Thursday, November 26, 2009

Be Thankful Memphis Tiger Fans

Posted By on Thu, Nov 26, 2009 at 8:00 AM

It’s easy to consider 2009 a downer if you’re a Tiger fan and choose to grind your teeth over an NCAA investigation into the men’s basketball program or a dreadful season for the football team. But if you look at the university’s athletic programs with a wider lens, there’s plenty to be grateful for as you carve this year's turkey.

Ashley Berra
  • Ashley Berra

• Brooks Monaghan. The women’s soccer coach is building the kind of resume that will capture national attention . . . if it can just catch enough local eyes first. In Monaghan’s 10th season at the helm, the Tigers won their third straight Conference USA championship and reached the NCAA tournament a third consecutive year. And next season may be the year the U of M finally advances in soccer’s version of the Big Dance. Returning will be junior Ashley Berra (Conference USA’s 2009 Offensive Player of the Year), junior Kelsey Bakker (C-USA’s 2009 Defensive POY), and Vendula Strnadova (a three-time all-conference selection).

• Mike Rose Soccer Complex. On the subject of soccer, I can’t imagine a better place to watch a match than the just-the-right-size stadium off Bill Morris Parkway. It’s a shining example of what the football program needs. A stadium doesn’t necessarily have to be on campus . . . but size matters, and a lot.

• FedEx Park. On the subject of facilities, I can’t wait to see the new baseball stadium under construction at the Billy J. Murphy Complex. As anyone who has attended AutoZone Park knows, the comforts of a ballpark can enhance the baseball experience tremendously. The ping of aluminum bat striking ball will be almost bearable next spring.

• Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir. Loyal followers of the Tiger women’s basketball program missed a real treat when the team’s star freshman was lost for the season to a knee injury. Having scored more than 3,000 points as a high school player in Massachusetts, Abdul-Qaadir should spark the building process under coach Melissa McFerrin, if only a year later than anticipated.

• Joe Jackson, Chris Crawford, and Tarik Black. Pardon me for being provincial here — and I can’t wait to see Jelan Kendrick and Will Barton at FedExForum — but it’s nice to see the cream of local hoops talent choosing to stay home and play for the Tigers. And with little deliberation, it would appear.

• You know who. Can’t put this list together without adding Josh Pastner. Is it possible that the personification of optimism has landed in Memphis, Tennessee?

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Readers also liked…

Most Commented On

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation