Eagle Council Kicks Off 2014-15 Season with Student Athlete Picnic

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On Sunday, August 24th, Eagles Council (SAAC) hosted their annual Student-Athlete Welcome Back Picnic, gathering 250-plus student-athletes, coaches and administrators together to officially kick off the 2014-15 academic year.

The picnic started with all of the newcomers introducing themselves to the returners and coaching staff. Ken Kavanagh, Director of Athletics, and FGCU’s President, Dr. Wilson Bradshaw, welcomed everyone with a motivational speech about the excitement of the upcoming seasons.
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Words of Wisdom from A Former Student-Athlete

BechtelBy Morgan Bechtel

Contributors: Michael Tolvo

In 2013, Ohio native Morgan Bechtel graduated from FGCU after four successful years as a member of the Green and Blue’s women’s tennis squad.  Merely two years after graduating and securing a job, Bechtel has risen through the ranks of her firm at an astounding pace.  The former A-Sun Academic All-Conference Team member credits her time as an Eagle student-athlete for helping develop many of the skills she uses on a daily basis.  On the tennis court as a senior, Bechtel played in the No. 1 doubles spot and notched five victories over opposing schools top pairings.  In the No. 4 singles spot, she was able to secure a 7-5 record, including three triumphs on the road.  Recently, Bechtel wrote a letter addressed to all FGCU Student-Athletes:

 

Dear FGCU Student-Athletes,
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Eagerness to Learn Leads Sale to Top of the Majors

By Liam Jones

Sale-1

CHICAGO – On June 1, White Sox ace Chris Sale concluded a complete-game two-hitter in front of more than 23,000 fans at US Cellular Field. Backtrack to 2009 and the Eagles’ star put on a similar performance against Stetson, with just 75 people in attendance.

It’s safe to say that the former FGCU ace has experienced a change in scenery.

“At first I had some nerves and a little anxiety just because I had never pitched in front of thousands of people before,” Sale said of his first appearance with the White Sox. “But I enjoyed it and learned how to handle it and try to not pay attention to everyone in the stands.”

But Sale’s dominance on the mound has stayed consistent, if not grown, over the years. Out of Lakeland High School, his heat caught the eye of the Colorado Rockies, and he was drafted in the 21st round. Instead, Sale chose to attend Florida Gulf Coast University.

“I felt like at the time it was just a better opportunity for me. Not only to mature as a baseball player but as a person. Coming out of high school, I was 18 years old and didn’t really have a good grasp on life,” Sale admitted recently while sitting in the White Sox dugout the afternoon following a one-run, 10-strikeout performance against the Tigers.

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Attendance Ascension

By Michael Tolvo


FGCU v Mercer ASun Final 03/09/2014

FGCU men’s basketball’s run to the Sweet Sixteen in 2013 drew national attention. In 2014, the squad known across the country as Dunk City is ecstatic with the attention garnered locally. For years, the Green and Blue’s men’s team was often out-drawn by the women’s team also occupying Alico Arena. Those days are in the past.

While the women’s team still dominates the Atlantic Sun Conference, they now share the attention of the community and students with their male counterparts.

In 2011-12, the men welcomed 24,845 fans to the confines of Alico Arena. The next season, 36,648 fans filed in to watchSherwood Brown and company as they launched the program to new heights. This past season, a mind-boggling 73,780 fans cheered on the Eagles in just 17 games. That total exceeds the entire home attendance of the previous two years combined by more than 12,000!

You can add attendance to the numerous categories FGCU led in the A-Sun. With an average attendance of 4,340, the Eagles absolutely rocketed past every other team in the conference.

The next closest A-Sun team in home attendance? ETSU at 2,550. A difference of nearly 2,000 fans.

Proof that student and community attendance would be elevated to a new stratosphere came in the home opener against Hartford. As part of ESPN’s 24 hours of basketball, the Eagles took on the Hawks in a 7 a.m. weekday tilt that was aired on ESPN2. Students showed their support and school spirit by tailgating the twilight event and packing The Nest. Afterwards, many students headed straight to their Tuesday classes in full-on Green and Blue attire.

FGCU coach Joe Dooley has recognized the outstanding support his crew receives on a nightly basis. “The student section has been absolutely tremendous,” said Dooley, who just completed his first year at the helm after serving 10 years as the top assistant at Kansas. “The area has really come to support the university. They’ve done a great job getting behind our school and been very supportive of our team and our program.”

Not only did FGCU make headlines in the A-Sun, but the Eagles’ faithful are also being recognized nationally. The Green and Blue is one of merely five teams to increase their home attendance average by more than 2,000 from 2012-13 to 2013-14. Among the other names on the list include powerhouse programs such as Syracuse, Virginia and Nebraska (read the full story at http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/big-ten-breaks-own-record-men%E2%80%99s-basketball-attendance?division=d1).

Nebraska 5067
Syracuse 3813
Virginia 2281
SMU 2210
FGCU 2050

This upcoming season, the Eagles are poised to make a return to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years. With incoming high-profile recruits and a bevy of well-rounded transfers, this year’s squad looks to be one the deepest and most talented ever. And if attendance is any indication, FGCU is heading in the right direction.

2014-15 men’s basketball season tickets are already selling quickly. Fans can renew and reserve their seat(s) by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling 239-590-7145 or logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets for more information.

 

ESPN Trick Shot Challenge

070311grandeurpoolESPN.com is scouring the nation to find the best trick shot artist around! Dunk City was all over ESPN during the magical run that saw the Eagles squad become the first 15 seed ever to reach the Sweet Sixteen!  Now all of you have the chance to represent the Green and Blue and get back on ESPN!  All you have to do is create the greatest trick shot video imaginable.

Rules: Entrants will create a video — maximum of 30 seconds — showing the most impressive basketball trick shot. To ensure fair competition, video must be new and cannot be altered or edited. Artists are welcome to preface/talk about their shot however they please, so long as it fits within the 30-second restriction.

Deadline: June 15, 11:59 PM

How to submit video: Please include artist’s name and title. Acceptable file formats include .mov (preferred), .mpg or .mp4. Since video files can be too large for a typical email, you can also submit them using the following method:

Go to https://www.relayit.net

To: sam.strong@espn.com

From: your email address

Subject: Trick shot video

Click button that says “Next: Go to Step 2”

Click button that says “Choose file” and browse to your video file.

Click button that says “Send File”

* If you are shooting video with a phone, please have the phone turned horizontally (landscape, rather than portrait).

The best videos will be chosen to compete in a fan vote to determine the ultimate trick shot champions.  This is your chance to show the world what Dunk City is made of!

FGCU Men’s Soccer Uses Its Hands For a Change

By Vanessa Mosquera

Contributors: Michael Tolvo

Soccer Service

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The FGCU men’s soccer team joined efforts with Habitat for Humanity on Saturday, Apr. 5, to give back to the community by helping restore a house in Lehigh Acres that will benefit a family in need.

The student-athletes displayed their teamwork off the soccer field as they worked on a house that had been infested with subterranean termites. The Eagles donated their time as they worked on closing walls with plywood, demolishing a deck and reframing interior walls and exterior windows.

Assistant coach Chris Gores accompanied the team and gave a detailed account of the renovations. “The house was open framed to start and we worked to close the walls with plywood, demolish a deck and reframe interior walls and exterior windows.” he said. “The house was infested with subterranean termites and was being rehabbed for a person in need.”
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Former FGCU Golf Standout Mazziotta Continues Push Toward PGA Tour

By: Christine Pinder

Contributors: Doug Johnson, Michael Tolvo

Mazziotta-4

Former Cypress High School and FGCU golfer Daniel Mazziotta continues to represent his alma mater well following a win at the Mundo Maya Open at the Yucatan Country Club in Mexico two weeks ago. The victory Mazziotta clinched on Apr. 6 with a winning total of 10-under 278 has put him one step closer to becoming the second FGCU player to participate in the PGA Tour.

Over four years at FGCU, Mazziotta – a 2011 FGCU graduate – helped set the standard for excellence in men’s golf. He became the first player in FGCU program history to be named to the Atlantic Sun All-Conference First Team. In his senior season, Mazziotta recorded a scoring average of 71.6, which still stands as the second best in program history. His career scoring average of 73.1 also ranks second all-time at FGCU. During his senior campaign, Mazziotta shattered the previous program record of 18 par-or-better rounds with 21 such rounds. Mazziotta also holds the program record for most birdies in a single season with 121.
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A Look Back at the Mayor of Dunk City

FielerBy Michael Tolvo

Chase Fieler will compete at the State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships at 9 p.m. (ET) tonight, Thursday, April 3.  The annual event that showcases some of the best student-athletes in college basketball is being hosted at SMU’s Moody Coliseum.  While the senior known around Fort Myers as the Golden Boy will be representing his fellow Eagles and all of Dunk City later tonight, let’s take a look back at some of the FGCU record holder’s most memorable slams.
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Hansen Leaving a Legacy On and Off the Court

Credit: Linwood Ferguson

Credit: Linwood Ferguson

By Michael Tolvo

The general consensus among the FGCU Women’s Basketball home game attendees is that Sarah Hansen is their favorite player.  One thing is for certain, it is not for how often she smiles during her games.

In fact, in a contest for who smiles less between Hansen and Men’s Basketball coach Joe Dooley, many might give the nod to the patented Hansen snarl.

Hansen has endeared herself to the hoard of local fans that regularly flock to Alico Arena for her unparalleled intensity.  From warm-ups to the final buzzer, the Eagles leader on and off the court is locked in.  Whether it be her signature pregame opening yell or her emphatically pumping up her teammates during one of her brief times off the court, the fifth-year senior is always completely invested in the game at hand.
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FGCU Leads All-Sports Race Heading Into Spring

Courtesy of Atlanticsun.org

Contributions by Michael Tolvo

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Regular season championships in men’s and women’s soccer and men’s and women’s basketball have Florida Gulf Coast University in the lead for the 2013-14 Atlantic Sun Conference All-Sports championship.

The Eagles are looking for their second straight Bill Bibb Trophy, which is awarded to the combined all sports champion. FGCU currently has recorded 164 points out of a possible 207 (.792). With its four team titles, FGCU tallied 75.5 men’s points and 88.5 women’s points to emerge as the leader with the conference’s spring sports remaining.
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