.

The Ray Guy Award winner is determined by a national selection committee made up of sports writers, college football coaches and sports information directors, former punters and members designated by the Greater Augusta Sports Council. Among the statistics to be included in determining the Ray Guy Award winner are total yardage, number of times a punt is downed or kicked out of bounds inside of the opponent's 20-yard line, net average, average return yardage and percentage not returned. The winner will display leadership and self-discipline, and will have a positive impact on the team's success.

The Ray Guy Award watch list will be narrowed to 10 semi-finalists who will be announced in early November. The national voting body will then vote for the three finalists and the winner who will be announced in late November. On December 11, 2003, the three finalists will travel to Orlando, Florida for the Home Depot College Football Awards Show, with the winner being announced and presented with the award live on ESPN. The winner will be invited to Augusta, Georgia for a two-day celebration, including the Greater Augusta Sports Awards Gala, the Ray Guy Kicking & Punting Academy, and community appearances.

2003 Ray Guy Award Watch List

Curtis Ansel, Kansas, Senior
Grant Autrey, Louisiana-Lafayette, Senior
Bryce Benekos, Texas-El Paso, Junior
Vinnie Burns, Virginia Tech, Senior
Adam Coles, Connecticut, Senior
Jared Cook, Mississippi State, Junior
Luke Donovan, Wyoming, Senior
Ryan Dougherty, East Carolina, Sophomore
Ryan Downes, Idaho, Senior
Adam Finley, Michigan, Senior
Brock Harvey, Missouri, Senior
Austin Herbert, North Carolina State, Senior
Brian Huffman, Northwestern, Senior
Todd James, West Virginia, Senior
Derek Jones, Nevada, Senior
Donnie Jones, Louisiana State, Senior
Brad Kadlubar, North Texas, Junior
Kyle Larson, Nebraska, Senior
Andy Lee, Pittsburgh, Senior
Tom Malone, Southern California, Sophomore
Jimmy McClary, Houston, Senior
Tim Parker, Arizona State, Senior
Matt Payne, Brigham Young, Senior
Ryan Plackemeier, Wake Forest, Sophomore
Adam Podlesh, Maryland, Sophomore
Cody Ridgeway, Mississippi, Junior
Cody Scates, Texas A&M, Senior
Nicholas Setta, Notre Dame, Senior
John Skaggs, Navy, Senior
Brent Slaton, Purdue, Senior
Mike Wafzig, Miami (Ohio),Junior
Tony Yelk, Iowa State, SenioR

TCU establishes separate baseball booster organization

Head coach Jim Schlossnagle and his staff are inviting all Texas Christian fans to attend the TCU Baseball Tailgate and Reception, Saturday, September 6 at Lupton Stadium and Williams-Reilly Field. Gates for the event will open at 3:30 pm beginning with a meal and a short program set to begin at 4:45. Admission and food are free.

The formation of the Diamond Club, a TCU baseball booster club, will be announced during the short program. The purpose of this group will be to raise interest in the TCU baseball program and provide financial support for baseball scholarships and the baseball operating budget.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically from staff, ECU, Conference USA and its member schools, and from Associated Press and other reports. Copyright 2003 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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