2013 MEAC Baseball All-Academic Honorees Include 12 Wildcats

Jackie Robinson Stadium

Jackie Robinson Stadium

Norfolk, Va., Twelve (12) members of the Bethune-Cookman baseball team were named to the 2013 MEAC Baseball All-Academic Honors List.

In total, the MEAC honored eighty-one (81) sophomores, juniors, seniors and transfer students from member schools with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better.

Congratulations to all of the honorees for their performance both on the diamond and in the classroom.

2013 MEAC BASEBALL ACADEMIC HONORS LIST

BETHUNE-COOKMAN (12)

Paul Biocic

Jordan Dailey

Montana Durapau

Scott Garner

Gabriel Hernandez

Joshua Johnson

David Lee

Lenny Martinez

Juan Pizarro

Ali Simpson

Brandon Turner

Jake Welch

Click here for full story: http://www.meacsports.com//ViewArticle.dbml?SPID=12091&DB_OEM_ID=20800&ATCLID=207991860

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BCU ranked 17th in Lindy’s Preseason Top 25

LeBrandon Richardson -HailWildcats.com

LeBrandon Richardson -HailWildcats.com

Bethune-Cookman picked up its first national ranking of the 2013 season when Lindy’s Magazine ranked the Wildcats 17th in their initial FCS Preseason Poll.

BCU finished 9-3 last season (8-0 in MEAC play) securing its fifth MEAC title and an FCS playoff berth in the process.

Eight offensive starters return from last year’s squad including 1,000 yard rusher Isidore Jackson, leading receiver Eddie Poole and All-American left tackle Terrance Hackney.  The Wildcats lead the MEAC in total offense (4,665 yards), rushing offense (2,928 yards), and points per game (29.4) in 2012.

Seven starters, including leading tackler Jarkevis Fields and top sack man LeBrandon Richardson, return to the defensive unit.  Last year BCU caused an FCS best 36 takeaways and ranked 7th nationally in total defense (301.42 yards per game).

The Cats open up the 2013 campaign with a trip to Nashville to face off against Tennessee State in the John Merritt Classic on Sunday, September 1st.  Other marquee games include a September 14th matchup with Florida International, a first ever engagement with Florida State on September 21st, a homecoming showdown with South Carolina State on October 26th, and the Florida Classic on November 23rd.

Lindy’s Top 25:
1. North Dakota State 2. Georgia Southern 3. Montana State 4. South Dakota State 5. Wofford 6. Eastern Washington 7. Central Arkansas 8. Towson 9. Villanova 10. Sam Houston State 11. New Hampshire 12. Appalachian State 13. Northern Iowa 14. Stony Brook 15. Coastal Carolina 16. Northern Arizona 17. Bethune-Cookman 18. Eastern Illinois 19. Youngstown State 20. Chattanooga 21. Richmond 22. Illinois St 23. Montana 24. Wagner 25. Tennessee State

Alvin “Shine” Wyatt awarded $771,000, lose age discrimination suit

alvin%20wyattOn Wednesday afternoon, Seventh Judicial Circuit Judge Terence Perkins ordered that Bethune-Cookman pay former head coach Alvin “Shine” Wyatt nearly $771,000 in restitution stemming from a wrongful termination lawsuit filed against the university in 2010.

Wyatt flamboyantly patrolled the sidelines of Municipal Stadium as Bethune-Cookman’s “head ball coach” from 1997-2009.  Wyatt accumulated a 90-54 record during his 13 year tenure and surpassed the legendary Rudolph “Bunky” Matthews as BCU’s all-time winningest coach.

Wyatt’s teams finished at 5-6 in three of his final four seasons and suffered drubbings (58-35 in 2008 and 42-6 in 2009) at the hands of in-state rival Florida A&M in his final two seasons at the helm.  He was unceremoniously fired by then BCU President Trudie Kibbe Reed at the conclusion of the 2009 season.

The now 65 year old coach sued the university in 2010 claiming breach of contract.  He stated in his suit that he was “wrongfully terminated without cause and without written notice as required in his contract”.  Wyatt also cited age discrimination as motive for his firing and sought $1.2 million in damages.

Judge Terence Perkins ruled that the university had in fact breached Wyatt’s contract and awarded him $771,000 in restitution.  The payment represents four years of salary, other guaranteed income, and retirement match contributions Wyatt’s existing contract would have paid him had he not been wrongfully terminated.

Judge Perkins ruled against Wyatt in his age discrimination claim against the university stating that no evidence of age discrimination was provided.

Wyatt graduated from Bethune-Cookman in 1970 and was drafted by the Oakland Raiders later that same year.  He spent five years in the NFL and World Football League before joining the BCU coaching staff as a defensive backs coach in 1975.  For 31 of the next 34 years, Wyatt held various positions on the BCU football staff including defensive backs coach, linebackers coach, defensive coordinator, assistant head coach, and head coach.

In 1998, Wyatt led BCU to its first winning season since 1985.  He guided the Wildcats to their first ever playoff appearance in 2002 and returned to the NCAA playoffs for a second time a year later.

Wyatt coached a bevy of players who went on to play in the professional ranks among whom include NFL pro-bowlers Nick Collins (Green Bay), Rashean Mathis (Jacksonville), and Eric Weems (Atlanta).  Other professional players coached by Wyatt include Steve Baggs, Damion Cook, Allen Suber, Anthony Bass and others.

(Baseball) Wildcats advance to MEAC Title Game

Skipper Jason Beverlin

Skipper Jason Beverlin

MEAC regular season co-divisional champions @CookmanBaseball (35-23) and Savannah State (32-21) will square off on Sunday afternoon in the finals of the 2013 MEAC Baseball Championship.

The Cats and Tigers shared identical conference records (17-7) and split their six head-to-head matchups during the regular season.

SSU, who was awarded with the Southern Division’s top seed based on the conference’s fourth tiebreaker (head-to-head record against common divisional opponent), enters the finals from the winner’s bracket.  The Tigers are 3-0 in the tournament and have scored an average of 12.6 runs per contest during the three game stretch.

In additional to scoring a plethora of runs, Savannah State will have the services of the MEAC’s top pitcher, Kyle McGowin (11-1) on Sunday.  McGowin allowed just 1 earned run in a complete game effort against Maryland Eastern Shores in his last outing.  McGowin’s lone defeat this season was suffered at the hands of Bethune-Cookman on May 5th in Savannah.

BCU, who dropped an opening round MEAC tournament contest for the first time since 2005, have won four consecutive tournament games eliminating Delaware State, North Carolina Central, North Carolina A&T, and Coppin State in the process.

The Wildcat’s Ace, Montana Durapau, will likely toe the rubber for BCU in the championship game scheduled for 1:00.  Durapau pitched 8 2/3rds in the Cats’ 5-1 victory over Delaware State on Thursday night.

The MEAC Baseball Championship is a double elimination tournament therefore the Wildcats will have to defeat SSU twice on Sunday if they hope to retain their crown.  If the Wildcats can hold in the 1:00 contest, a second winner-take-all championship game will begin 35 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.

Bethune-Cookman is looking to secure its eighth consecutive MEAC crown.

You can follow the championship action on BCU’s official Twitter feeds at @BCUathletics or @Cookmanbaseball.

(Baseball) Wildcats looking to repeat for the 8th consecutive time

Credits: BCU Athletics

Credits: BCU Athletics

The opening pitch of the 2013 MEAC Baseball Tournament is already underway and for the first time in nearly two full recruiting cycles, the Bethune-Cookman baseball team does not have a tournament 1 seed.

The Wildcats ended the regular season in a tie for first place with Savannah State in the MEAC’s Southern Division but it was the Tigers who earned the Southern Division’s top seed based on conference tiebreaker rules.  SSU joins Delaware State (who earned the top seed in the Northern Division) as the tournament’s #1 seeds.

Despite the seeding, MEAC fans should not dismiss this year’s BCU squad or presume that this team’s demise is at hand.  The Wildcats are the only MEAC team with an RPI ranking in the Top 100 nationally (peaked at 78) and BCU has enjoyed victories over nationally ranked Arizona State, Miami, Central Florida, and South Florida.   Additionally, the Cats have also defeated quality non-conference foes Stetson, Florida International, Central Michigan, Florida Gulf Coast and Jacksonville University.

Perhaps the greatest indication of the vitality and prowess of this year’s squad can be found in the team’s torrid record in the second half of the season.  The Maroon and Gold enjoyed a .667 winning percentage in the second half of the year included in which was a 16-4, 20 game stretch from the beginning of April through the first week in May.

Duct Tape and Glue

Skipper Jason Beverlin’s leadership and influence on this year’s squad has been amazing and deserves celebration.  BCU loss 4 players to Tommy John surgery before the season even began.  Amongst those loss to surgery was the 2013 MEAC Preseason Pitcher of the Year, Gabby Hernandez.  To add to Beverlin’s challenges, 4 of BCU’s 5 new everyday starting position players had never played an inning of Division-1 baseball before this season.  Despite his team’s youth and injury woes, coach Beverlin still lead his squad to a 30 win season, a share of the regular season divisional crown, and the impressive list of out-of-conference victories mentioned above.

The expectations that surround BCU baseball will likely deny Beverlin MEAC coach of the year honors but you would be hard-pressed to find another manager in this league who has done a better job with his club than Bethune-Cookman’s second year skipper.

Challenged and Setting a Tone

There was a definitive turnaround in the Wildcats 2013 campaigned and it coincided directly with the first series against Savannah State.  The Tigers visited Jackie Robinson ballpark for a three game set on the weekend of May 30th.  SSU swept the first two games of the series but the most significant moment of that weekend (and the 2013 season perhaps) was the on-field skirmish in the second game that led to the ejection of three players: BCU’s Anthony Stokes and Savannah State’s Mendez Elder and Jason Wynn.

That dust-up seemed to give BCU the wake-up call they needed.  The Wildcats have played much more consistent baseball since that incident and the players have seemed to take much more ownership for the success of the squad.

When asked about the event recently coach Beverlin stated: “Savannah State is a good baseball team and they challenged us as a team.”  “We talked to our guys about setting a tone.  We get to face all of the teams in our division twice so we have an opportunity to set a tone the second time through our schedule that (our opponents) are going to remember come tournament time.  I think our guys really took hold of that and they have been trying to set that tone going into the tournament and in the second half of the season.”  “Starting in April, our team got on a hot streak and we have been playing good baseball ever since.”

Expectations

When asked about his expectations for his team in the MEAC tournament, the skipper stated “this is the most fun part of the season and I am excited to see what the (MEAC) tournament will bring.”

“This is what you work hard for in the offseason and I fully expect us to be successful.”

“All of the early morning and Fall workouts, all of the time you put in is to reward yourself with an opportunity to play for a conference championship and to give yourself a shot at regionals and the College World Series.”

BCU will begin pursuit of their 8th consecutive MEAC title when they take on Coppin State at 7:30 P.M. on Tuesday night in first round tournament action.

The Championship finale is set for Sunday, May 19th at 1 P.M.

All games are scheduled to be played at Marty L. Miller field on the campus of Norfolk State University.

BCU Alums Matt Johnson and T.T. Toliver enjoy huge weekends on the gridiron

A pair of Bethune-Cookman products enjoyed very productive outings on the gridiron this past weekend.

Former BCU quarterback Matt Johnson passed for two (2) touchdown passes and helped lead the Kiel Hurricanes to a 26-15 victory over the Berlin Adlers in his German Football debut. Johnson completed 7 of his 16 pass attempts for a 103 yards and gained 74 rushing yards on the ground on 10 attempts.

Back State-Side, T.T. Toliver set two franchise records for the Orlando Predators and he tied a third in his team’s 83-82 win over the Spokane Shock. Toliver broke Arena Football Hall of Famer Barry Wagner’s 17 year old record for receiving yards with 251. He also broke the team record for receptions in a game with 18. The mark he tied was the single-game franchise record for receiving touchdowns with 6.

Toliver’s final stat line from Saturday night; 18 catches, 251 yards, and 6 touchdowns.

Credits Kiel Hurricanes GFL

 

BCU Men and Women Sweep 2013 PGA National Title

Matthew McKnight

Matthew McKnight

Andrea Orozco

Andrea Orozco

Congratulations to BCU’s Men’s and Women’s golf teams for sweeping the 2013 PGA Minority National Titles in Port St. Lucie, Florida this past weekend.

The men’s squad erased a four-stroke deficit on Sunday afternoon to claim a one shot victory over Texas-Pan American.  On the women’s side of the draw, BCU held off a strong charge from Texas-Pan American on the back nine and claimed the title after the first playoff hole.

The Wildcats also enjoyed a clean sweep in the individual awards with Andrea Orozco claiming top honors on the women’s side and Matthew McKnight placing first amongst the men.