REGARDING THE current state of athletics at Southeast Missouri State, I concur that changes need to be made. They need to be made at the top, the very top. When board of regents leadership says that there is no money in athletics, then the mediocrity we are seeing is what we are going to get. It is not the coaches. How can we expect coach Garner to recruit talent with a $15,000 recruiting budget? How can we expect coach Billings to contend for a national playoff berth, when the budget for his entire program is $146,000? We need to be barking at the lead dog, not the coaches who are operating under such restrictive conditions.
LET ME start by saying Derek Winans is a very good basketball player and obviously is a quality person who would be an asset to any organization. That being said, I just read the most ridiculous FanSpeak comment ever. I doubt he could walk on and play at Duke, North Carolina or any other of the powerhouse teams and would probably be a bench player at any school larger than Southeast, such as SIU. His chances of making a minor-league pro team are only so-so and the NBA is definitely not in his future. There is a difference between supporting a good local player and starry-eyed hero worship.
TO THE person who complained about the Southeast Missourian's choice for volleyball Player of the Year: I can understand why you may be upset with the Southeast Missourian's lack of coverage in volleyball but please don't take that out on Katie Niemczyk. Katie is a hard worker and she is a great player. She is very deserving of the award, as were the boys basketball players of the year from Bell City -- Dominitrix Johnson (2002 and 2004) and Eric Henry (2003). It's easy to criticize the Southeast Missourian for the way it does things, but it's hard to criticize what these kids did during their careers.
SOME FANS may not know that last year, before becoming a Redhawks player, our own new 6-foot-2 forward Tatiana Canceicao received more junior college first-team All-American votes than any other player in the country, and she's already shown why in this season's early games. Against 21st-ranked Oklahoma on Friday night, she brought out the best in her teammates, as she delivered 26 points on the floor. She's fabulous.
I MUST say I was very disappointed in the coverage of the women's basketball effort against No. 21 Oklahoma. The coverage on the OVC Web site, Southeast Web site and the Oklahoma Web site was much more positive than the short "by the way" article in the Southeast Missourian. The women are great to watch. They never have a boring game. They greet their fans after every game. If anyone is curious, Southeast had a six-point lead before halftime. The score was tied at 38-38 going into halftime with the 21st-ranked team in the nation. Southeast got another lead after halftime. For a team with 11 new players, I would say they did a heck of a job. Thank you to KWKZ for the broadcast. Keep it up ladies.