Friday, September 7, 2012

Another Successful Week in the Books

It has been another fun-filled week in Hatterland. Stetson teams are competing and practicing, the crush of new students seems to have settled in and things are moving along smoothly.

I saw a tweet on Monday from a good friend, Troy University head athletics trainer Chuck Ash (@chuckdiesel01). Of course, Monday was Labor Day, and most folks around the country got to take the day off from work.

That is not the case in college athletics for most folks, especially if football is a part of your life. Chuck tweeted that he was laboring on Labor Day for the 38th consecutive year.

That is something that most outside of college athletics, even the most ardent fans, never realize. There are hard-working people behind the scenes who sacrifice their nights and weekend, and even holidays, for the cause.

That tweet got me to thinking that is was the first Labor Day that I didn't have to work in quite a while. Not quite 38 years, but probably just the second time since college.

We have that same kind of dedication on display in and around Stetson athletics. Whether is the athletic trainers, who are on duty for every game, practice or training session, the facilities people, who make sure everything is ready for those student-athletes to do what they need to do, there is always work to be done.

For me, the two guys who are going to make my life much better this year (read that as no heart attack) are Jamie Bataille and Dan Forcella. They are doing much of the heavy lifting when it comes to many of our sports teams.

Most people who have been around Stetson for very long know Jamie. He and his wife Vanessa, who is a member of the softball coaching staff, have been in the DeLand community for years. Jamie worked in the athletics department as sports information director until leaving six years ago to go into the private sector.

Even since he has been away from Stetson, he was never really away. He has worked as a member of the stat crew for events, has been the voice of Stetson softball on Hatter Vision and has continued to actively support the Hatters.

I have known Jamie since he was a grad student at the University of Memphis and I was at the University of Southern Mississippi. I am extremely happy to have him on my staff. He will primarily work with the sports of volleyball, sand volleyball, women's basketball and, of course, softball.

Dan came to Stetson this summer from Belmont where he served as a graduate assistant for the last two years. A native of Maine, he attended Vassar College where he played basketball. He is handling both men's and women's soccer this fall, men's basketball this winter and he and I will work together with lacrosse and baseball in the spring.

Many of the things you are seeing done on are from their efforts. Dan has been very active in getting our social media efforts ramped up, and Jamie has been working to increase our video presentations.

Both guys are talented, hard-working an a true asset for Stetson athletics. Their efforts, along with the help of student Robert Edgcomb, free me up to work in an administrative capacity while also working with the Stetson football program.

I'll also oversee coverage of the men's and women's golf teams, the crew program as well as baseball and lacrosse in the spring. With Robert's help, we'll also make sure that the cross country and tennis teams receive their fair share of coverage.

Obviously, with more than 400 student-athletes to cover, days can get long. The effort these guys, and many others like them across the country, often go under appreciated.

If you see them at an event and have an idea or suggestion, please don't hesitate to pass it along. But, also don't hesitate to thank them for the many hours they put in.

Football is Back on the Road

Stetson football coach Roger Hughes got back on the road for a recruiting trip this weekend. In fact, he is just part of a delegation of Stetson folks who are in the greater Chicago area this weekend for a Stetson tailgate at tomorrow's Northwestern-Vanderbilt game.

Coach Hughes has been joined on the trip by Director of Athletics Jeff Altier as well as Stetson University President Dr. Wendy Libby on this recruiting trip. The people they are in Chicago to recruit are not players, they are alumni.

The same group will be back on the road next weekend for a trip to Palo Alto, Calif., for the Stanford-USC game. Later in the fall there will be tailgates closer to home, one in Tallahassee at a Florida State game and the other in Jacksonville for the Florida-Georgia game.

Last week I was able to share a blog post about a long-ago Stetson football trip to Cuba. This week I found another interesting, although not at all historical, read about the return of Hatters football. This blog comes from a completely different perspective.


Time for me to take off. The Stetson men's soccer team has it's home opening game in just 45 minutes. I hope to see you there.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Football Season Is Here, What Am I Going To Do?

As I sat on my sofa Thursday night watching the ESPN Goal Line channel, which bounces around between college football games, a strange realization struck me.

For the first time since I was a child, I don't have any football games to go to this fall.

To put that into perspective for you, I have been regularly been attending college football games every year since 1973. Since 1984, when I was a freshman at the University of Alabama, there have probably been fewer than 20 fall weekends total in which I have not attended a game.

Heck, when I was working in the newspaper business in Mississippi, there were more than a couple of Saturday's where I would go to see either Ole Miss or Mississippi State play in the morning and then make it to another game in the evening.

Sometimes I would even make it a triple weekend by heading to New Orleans on Sunday to catch the Saints. That doesn't even count all of the high school games I covered over the years all over Mississippi and Alabama.

Since first getting into college athletics in 1994, I have missed a total of two games. As a graduate assistant at Southern Miss I didn't make the cut for a trip to play Indiana in 1994, and in 2008 I missed Troy's game at Louisiana-Monroe the weekend that my father passed away.

That's it. I have a sheet of paper in a box or folder somewhere that has the year-by-year record of the teams I have worked with for the games I was in attendance for. Just for my career in athletics the total number of games is well north of 200.

I have been as far northeast at West Point and Buffalo and as far southeast as FIU. I have been to games at all eight FBS schools in Ohio (bonus points if you can name them all), but to just two in Texas. I have been as far west as San Jose State, Nevada and Boise State and southwest to New Mexico State.

I have covered the SEC with the exception of Kentucky and new member Texas A&M. I have been to Nebraska, Penn State, Michigan State and Illinois in the Big Ten (plus one in Ohio). I have been to Blacksburg, Va., for a Thursday night ESPN game where you could barely hear, and to Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge when the crowd was silenced.

I have been to bowl games too. To the Sugar Bowl more times that I can count. I have been to what was known as the Hall of Fame Bowl at the "giant sombrero" in Tampa and the Motor City Bowl at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich. I hit the now defunct Silicon Valley Classic and the Humanitarian Bowl. I've been to the GMAC Bowl before got involved and I got to boo Ashley Simpson at the Orange Bowl.

So the realization that there will likely be no live college football games for me this fall hit home. I am sure there are other things that happen from late August until early December, but I have never experienced any of them.

Maybe that will change this fall. I am sure that, at some point, I'll find a way to sneak into a game, but I am not planning any grand road trips to do so.

It will be interesting to see how the non-football world lives, if only for one year.

Of course, I'll probably spend most Saturday's back on that sofa, watching college football. I may even tweet about it, so follow me @RHazel_SID.

Hatters To Scrimmage Again on Saturday

While I won't be going to any official games this weekend, I will be at the new Stetson Athletics Training Center on Saturday evening when the Hatters hold another scrimmage. It will be the third of six total this fall. Others are scheduled for October 6, October 20 and November 3.

The crowds for the first two scrimmages have been amazing and I expect we'll see more of the same Saturday night when the Hatters get started at 7 p.m.

The scrimmage we are all looking forward to is the last one, on November 3, which will be a part of the Stetson University Homecoming festivities. The scrimmage will be as close to an actual game as possible and will start at 2 p.m.

There are a lot of plans in the works for that event, and it should be exciting for all of the Stetson alums to get a chance to see the football program up close. Keep and eye open for more information on that even in the coming weeks.

Hatters Football History

If you have an interest in Stetson football history, I came across a blog that details a trip to Cuba by the 1920 Stetson team. While the results from the trip weren't great, the accounts of it are entertaining.

Click here to read it.

Friday, August 24, 2012

An Evening in Orlando

On Thursday night I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the 12th Annual Pigskin Preview at the Amway Center in Orlando. The event is hosted each year by the architectural firm of Baker Barrios, which has offices in Orlando, Tampa and Atlanta.

The event is basically a kickoff tailgate for the college football season for friends and clients of Baker Barrios. Stetson University was extended an invitation to the event this year because of the Hatters' new football program, even though we won't begin play until next year.

Obviously we took a large group to the event. In addition to John B. and the Stetson University cheerleaders, we had head football coach Roger Hughes and assistant coaches Brian Young, Dennis Danielson and Terry Tilghman along with director of football operations (DFO) Nolan Behrns.

Also along for the event was Director of Marketing for Athletics Tom Birney, Director of Ticketing Joan Hazel, Executive Assistant to Athletics Director Jeff Altier (who was unable to attend) Stacy Turner and cheerleading coach Lisa Browning. We also had a couple of folks from University Development, Mark Turner and Nate Thornton.

Of course, this was far from a Stetson only event. Originally the event was held to kickoff the UCF football season, and they had plenty of fans, along with their mascot and cheerleaders as well.

But there were also fans from as many other schools as your could imagine. Of course there were plenty of Florida and FSU fans, and also quite a few sporting USF colors. The amazing thing was the number of fans of other schools.

I saw a bevy of Buckeyes, some Badgers, as well as virtually every school in the SEC. There were Tigers (Clemson, LSU and Auburn), Aggies (Texas A&M and New Mexico State), Bulldogs (UGA and MSU) as well as at least one Vandal (Idaho), one Cowboy (Wyoming) and one guy wearing a Boston University shirt. BU no longer plays football.

It was quite interesting to see fans from so many different schools mixing and socializing, all with high hopes for the coming season. The only thing I know for certain is that only one school represented will absolutely come away from the 2012 season without a loss.

Great Teller of Stories

One other certainty that came out of the trip to Orlando was the knowledge that Coach Tilghman is a great story teller. I rode over to Orlando, and back, with the members of the coaching staff and with Tom Birney at the wheel.

During the trip over and back, Terry told several great stories. If you haven't yet had a chance to spend time with him, make it a point to do so. Just pay a visit to the Alpha balcony at the new Stetson Athletics Training Center, but be ready to laugh.

It is obvious very quickly the pride Terry has in his three children. His oldest is a junior at the United States Air Force Academy, his middle child is a freshman at Stetson and his youngest is in high school.

On the ride over Terry told a story about how he made his daughter's first day as a Stetson freshman one she will never forget. The story was absolutely priceless.

I'll share the story, in his own words.


Jordan’s very first college class was last night, 8.19.12, so I went and ate dinner with her and once her friends sat down at the table she informed me that “I did not have to wait for her and she could get to her building and would simply walk back to the football office after class so we could go home together. I was feeling kind of dismissed so I sought revenge. I sent a text each of my 13 offensive linemen the following message:

“Men “operation return to the nest” begins at 18:00. My little girl, your newly adopted sister, has her first class at 19:00 hours in the Lynn Business Center (LBC) room 223. I want to know if any of you have a class in the area around that time and how many of you will be available to escort her back to my office at or around 19:00 hours.”

None of them replied to me. They simply took action and at 17:50 Jordan sent me a text saying she hated me. When I asked why she said because I had sent my players to watch her. 

Apparently, as she approached the LBC, one offensive lineman stopped all traffic so she could cross the street safely. Two more met her at the door and all three of them walked her to the stairs where two more where waiting. She was passed off to them and those two took her up stairs to her classroom where they handed her off to another lineman who actually had the same class with her.

Around 19:15 they reversed it and the one in the class room walked her to the stairs where a different two joined the formation and escorted her out of the building where two more joined the formation and ushered her into the passenger seat of a white Chevy 2500 super cab truck that was waiting in the street with four ways flashing. Once she was in the truck the seven guys jumped in back for the short drive back to my office.

I met the truck when it arrived and she got out and to say she was mad is the understatement of the year. But I simply ignored her and walked up and shook each of the eight OL’s hands and thanked them for their service in tonight mission and they simply said “your welcome” and piled back in the truck and drove away. 

I turned and she was already stomping her way up the stairs to my office and when I joined her she said loudly “dad how could you do that to me”. 

I simply asked her one question. I asked her what my main job is as her father. 

She rolled her eyes at me and said “I know dad you’ve said it one thousand times how it’s your job to make memories for me”, to which I simply replied ...

“will you ever forget your very first college class?”

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hatters Are Going Live on Friday

Stetson University's athletics programs will be on full display on Friday morning when Skip Diegel and the WSBB AM 1230 morning show originates from the new Stetson Athletics Training Facility in DeLand.

WSBB is based in New Smyrna Beach and is becoming a great partner with Hatters Athletics. They have been running regular interviews over the past several weeks with members of the Stetson staff, including head football coach Roger Hughes, Director of Athletics Jeff Altier and University President Dr. Wendy Libby.

Even if you aren't able to hear WSBB's over the air broadcast, you can listen to the station online through their web site, People with smart phones can also listen that way, if you go HERE and load the app on your phone.

The show will be on the air live starting at 7 a.m. and will run until 9 a.m. Members of the Stetson football team will be making their way out for an 8:30 a.m. practice throughout the morning.

Some of the guests you can expect to hear from on Friday include both Altier and Hughes, along with men's soccer coach Logan Fleck, new women's lacrosse coach Nicole Moore, volleyball coach Tim Loesch, men's basketball coach Casey Alexander and women's basketball coach Lynn Bria.

In addition, the guest lineup will include DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar, Volusia County Chair Frank Bruno, Volusia County Information Director Dave Byron, Volusia County Council District 1 Representative Andy Kelly, DeLand City Manager Michael Pleus and the Director of Main Street DeLand, Jack Becker.

If there is a quiet moment, I might even be able to sneak in for a couple of minutes.

Be sure to tune in on Friday morning.

Hughes Having a Busy Week

In addition to getting the Stetson football program off the ground, Hatters head coach Roger Hughes has had a busy week with media requests. Several outlets were on hand for the football scrimmage on Wednesday and most of the Orlando television outlets have been to town to talk Stetson football, in addition to a visit from the Orlando Sentinel and the always outstanding coverage from the Daytona Beach News Journal and the West Volusia Beacon.

Hughes will continue with his media blitz tonight when he makes an appearance on 740 AM "The Game" in Orlando for a visit with long-time central Florida sports personality Tracy Dent. That appearance is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. You can listen HERE.

On Saturday morning Hughes will visit with another central Florida sports legend, Sam Cook, on the ES3 Playbook Radio program on WRSO 810. You can listen to that appearance at 10:15 a.m. HERE.

I'll step in for Coach Hughes on Sunday morning to appear on "The Sideline" with Kevin Baldinger, also on WRSO 810.

Coach Hughes will be back on the air in Orlando on Monday when he visits with Dave Baumann on ESPN Radio 1080 AM. That appearance will be at 9:05 a.m. to open the Monday show and can be heard HERE.

It's Time to Play the Game!

As hard as it is to believe, summer is officially over. I know, the calendar shows another month, but summer ends when the college games begin. With the Stetson women's soccer team set to kickoff the 2012 season on Friday night at FIU, summer is over.

The first regular season home event of the year will be on Sunday when the Hatters host Georgia Southern in women's soccer. That game is set for a 1 p.m. start. If you want to get an early start, the Stetson men's soccer squad will play an exhibition game against Florida Southern tomorrow night at 6 p.m.

Home events are thin for the first week of the athletic year, but will crank into full action a week from tomorrow when the Stetson volleyball team hosts the Stetson Classic. That event will include 10 matches over two days with teams from Central Arkansas, Hampton, Florida Atlantic and Wofford joining the Hatters in a round-robin tournament.

If you missed yesterday's football scrimmage, you will have chances to see the Hatters scrimmage at least four more times this fall. The next scrimmage is set for Saturday, September 1, with other scrimmages set for October 6, October 20 and November 3. I would guess there will be at least two more scrimmages mixed in.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Media Training Today

This morning I had an opportunity to meet with the entire Stetson football team to provide some media training tips and advice. The guys appeared to pay attention and some even took notes.

Over the last few years I have sort of become known for my media training sessions. We hit on almost every possible scenario and cover things such as social media responsibility, the differences in dealing with TV and print media, and just general tips on how to handle interview situations.

I showed the new Hatters pretty much the same demonstration I used last year at Troy, including some of the tweets that were way off color. The laughs came at pretty much the right times, so my delivery must have been OK.

I got to tell the guys some stories from my career in athletics, including some guys I worked with who became true professionals in dealing with the media. Those guys include Chad Pennington, Byron Leftwich, DeMarcus Ware and Jerrel Jernigan.

I'd like to think that I helped all of those guys, and many others, prepare for what they face now as NFL players, but I also I helped the many hundreds of others who did not go on to play professionally.

After having practice cancelled by rain and lightening last night, I know the players and coaches are anxious to get back onto the field tonight. After our session, the players were to spend much of the afternoon getting fitted for shoulder pads.

It will still be shorts for the guys tonight at 7 p.m.

Here is a link to the story that WKMG in Orlando did on the return of Stetson football. CLICK HERE

WFTV and WESH have also both been to practice, but I haven't seen their reports posted online yet.

You can keep up with all news coverage of the Hatters through the official athletics web site, Just look under the Inside Athletics tab on the front page and look for Hatters News Links.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Football Comes to Hatterland

It has been quite a while since I last penned a blog, but I promise I will do a better job of blogging in the coming year.

Here is a quick recap of what has been going on since I last blogged back in January.

Basketball season, baseball season, golf season, tennis season, softball season, sand volleyball season, hosted the A-Sun Baseball Tournament, had a heart attack, got my wife and all our belongings moved from Alabama to DeLand, went to the CoSIDA Convention in St. Louis, hired two new members to my staff, had lots of meetings (that continues) and started football practice.

I won't bore you with all the specifics, but I do really appreciate the outpouring of support and concern I received after my "little" heart attack. Was certainly not the way I expected to spend Memorial Day.

Fast forward to last night's debut of the Stetson Football team. I have been involved in college athletics for 19 years, all working with football, but this was the most excited I have seen a school for the first day of practice.

There is always some anticipation from players and coaches to get to work. There is also the anticipation of seeing what the new crop of recruits looks like on the field. That anticipation was multiplied 10 fold last night because the entire team was made up of a fresh crop of recruits.

It was interesting to watch. There is always some uneasiness among new players and coaches for the first day of camp. Everyone has to know where to go, when to go there, and what to do once they get there. While there was certainly some of that last night, there was so much excitement in the air that no one noticed. Besides, no one other than the coaches knew what was supposed to happen anyway.

One thing I have learned over the years is that no two head coaches are the same.

When I was in college at Alabama, Ray Perkins and Bill Curry both spent time as head coach. No two people could possibly be more different in their approach to coaching.

At Southern Miss, I worked with Jeff Bower, who had his own style, as did Bob Pruett at Marshall and, most recently, Larry Blakeney at Troy. Roger Hughes is certainly no different. His coaching style comes from a completely different background than any of the other coaches I have worked with.

Like I said, no two styles are the same. There is also no way to evaluate if one style is better than another because there is no one right way to do things.

Tuesday evening's practice for the Hatters was also different from most others I have attended in the buzz among members of the community who were in attendance. The Libby's, the first family of Stetson University, were there. They mayor and many civic leaders were in attendance. There were parents, brothers, sisters, girl friends. There was also a good bit of media coverage.

Many of the people there had never before attended a college football practice, and none had ever done so in DeLand. The excitement about the Hatters football program was easy to sense.

The other thing about the start of football practice at Stetson is the fact that the new Athletics Training Facility is almost complete. There are still a lot of final details to be finished, but the players were able to use their locker room.

The entire building should be ready for occupancy in the next couple of weeks, and that will be a big milestone for not just football, but the Stetson soccer and lacrosse programs, which will share the facility.

I am sure the crowd that gathers for practice will slowly dwindle as camp moves forward, but I hope the excitement over the return of football to Stetson continues to grow.

After all, we only have 389 days before toe meets leather for the first game.

Watch the Stetson Hatters YouTube Channel for videos from practice as well as special features throughout the year. Also, I'll be posting photos from practice on our Stetson Athletics Facebook page.

Please feel free to load your own photos and videos so that we can share the complete experience with all Stetson fans across the world.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stuck, In the Airport in Nashville

Sounds like a line in a country song, which I guess is appropriate for the location. Our Southwest Airlines flight to Orlando has been delayed, apparently indefinitely, by mechanical problems. The plane is on the ground in St. Louis and they have no idea when, or if, it will make it to Nashville.

The mechanical problem is joined by severe weather in the Nashville area. Thunderstorms are rumbling outside as I write this, and they temperature is supposed to plummet when the rain passes through.

At this point, we have no idea when we might get back to Florida.

It has been a while since I last blogged and I need to make it a point of emphasis to put thoughts to computer screen on a more regular basis. I just get so wrapped up in the day-to-day that I forget to take a step back and look at the big picture.

I have spent the last four nights at the Aloft Hotel in Franklin, TN, with the Stetson men's basketball team. If you follow me on Twitter (@rhazel_SID) or are friends on Facebook, then you probably already know my thoughts on the hotel.

In a word, it was weird!

It is a nice hotel, but different. It has a very European feel. It is the only hotel room I have ever been in, and there have been many, that did not have drawers to put clothes and other items in. Not one single drawer in the room.

Like I said, weird.

This trip has been a long and disappointing one for the Hatters. Stetson's men went into the weekend looking for a share of the Atlantic Sun Conference lead. That was lost on Saturday in the second half at Belmont when the Bruins got hot offensively and the Hatters couldn't keep up.

That night was also disappointing because the Stetson women's team saw their 10-game win streak come to an end in an upset loss.

I tweeted during the games that I was disappointed because I didn't see any of the Nashville "stars" at the game. I just didn't look in the right place. I saw Vince Gill and his wife Amy Grant after the game, but I didn't see Mark Miller from Sawyer Brown or Larry Stewart from Restless Heart, who were also at the game.

I am a big Restless Heart fan and would have liked to have met Stewart, but I am sure there will be another chance somewhere down the road. At some point I'll write about seeing Restless Heart with Lone Star and Blackhawk in an outdoor concert in Arizona several years ago. It was July and, when the concert started at 11 p.m. local time it was 104 degrees.

Anyway, the Stetson men had a chance last night to earn a split on this always tough road trip, and the Hatters battled their guts out only to have their hearts broken in overtime.

Junior Adam Pegg had a career night with 28 points, two of which came at the end of regulation to force overtime with the entire Lipscomb student body screaming in his face from the baseline.

In overtime, the Hatters took a two point lead late in on a three-pointer by Aaron Graham, but, with one second left on the clock, Lipscomb hit an unlikely three-pointer of their own from a player who had hit just 2-of-6 from three all year. The 104-103 loss was Stetson's second loss in overtime this year.

Since I last wrote a blog (has it really been more than a month?) I have watched this Stetson basketball team make steady improvement. It may not be this year, but coach Casey Alexander will have his squad in the thick of the A-Sun title chance sooner rather than later.

While basketball season marches on, it is just over a month before the baseball season is scheduled to start, and softball will crank up even sooner. It is during the season overlap periods when media relations staff members become sleep deprived.

I met last week with the Stetson baseball staff to talk about the coming season and, needless to say, they are optimistic about their chances of having a good year. The Hatters return the bulk of the team from last year, including 42 of the 43 pitching wins, and are receiving plenty of pre-season recognition nationally.

Some of the lesser known polls have already come out with Stetson in the rankings. The Baseball America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association polls will be coming in a matter of days and those, along with the USA Today Coaches Poll, make up the "major" polls.

I expect the Hatters to be ranked somewhere in the 20-25 range in all three polls when they hit the street.

Since I last blogged I had a chance to enjoy some time back in Alabama with my wife and dogs for Christmas. Joan has been very busy back home. In addition to her job as ticket manager at Troy University, as well as packing our home for the eventual move to Florida, she is also busy promoting her recent novel, which is called "The Last Guardian".

Her book sales have been going well and she is on the verge of cracking the top 1,000 in terms of sales on She has a website and blog of her own which tells about her book and characters. Visit to get information on both.

Once she gets settled in DeLand, I am sure she will find a place to have a couple of book signings.

I have been a writer my entire adult life, but I don't have a patience or talent to write a novel. I wish I did. I am so proud of her for her achievement. I know many people who have read her book (yes I have read it as well) who are anxiously awaiting the next installment in what is planned to be a four-part series.

I'll wrap up with a plug for this Friday night's game at the Edmunds Center. In addition to being a big game for the Hatters against in-state foe Florida Gulf Coast, the evening will feature to debut of the new Stetson Athletics mascot.

Every fan in attendance will receive a commemorative bandana as a keepsake from the debut, which will take place at halftime.

I am one of the few people who has actually seen the mascot and I am sure fans will agree that is will be a great ambassador for Stetson Athletics into the future. It certainly represents much of Stetson's history as well as the history of the area.

Friday's game will be a television game as well. CSS, which is a cable sports channel based in Atlanta, will carry the game. I have seen other CSS programing on the Brighthouse Sports channel in the past, so I would guess the game will be available there, but I have not been able to confirm that.

Matt Stewart, who is one of the main sports personalities at CSS, will handle play-by-play for the game with former Auburn coach Sonny Smith on color. It will be Sonny's second trip to DeLand this year. He was also in town for the game against Jacksonville a week or so ago.

The Stetson women will play at the Edmunds Center on Saturday afternoon against Florida Gulf Coast in a showdown between the top two teams in the Atlantic Sun. Expect a high-scoring game that day because FGCU shoots more three-pointers than any other team in women's college basketball.

Well, I guess that is it for me from rainy Nashville. It is pouring down rain outside and there is no plane in sight or expected soon.

Send me a message on Twitter (@rhazel_sid) or on Facebook and let me know what kinds of things you'd like to read about and I'll do my best to provide you some interesting stories from the road.

I'll just try to do it more often.