Wednesday, June 26, 2019

From WOU to the NFL and Back to WOU

Take a minute to enjoy this short video of former Western Oregon great (and now NFL standout) Tyrell Williams, who is back at his alma mater putting on his annual football clinic on the WOU campus.

Williams, a former Los Angeles Charger who signed with the Oakland Raiders in the off-season, is a terrific ambassador and role model in multiple ways. Giving back to his community is just one method in which he displays these characteristics.

He's a proud DII and GNAC alum, and we're proud of him.

Watch and listen below.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

GNAC Rules Official Working U.S. Open at Pebble Beach

Susan Prugh at the 2019 GNAC Championships. 
Beginning with this Q&A and continuing through next May, we will be bringing you profiles on the unsung heroes of GNAC athletic competition -- the rules officials, referees and officiating supervisors without whom the games could not occur.

These "Referee Spotlights" are intended to heighten awareness for this critical aspect of amateur sports while celebrating the efforts of those individuals who are giving back to the game through the avocation of officiating.

This initiative is part of a comprehensive strategy by the DII Conference Commissioners Association to 1) bring attention to the crisis-level shortage of officials affecting amateur sports across the U.S. and 2) promote the benefits and rewards of officiating by implementing a national recruitment effort within the division.

In this initial installment, we profile GNAC golf rules official Susan Prugh, who this week will serve on the officiating team at the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Now, on to the Q&A.

Name: Susan Prugh

Family: Steve Prugh, husband; and three children: Hillary, Corey, and Alex.

Explain how you got started in golf officiating: I asked my husband about a rule of golf, he gave me the Decisions Book, and would not take it back.  I studied and went to workshops.

What was the attraction to golf officiating for you: It’s how I play golf.

How would you describe your involvement in golf as a player, and how did that help spur your interest in becoming a rules official? I started by watching my husband, Steve, play golf when I was 17.  I followed so many rounds since then, with him, and then our children.  Our family made a 5-some, so I was the pace of play monitor.

Typically, an official in any sport needs to become an "expert" in the rule book. What approach did you take to learning the rule book inside and out? Attending USGA and PGA workshops.  I read the rules book often, several times a year.

When was your first assignment as a rules official, and what do you remember about that particular experience?
My first experience was with the Washington Junior Golf Association.  It took me five minutes to do a cart path ruling -- which takes 20 seconds now.

Can you outline a typical officiating year in terms of what events you typically have on your calendar and the travel involved?
I am busy from March until October every year.  In the spring, we start with high school golf and then move on to the NCAA’s, including the GNAC Championships in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. It then moves into USGA events in June, July and August and the Washington Junior Golf Association in June and July.  Then I am back to working college golf events in September and October.

Are there USGA requirements to maintain your status as an official? 
You must achieve a 90 or better on the USGA/PGA Workshop examination.  Currently, I have a 98. Plus, experience in serving as a rules official for any event, at any level, is a significant component.

What have you found to be the biggest challenges as a high-level golf official?
The weather.

As your officiating career developed, did you ever have aspirations of working one of golf's majors?
If so, describe. Of course – the United States Open.

What are some of the other events you have worked as a rules official?
  USGA Senior Open, USGA Women's Open, USGA Men's Amateur, USGA Women's Amateur, USGA Girl's Junior, NCAA Division I Championships, GNAC Championships, and Washington Junior Golf Association tournaments from age 8 to 18.

What has been your most memorable moment as a rules official?
Hugging an 8-year-old who was crying because he put a ball in the water hazard.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Summary of Men's, Women's Hoops Rule Changes

Below is text and links from a memo issued by the NCAA today with information related to men's and women's basketball rules changes that have been approved by the Playing Rules and Oversight Panel.

Below are links to the men’s and women’s basketball playing rules changes recommended by the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee and by the NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee that were approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel during a teleconference this morning.

Please note the following: 
  • Effective date: All changes are effective with the 2019-20 season EXCEPT the men’s new rule to extend the three-point line, which is not effective for Divisions II and III men’s basketball until the 2020-21 season.​
  • Three-point line: The men’s three-point line will be extended by approximately 1’ 5” (to a distance of 22’ 1 ¾” at the top of the key and 21’ 7 and 7/8” in the corners). The distance of the three-point line for women’s basketball will remain the same as the current rule (20’ 9”). A link to a basketball court diagram illustrating both the men’s and women’s three-point lines is also available at the bottom of this memorandum.
On behalf of the committees, thank you to all of the commissioners, directors of athletics and head coaches who participated in the rules survey and/or the two-week comment period offered by the committees. The feedback received was very helpful and assisted the committees in their work.

Men's Basketball Rules Changes
Women’s Basketball Rules Changes
NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Court Diagram

Please note that for the upcoming two-year rules cycle, the women’s rules committee plans to experiment with the international three-point line for 2019-20 postseason events, excluding the NCAA championships. Both the men’s and women’s rules committees also plan to study in more depth the use of technology in the bench area for coaching purposes during competition.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

GNAC Insider: CU's Eads, WOU's Sargent, UAA's Kurgat

Three terrific interviews on this week's GNAC Insider, the conference's weekly radio show featuring administrators, coaches and student-athletes from across the footprint.

Joining host Robert Lowery were Concordia athletic director Lauren Eads, Western Oregon softball coach Lonny Sargent and Alaska Anchorage distance star Caroline Kurgat.

Eads, now in her second year as director of athletics at CU, talked about the Cavs' postseason run to the GNAC Championships title last week in Portland. Eads joined the show from California, where she accompanied the softball team to the NCAA West Regionals.

Sargent, the Wolves' seventh-year coach, also was in southern California, where his team was among the five at-large selections participating in the West Regionals. WOU was the No. 2 seed in the GNAC tourney last week.

Kurgat, a senior, will be closing out one of the most impressive careers in Division II track and field/cross country history this spring. A nursing major from Kenya, Kurgat has won national titles in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track, and has set Division II records on multiple occasions.

Listen below: