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.

Four Stormy Petrel Soccer Stars Earn All-Region Honors; Lavery Named to Division III First Team All-America

Pictured: Mark Lavery

The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) announced the 2011 NCAA Men’s Soccer Division III All-Region teams recently and four Oglethorpe Stormy Petrels received recognition: Senior center back Mark Lavery (Woodstock, Ga.) and senior midfielder Aaron Walker (Woodstock, Ga.) were tabbed as members of the All-South Atlantic First Team while sophomore defender Nikos Papanikolopoulos (Atlanta) and junior goalkeeper Frank Petersen (Woodstock, Ga.) received Third Team nods.  

Just days later, the NSCAA named Lavery to the First Team of the NSCAA/Continental Tire 2011 NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer All-America Team. Lavery is the first Stormy Petrel in school history to receive a First Team All-America designation in men’s soccer.  He was also named the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Defensive Player-of-the-Year.

These individual postseason honors come on the heels of unrivaled team success for an Oglethorpe squad that won a conference title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2011—all during Oglethorpe’s 50th anniversary year of soccer.

“I’m thrilled that four deserving players like Mark, Aaron, Nikos and Frank were recognized…” said Oglethorpe head men’s soccer coach Jon Akin. “It’s the icing on the cake after all the hard work these kids put in to push us to our first conference title and first trip to the NCAA’s in program history.”

Congratulations to all!

Frank PetersenAaron WalkerNikos Papanikolopoulos