Archive for April 30, 2015

DEAN’S LIST: FORT WAYNE TINCAPS KNOW HOW TO TAKE CARE OF FANS, JACKRABBITS JOB FAIR A SUCCESS

Fort Wayne TinCaps 5

THE DEAN'S LIST WITH DEAN HOCKNEY

This week, I want to look at some positives. For instance, I have never really followed the Fort Wayne TinCaps baseball team – the single-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. I have watched them play and love Parkview Field, but until Kokomo graduate T.J. Weir was assigned to Fort Wayne this season, I had not paid much attention to the organization.

Did you know in 2014 Ballpark Digest named the TinCaps the Team of the Year and the Big Apple dessert was the Best New Food Item? For the third time in six years, the team welcomed over 400,000 fans through the turnstiles, with 406,715 for the regular season, averaging 5,810 fans per game – both new Fort Wayne records.

But what really caught my eye was something that happened last week. On April 25, the TinCaps were scheduled to play the South Bend Cubs at 5:05 p.m. As most remember, Saturday was a cold and rainy day, and fans who showed up in the 45-degree weather endured a nearly two hour rain delay. Needless to say, it was a miserable night for TinCaps fans – especially after a 9-2 loss.

But TinCaps management turned it into a win for anyone who bought a ticket to the game. Whether a ticket holder came out in the rain or stayed home, they will be allowed to trade in the ticket for a regular season non-fireworks contest later in the season.

“I’d like to express a big thanks to the TinCaps fans who came out tonight,” said TinCaps President Mike Nutter. “We appreciate you all. It’s another example of how Fort Wayne has the best fans in Minor League Baseball. And for those who didn’t come out because of the weather, we understand that, too.”

I can’t think of many organizations who take into consideration its fan base like that. Most teams would take the stance that the game was played, so no refunds. It is refreshing to see an area team look beyond the dollars and cents.

No wonder the Fort Wayne TinCaps are the defending minor league Team of the Year. And here is to hoping the Jackrabbits treat Kokomo fans with the same consideration this summer.

Jackrabbits job fair a success

And speaking of the Jackrabbits, how about a shout out for the job fair they hosted last week. I arrived shortly before the event started, and there were already nearly 50 people waiting in line to be interviewed. By the time I walked out 30 minutes later, I estimated there were over 100 people in attendance. By the end of the five hour job fair, between 250-300 residents had passed through the Stephen J. Daily Government Center for a chance to apply for one of the estimated 40 open positions.

And big shout out to Josh Sigler of the Kokomo Tribune for the story he wrote about the job fair. In my opinion, it was his best work ever – of course, it included a quote or two from me, so I may be biased.

Thanks for the kind words

I would also like to thank all of you who dropped me a kind email or text or social media greeting after I won an award from the Society of Professional Journalists in the Best of Indiana contest for Sports Column Writing. It is always nice to be recognized for something you love doing, but it is even nicer when you know your efforts are appreciated by those who read it. So thanks for supporting The Dean’s List each week.

Until next time, remember to keep the man and ship in sports – and I’ll see you at the game.

Dean Hockney is the publisher of the Sports Journal of Central Indiana and sports editor of the Kokomo Herald. You can follow him on Twitter (@Sports_Journal) for the latest in local sports news and game reports.

IU KOKOMO NAMES GREG COOPER AS NEW ATHLETIC DIRECTOR

Indiana University Kokomo Cougars

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. - After a short search, the Indiana University Kokomo athletics department has a new leader. On April 29, Greg Cooper was announced as the second athletic director in the program’s short four year history. He will also serve as the director of the Cole Family Fitness Center on the IU Kokomo campus. Cooper takes over for Brandon Podgorski, who resigned to take a job in the medical industry.

Cooper arrives on the IU Kokomo campus via his current position as associate athletic director for operations at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. Since 2009, the Otterbein University graduate has had oversight of the baseball, volleyball and cross country programs at the 125 year-old institution.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Cooper raised $80,000 for new scoreboards for the Hilltopper baseball and softball facilities. He is currently in charge of $2.5 million dollar renovation of auxiliary gym facility and oversees all event management operations including tickets, concessions and game management. The Hilltopper athletic program plays at the NCAA Division II level in the Heartland Conference.

Prior to his position at St. Edward’s, Cooper served as the game operations assistant at Miami University in Ohio. Cooper has his bachelor’s degree in sports management from Otterbein and a master’s in the same subject from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.

He will begin his duties at IU Kokomo on approximatley June 8.

The Sports Journal will update this story as additional information is made available

KOKOMO LADY WILDKATS BASKETBALL COACH HEATHER CUSICK STEPS DOWN DUE TO FAMILY ILLNESS

Heather Cusick

KOKOMO, Ind. - Heather Cusick Mygrant has submitted her letter of resignation as the Varsity Kokomo High School Girls’ Basketball Coach.

“I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the great tradition of Lady Kat Basketball,” Coach Mygrant wrote in her letter. “The support from the administration, staff, athletic department, and community has been immeasurable during this last year. Coaching the Lady Kats has been an incredible opportunity, and I am grateful for the moments I was able to spend with the players and the staff.”

“This is certainly a tough decision to have to make, but this is what is best for my family at this time,” Coach Mygrant continued. “Basketball always will be a part of my life.  I have spent many hours in the gym playing, practicing and/or involved in the sport for the past 25 years. Right now, I am called to be fully present with my husband and my family as we battle through a family illness.”

“I am, and always will be, a Lady Kat; and I cannot thank the Kokomo School Board, the Kokomo School Corporation administration, the KHS Athletic Department, the coaching staff, and the players for their support and for allowing me to coach the Kokomo Lady Kats,” Coach Mygrant concluded.

The job will be posted immediately, according to KHS Athletic Director Jason Snyder.

“We appreciate everything Coach Mygrant has done for our girls basketball program,” Mr. Snyder said. “And we will support her, and her family, as they continue to be part of our program.”

The 1999 KHS graduate is part of Kokomo’s storied tradition as her Lady Kats team (coached by Charlie Hall) made a run to the Final Four as Heather was named a 1999 Indiana All-Star.

Mrs. Mygrant served as the varsity KHS girls basketball coach for one season (2014-2015) during which the Lady Wildkats posted a 13-10 record.

Heather played basketball collegiately at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Sport Studies, from 1999 to 2003 as she became the first and only player in MAC (Mid American Conference) women’s basketball history to reach 1,700 points, 500 assists, 400 rebounds, 300 steals, and 200 three-point field goals.  Heather served as a 3-time team captain before becoming one of only two women at Miami to have their number retired. She was inducted into the Howard County Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 and into the Miami University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.

Mygrant will continue to serve as an International Baccalaureate (IB) counselor at Kokomo High School.

Courtesy of Kokomo School Corporation