Oglethorpe Names New Athletics Director

Oglethorpe University has chosen Rebecca “Becky” Hall as director of athletics. Hall is currently the assistant athletics director and senior woman administrator at Wittenberg University and will become Oglethorpe’s fourth director of athletics since reassigning to NCAA Division III in 1990.

OU's newest Petrel - Rebecca Hall

Becky Hall will replace Jay Gardinerwho has served as director since 2004. Gardiner is now the inaugural commissioner of the new Southern Athletic Association, Oglethorpe’s athletic association beginning in the 2012-2013 season.

“After a national search that yielded exceptional candidates, the committee identified the best match for Oglethorpe,” said Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students Michelle Hall. “Becky is truly a great fit, full of energy, ideas and experience that will guide our growing athletic program.”

A 1998 graduate of Urbana University where she was a star softball player, Hall was immediately hired by Wittenberg University as an assistant coach and rapidly made an impact on Tiger athletics. She was promoted to head softball coach in 1999 and, just one season later in 2000, led Wittenberg to their first North Coast Athletic Conference Championship. That season concluded with the Tigers making their first trip to the NCAA Championships and securing the school’s first NCAA Tournament softball victory.

While remaining as head softball coach, Hall took on progressive responsibilities. She served as Wittenberg’s director of intramurals and club sports from 2003-2007 before being promoted to assistant director of athletics and senior woman administrator in July of 2007. In that span, Hall has continued to lead a successful softball program and overseen a 3.5 million dollar budget while also fundraising over $58,000 of supplemental income to the department.

In recent years, Oglethorpe has experienced a surge in growth, having added two new dormitories to the campus with plans to break ground on a state-of-the-art new campus center soon.

“Becky’s addition to our leadership team is a strategic move to continue to elevate our athletic programs, build a winning tradition and develop scholar-athletes who are successful on and off the playing fields,” said Oglethorpe University President Lawrence M. Schall.

In addition to her fundraising success, Hall directly supervised all phases of 10 varsity sports teams while at Wittenberg. An advocate for several non-profit organizations, Hall engaged the Wittenberg student-athletes in a variety of community service efforts including events for Strike Out Cancer and Toys for Tots. Continue reading

Petrel Pride Abounds in Golf, Baseball, Track

Oglethorpe student-athletes have been pulling double duty lately, between studying for finals and end-of-season practices and games—and it’s paying off in multiple sports!

Black and gold reigns! Pictured: junior Eric Quinn, freshman Anthony Maccaglia, sophomore Hayden Jones , senior Matt Rebitch, sophomore Anthony Amodeo and Coach Owen.

The Oglethorpe Men’s Golf team dusted the field this weekend to win their 10th SCAC Men’s Golf Championship at the Tunica Resorts in Mississippi. The Petrels led wire-to-wire to take the hardware for the fourth time in five years and earn their 14th trip to the NCAA Championships.

Junior Eric Quinn won medalist honors and the SCAC Golfer-of-the-Year distinction by shooting 3-under par for the event to win by 7 strokes. Freshman Anthony Maccaglia finished tied for 6th at 8-over par to earn both First Team All-Conference and Freshman of the Year honors. Sophomore Hayden Jones joined them on the All-SCAC First Team by shooting 4-over par and finishing in a tie for second place. Senior Matt Rebitch and sophomore Anthony Amodeo also enjoyed fine weekends, coming home in a tie for 14th and 17th place, respectively.

Automatic bid in hand, the Petrels will now turn their attentions to the 2012 NCAA Championships, which Oglethorpe is co-hosting with the Central Florida Sports Commission, to be held May 15-18 at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida.

OU senior Jake Spear selected to the All-SCAC first team.

Just days before, two members of the Oglethorpe baseball team earned All-SCAC honors. Senior second baseman Jake Spear was selected to the All-SCAC first team, and senior Joe Parillo was selected as All-SCAC honorable mention as a designated hitter. This selection represents the second All-SCAC honor for Spear, who made the 2009 honorable mention list as a freshman. This is Parillo’s first All-SCAC selection.

And good news comes in three! The Track Petrels took the podium at the SCAC Championship in Birmingham. The women’s 4×100 relay team (junior Sherry Blystone and sophomores Kyana Jenkins, Ky’Laine Rogers and Raven Foust) had the highest relay finish in school history by finishing a close second to national leader Rhodes.

Record holder Katy Galli

Freshman Katy Galli concluded a spectacular first year by breaking her own school record TWICE in the 100 meter hurdles by running a 15.69 in the preliminaries and then breaking it again in the final with a 15.44. Galli’s second place finish was right behind national champion Tiarra Goode’s conference record-breaking victory.  Galli’s first year concludes with six indoor and outdoor school records. The women’s team finished 8th overall, the same as last year, but scored a higher point total in a much tougher conference.

The OU Petrels now turn focus to their next immediate goal—conquering final exams!

Oglethorpe Hosts Family of Baseball Great and Alum Luke Appling

Pictured: Luke Appling (right) celebrates a Stormy Petrel win.

Oglethorpe University welcomed the family of 1932 alum and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Luke Appling to the Brookhaven campus this past Saturday for “Luke Appling Day.” Four generations of the Appling family attended the celebration. Appling’s sister, Linda Appling Sumpter, tossed out the first pitch prior to the Petrels’ game against Birmingham-Southern.

“Luke Appling Day” was in observance of the inaugural “NCAA Division III Week,” an initiative launched to celebrate the division’s unique philosophy that equally values academics, athletics and student-athletes’ involvement in a full and rich campus life.

Lucius “Luke” Appling enjoyed a stellar college career at Oglethorpe and, in 1930, led the Stormy Petrels to a perfect 15-0 record. In his final game against collegiate competition, Appling went out in style, hitting three homeruns against Mercer University. Appling was signed to a professional contract and spent the next 20 seasons wearing the #4 jersey and playing shortstop for the Chicago White Sox. He made seven All-Star Appearances and won two American League batting titles, including hitting .388 in 1936 and being named the best shortstop in baseball.  In 1964 he was elected into the Major League Baseball Hall Fame.

Appling's sister, Linda Appling Sumpter, tossed out the first ceremonial pitch.

Among the attendees for Luke Appling Day were two of Appling’s three children—Linda Appling Sumpter and Carol Tribble. Their brother, Luke Appling III, was unable to attend but his daughter, Lisa Dunbar, was on hand for the occasion. Her daughter, Erin, Appling’s great grandchild, served as the Stormy Petrel Ball Girl for game. In addition to Lisa, six more of Luke Appling’s grandchildren were in attendance with their families. 

The pregame reception included a historical display of artifacts depicting Appling’s career provided by the Oglethorpe University Archives. A booklet of press clippings detailing Appling’s meteoric rise in the world of baseball was presented to family members. Oglethorpe student-athletes joined the family members for a post-game cookout in the right field pavilion.

Four generations of the Appling family gathering on the steps of Oglethorpe University’s Schmidt Center.

UK’s Sky Sports Films Edwin Moses with Oglethorpe Track Athletes For London Olympics

With film cameras rolling and two-time Olympic gold medalist Edwin Moses doling out sage advice, the Oglethorpe University men’s and women’s track and field teams enjoyed a rather unusual practice last Thursday afternoon. That’s because Sky Sports, the largest sports broadcaster in the United Kingdom, was in Atlanta to capture some pre-Olympic coverage for the upcoming 2012 London Games, and Oglethorpe loaned their track and athletes to the project.

Moses, who first gained fame at the 1976 Montreal Games where he won gold by setting a world record in the 400 meter hurdles, lives nearby in the Brookhaven area and suggested Oglethorpe to Sky Sports as the locale for the filming. Sky Sports has tabbed Moses to be an in-studio analyst for the upcoming London Games and wanted to capture footage of him in the same city that hosted the 1996 Olympic Games.

After shooting footage of the Oglethorpe entrance and academic quadrangle, the Sky Sports crew descended on the track where members of the Stormy Petrel men’s and women’s track teams greeted Moses. Moses took time addressing the team about the finer points of his career in track and field before giving Oglethorpe 400 meter hurdler Katy Galli some one-on-one instruction on how to best clear hurdles and excel at the event. The Sky Sports team then filmed Galli, who wore a tiny camera affixed to her head, as she ran the 400 meter hurdles while Moses made commentary on specific portions of the race.

“It was an honor to have a track athlete of the caliber of Edwin Moses on our campus giving our kids who love the same sport some great advice,” said Oglethorpe men’s and women’s track and field Head Coach Jan Spiro. “The folks from Sky Sports could not have been nicer and seeing our student-athletes interact with Moses was a real treat.”

After over an hour of instruction and filming shots, Moses and the Sky Sports crew graciously said their goodbyes before the Oglethorpe track and field coaching staff gave the track teams a wake-up call: the real practice was about to begin.

Two Birds of a Feather (Blue Jays & Petrels Unite!)

On January 29, Oglethorpe Women’s Lacrosse in conjunction with the Sports Medicine Department, hosted Division I Johns Hopkins’ head women’s lacrosse coach Janine Tucker for a six-hour Coaches’ Clinic in Lupton Auditorium.

129 youth, high school and collegiate coaches from all over the Southeast participated in this event making it the largest coaches’ clinic ever conducted by Hopkins and a FIRST for Oglethorpe University

In addition to providing a detailed book of skills, drills, offenses and defenses, Coach Tucker also shared her team philosophy, favorite game strategies and practice plans for the first two weeks of the Blue Jays’ preseason. Coach Tucker’s dynamic personality and enthusiasm left the coaches asking for more! 

This was a HUGE step forward for Oglethorpe Women’s Lacrosse as we prepare for our inaugural season in the 2012-13 academic year. Thank you to everyone who attended and volunteered!

LeeAnn Tutchton is the Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach at Oglethorpe University.