Yesterday we took a look at Missouri sports highlights from January to June. Today we finish Darren Hellwege’s look at the year.
Outside hitter Carly Kan jumps for a kill during a 2014 match. Kan earned a spot on the All American team.
Bruce Walker announces his retirement as offensive line coach. It was an inopportune time to be changing coaches, but Mizzou caught a break as Walker was replaced by Tiger alum and Illinois assistant coach A.J. Ricker.
Michael Sam receives the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, giving an emotional acceptance speech at the ESPY awards presentation.
Tiger alum Max Scherzer of Detroit gets the win for the American League in the MLB All-Star Game. Scherzer is now a much-coveted free agent.
Veteran coach Marc Burns takes over Mizzou Cross Country.
Women tennis player Alex Clark is named to the ITA All-Academic team.
Nationally recognized pitching guru Doug Gillis joins the softball coaching staff. Gillis, one of the great softball players in US history, has been associated unofficially with Mizzou for some time and is noted for his work with Chelsea Thomas. Read more of this post
2014’s top stories led by Sam, DGB dismissal, another football title
Part one of two parts
Darren Hellwege, Sports Commentator
By Darren Hellwege
It’s been an extraordinary year in Missouri sports, both on and off the field of play. As 2015 begins, let’s look back at some of the biggest stories of each month of the last year.
The year began with a barn-burner of a football game with Mizzou beating Oklahoma State 41-31 in the Cotton Bowl. The Cowboys led in the final five minutes, but a Henry Josey touchdown put Mizzou ahead and a touchdown on a fumble return by Shane Ray cemented the victory. It was something of a torch-passing, as the final game of Kony Ealy and Michael Sam saw a big play by the Tigers’ next great lineman.
Also in January:
The men’s basketball team fell from top 25 after an emotional home loss to Georgia.
Pat Ivey named Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by a national organization.
MU Athletics Hall of Fame inducted Ashley Wysong (cross country) John Putnam (swimming) Aaron Crow (baseball) and Dan Pippen (basketball).
Wrestling bested Oklahoma in battle of top-10 teams
Women’s basketball upset Vanderbilt with freshman Kayla McDowell made key contributions off the bench
In gymnastics 11 personal bests were set or tied, including 9.90 on beam from Rachel Updike, as Mizzou fell just short against Arkansas
Fall sports are winding down, basketball just getting started for Mizzou
Darren Hellwege, Sports Commentator
As KBIA moves into pledge drive mode, it’s a crazy busy week for me, but here are a few random thoughts on several issues related to Mizzou sports.
FOOTBALL: Tigers getting defensive
Throughout the Pinkel Renaissance in Missouri football, Tiger teams have tended to win with outstanding offense and a defense that was good enough to win most of the time. It’s interesting to see a different style of winning this year with as the Tigers have struggled on offense but have won with great play by the defense. Most people are scratching their heads wondering how the Tigers could be 7-2 and in first place in the SEC East, but it’s not a complicated answer—defense.
Missouri Senior Director of Athletics Mike Alden met with media members informally at the Clinton Club in Mizzou Arena on Thursday, here are a few highlights of the discussion.
CHANGES COMING TO NCAA SPORTS?
We discussed the recent moves towards a cohesive group of the so-called “big five” conferences (SEC, Big 12, Pac-12, ACC and Big Ten) that would represent the interests of those schools as opposed to the entirety of the NCAA. The key word in earlier media reports of this issue was “autonomy,” and Alden repeated this as a major goal.
“The goal is for the NCAA and Division I athletics to stay together, to stay under the ‘big tent’ and I believe that’s going to happen.”
“The (key) piece to that is the ability to have some autonomy, to make some decisions to benefit student athletes.”
The big decisions that would be available to schools in these big five that might not be available to smaller schools include such things as providing “full cost of attendance” financial aid to students, medical care for current and former student-athletes, and “lifetime educational opportunities,” Read more of this post
The ups, downs, achievements and misfires in Mizzou’s teams
Darren Hellwege, Sports Commentator
Today I take a look at the fall sports teams. Check out yesterday’s column for a look at the spring sports.
There’s too much talent on this club to be 8-9-3, but once again the team struggled late in the year after showing real potential.
An early season match that nearly pulled off an upset at powerhouse Portland and two wins over top-10 Southeastern Conference opponents showed how good this team could be. But four losses and three ties in the final nine games killed whatever good things the Tiger season had in store.
MVPs: (ties) Kaysie Clark and Mackenzie Sauerwein. Maybe this is cheating, but hey, it’s my column. Midfielder Clark Read more of this post
I walked away from Tiger sports for the summer on Sunday, the final event being a disappointing one —the MU softball team being swept by Nebraska. But all in all it was an exciting year for Tigers fans, from the rejuvenation of the Mizzou football program and undefeated regular season for Tiger volleyball, to a return to some great individual performances. While the Tigers golf team still has the NCAA championship ahead and several track athletes have also qualified for NCAAs, it’s time to take a look back at my thoughts for the best players and moments (and some not so great moments) for the major sports at MU and some unsung heroes from the sports that don’t get as much attention.
Missouri pitcher Tori Finucane hugs Corrin Genovese after recording the final out on Thursday, May 1, 2014 at University Field in Columbia, Mo. The Tigers will play Bradley in the second game of the NCAA softball regional at University Field on Friday at 3:00 p.m.
By Sam Richmond and Sam Hustis
KBIA Sports reporters Sam Richmond and Sam Hustis review the 2014 Missouri softball season and look ahead to the NCAA Tournament. After finishing 41-16 in the regular season and 15-9 in Southeastern Conference play, the Tigers will host one of the 16 NCAA Regional tournaments, at University Field starting Friday.
Former Big 12 foes Nebraska and Kansas will play at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, followed by Missouri and Bradley at 3:00 p.m.
Mackenzie Sykes gets one of her three hits against No. 13 Georgia on Saturday, March 29, 2014. Missouri begins NCAA Regional action on May 16 and Sykes is currently batting .272 with eight home runs and 51 RBIs on the season.
By Sam Hustis and Sam Richmond
Mackenzie Sykes is nearing the end of her time as a Missouri Tiger softball player.
With the Missouri’s loss to Louisiana State in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament, all that remains for Sykes is the 2014 NCAA Division I Softball Tournament beginning Friday, May 16.
After coming off the bench as a freshman in 2010, Sykes earned a starting spot and became one of Missouri’s top players over the next three seasons.
She earned First Team All-Big 12 her sophomore year, batted .319 her junior season and was named to the SEC All-Defensive team in 2014.
As the only four-year senior on Missouri’s roster, Sykes became a leader in 2014 — a duty she more than fulfilled, according to Missouri sophomore catcher Sami Fagan.
“She really stepped up,” Fagan said. “Our team wouldn’t have been here today without her. She really helped us out.”
Coach Ehren Earleywine said Sykes isn’t much of a vocal leader, but she does lead by example.
“If you come out and you’re not hustling, I think you feel a little uneasy about what you’re not doing,” Earleywine said. “You look out in the outfield and she’s sprinting to her position, hustling and trying to win every drill.”
He added that Sykes’ dedication to the sport and being a great teammate has had a lasting impact on him.
Much like the men’s regular season, Missouri’s offseason was filled with uncertainty when Frank Haith suddenly resigned in April.
With Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson, Missouri’s leading scorers, declaring for the NBA Draft, the Tigers will need to restructure its roster from within. KBIA Sports reporters Cody Mroczka and Michael Losch breakdown what Missouri lost, and what the future could bring with new coach Kim Anderson.
Freshman pitcher Tori Finucane pitches against Oklahoma State on March 22, 2014 at University Field in Columbia, Mo. Finucane was given three SEC honors on Tuesday including Freshman Player of the Year.
The Southeastern Conference released its postseason softball awards on Tuesday, and Missouri freshman Tori Finucane was recognized in three categories. Infielder Corrin Genovese, outfielder Taylor Gadbois and outfielder Mackenzie Sykes join Finucane with All-SEC honors.
While receiving First Team and Freshman All-SEC honors, Finucane was recognized as the conference Freshman Player of the Year. This marks only the second Freshman POY award in program history as Finucane joins outfielder Rhea Taylor, who took home the award in 2008. Finucane compiled a 21-5 record, 1.70 ERA and 166 strikeouts during the regular season.
Genovese and Gadbois also received First Team All-SEC honors, and Sykes was named to the SEC All-Defensive team.
The No. 14 Tigers are in Columbia, S.C., for the SEC softball tournament and will face No. 25 Louisiana State in the second round at 10 a.m. on Thursday. Follow the link for a complete list of SEC award winners.