Our Panthers Athletics programs grow more dynamic and exciting all the time. At this writing, the men’s basketball team will conclude its regular season on Feb. 25. The last home game, against the Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish on Feb. 22, marked the team’s 20th win this season and the program’s sixth 20-win season. Coach Billy Mims was ecstatic and optimistic about the final game of the Sunshine State Conference regular season championship.
This spring, there are many exciting sports to watch, including the new lacrosse. Coached by Ryan McAleavey, lacrosse has just joined the Deep South Conference with the also-new University of Tampa team. According to many, “it is showing potential.” The next games are all at home until March 23, so that provides an opportunity to see this sport, which is new to many.
Our also-new men’s and women’s swim teams, coached by Jeni Ritter, concluded their first Sunshine State Conference Championships in Clearwater and showed significant improvement. Jeni said the teams had a great learning experience and are excited about their future. Both teams finished sixth place in the championships.
I’m proud to say that four men and two women Panther runners were named to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic Team. For selection each must have earned a 3.25 or above grade point average and place in the top 50 percent at recent NCAA national or top 30 percent of NCAA regional championships.
We’ve had football news recently as well. Head Coach Steve Englehart announced his first recruiting class—some high school stars—which we expect to blend well with the 48 student football players already on campus. By the way, the average GPA for these young men is 3.5. New coaches have joined us, too. They are Jayson Martin, Willie Tillman and Mike Nahl. Coaches and athletes all look forward to their first competitive game. It’s not too early to mark your calendar for the first home game in September 2013!