Now Lion fans, moving onto a very vital part of our athletic programs are the other fall sports. First, I will start with Women’s Soccer. The laides have been a mainstay and the model of consistency since they first became a program. Head Coach Neil Piper is one those coaches who is outstanding and knows what he is doing and has the trust of his players and fans. Even after the rough season we had this year, I would be very suprised if the Ladies did not really crank it up next year and begin a march toward Lone Star Supremacy. The Ladies Soccer program is excellent due to its winning ways, its exceptional student athletes, and the high quality of coaching they are receiving. The facilities are good, and the fans show up to root on the team. This program is one that is good, and every sports program should look to be a model of this program. Program Status: Solid
Next, is the Women’s Volleyball team. We have had one of the best programs since Volleyball came to A&M Commerce in the late 1970′s. After a rough patch during the Gwen Weatherford era, Head Coach Craig Case has turned the program around and made the team the solid team that is has traditionally been. Getting this team deep in the LSC tournament was not a tall order, and Case did what he was expected to do. I like Coach Case, he talks less and does more. He makes no guarantees other than what he can control. The best thing about Case is his recruiting skills. He recruits local talent that is exceptional and continues to also bring most of his players from North Texas and the DFW area, with a few Houston athletes along the way. This has generally been the way success has happened and he has put his stamp on it. However, the fieldhouse needs to be filled with rabid students who will make it a hostile environment and a tough place to play for anyone who comes this way. Rabid fans, good players, a great coach, and girls that play hard will have this program back on the uptick for years to come. Program Status: Above average
For the last evaluation of the fall sports, we take a look at Mens and Women’s Cross Country. From somone who had an invite to try out for the team, I can tell you that the program is steeped in success on the individual and team level. Recruiting is the easiest in this arena. If you look at Regional Cross Country runners in high schools, the North and Northeast Texas Region has the best in the state per results of the state meet. Just check out Texastrack.com. The Region II meet is held in Arlington, and just about everyone who runs for A&MC is a former region II runner. The guy typing this report is a former Region II runner. The region is head and shoulders above everyone else. However, there has been an underperformance in the team results lately. The international runner has been a token runner and the focus needs to be on having more runners that want to come to Commerce and run for a traditionally solid program. The underperformance cannot be continued however. The coach of the XC program is a solid coach and has had a ton of success before, but the steady decline has go to be bothersome. Also, we need to continue to host Cross Country/High School meets. When I was in High School, we ran at the University of Texas at Tyler’s meet and they had a huge meet for big schools, small schools, and Colleges with scouts there. Having the meet at Harbison park is something that needs to be continued. Also, one last things, we are over recruting East Texas and the Houston area. Look to your back yard in Rural North Texas and the Metroplex and get a lot of runners from there as well. Program Status: Average
Finally, I would like to see a Men’s Soccer program. I know, Title 9 is in the way of that, but why not add some extra female sports to offset that? There is Swimming, Diving, and a whole list of other sports that the Women’s program to have that would offset title 9. Think about it. If the girls are a great draw, why not have a guys team to go with it? There would be an even bigger draw, and this would leave to more revenue. Having a Women’s and Men’s team would go a long way for more Lion Pride.
Part 3 Tommorrow