We are Marshall!
Notebook: It's Another `Young' Thundering Herd


Jack Bogaczyk

Jack Bogaczyk

July 13, 2012

By Jack Bogaczyk

HERDZONE.COM COLUMNIST

HUNTINGTON - Marco the mascot could make a yummy weekend buffet out of what follows ...

His team hasn't played a game yet, and barely has gotten together for summer workouts, but new Marshall women's basketball Coach Matt Daniel's program apparently already has a distinction.

As far as it can be figured (with some offseason hiring still to be done), the Herd has the youngest women's basketball coaching staff in the country.

Daniel is 36. Assistants Tony Kemper (32), Caronica Randle (26) and just-hired Tamisha Augustin (29) bring the average age to 30.75. Siena's staff is 32.0 years average, with ages ranging from 28-36.

"I feel like we've got a young staff that's experienced," Daniel said Friday from Nashville, Tenn., where he, Kemper and Augustin are recruiting this weekend, while Randle minds the store here in the Henderson Center. "We need everyone in the program to have that youthful enthusiasm, because that's what it's going to take to get this thing going.

"We need players, coaches, administrators and fans who are excited. That's what we need. I think what we've put together gives us a great opportunity."

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The Marshall Athletics ticket office is introducing a season ticket special program today. It's the "4 for $400 Family Pack."

Associate Athletic Director and ticket chief Aaron Goebbel said the plan provides four end zone season tickets for $400 for the six 2012 home games at Edwards Stadium. The single-season ticket end zone seat costs $126.

Goebbel said the "4 for $400" plan is available only to new season ticket purchasers, or current season holders who want to add on to their current packages.

Contact the ticket office at 1-800-THE-HERD or go to HerdZone.com and click on the Tickets tab for information.

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It's the dead of summer for college athletics, right? ... Well, it depends on how you look at it.

It's a big Friday the 13th for Herd individuals, however.

Rising senior golfer Nathan Kerns heads into the final round of the Ohio Amateur with a two-shot lead at Brookside Country Club in Worthington, Ohio. Kerns already won the Mid-Ohio title earlier this summer.

A Kerns win would be a nice weekend welcome for new Marshall golf Coach Matthew Grobe, who starts work at his alma mater on Monday.

In baseball, Herd alum Dan Straily (3-1, 1.04) tries for another impressive Class AAA start in the Oakland farm system for Sacramento in a home game against Las Vegas. Straily is averaging 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings over two levels this season. He has 141 strikeouts and only 32 walks in 111 innings pitched at Double-A Midland (Texas) and Sacramento.

And in the Cape Cod League for summer collegians, Marshall junior Aaron Blair starts for Yarmouth-Dennis against Bourne in a 5 p.m. game. Blair is 4-0 in four starts with a 0.37 ERA (29 strikeouts, 24 innings) in the wooden bat league.

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Marshall's new head swimming coach, Bill Tramel, is trying to build more interest in his program ... so he's starting with some history at home.

Tramel wants to welcome MU swimming and diving alumni back into the program. Marshall had a men's team from 1968-69 through 1987-88, and this coming season will be the 10th for a Thundering Herd women's program.

"We just want to make contact, get as many phone numbers and e-mail addresses as possible," Tramel said. "We want to let them know the train is leaving the station and we'd like them to get aboard. We want them to feel a part of what we're going to do in the future."

Tramel will soon have a link put on the HerdZone.com swimming and diving page for alumni to go to and fill out a form. Until then, alumni should contact the coach at bill.tramel@marshall.edu or (304) 696-2573.

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The formal announcement that Coach Tom Herrion's 2012-13 basketball team will play Dec. 22 at defending NCAA champion Kentucky has brought many reactions, and one is that the Wildcats lost six NBA Draft picks, so the Herd might be able to get something nice besides a $90,000 guarantee at Rupp Arena.

That may be true, but if you check the NBA mock draft sites that are highly regarded for their accuracy and credibility, you'll see that Coach John Calipari is reloading in strong fashion.

DraftExpress.com has Kentucky players ranked Nos. 1, 7, 9, and 23 for the 2013 draft. NBADraft.net has three UK players in the top 15.

Most "way early" Top 25 rankings have Kentucky ranked in the top 5 for next season ... which would be nothing new for the Herd. The last four times the I-64-driving teams have met, the Wildcats have been AP-ranked 5, 4, 4 and 10.

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The Thundering Herd IMG Sports Network has taken a real hit just before football season.

Adam Cavalier, who has been primarily a pregame show host and engineer - while backing up veteran play-by-play man Steve Cotton, too - has been named director of communications at Carson-Newman (Tenn.).

Cavalier, a Montgomery native, won oodles of national broadcasting awards while at WMUL and one day before too long he will be a Division I play-by-play guy -- and a good one. He'll call games for the Division II Eagles and also serve as the C-N sports information director ... busy man.

Cavalier, who has been working as the Charleston bureau chief for West Virginia Public Broadcasting, starts his new job in Jefferson City, Tenn., on July 23.

"Cotton means the world to me," Cavalier said. "He's my friend and mentor, and it was a blast working with him and Mark (Martin, football game analyst). I'll miss it a lot."

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The untimely death of former Herd linebacker J.T. Rembert at age 29 earlier this week brought back plenty of Marshall memories to many, but one that hasn't gotten a lot of play is this one ... Rembert was a junior co-captain of the Herd's best team that didn't reach a bowl game.

Coach Bob Pruett's 2003 team went 8-4, including a stunning 27-20 victory at sixth-ranked Kansas State, the Herd's only win in history over a top 10-ranked club. Rembert was injured for part of that season, as was starting quarterback Stan Hill.

An 8-4 record would easily qualify for a bowl these days, but the Mid-American Conference had only two bowl slots (GMAC, Motor City) and those went to Miami of Ohio and Bowling Green, which had met in the MAC title game. The Herd's crushing 45-6 loss at Miami was the big blow.

By that time (Nov. 12, a Wednesday night game under temporary lights at Yager Stadium), Marshall's board already had approved the acceptance of an invitation to Conference USA three weeks earlier.

The following year, during the football season, the MAC hastily decided to move its football conference title game hosting role away from the East Division champion (and possibly Edwards Stadium) to a neutral site, Ford Field in Detroit.