Lady Bulldogs take on LSU and UK Basketball Teams

Article and photos by Cody Cunningham, graduate assistant in sports information

Coming off of a Sweet Sixteen appearance and a Gulf South Conference Championship in the first season eligible for the NCAA postseason, Coach Mark Campbell and the Lady Bulldog basketball team decided to take on some of the best teams in the country. To open up its season Union traveled to Louisiana State University and then on to the University of Kentucky for exhibition matches to provide a revealing test for the 2015-16 squad.

_MG_5957 Playing in Division I venues is a far different experience than taking on opponents in the Lady Bulldogs home gym, Fred Delay Gymnasium. For a comparison, The Fred holds 2,200 fans when at capacity. In contrast, LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center holds 13,215 spectators. However, the differences don’t stop there. The SEC arenas come adorned with video boards along and above the courts as well as marching bands behind the goals, just to name a few.

_MG_5983 The big lights might be a shock for some of the Lady Bulldogs, but for one they are all too familiar. Carnecia Williams, a junior transfer from Mississippi State, has played in these gyms for the last two years, and that experience certainly has its advantages.

Although games against the elite college basketball teams in the country seem like a morale killer to those on the outside, Coach Campbell likened it to an “impossible mountain to climb” said it shows his team what needs improvement.

_MG_6040 “Ultimately, I think it accomplishes what we want it to accomplish,” Campbell said. “People are going to have better players than us. They are going to be taller, going to be faster, and stronger … and that exposes our weaknesses.”

Although the Lady Bulldogs lost both contests versus SEC teams, they won their other exhibition match against Division III Rhodes College, 87-63. Union kicks off conference play Dec. 3 at 6 p.m., hosting Shorter.

For complete coverage of Union basketball, visit uuathletics.com and follow along on social media @UUAthletics on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram._MG_6350 _MG_6355 _MG_6377 _MG_6414

Introducing New Athletics Coaches

Darrin McClure and Jenna Kelley PortraitThe Lady Bulldog volleyball team is working with two new coaches for the upcoming season. Darrin McClure, head coach, and Jenna Kelley, assistant coach, may be new to Union, but they are veterans of the sport. McClure comes to Union after coaching at UT Martin for seven years. He brings with him a distinct enthusiasm for Union and the community here. When asked about what drew him to Union, he noted that he really enjoyed all of the people here and the Christ-centered values.  Kelley is one of McClure’s former Martin players and has been playing the sport since fifth grade. Kelley also worked for Fellowship of Christian Athletes after receiving her MBA in 2014.

We are so excited about the level of skill and enthusiasm that McClure and Kelley are bringing to the team!  They are hoping to get the girls involved on campus and be a part of the wonderful Union community. To learn more about their backgrounds, check out these new releases from uuathletics.com:

Join us Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Fred DeLay Gym for the first home match!

Susie Oliver portrait

The other new coach for the 2015-2016 season is someone already well-acquainted with Union: our first lady and now cheer coach, Susie Oliver. She started in the sport as a cheerleader in fourth grade all the way through college and began coaching in 1980. Between coaching for national competitions and even taking a group to participate in the opening ceremony of the 1996 Summer Olympics, Oliver brings over 30 years of experience to the table. It is obvious when talking to her that she is thrilled to be working with Union’s cheer program. Her focus right now is on recruiting and increasing the size of the squad. Oliver’s goal is to make the games a wonderful experience for fans and provide entertainment through more stunting and using both sides of the court.

Susie is eager to recruit students who are athletic and hard working, so if you know of a good candidate, don’t hesitate to contact her!

Lady Bulldogs to Host NCAA Div II Tournament Games

Congratulations to the Lady Bulldogs, who captured their first Gulf South Conference title and earned a No. 1 seed in the South Region of the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball National Tournament. As the top seed, Union will host the entire South Region, with the Lady Bulldogs taking on No. 8 seed Albany State this Friday, March 13, at 5 p.m.

We would love to see the Fred Delay Gymnasium full of fans and students. To help us fill it up, use #fillthefred on social media to promote the game. Fans not able to attend the tournament in person can watch or listen to the game online.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, earned an at-large bid to the South Region of the national tournament in Lakeland, Florida. This will mark Union’s first appearance in the NCAA National Tournament since the 1968 season. Union, the No. 7 seed, will face No. 2 seed Barry University on Saturday, March 14, at 2:30 p.m. Watch or listen to the game online.

Go Bulldogs!

The Lady Bulldogs after their Gulf South Conference tournament win

The Bulldogs kicking off the season at Bulldog Madness

Mark Campbell Reaches 500 Career Wins

Team photo from Mark Campbell's first year as head coach

Mark Campbell, far right, in his first team photo as head women’s basketball coach.

Mark Campbell has been head women’s basketball coach at Union University for 15 seasons and has time and time again proven his merits as a coach. If asked about his achievements, he credits his assistant coaches and players more than himself. This humble, team-centered attitude is at the root of what makes him a great coach, and last night was an important milestone for him. The 77-66 victory over Valdosta State marked his 500th career win. Check out UUAthletics.com for more on this story and Mark Campbell’s career.

Photos below are from the game against Valdosta State.

Mark Campbell talks with a player during the gameMark Campbell cheers during a game Mark Campbell watches the action unfold from the bench Mark Campbell yells out a play Mark Campbell watches the intense action under the goal Mark Campbell and players during a timeout Mark Campbell yells plays from the sideline Mark Campbell instructs players Mark Campbell discusses the game after the win Mark Campbell celebrates with the players in the locker room

Union basketball boasts tremendous start for 2014-2015 season

Post by: Lydia Wright, senior public relations major

The men’s and women’s basketball teams are both undefeated after the first three weeks of competition. With conference play beginning this week, both teams hope to make a statement in the Gulf South Conference as they are eligible for NCAA Division II postseason play for the first time.

The men’s team is currently 6-0 with one of those wins coming from an overtime victory against Stillman College on Nov. 22, as part of the University of Alabama Huntsville Classic. Senior guard Corieon Pearson hit a three pointer with 20 seconds left in overtime to give the Bulldogs the lead, 79-78, and ultimately the victory.

Senior guard, Pedro Faller, looks for a pass in the homecoming game

The Bulldogs have reached 90 plus points twice already this season, as they scored 99 points in their season opener against Lemoyne-Owen College and 96 points in the win against Rust College.

The men’s team opens conference play against Shorter University on Friday, Dec. 4, in Rome, Georgia, followed by another conference game, Saturday, Dec. 5, at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee.

As for the women’s team, while most students were at home visiting family over Thanksgiving Break, the Lady Bulldogs traveled to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, to participate in the Nova Southeastern Classic. At the time, Nova was ranked number one in all of NCAA Division II.

Amy Philamlee, senior sports medicine major, plays defense

On Friday, Nov. 29, the Lady Bulldogs faced off against Sunshine State Conference member, Barry University, (Fla.) with the women coming out victorious, 70-61.

Saturday brought the second and final match of the tournament for the Lady Bulldogs, as they were set to play the host team, Nova. The Bulldogs came out victorious once again, beating the top team in the nation 83-78.

The two wins at Nova brought the Lady Bulldogs to an overall record of 4-0, making a combined record of 10-0 for Bulldog basketball so far this season. Along with the men’s team, the women will also face off against Shorter and Lee University this coming weekend.

With the way these two teams have begun playing, the GSC teams look like they are in for some tough competition from the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs this season.

Bulldog Madness – Athletics Season Kickoff

selfiecollage

Post by Katie Woodruff, associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator

If you weren’t at Bulldog Madness last night, you missed out BIG TIME! It was the biggest pep rally and spirit-building opportunity we’ve had in my 12 years at UU. This is going to sound weird, but it was somewhat of an emotional moment for me. To see so many different groups on campus come together as one to support our student-athletes was great!

In addition, to see the culmination of our hard work being enjoyed by all and supported by so many students, in that moment, was so gratifying.

bulldogmadness_unionuniversity_01

bulldogmadness_unionuniversity_07

“It was great to see so many students come together in support of our athletic teams,” senior psychology major Kevin Morgan said. “Last night there weren’t Greeks and indies or athletes and students, we were all Bulldogs.”

Alec Beard, a junior international business major who filled in as dancing Buster, said he enjoyed seeing the energy and enthusiasm of the crowd.

The evening involved black lights, glow sticks, hyped up music, selfies and more energy than I’ve ever felt before in The Fred. We were intentionally building school spirt through a remix of the flash mob from a performance earlier in the day, introduction of a student-led cheer support team called the Fred Fanatics, a performance from the cheerleaders, some minute-to-win-it games, 10-minute scrimmages by both the men’s and women’s basketball teams and a scrimmage between faculty/staff and students.

bulldogmadness_unionuniversity_08

bulldogmadness_unionuniversity_09

bulldogmadness_unionuniversity_10

bulldogmadness_unionuniversity_11

Dr. Oliver then led a “Never Forget” cheer on the court, surrounded by all the students.

“It was really neat to see the student body come together for a fun event supporting our basketball teams,” said Jesse Dahms, a junior business management and psychology major. “The blackout was really awesome and a great way to build hype. I think we are excited and ready for this upcoming basketball season.”

What a night! Our hope and desire in athletics is to continue to build school spirit. Bulldog Madness brought different campus groups together — the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, cheerleaders, the student group Fred Fanatics, volunteers from campus organizations and classes as well as student-athletes. It takes synergy to build energy and enthusiasm. I think we are heading in the right direction, and I’m excited.

bulldogmadness_unionuniversity_12

bulldogmadness_unionuniversity_13

bulldogmadness_unionuniversity_14

bulldogmadness_unionuniversity_16

Scott Lancaster, multimedia producer, put together this short video of the events from last night:

bulldogmadness_unionuniversity_17

bulldogmadness_unionuniversity_18

bulldogmadness_unionuniversity_19

bulldogmadness_unionuniversity_20

bulldogmadness_unionuniversity_21

bulldogmadness_unionuniversity_23

Buster the Bulldog Through the Years

Most people know that the Union University mascot is the bulldog, but a surprising number of people don’t know his name, Buster, or his history. In searching for past photos of Buster, we came across a March 1999 Cardinal & Cream article with some great information about our beloved Buster. The article was written by staff writer Polly Pierce and can be found in Vol. 83 No. 10 of the student newspaper.

“Buster Bulldog. Have you ever thought about where the name “Buster” came from, or even when Union became the home of the Bulldogs?

Union sports and bulldogs were united in 1920. However, from 1922 to 1925, women’s sports were named the Terriers. During this same time, the name Bullpups was given to the school’s freshman football team.

An unofficial live bulldog posing with the cheerleaders in 1967.
1967

An unofficial live bulldog posing with the cheerleaders in 1980. 1980

In 1970, Bill Rozich started his Union career as the Bulldog baseball team’s head coach. Rozich, a former member of the Chicago White Sox, set about to improve the school’s baseball program. The Jackson Sun, the city’s local newspaper, began running a cartoon called ‘Buster Says’ in the sports section to keep fans informed of the results of games and to make special announcements about Union sports.

Buster [the cartoon featured in the paper] was created by Joe McCormick of Malesus, Tenn.. This commercial cartoonist, illustrator and free-lance artist drew Buster from March 1970 until the end of baseball season in 1971.” This indicates that Buster as we know him originated as a sports cartoon in the local newspaper. The idea came from Rozich and was brought to life by McCormick.

The article also mentions that the graduating class of 1998 gifted Union with a live bulldog to serve as the official mascot, and Todd Brady, campus minister, became his caretaker. While there were other bulldogs owned by students and Union friends, this was the first dog officially owned by the school, according to records. Buster continued to come to games and charm everyone he met through the mid-2000s. Since the original Buster’s passing, Union hasn’t had a live bulldog.

Live Buster taking in a gorgeous afternoon outdoors
2000

The live Buster doesn't know what to think about the suit Buster in this 2000 photo.

2000

Our live Buster the Bulldog taking in the attention outdoors

2005

Students pet Buster on move-in day in this 2005 snapshot

2005

One thing this article doesn’t mention is the Buster suit that many students have donned at sporting events since the early 1980s. The first photo of a Buster suit can be found in the 1981 Lest We Forget yearbook, and you can see it change significantly over the years. The original version had a basketball uniform, furry arms and legs and a gigantic head, while the next version featured an open mouth and cute little tongue. We also had a darker brown version in late 80s and early 90s, and later a grey dog.

The first photos of the Buster suit in 1981 and 1982

1981 and 1982

The suit from 1984 along with some shots from 1987.

1984 and 1987

Buster cheering for the team in this 1990 photo.

1990

1990 Mr. Union, Steve Steiner, posing with the Buster outfit he sported.

1990, Steve Steiner

Two photos of an old Buster suit, 1991 and 1995.

1991 and 1995

Buster goofing off on roller skates in this 1994 photo.

1994

Buster doing the YMCA in this 1997 photo.

1997

Buster with the cheerleaders in 1994

1994

Buster goofs off with Steven Curtis Chapman at a concert at Union.

2003

Buster takes a break from cheering in this 2007 photo

2007

The current suit has a distinctly “fierce” look, presumably to intimidate our opponents. Buster is much more than a cheerleader at games. You can find him mingling with the Union family at big events such as move-in day and Union Night, and he is always willing to goof around with anyone.

Buster works the crowd in the left photo and helps on Move-in Day in the right photo.

2009 and 2011

Buster gets the crowd excited during the NAIA tournament.

2011

Buster the Bulldog leads the crowd in cheers when the NCAA logo is unveiled at Union Night, Sept. 28.

2013

If you have photos of Buster during your years at Union, we would love to see them! Share them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag Union University.

 

Summer Sports Camps at Union University

Each summer at Union University, there are various summer camps taught by our coaches and athletic teams. Options include baseball, basketball, cheer, soccer, softball and volleyball. Several of the camps took place during the month of June, but there are still opportunities to sign up for the full week boarding basketball camp, several different soccer camps, softball boarding camp and volleyball camp. For more information about each of these, visit uuathletics.com/camps.

These camps are an excellent way to teach children the fundamentals of these sports, but it also serves as a way to teach them the importance of teamwork. Other non-athletic camps and classes can be found here: uu.edu/summers.

summercamps_unionuniversity_1 summercamps_unionuniversity_2 summercamps_unionuniversity_3 summercamps_unionuniversity_4 summercamps_unionuniversity_5 summercamps_unionuniversity_6 summercamps_unionuniversity_7 summercamps_unionuniversity_8