Tag Archives: Aaron Crow

The year that was: Awards for alumni, basketball teams off to slow start in 2014

Part two of two parts
Part one

By Darren Hellwege

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 to kill a ball in the fourth set. Kan had a team-high of 12 kills with a .195 hitting percentage in the match.

Outside hitter Carly Kan jumps for a kill during a 2014 match. Kan earned a spot on the All American team.

July

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.

 

August

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

The year that was: First half dominated by football success, Michael Sam, DGB troubles

2014’s top stories led by Sam, DGB dismissal, another football title

Part one of two parts

darren hellwege logo
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.

January

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

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Thinking Out Loud, Saturday Sports: Missouri Hall of Fame inductee Wysong

Darren Hellwege logoThis week, Darren Hellwege takes us to the induction ceremonies for the new class of the MU Athletics Hall of Fame. We visit with new inductee Ashley Wysong, legendary Mizzou swimming coach Joe Goldfarb, and MU athletics director Mike Alden. We’ll hear from Frank Haith and the Tiger men’s basketball team after two straight home wins in the SEC, plus update women’s hoops, baseball and softball.

Length: 59:14

Darren Hellwege is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the United States Basketball Writers Association.

Mizzou baseball kicks off season with annual First Pitch Dinner

Story by Gary Cotton and Paula Pritzen
Photos by Gary Cotton

Kansas City Royals pitcher Aaron Crow waits to speak after chatting with media and former coaches Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Columbia, Mo.

Story telling, chicken wings, a silent auction and autographs — this year’s First Pitch Dinner had everything one would expect. It also had an All-Star speaker that might have needed a little bribing.

“I asked one of the coaches if they could get me tickets to the (KU) basketball game tonight,” Kansas City Royals pitcher and Missouri alumnus Aaron Crow joked, “They convinced me to do it, it’s for a good cause so I’m glad to help.”

The Robert A. McNeece Award winner wasn’t the only big name in attendance, former players like Danny Hill, Nick Tepish, Trevor Coleman were all present as the Hampton Inn’s banquet room buzzed with hearty laughs and laid back conversation.

Director of Baseball Operations Evan Pratte called the eighth annual event a “kick-off” for the season. Pratte says they want to unite players, alumni, coaches and parents at a convenient time.

Coach Tim Jamieson introduces Aaron Crow after review last year's tournament run. Jamieson noted the importance of events like the First Pitch Dinner to unite players and families.

“It’s before spring training starts so (players are) able to come and see the coaches and players that they played with. Most people are passionate about the program, they want to come back and help and get excited.”

Pratte says the impending conference move to the Southeastern Conference makes events like the First Pitch Dinner all the more important as the program rallies its base.

“There’s a lot of passion about Missouri baseball,” Pratte said. “With us moving to the SEC we want to grow this event.”

Recruiting Coordinator Kerrick Jackson agreed, saying the move has been big for the team’s off-season work.

“The Big 12 is still one of the top three conferences in the country—the SEC is the premiere,” Jackson said. “It just means we got to bring our A game…the biggest difference (between the conferences) is depth.”

It was a lack of depth that ended the Tiger’s season last year.

The Tigers fell to Texas A&M after an unlikely Big 12 title game appearance after a 24-30 record. Coach Tim Jamieson said timing was everything in their tournament run, but it was inexperience that brought them down. The team filled four pitching positions last year with freshmen. The team had eight freshmen total.

“We got some people healthy, and some guys started to mature,” Jamieson said. “(We need) to teach the game to them. Our baseball IQ wasn’t high because we were so young.”
Jamieson will do a lot of teaching this year, citing the pitchers mound as a focus area this off-season.

Players like sophomore second baseman Dillon Everett hope they can carry over momentum from that late-season rally.

“(It) gave us a spark and a confidence that we can use to go into this season,” Everett said. He went on to say that team chemistry has been great in off-season practices.

“When one guy falls, we pick him back up,” Everett said. “We have been trying to work together as a unit.”

All SEC talk aside, coaches and players say it’s the Big 12 that has their main attention. Jamieson said the new recruits will log a lot of minutes on the pitchers mound so it seems proper that one of MU baseball’s greatest pitchers would be there to support the team.

“Hopefully they can bounce back,” Crow said. “I watched them a couple of times on TV last year. I hope they have a deep run in the tournament.”

The Tigers travel to Alabama for a three game series with Auburn, Feb. 17, 18 and 19. They travel to play San Fransisco Feb. 24, 25 and 26 then return home to Taylor Stadium for a three game series against Ball State on March 2, 3 and 4.

Former Mizzou pitcher Gibson stays grounded in Twins’ organization

In his first year of professional baseball, Kyle Gibson rocketed through three levels of the Minnesota Twins’ farm system and won the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year award.

And, according to him, it wasn’t even his biggest accomplishment of 2010.

Gibson, the former Mizzou pitcher, married Liz Straatman, the former Mizzou gymnast, a few months after his baseball season ended.

“That was probably the highlight of the year,” Gibson said of his marriage. Of course, that was the predictable answer coming from one of the more intelligent, down-to-earth athletes you’ll find.

“I bet he probably said getting married,” said former Mizzou pitching coach Tony Vitello with a laugh when asked what he thought Gibson said was his biggest accomplishment of the year. Vitello knows Gibson well—the current TCU coach went to his former pitcher’s wedding and conducted a pitching camp with Gibson in Indiana earlier this month.

There aren’t many things that would count as biggest accomplishments than what Gibson did on the field in 2010, though. Obviously, getting married is one of them.

Across Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A, Gibson posted a 2.96 ERA with 126 strikeouts and just 39 walks over 152 innings. But, more importantly, Gibson had a 2.31 ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratio, meaning he induced about two ground balls for every fly ball allowed.

“It was important for me to get more ground balls, because the more pitches you allow the hitters to see, the better chance they have to get a hit,” said Gibson, adding that it became more important for him to get opposing batters to put the ball on the ground as he climbed higher in the minor leagues. “As you go up, the hitters are better, but as you go up, the defense gets better.”

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