BACK-TO-BACK WINS & TICKET PROMOTION
Our men’s basketball team began a four-game home stand last week with a pair of Sun Belt wins over Southern Miss and ULM. The crowds brought great energy, and we need you again tomorrow when we host James Madison, one of the league leaders and a 20-win team. The game will feature the Sun Belt’s top two offenses going head-to-head – we’re averaging 84.2 ppg in league play, while James Madison is averaging 78.0
You can purchase two tickets for $7 for the Feb. 7 contest by clicking HERE or calling the FNBA Ticket Office at 870-972-2781. In the student section, the Kappa Alpha fraternity will lead the charge as the game’s “Leaders of the Pack,” while DJ King Vick will also be in attendance. Additionally, Centennial Bank will award a $500 cash prize to the loudest student organization at the game.
At halftime, head football coach Butch Jones will introduce the team’s 2024 midyear signees. Also during intermission, one lucky fan will have a chance to win up to $500, courtesy of Signature Bank. At the concession stands, fans will be able to purchase hot dogs for just $2.
We’ll conclude the four-game home stretch with the second game of this year’s MAC-SBC Challenge, hosting Ohio on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 2:00 p.m.
Congrats to Caleb Fields, ranked 22nd in the nation in assists per game (5.9) and our all-time leader in career games started and free throw attempts, on being named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week both today and on Jan. 16. Joining Freddy Hicks, he became our second men’s basketball player to garner the honor this year.
With home victories over South Alabama and Old Dominion last week, our women’s basketball team moved above .500 in Sun Belt action. We completed a season sweep of the Jaguars before knocking off an Old Dominion squad that entered the game with a 15-5 overall record and 7-3 mark in league play. Our Red Wolves now return to the road for four consecutive outings before closing out the regular season with four straight at First National Bank Arena. We play at Georgia State tomorrow and wrap up this week’s action at Akron on Saturday, Feb. 10, in the second game of the MAC-SBC Challenge.
BECKY HAMMON AWARD WATCH LIST & SBC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Surpassing 1,000 career points scored this season, women’s basketball junior guard Izzy Higginbottom has been named to the midseason watch list for the 2024 Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year Award.
She was also named today as the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week after averaging 34.0 points per game in wins over South Alabama and Old Dominion. Congrats to Izzy, who is ranked sixth in the country in points per game (23.3) and also broke her own Sun Belt Conference record for consecutive free throws made (53) this past Saturday.
BASKETBALL RADIO SHOW
With our baseball program’s annual Grand Slam Banquet set for Feb. 12, we want to remind everyone that next “Live with the Red Wolves” basketball radio show will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 13. We’ve had a great turnout for our previous shows, and we hope you can join us for our remaining shows this season to hear from and visit with Coach Rogers, Coach Hodgson and our basketball student-athletes. Click HERE for details.
NATIONAL SIGNING DAY
National Signing Day (NSD) is set for tomorrow, and Coach Jones and his staff have currently assembled a 2024 recruiting class that ranks among the top three in the Sun Belt Conference by 247Sports, On3 and Rivals. We signed 20 high school players from eight different states on the early NSD, including the first ESPN300 recruit in program history. We will hold a 2:30 p.m. NSD press conference on Wednesday that you can watch on our official Facebook page (@AStateRedWolves). Later that day, Coach Jones will introduce all of our midyear signees during halftime of our men’s basketball game against James Madison.
Congrats to First Team All-Sun Belt Conference center Jacob Bayer on being named College Sports Communicators (CSC) Second Team Academic All-America earlier this month. He became the first A-State football player to earn a spot on the first or second team since 2013.
FAN COUNCIL AND FOOTBALL SURVEYS
We’re excited to announce that our Athletics Department has formed a “Fan Council” made up of 10 individuals who are current football season ticket holders in different sections of Centennial Bank Stadium. They have volunteered to provide valuable feedback on their game-day and season-long experiences from a fan perspective.
We want to thank Jeff Dickens, Allen and Angie Gallaher, Rick Gillette, Charles Haring, Nathan LaRue, Brad Lieblong, Micayla McGowen, Charlotte Razer and Tice Singleton for volunteering their time and assisting us in our efforts to provide all Red Wolves’ fans with the best possible opportunity for a great A-State Football experience this upcoming season.
We’ll hold an initial meeting with this group in the coming days, when we’ll define some clear objectives and discuss our “Fan Experience” surveys we will be sending out this month to season ticket holders and the general public. Once the surveys are finalized, we hope you’ll take some time to participate – your input will serve as a valuable resource for us as we evaluate all areas of the fan experience.
FALL 2023 ATHLETIC DIRECTOR’S HONOR ROLL
We’re proud to announce we placed 209 student-athletes on our Fall 2023 Athletics Director’s Honor Roll (3.0 GPA or higher), the most for a fall semester since 2020. Additionally, the group included 43 individuals who earned a 4.0, which was the third most for a fall semester over the last decade. All 16 of our programs were represented by at least five student-athletes, including 12 sports with 10 or more. We were excited to honor this group during halftime of our men’s basketball game last Wednesday.
INDOOR TRACK & FIELD CONTINUES SEASON
Our men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams continued their season this past weekend at the New Mexico Collegiate Classic and South Alabama Invitational. With three more meets scheduled ahead of the Sun Belt Conference Championships (Feb. 19-20), our student-athletes have broke six school record and posted 29 top-10 marks in A-State history. We resume action this Friday and Saturday, competing at the Music City Challenge, Bulldog Invitational and David Hemery Valentine Invitational.
Congratulations to our four student-athletes who earned one of the Sun Belt Conference’s weekly track & field awards this month. Will Glass and Cash Kunkel were named the Men’s Track Athlete of the Week on Jan. 24 and Jan. 31, respectively. Michelle Ogbemudia was tabbed the Women’s Field Athlete of the Week on Jan. 24, and Colby Eddowes received the Men’s Field Athlete of the Week award on Jan. 31.
TENNIS IN MIDST OF FOUR-MATCH HOME STAND
Holding a 3-3 record through our first six matches under new head coach Sujay Lama, our women’s tennis team has already surpassed its win total from last year. This is our first season with multiple sweeps since 2018 and first time since 2011 that we have won multiple matches by a 7-0 score. We resume play with a 2:00 p.m. home match against Arkansas Tech on Friday, Feb. 16, at RidgePointe Country Club.
WOMEN’S BOWLING CLAIMS RUNNER-UP FINISH AT PRAIRIE VIEW INVITATIONAL
Our women’s bowling team was not in competition last week, but most recently finished runner-up at the Prairie View Invitational on Jan. 28 after picking up seven wins over top 10-ranked opponents. Congratulations to Karli VanDuinen on earning all-tournament honors. Holding a 52-12 record, our Red Wolves are currently ranked sixth in the nation.
We’re excited that the next time our Red Wolves compete, it will be right here in Jonesboro at the Hijinx Family Entertainment Center. Featuring 17 teams, we’ll host our annual Mid-Winter Invitational event Feb. 16-18 and honor our seniors prior to the start of play at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18.
WOMEN’S GOLF BEGINS SPRING SLATE NEXT WEEK
Our women’s golf team is set to kickoff its spring schedule next Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 12-13, at The Atlantic Invitational in Lake Worth, Fla. Our Red Wolves ended the fall portion of the schedule with a stroke average of 294.47, nearly two strokes better than the program record for an entire season.
GRAND SLAM BANQUET
Eight-time Gold Glove Award winner Jim Edmonds is set to headline our baseball program’s annual Grand Slam Banquet, presented by Kalmer Solutions, on Monday, Feb. 12, inside First National Bank Arena. A 2014 inductee into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame, Edmonds will be the guest speaker for the evening. Doors open at 5:00 p.m., with the event set to begin with dinner at 6:00 p.m. and the program starting at 6:40 p.m. Several ticket options are available by contacting Brandon Cunningham at (870) 972-3005 or [email protected]
Another heavy home slate highlights our 2024 baseball schedule as we are set to play 30 games at Tomlinson Stadium-Kell Field, including eight of our first nine contests. We open the season at home for the second year in a row with a three-game series against Omaha Feb. 16-18. We look forward to seeing everyone at Tomlinson Stadium to help us cheer on our Red Wolves! Season tickets are available by calling the A-State Ticket Office at 870-972-ASU1 or by visiting AStateRedWolves.com/tickets.
PRIDE OF THE PACK SERVICE AWARD
New this year, our monthly Pride of the Pack Service Award recognizes staff members, who by their actions, words and deeds help to make the Arkansas State University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics an exceptional place to work.
December’s Pride of the Pack Service Award winner was Associate Athletic Trainer Lorenzo Soto. Playing an important role in our sports medicine department, Lorenzo provides tremendous care to our student-athletes to keep them healthy and aid in their recovery after injury. His work ethic and contributions to our Athletics Department, even beyond his assigned job responsibilities, are testament to his dedication to A-State.
Our Pride of the Pack Service Award winner for the month of January was Haley Edwards, Assistant Director for Compliance. Haley is dedicated to serving our student-athletes and has done a fantastic job maximizing opportunities in our compliance department to achieve high levels of success. She maintains a positive attitude, takes a proactive approach in her role and has displayed a tremendous commitment to helping advance our entire Athletics Department.
Our Athletics Department teamed up with our campus leadership to provide our student organizations the chance to take part in a “Leaders of the Pack” initiative, providing these groups with an opportunity to obtain reserved seating at the front of the student section inside First National Bank Arena for our men’s and women’s basketball games. This group could be a student organization, a residence hall, or even an entire college, that provides a spark to ignite the student section.
With just three available game dates still available, we’re excited about the participation we’ve received. Students can nominate their group to serve as Leaders of the Pack for one our women’s home games on Feb. 21 and 27 and March 1 by clicking HERE.
GET YOUR WOLVES UP!
This week’s #WolvesUp photo features Morgan Daniel and Lindi Wade, Northeast Arkansas Tennis Association (NEATA) President and Executive Director, respectively. The NEATA generously provided refreshments for our home tennis match at the Trim Gym on Jan. 20.
Remember to use the hashtag #WolvesUp in your social posts and tweet your photos to me @JeffPurinton if you have any pictures with your Wolves Up! or promoting A-State. We will select photos to feature in each edition of State of the Pack.
State of the Pack: February 6. Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council