Recently in TU Insider Category

2012 Major League Soccer Draft on Thursday

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The 2012 Major League Soccer Draft is on Thursday, January 12th and Tulsa's Justin Chavez is among the nation's elite players at the MLS Combine this week. 


Chavez, a defender from Edmond, Okla., was a four-year letterwinner at TU.  He started in 75 of 77 career contests, and had five goals and four assists for 14 points.  Chavez was a two-year selection to the Hermann Trophy Watch List, and picked up All-Conference USA and NSCAA All-Region honors as a sophomore and junior, having missed several games as a senior due to injury.


Chavez has had a strong showing at the Combine, and has been recognized in Joe Mauceri's coverage of the Combine on


Check for MLS Draft coverage.

Jerome Jordan, Rookie of the Year?

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Chris Sheridan, former NBA writer for both ESPN and the Associated Press, wrote an interesting piece today former Tulsa great Jerome Jordan and his chances of throwing his name in contention for NBA Rookie of the Year this season.

Check it out here.

Toys For Tots Success!

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The University of Tulsa and the U.S. Marines thanks TU fans for your support of the Toys For Tots campaign!

TU and the Marines had its annual Toys For Tots campaign in full force at the TU vs. Marshall football game Nov. 12. Fans who brought toys to the game valued at $15 or higher received free admission to the contest, which Tulsa won 59-17.

Tulsa fans donated 532 toys and $2,577.78. Those marks almost doubled both categories compared to last year.

Thank you so much for supporting the efforts! Don't forget this holiday season to help those less fortunate, and Toys for Tots is one way to do it.

Joe Salem on Playing in the Pros

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I caught up with Joe Salem, former Tulsa men's soccer standout from 2005-09, after the men's soccer season finale this weekend.  Salem has played the last two seasons with the Puerto Rico Islanders, which are part of the North American Soccer League.


Where do you play?

"We play our home games in Puerto Rico and then we fly all over the United States and Canada to play games."


When do you play?

"Preseason is in March with games starting in April and go through October.  We play in the Champions league too so we have a lot of games during the season."


What is it like living in a different country and playing soccer?

"It is nice. It is definitely different from my home town of Akron (Ohio) and Tulsa.  I like it a lot.  Soccer is picking up there and it is good to be able to experience different things."


On making the jump from college to professional...

"There is definitely a jump from college to pro.  It took me a while to get my feet under me.  The game is a lot quicker and everyone is really technical.  The speed of the game and the intensity is much higher, but it is a job so you want to do well."


On making his dream a reality...

"That was the goal from day one to play professional soccer.  It was a lot of hard work and you never know what will happen.  When you go from middle school, then high school and then college, you want to go to the next level, but you really have to dedicate yourself and work hard to get there."


What do you do in your spare time?

"The good thing about Puerto Rico is the beach is right there so I spend a lot of time there.  We train for three hours a day and then maybe a little more on our own, but with the language barrier I am not able to coach, so I watch a lot of TV and just hang out."


What do you do in the offseason?

"In the offseason I come back home [Akron, Ohio] and keep working out to stay in shape.  I have to come back to my second home (Tulsa) to see my boys play.  I definitely wanted to catch the senior game because I knew the seniors really well."

Tulsa Teams to Participate in Pen Pal Program

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The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane women's basketball and softball teams will be participating in a Pen Pal program with Sequoyah Elementary School for the 2011-12 school year.

The TU student-athletes will write letters back and forth with 4th and 5th grade students at Sequoyah. This program is designed to develop positive relationships and one-to-one connections. The TU Pen Pal program also seeks to help elementary school students practice their writing skills and increase their motivation for academic success and interest in college.

The pen pals learn about each other through discussions of shared interests and future plans, up-coming vacations, special events and much more! 

College pen pals consistently find that they have a lot of insight to share with their young pals, but more surprising - their pals have advice for them, too!

Members of the Tulsa athletic department, including head women's basketball coach Matilda Mossman, and assistant coaches Britney Brown and Fred Castro, along with Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham and his wife, Tina, attended a prescreening of "The Mighty Macs" on Tuesday night.


"The Mighty Macs" is a true story about Immaculata College (now Immaculata University) and the women's basketball team during the early 1970's, and their journey to the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) championships from 1972-74. 


"The Mighty Macs" will hit theaters October 21st, and stars Carla Gugino, Marley Shelton, David Boreanaz and Ellen Burstyn. 


For more information, visit

Let's Get It Started

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Isn't this one of the greatest times of the year?! Those triple-digit temperatures are about to be long gone, school is starting, and, of course, it's fall sports season!

At The University of Tulsa, we love all of our sports teams. Anyone who follows the athletic department here knows that the football team is traveling to Norman, Okla., tomorrow for a big game with in-state foe and No. 1-ranked Oklahoma. It's on FX at 7 p.m. if you can't make the trip.

What else is going on at this wonderful institution, though? Well, both soccer teams have already gotten their seasons underway, and they have a combined 4-1 record at the moment after the men defeated Missouri State last night.

The cross country teams - who both won Conference USA Championships a year ago - set their sights on repeat performances Saturday when they kickoff the 2011 campaign with the annual Hurricane Festival at Mohawk Park.

The volleyball team began its season last week and is playing host to the Park Inn Hurricane Invitational today and tomorrow at Reynolds Center.

Both golf teams will start their seasons in two weeks, and the fall tennis season will start in mid-September.

That was just a quick rundown of all the sports that are starting up. Hopefully you will follow all of what TU has to offer throughout the 2011-12 academic year. Everything you need to keep up-to-date with TU athletics can be found at

Tulsa Rower to be Featured in ESPN The Magazine

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Stephanie Rogers, a senior Tulsa rower from Stillwater, Okla., will be featured in the September 11th issue of ESPN The Magazine, for not only her rowing abilities, but for the fact that she served in the US Navy from 2002-07. 


Rogers was stationed in Pensacola, Fla., in 2002-03, then Jacksonville, Fla., in 2003-04, and then finally in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, in 2004-07.  She went on deployment from December 2005 to June 2006 to places including Okinawa, Japan, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Ali Air Base, Iraq and Djibouti, Africa.


Rogers did an interview with Kristine LaManna and then had a two-hour photo shoot with Finlay MacKay earlier this month on the Verdigris River in Catoosa, Okla.


Look for the September issue set to be released soon!

The Tulsa men's soccer team will play three of the nation's top-seven ranked teams in the latest poll.  The Golden Hurricane will face No. 3 Akron, #5 Connecticut and #7 SMU during the regular season. 

Tulsa will host the Huskies, which finished the 2010 season with a 12-3-6 record, on Sept. 9th beginning at 7:30 pm at the Hurricane Soccer and Track Stadium.  The game is part of the Hurricane Classic, which also features SMU and No. 48 Oakland.

National Champion Akron comes to town on Sept. 24th at 7:00 pm.  The Zips posted a 22-1-2 mark in 2010, captured the NCAA Championship crown and finished the season ranked at No. 1 by Soccer America.


The Golden Hurricane will then take on Conference USA foe SMU on Oct. 5th at 7:00 pm.  The Mustangs tabbed a 15-2-2 overall mark, earned the C-USA regular season title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals a year ago.

Freshman Orientation

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Written by Cedrique Flemming, University of Tulsa Media Relations

Do you remember that week when you first went to college? I sure do. The year was 2003 and I was three months past receiving my high school diploma from Pratt High School in Pratt, Kan.

I was admitted into Kansas State University, and I can distinctly remember when I hopped in my car to begin my journey to Manhattan, Kan.

That first week was filled with trying to purchase books, and boring orientations.

Who else had boring orientations? I'm sure most of us did.

That brings us to last night... The University of Tulsa athletics department held its annual Freshman Orientation at the Donald W. Reynolds Center on the TU campus.

The event featured speeches from some of the big names around campus, such as Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham, football coach Bill Blankenship, men's basketball coach Doug Wojcik and women's basketball coach Matilda Mossman.

The 2010-11 athletic highlight video was shown on the jumbotron, and there was also a 2011 football preview video shown. The whole idea of the night is to get newly-minted members of the Golden Hurricane excited about their college and about the athletics

There were giveaways and cheerleaders and . As if that wasn't enough, following the presentation the freshmen scattered up to the concourse, where vendors from around town were waiting to present them with free food and gift certificates to their

There was also a DJ that played some great music.

What a way to welcome in the incoming freshmen!

Sechser Races in Pan American Game Trials

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Michelle Sechser (BA '08, MBA '10) will be racing at the Pan American Game Trials for the US National Team in the Lightweight Women's Double.  Sechser was a former standout rower at TU and graduate assistant coach.  For the past two years she has been training hard following her National Team dream and today she has a solid shot at realizing it!


The race will be streamed live at 9AM EST/8AM CST at <> .


Michelle is racing under the USRA Training Center-Oklahoma banner and will be with her partner Chelsea Smith as they row the 2000 meter course in lane 3. 

Former Football Player Earns Internship With Detroit Lions

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Written by Cedrique Flemming, University of Tulsa Media Relations

Tyler Pistoia played football at The University of Tulsa for five years, and he graduated this past May with his degree in business management.


He was recently named as the Player Personnel Intern for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League.


His job duties include: working with the advance scout in organizing opponent scouting reports, assisting with the college scouting coordinator with prospective player information, and assisting with coordinating player workouts and projects for the vice president of pro personnel.


He has already had the chance to watch the teams' first preseason game, and yes, he's met Calvin Johnson!


"I am excited and honored for the opportunity to be apart of this great organization and team," Pistoia said. "I want to learn as much as possible from this experience to be the best employee possible."

The internship is a six-month appointment, and Pistoia said he hopes this experience can help vault him into his career goal of one day serving as an Athletic Director at a university.


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Following a two-hour workout on Saturday morning,the Tulsa football team loaded buses for a retreat, a part of preseason camp that has been common practice the past few years. However, the Hurricane team will get their first look at Dry Gulch USA, where the team will de-compress and share some team-building time.


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The 'TU Insider' blog will feature an inside look into Golden Hurricane athletics. We will focus on news, notes and views from inside the athletic department.

Rex Blankenship, the older brother of Head Coach Bill Blankenship, has joined the Golden Hurricane football staff as Director of Player Development. Rex will be involved in 'Life coaching', chaplain and will coordinate the chaplain speaker program.
Rex is a retired pastor of 22 years in Shreveport, Louisiana. He attended Harvard in the late 1960's to earlier 1970's, played quarterback and earned his engineering degree. He attended Law school at TU for a short time, and spent a period of time on U.S. Senator Henry Bellmon's staff before moving into ministry work and retiring this past July. 
With two Blankenship's coaching on the field, head coach Bill and son Adam, this Blankenship will be able to also assist our football student-athletes with their off the field development.