August 2, 2014

Missouri State finalizes basketball staff by hiring Howland as Direction of Operations

Missouri State

Missouri State

Missouri State men’s basketball coach Paul Lusk has finalized his staff for the upcoming season with the addition of Mike Howland in the position of director of basketball operations and Keith Pickens in the role of graduate manager, Lusk announced recently. Lusk’s team will also utilize the services of new Strength and Conditioning Assistant Coach Collin Crane who rounds out the list of new staff working with the Bears’ program.

“I think all three guys bring something unique and valuable to our program,” Lusk said. “We’re really excited about the upcoming season, and having an experienced and motivated cast around our team is a huge plus for us.”

Lusk will begin his fourth season at the helm of the MSU program with assistant coaches Jermaine Henderson and Derrick Tilmon in their third year, while assistant Brad Korn begins his second season on the Bears’ staff.

Mike Howland
Howland comes to MSU after three years as the varsity basketball coach at Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Ill. During his tenure there, he led his teams to a combined 69-19 record with three regional titles and three 20-win campaigns, including a 25-4 ledger in 2012. He also earned IBCA District 4 Coach of the Year honors in each of his three seasons while garnering East Suburban Catholic Conference Coach of the Year laurels in 2012.

“I am extremely thankful to Coach Lusk for giving me the opportunity to join the basketball staff here at Missouri State,” said Howland. “My wife, Shannon, and I couldn’t be more excited to join the Bears family. I believe that Coach Lusk and his staff are building something special, and I’m excited to jump right in and get to work.”

The 2002 graduate of DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., also built the AAU Chicago Lockdown 14U-16U program from the ground up, helping accumulate a 115-13 record and top 25 national ranking in 2013. Lockdown was 27-1 with four tournament titles during the 2013 live periods.

As a player at DePauw, Howland was a four-year starter and helped lead his squad to the NCAA Division III Elite Eight in 2002. He earned NABC All-America honors in 2002 as well as SCAC Player of the Year.

“Mike has been a very good high school coach as well as starting and operating a very successful AAU program. He has great energy, he’s well organized, and he will make a great fit for our program.

Howland replaces Sam McMahon who started July 1 as an assistant coach at Missouri Southern.

Keith Pickens
An on-court standout for the Bears from 2009-14, Pickens will serve as the team’s graduate manager this season while pursuing his master’s degree in Sports Management. His duties will include oversight of the program’s student managers, assisting with video and film and providing support for the coaching staff in a number of capacities.

“Keith has meant a lot to our program as a player and we’re excited to have him in a new role,” Lusk said. “It’s a great opportunity for him to continue his education and get some experience in coaching.”

The St. Louis native graduated from Missouri State in August 2013 with a degree in Sports Administration. The rugged forward played 19 games his senior year in 2013-14 at the end of an injury-laden career that saw him produce 568 points and 253 rebounds in 111 games. He ranks 10th in school history in blocked shots (70) and led the Bears in rebounding in 24 games during his career.

Pickens was part of the 2010 CIT championship team his freshman season and was a member of the 2011 Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship team in 2011, although a knee injury sidelined him for the season. Pickens’ best campaign came in 2012-13 when he started 19 times in 30 appearances, scored a career-high 183 points and logged 142 rebounds as a fourth-year junior.

“I may be done on the court, but I’m not done giving back to the Bears,” Pickens said. “This place has treated me great, and I look forward to doing the same for Coach Lusk and the program in any way I can.”

Collin Crane
Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Collin Crane started at Missouri State on July 1 and will be assigned to the sports of men’s basketball, tennis and golf while assisting Director of Strength and Conditioning Terry Sauerbry’s operation on a daily basis.

Crane is a 2013 graduate of Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn., and comes to MSU after two years at the University of Florida. He worked with men’s basketball at Florida, including the 2013-14 season as assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Gators.

“Our players have already connected with Collin and have bought into his system,” Lusk explained. “They’ve had a great summer together to this point. We’re very excited to have him working with our players and have him as part of our program.”

Crane was a four-year starter at forward for Carson-Newman and was team captain three years. He is a certified specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and also has professional CPR and first aid certification.

“I’m grateful to join Terry (Sauerbry) and his team on the strength staff at Missouri State,” Crane said. “Coming to MSU has been a great experience, and we’re trying to put us in a position to compete for Missouri Valley Conference championships. It’s a great place with great support, and I’m excited for the opportunity.”

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Mizzou’s fan day set for Sunday August 10th. Free parking and free admission for the 3:45 start time

The Mizzou Department of Athletics will hold its 12th annual Football Fan Appreciation Day on Sunday, August 10th, at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium. Gates will open to the public at approximately 3:45 p.m., and the team and coaches will be on hand to sign autographs. Admission to this fan favorite event is free.

At Fan Day, Mizzou’s fan will have the opportunity to go onto the field and meet Tiger players and coaches and get autographs. Players will be limited to signing one item per fan, with free schedule posters available on the field for those interested.

Fans should enter the stadium via Gates 1W or 2W beginning at 3:45 p.m. There will be free water on hand at field level, but fans are encouraged to bring their own sealed bottled water to help beat the potential heat as well. Other outside food and beverages will not be permitted.

Parking for the event is free, and fans are encouraged to park in the lots to the west and south of Memorial Stadium (Founder’s Lot A, Lot C, Lot D and Lot G).

Taveras homers as Cardinals win and turn to young star as the future right fielder

Oscar Teveras celebrates his second inning home run (photo/MLB)

Oscar Teveras celebrates his second inning home run (photo/MLB)

Oscar Taveras hit a two-run homer for the St. Louis Cardinals, who beat the San Diego Padres 6-2 Thursday to avoid a three-game series sweep. The win came hours after the Cardinals traded Joe Kelly and Allen Craig to Boston for right-hander John Lackey.

Taveras connected with two out in the second, giving the Cardinals a 2-0 lead, that quickly disappeared when start Shelby Miller was touched for two solo homers in the bottom half of the inning.  However, San Diego would only managed one more hit the rest of the game.  Miller (8-8) held San Diego to two runs and three hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked none in his first win since June 7.

St. Louis jumped in front again on Matt Holliday’s two-run single in the third, and Peter Bourjos added an RBI single in the sixth.  Matt Carpenter walked with bases loaded to round out the scoring.

Cardinals deal Craig and Kelly to Red Sox in exchange for pitcher John Lackey.

Allen Craig (photo/Bill Greenblatt, UPI)

Allen Craig (photo/Bill Greenblatt, UPI)

John Mozeliak made one major move before the trade deadline by dealing with the team that beat the Cardinals in the World Series.  The Red Sox will receive right-hander Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig in exchange for John Lackey and minor leaguer Corey Littrell.

Lackey, 35, is among the American League leaders in wins (11) this season and has posted a 3.60 ERA in his 21 starts (11-7, 3.60 ERA).  He owns a career mark of 149-114 with a 4.02 ERA between the Angels (2002-09) and Red Sox (2010-14).  The 6-6, 235-pound Lackey is 6-5, 3.03 ERA career in postseason play, making 19 appearances.

Littrell, 22, was the Red Sox 5th round draft selection in 2013 out of the University of Kentucky.  The 6-3, 185-pound lefty was 5-5 with a 3.60 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) for Salem of the Carolina League (A).

Craig, 30, was selected by the Cardinals in the eighth round of the 2006 Draft and was an All-Star in a breakout season last year, during which he batted .315 with 13 homers and 97 RBIs. But he is hitting .237 with a .638 OPS this season.

Kelly, 26, has appeared in 68 games, 38 of them starts, for the Cardinals since 2012 and has a 17-14 record with a 3.25 ERA. He’s 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA in seven games this year, having spent time on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.

Tigers just miss out again. Initial Top 25 coaches poll released. Mizzou 26th, just ahead of Florida



The preseason Top 25 Coaches Poll was just released and the defending SEC East Division champs are left just outside at number 26.  Division rival South Carolina is ranked ninth and Georgia 12th.  Florida, who was picked ahead of Mizzou in the SEC Media poll, finished just behind the Tigers.

Florida State was picked number one, with Alabama second.  Oklahoma, Oregon and Auburn round out the top five.  LSU (13), Ole Miss (19) and Texas A & M (20), round out the SEC representatives.

1 Florida State Seminoles
2 Alabama Crimson Tide
3 Oklahoma Sooners
4 Oregon Ducks
5 Auburn Tigers
6 Ohio State Buckeyes
7 UCLA Bruins
8 Michigan State Spartans
9 South Carolina Gamecocks
10 Baylor Bears
11 Stanford Cardinal
12 Georgia Bulldogs
13 LSU Tigers
14 Wisconsin Badgers
15 USC Trojans
16 Clemson Tigers
17 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
18 Arizona State Sun Devils
19 Mississippi Rebels
20 Texas A&M Aggies
21 Kansas State Wildcats
22 Nebraska Cornhuskers
23 North Carolina Tar Heels
24 Texas Longhorns
25 Washington Huskies

Others Receiving Votes
Missouri 126; Florida 122; Central Florida 102; Mississippi State 74; Oklahoma State 56; TCU 54; Michigan 53; Iowa 49; Miami (Fla.) 45; Duke 41; Louisville 32; Marshall 27; Brigham Young 18; Boise State 13; Louisiana-Lafayette 12; Virginia Tech 12; Texas Tech 8; Minnesota 6; Cincinnati 6; Northwestern 5; Oregon State 4; Fresno State 4; GeorgiaTech 2; Houston 2; Arkansas 1; Arizona 1; Northern Illinois 1.