Utah State Aggies football: Wikis

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Utah State Aggies
UtahStateAggies.png
University Utah State University
Conference Western Athletic Conference
NCAA Division I
Athletics director Scott Barnes
Location Logan, UT
Varsity teams 14
Football stadium Romney Stadium
Basketball arena Dee Glen Smith Spectrum
Mascot Big Blue
Nickname Aggies
Fight song Hail the Utah Aggies
Colors Aggie Blue and Fighting White

             

Homepage www.UtahStateAggies.com

The Utah State Aggies are the athletics teams of Utah State University. The school fields men's varsity teams in basketball, cross country, football, golf, tennis, and track and field. Women's varsity teams include basketball, cross country, gymnastics, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. All teams compete in the NCAA Division I Western Athletic Conference (WAC). USU has a number of club teams as well.

Contents

Background

The first intercollegiate athletic event in the school's history took place on November 25, 1892, when the Agriculturalists defeated the football team from the University of Utah, 12-0.[1] The football program has a rich history (Merlin Olsen and Phil Olsen are alumni) throughout the mid-20th century, but has struggled lately, following two ill-fated stints as an independent program and two more years in the geographically distant Sun Belt Conference, after the Big West Conference, which had housed the Aggies since 1978, elected to stop sponsoring football in 2001. USU's other teams remained in that conference until the school was finally invited to join the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in 2005. USU had lobbied to join its in-state rivals Utah and BYU in the WAC for many decades prior to 2005, and were only allowed in after the two other schools had left to form the Mountain West Conference.

Recently, the men's basketball team, under coach Stew Morrill, has become a nationally respected program, with several conference championships and trips to the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. The basketball program has been one of the most successful programs in the country since 2000[2], winning at least 23 games in each season, many conference championships, and appearing in the NCAA tournament numerous times. In fact, many Aggie sports have been extremely successful for many years, though this is often overlooked due to the recent futility of the football team.

Following the great heights of the 1960's and 70's, Aggie football has fallen upon hard times in recent decades, leading to a disproportionate lack of USU sports coverage in statewide and national media. Many of the Aggie faithful attribute the decline to administrators at both Utah and BYU freezing then-superior USU out of the newly-formed WAC. However, other factors cited as leading to the decline include a failure to upgrade facilities until recently, a lack of donors to athletics, and the complacency of past athletics directors.[3] The decline of the football program has had an extremely negative effect on the perception of the university as a whole, and it is something that the Aggies are only now recovering from.

However, new Athletics Director Scott Barnes has recently inked deals with TV stations, replaced the head football coach, raised funds, and accomplished numerous necessary reorganizations, despite the Athletics Department's dismal budget in comparison with other state and WAC schools. In large part due to his efforts, USU Athletics was crowned the 2009 National Champion of the Excellence in Management Cup, which seeks to identify the university that wins the most championships with the lowest expenses.[4] The Aggies brought in WAC championships in five sports during the 2008-09 academic year, tied for the most in school history.

Football

Football game being played at USU's Romney Stadium

Overall, the Aggies have a record of 483–493–31 (.495) in their history.[5]

The Aggies are currently coached by Gary Andersen, who replaced Brent Guy after the 2008 season. Andersen was previously the defensive coordinator at the University of Utah, and a part of the 2008 Utes team that went undefeated and won a BCS bowl victory in the 2009 Sugar Bowl.

The Aggies have played in five bowl games, in which they have won one. Most recently, in 1997, the team lost to Cincinnati in the Humanitarian Bowl. The lone victory came in the Las Vegas Bowl, where they defeated Ball State.[6]

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Notable former players

  • OG – Jim Hough (1974–1977)... 2nd team AP All-America (1977), 9 years in NFL.
  • OT – Len Rohde (1957–1959)... Two-time all-Skyline Eight, 15-year NFL career.
  • WR – Kevin Curtis (2001–2002)... All-American 3rd Team (2001), USU receptions leader at end of his career. Currently plays for the Philidelphia Eagles.
  • TE – Chris Cooley (2000–2003)... Led NCAA in TE receptions as a senior, NFL Pro Bowl (2007). Currently plays for the Washington Redskins.
  • QB – Eric Hipple (1976–1979)... All-Pacific Coast/10-year NFL career.
  • DL – Merlin Olsen (1959–1961)... Two-time All-American/Outland Trophy(1961), 15-time NFL All-Pro.
  • DL – Rulon Jones (1976–1979)... First-team All-American (1979), 1986 AFC Defensive Player of the Year.
  • DL – Lionel Aldridge (1960–1962)... Hon. Men. All-American (1962), NFL 11 years with two Super Bowls.
  • DL – Phil Olsen (1967–1969)... Consensus All-American (1969), HM All-America (1968)/first round draft pick/ 9 NFL seasons

Men's basketball

Aggies cheering on their basketball team at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

The crown jewel of Aggie athletics has long been the men's basketball team, which plays in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, which has been called one of the nation's top 5 loudest and toughest places for opposing teams to play. The Spectrum seats 10,270, and features seats for students and other fans that are at court level and extremely close to the players. USU basketball is 157-12 at home during the Stew Morrill era, has received 6 NCAA Tournament berths in the last ten years, and has amassed more wins than any team in the nation except Duke, Kansas, and Gonzaga during that time.[7] During the 2008-09 season, USU's ranking in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll rose as high as #17.[8]

Utah State has won the Old Oquirrh Bucket nine times, including both of the last two seasons. The Bucket is the award given each year to the best college basketball team in Utah, based on records against in-state opponents.

Notable former players

Other sports

Men's sports

The men's cross country team has been impressive in recent years, winning the WAC title for the past five years in a row--each year since joining the WAC. Members of the team have garnered numerous conference and regional awards, and have competed in the NCAA Championships. Likewise, the men's track and field team has long enjoyed success, with a bevy of All-American athletes from decades past. In recent years, the team has also won WAC championships in 2007 and 2009 (outdoor) and 2008 and 2010 (indoor).

Golf has spent many years attempting to return to the heights achieved in the early 1980's by alum Jay Don Blake. As a member of the Aggie golf squad, Blake won the NCAA Championship in 1980 and was named NCAA Player of the Year in 1981. He turned pro that year, and in 1987 joined the PGA Tour, where he has earned one victory and several Top 10 finishes, mostly in the early '90s.

The tennis team has a difficult time attracting major recruits due to the lack of indoor on-campus facilities. The team trains and plays its home matches at an upscale local gym. Despite this deficiency, the team has produced a number of athletes who have won all-conference honors in recent years, drawing from both local and international talent pools.

Women's sports

Of women's sports at USU, gymnastics has probably been most successful historically, heading to the postseason 26 times, including five trips to the national championships[9]. The soccer team has been successful as of late, finishing the 2008 season with a perfect record in conference play, as well as a WAC title. Despite falling in the conference tournament in 2009, Aggie soccer landed three players on the All-WAC first team.

Women's volleyball and softball are the two sports at USU which can boast national championships in their history. Neither team has returned to such heights in recent years, though each has been consistently good. The women's tennis team struggles with the same disadvantages as the men's.

The women's basketball program began rebuilding in 2003 after a fifteen-year absence. At the time, USU was the only Division I school that did not have a women's basketball program besides the mostly male Virginia Military Institute and The Citadel.[10] The women's team has yet to produce a winning season since the hiatus. It has, however, been steadily improving since 2003, and currently boasts a winning record in 2009-10.

Facilities

Romney Stadium from outside the south entrance

The most used sports venue is the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, where basketball, volleyball, and gymnastics events are held. TV and radio announcers visiting the Smith Spectrum for the first time commonly state that the spectrum is one of the loudest basketball venues in the country with one of the most enthusiastic crowds in the country, rivaling Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke University. It is a tradition that near the beginning of games the crowd chooses one player from the other team who commits a blatant foul, taunts the crowd, etc., and every time that player touches the ball the entire crowd boos loudly until he passes the ball. This pressure on opposing players created by this tradition has cut many outstanding players down to below average while at the Spectrum.

The football team plays in Romney Stadium, slightly north and west of the main campus. The stadium had natural grass until 2004, when artificial turf was installed. Romney Stadium is built on a hillside, and appears much smaller from outside than it actually is, as much of the seating and the field are below street level.

Aggie name and mascot

The name Aggies, short for Agriculturalists, is a fixture of many universities that began as land-grant and agricultural colleges. Early USU sports teams were sometimes simply referred to as the "Farmers" as well as the Aggies, though the former name was never official. Beginning in the 1930s, an image of a "bean-pole farmer" with a pitchfork in hand and hay stalk in mouth began to be used to represent the college, though this too was never made official, and disappeared following the transformation into a full-fledged university in 1957.[11]

During the late 1960s and early '70s, a movement began on campus to shed the Aggie name in favor of the Utah State Highlanders, but the movement met with widespread opposition and was abandoned.[11] The name "Highlanders" was a nod to the university's historic ideological tie to Scotland, which came about very early on in the college's history, mostly due to the university's setting on a hill in a high mountain valley. In fact, for a brief period, USU's teams were indeed nicknamed the "Scotsmen" as well, and a remnant of this era lives on in the current and popular fight song "The Scotsman".

Big Blue

A November 7, 1901 meeting decided that the college's official color would be blue. It originated as more of a royal blue, morphing fully into navy by the 1920s.[11]

The term "Big Blue" came about in the 1960s simply to refer to the uniform color, as opposed to any particular mascot. The image of a bull first appeared on a football game program in 1975, and the following year it was adopted as USU's mascot.[11]

For a few years, USU used an actual white bull, painted blue, which was brought to sporting events and corralled on the sidelines. However, when the Smith Spectrum was built, there were concerns with the bull ruining the floor. For a short time, the bull was outfitted with rubber boots, which idea didn't pan out. The bull was retired, and a costume was designed in 1987.[12]

The costume has since undergone at least one redesign, but is now one of the most active and recognized college mascots in the region. Possibly Big Blue's most well-known antic is his tradition of rappelling from the JumboTron to kick off team introductions for men's basketball games. He also enjoys crowdsurfing. As of 2003, four of the six people who had played the Big Blue role had gone onto become mascots for professional sports teams.[12]

The true identity of Big Blues past and present have always been well-kept secrets on campus.

Fight songs

Hail the Utah Aggies

The Aggies' principal fight song is known as "Hail the Utah Aggies" as well as simply "Fight Song". It was composed in 1933 by Mickey Hart, with words by Darwin Jepsen and Mark Hart.[11] The main verse is sung twice, with the chant once in between.


Hail the Utah Aggies
We'll play the game
With all our might
See the colors flying
The Aggie blue
And fighting white
How they stir us onward
We'll win the victory all right,
Hail the Utah Aggies
We're out to win
So fight, fight, fight!


(Chant) Utah State, hey
Aggies all the way
Go Aggies
Go Aggies
Hey, hey, hey!![13]

The Scotsman

The popular Scotsman song was composed by student Ebenezer J. Kirkham, class of 1918, though a similar song had been used by other colleges for at least a decade.[11] At athletic events, "The Scotsman" is often sung immediately following "Hail the Utah Aggies". The words are sung twice through without a break, accompanied by synchronized arm gestures originally symbolizing the herding of sheep for the first time through, and the milking of cows for the second. During the final words of the second "verse", the students' pitch often rises to a full-out yell.


Show me the Scotsman who doesn't love the thistle.
Show me the Englishman who doesn't love the rose.
Show me the true blooded Aggie from Utah
Who doesn't love the spot . . .
Where the sagebrush grows![14]

Championships

National Championships

  • Volleyball: 1978
  • Softball: 1980, 1981[15]

Conference Championships

Listed here are the conference championships from the Big West era (beginning 1978) to the present.

Men[15]

  • Basketball: 1980, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2009
  • Cross Country: 1992, 1993, 1994, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
  • Football: 1978, 1979, 1993, 1996, 1997
  • Indoor Track: 1993, 2008, 2010
  • Outdoor Track: 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2009
  • Wrestling: 1978, 1979


Women[15]

  • Cross Country: 1998, 2006, 2008
  • Gymnastics: 1992, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005
  • Indoor Track: 1994
  • Outdoor Track: 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
  • Soccer: 2008
  • Softball: 1993

All-Americans

Men's Basketball[16]

  • Bert Cook - '51
  • Max Perry - '60
  • Cornell Green - '60, '61
  • Wayne Estes - '64, '65
  • Shaler Halimon - '67
  • Marvin Roberts - '69, '70
  • Tony Brown - '02
  • Jaycee Carroll - '07, '08

Football[16]

  • Elmer "Bear" Ward - '34
  • Kent Ryan - '36
  • Merlin Olsen - '60, '61
  • Phil Olsen - '68, '69
  • Tom Larscheid - '60, '61
  • Lionel Aldridge - `62
  • Roy Shivers - '65
  • Henry King - '66
  • Spain Musgrove - '66
  • Bill Staley - '67
  • Mike O'Shea - '68
  • Tony Adams - '72
  • Tom Forzani - '72
  • Dave Manning '73
  • Louie Giammona - '74
  • Jim Hough - '77
  • Jimmy Bryant - '78
  • Rick Parros - '78
  • Rulon Jones - '79
  • James Murpy - '79
  • Al Smith - '85
  • Mark Mraz - '86
  • Al Smith - '86
  • Kendal Smith - '88
  • Kevin Alexander - '95
  • Abu Wilson - '95
  • Ben Crosland - '97
  • Emmett White - '00
  • Kevin Curtis - '01
  • Steve Mullins - '01
  • Chris Cooley - '03
  • Kevin Robinson - '07

Golf[16]

  • Jay Don Blake - '80

Gymnastics[16]

  • Alicia Johnston - '78 (All-Around)

Softball[16]

  • Mary Lou Ramm-Flippen - '80
  • Kelly Smith - '84, '85, '86
  • Kristie Skoglund - '87
  • Kathy Beasley - '93
  • DeAnna Earsley - '93

Men's Track and Field[16]

  • Ralph Roylance - Javelin: '49
  • L. Jay Silvester - Shot Put: '58;

Discus: '58, '59; Long Jump: '67

  • Glenn Passey - Discus: '61, '62
  • Jerry Cerulla - 60h: '65, '66; 110h: '66, '67
  • Jim Helton - Long Jump: '66, '67
  • Bill Staley - Discus: '67
  • Mike Mercer - Shot Put: '68
  • Ain Roost - Discus: '68
  • Brian Caulfield - Shot Put: '70
  • Mark Enyeart - 440 yard: '73; 880 yard: '75, '77
  • Isaiah Oghale Ugboro - 880: '76
  • Scott Walker - 400h: '83
  • John Kelly - Javelin: '89
  • Craig Carter - 35-pound: '90; Hammer: `90
  • Lance White - Pole Vault: '94, '95
  • James Parker - 35-pound: '95, '99, '00, '01;

Hammer: '95, '99, '00, '01; Discus: '01

  • Shane Bingham - 1,500: '97; Mile: '98
  • Coey Murdock - 400h: '97, '98, '99
  • Mark Calvin - Pole Vault: '98
  • Dave Hoffman - High Jump: '01
  • Brett Guymon - 400h: '02

Women's Track and Field[16]

  • Candy Cashell - High Jump: '82
  • Alisa Nicodemus - Cross Country: '92;

Mile: '93; 5000: '93

  • LaDonna Antoine - 400m: '96, '97
  • Shae Jones-Bair - Pole Vault: '98, '99, `00
  • Ime Akpan - 55h: '99
  • Jane Durfey - 400h: '99
  • Jennifer Twitchell - Mile: '07

Volleyball[16]

  • Annette Cottle - '76, '77, '78, '79
  • Sandy Lynn - '78
  • Lucia Chudy - '78, '79
  • Elaine Roque - '79
  • Jo Ellen Vrazel - '80
  • Lauren Goebel - '80, '81
  • Karolyn Kirby - '80, '81
  • Erin Cartwright-Davis - '03
  • Zuzana Cernianska - '05
  • Amanda Nielson - '07

References

  1. ^ "cfbdatawarehousse.com". http://www.cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/div_ia/wac/utah_state/yearly_results.php?year=1892. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  2. ^ College Sports.com (August 8, 2008). "Best College Basketball Teams". http://www.collegesports.campusgrotto.com/best-college-basketball-teams.html. 
  3. ^ Rock, Brad (Sept. 2, 2009). "Utah State has paid price for standing pat". Deseret News. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705327340/Utah-State-has-paid-price-for-standing-pat.html. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
  4. ^ "Utah State Wins National Championship for Most Economically Efficient Athletics Department". Aggie Town Square. Utah State University. http://www.usu-tube.com/pages/full_story/push?article-Utah%20State%20Wins%20National%20Championship%20for%20Most%20Economically%20Efficient%20Athletics%20Department%20&id=2866518-Utah%20State%20Wins%20National%20Championship%20for%20Most%20Economically%20Efficient%20Athletics%20Department&instance=topsports. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  5. ^ "cfbdatawarehousse.com". http://www.cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/div_ia/wac/utah_state/coaching_records.php. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  6. ^ "cfbdatawarehouse.com". http://www.cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/div_ia/wac/utah_state/bowl_history.php. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  7. ^ "Utah State Basketball". Stew Morrill and AllCoachNetwork.com. http://www.coachstewmorrill.com/program.html. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  8. ^ "2009 NCAA Men's Basketball Rankings (Feb. 9)". ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/rankings?pollId=2&seasonYear=2009&weekNumber=14&seasonType=2. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  9. ^ The Utah Statesman (June 4, 2008). "Longtime Utah State Gymnastics Coach Ray Corn Retire". http://media.www.utahstatesman.com/media/storage/paper243/news/2008/06/04/Sports/Longtime.Utah.State.Gymnastics.Coach.Ray.Corn.Retires-3378144.shtml. 
  10. ^ Rebuilding Utah State program, step by small step, http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/womensbasketball/bigwest/2002-10-16-cover-utah-state_x.htm
  11. ^ a b c d e f Parson, Robert. "An Encyclopedic History of Utah State University". http://library.usu.edu/specol/usuarchives/universityhistory.html. 
  12. ^ a b "Traditions: Big Blue". Utah State University. http://www.usu.edu/traditions/bigblue/index.cfm. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
  13. ^ "utahstateaggies.com". http://www.utahstateaggies.com/fightsong.html. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  14. ^ "The Scotsman". Utah State Official Athletic Site. http://www.utahstateaggies.com/scotsman.html. Retrieved 2009-08-29. 
  15. ^ a b c "UtahStateAggies.com". http://www.utahstateaggies.com/championships.html. Retrieved 2010 February 4. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h "UtahStateAggies.com". http://www.utahstateaggies.com/allamericans.html. Retrieved 2010 February 4. 

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