Tuesday, December 30, 2008

AirTran Airways Congratulates Matt Ryan on NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Honor

/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AAI) , congratulates Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan who was named the NFL's offensive rookie of the year today.

AirTran Airways signed Ryan last August to become part of the airline's sports advertising campaign. Ryan is featured in radio spots and high-impact billboards across the Atlanta area.

"We are thrilled for Matt and his accomplishments both on and off the field," said Tad Hutcheson, AirTran Airways' vice president of marketing and sales. "When we signed Matt, we knew he was destined for great things as a quarterback. We're proud to have him as part of the AirTran team."

Ryan helped to guide his team to a second place finish in the NFC South and a playoff berth. During the season, Ryan completed 265 of 434 passes for 3,440 yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

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Carmike To Show FedEx BCS National Championship and NBA All-Star Saturday Night, Live in 3-D at 35 Theatres in 19 States

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Carmike Cinemas, Inc. (NASDAQ: CKEC), the nation’s leading motion picture exhibitor in 3-D, today announced that it will be showing two upcoming Live 3-D broadcasts: the FedEx BCS National Championship Game between the University of Florida and the University of Oklahoma on January 8th and NBA All-Star Saturday Night on February 14th. Both events will be shown at 35 Carmike theatres in 19 states (list below).

“Cinedigm's CineLive(TM) Satellite Distribution Network is the only system that can distribute over a national theatre footprint, and we are delighted to collaborate with them to bring these premier sporting events for the first time ever to the viewing public, live and in 3-D,” stated Michael W. Patrick, Carmike’s Chief Executive Officer.

“With a growing slate of 3-D content planned for 2009 and beyond, Carmike has taken the industry lead in deploying digital 3-D technology. Our circuit’s first-run theatres are 100% digital, with state-of-the-art sound, stadium seating and other patron-friendly amenities at most locations. During the 2008 fourth quarter, we completed the conversion of Carmike’s entire theatre circuit to 3-D readiness, giving us 502 compatible screens of approximately 1300 3-D screens across the U.S.

“The major motion picture studios are solidly behind 3-D, and we share their excitement as this content is ideally suited to the customers in our markets. Importantly, movies continue to be added to the studios’ release schedules, with over 20 3-D films currently slated for debut in 2009 and 2010. In addition to professional and college sports in 3-D, there are a growing number of additional special events that we will be bringing in digital and or 3-D format to the Carmike circuit, including religious programming, concerts and arts-oriented productions such as opera and ballet,” concluded Mr. Patrick.

Carmike Theatre Locations

BCS Championship and NBA All-Star Saturday Night

Alabama Mobile Wynnsong 16
Colorado Colorado Springs Chapel Hills 15
Colorado Fort Collins Carmike 10
Florida Bradenton Carmike Royal Palm 20
Florida Fernandina Beach Carmike Amelia Island 7
Georgia Columbus Carmike 15
Georgia Conyers Carmike Conyers Crossroads 16
Georgia Savannah Carmike Wynnsong 11
Iowa Johnston Carmike Wynnsong 16
Illinois Champaign Beverly Center 18
Illinois Dekalb Carmike Market Square 10
Kansas Manhattan Seth Childs 12
Minnesota Oakdale Carmike Oakdale 20
Missouri Warrensburg Carmike University 8
Montana Billings Carmike Wynnsong 10
Montana Missoula Carmike 10
New York Olean Carmike 8
North Carolina Asheville Carmike 10
North Carolina Fayetteville Carmike Market Fair 15
North Carolina Hickory Carmike 14
North Carolina Jacksonville Carmike 16
North Carolina Winston-Salem Carmike Wynnsong 12
Oklahoma Stillwater Carmike 10
Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Carmike 10
South Carolina Charleston James Island 8
Tennessee Dyersburg Carmike 9
Tennessee Franklin Thoroughbred 20
Tennessee Johnson City Johnson City 14
Tennessee Knoxville Carmike Wynnsong 16
Texas Edinburg Carmike 20
Texas El Paso Carmike 16
Texas Tyler Carmike 14
Utah Provo Carmike Wynnsong 12
Virginia Charlottesville Carmike 6
Virginia Roanoke Carmike 10

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thrashers Activate Defenseman Zach Bogosian from Injured Reserve; Place Defenseman Garnet Exelby on Injured Reserve

The Atlanta Thrashers have activated defenseman Zach Bogosian from the Injured Reserve list and have placed defenseman Garnet Exelby on Injured Reserve, retroactive to Dec. 17, according to Executive Vice President and General Manager Don Waddell.

Bogosian, 18, has missed Atlanta’s last 25 games after suffering a fractured fibula on Oct. 28 vs. the Philadelphia Flyers. The 6-2, 215-pound defenseman appeared in eight games with the Thrashers prior to his injury, recording 13 penalty minutes and averaging 12:33 of ice time.

The Massena, N.Y. native, who was selected by the Thrashers in the first round, third overall, of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, appeared in 127 career games with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League from 2006-08, recording 94 points (18 goals, 76 assists). In 2007-08, Bogosian was the only OHL defenseman to lead his team in points with 61 (11 goals, 50 assists).

Exelby, 27, has recorded four assists and 49 penalty minutes in 30 games with the Thrashers this season. The 6-1, 215-pound defenseman recorded two assists in a span of three games from Dec. 2-6.

The Ste. Anne, Manitoba native has appeared in 328 career NHL games, all with Atlanta, and recorded 43 points (six goals, 37 assists) along with 440 penalty minutes.

Season Tickets for the Atlanta Thrashers start at $10 per game and are available for the 2008-09 season by calling (866) 715-1500 or visiting atlantathrashers.com. Individual tickets for all regular-season Thrashers games at Philips Arena can be purchased by visiting atlantathrashers.com, calling (800) 326-4000, or by visiting the Philips Arena Box Office or any Ticketmaster Ticket Outlet.
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Braves Announce Minor League Coaching Staffs for 2009

The Atlanta Braves announced their 2009 Minor League coaching staffs today, including new coaches at the Triple-A and Double-A levels.

The inaugural Gwinnett Braves (AAA) coaching staff will include the return of manager Dave Brundage for his third season as the Triple-A manager and trainer Mike Graus who will be entering his 16th season with the Braves. Pitching coach Derek Bothelo joins the staff after serving as the Mississippi (AA) pitching coach the last two seasons.

Joining the Braves system as the Gwinnett hitting coach is Jamie Dismuke, who spent nine seasons coaching in the Cincinnati Reds' organization, the last five as the Double-A Chattanooga hitting coach. Dismuke, 38, was named Chattanooga's interim manager the final 16 games of the 2008 season. He was originally drafted by Cincinnati in 1989 and the former first baseman played nine Minor League seasons.

Southern League champion Mississippi (AA) returns manager Phillip Wellman and trainer Ricky Alcantara, but has new pitching and hitting coaches. Marty Reed will serve as the pitching coach after spending nine years in the Los Angeles Dodgers system as a pitching coach, including the last three as the Minor League pitching coordinator. He was drafted by the California Angels in 1984 and pitched five seasons in their system, compiling a 49-36 record.

Roosevelt Brown will be making his debut as the hitting coach. Brown, 33, was originally drafted by the Braves in the 20th round of the 1993 draft. He hit .300 with 120 home runs and 513 runs batted in during his 10-year Minor League career and he hit .251 with 11 home runs and 69 runs batted in during parts of four major-league seasons with the Chicago Cubs from 1999-2002.

The Myrtle Beach (A) coaching staff returns Rocket Wheeler as the manager and Rick Albert as the hitting coach. Guy Hansen joins the team as the pitching coach after serving as the Richmond (AAA) pitching coach the past two seasons. Trainer Chas Miller moves up after spending one season at Rome (A), which was his third season in the Braves system.

Randy Ingle will return to Rome (A) in his 18th season managing in the Braves' system. Bobby Moore returns as the hitting coach and Jim Czajkowski returns as the pitching coach. Trainer Allan Chase was promoted from the Gulf Coast team and will make his Rome debut.

At Danville (Rookie), Paul Runge will be the manager again and he will have pitching coach Derrick Lewis and hitting coach Carlos Mendez returning. Trainer Ty Cobbs joins the team after serving as a part-time trainer with the Gulf Coast team last season.

Luis Ortiz returns as the Gulf Coast (Rookie) manager, along with hitting coach Sixto Lezcano and pitching coach Gabe Luckert. Eric Malek, who was Danville's trainer in 2008, makes the move to the Gulf Coast squad.

There were two changes announced to the player development staff. Luckie Dacosta takes over as the Minor League strength and conditioning coordinator after Phil Falco's promotion to the major league team and Matt Saitz was promoted from a part-time strength and conditioning coach to assistant strength and conditioning coordinator.

2009 Atlanta Braves Minor League Staffs

Dave Brundage - Manager
*Derek Bothelo - Pitching Coach
#Jamie Dismuke - Hitting Coach
Mike Graus - Trainer
Phillip Wellman - Manager
#Marty Reed - Pitching Coach
#Roosevelt Brown - Hitting Coach
Ricky Alcantara - Trainer
Rocket Wheeler - Manager
*Guy Hanson - Pitching Coach
Rick Albert - Hitting Coach
*Chas Miller - Trainer
Randy Ingle - Manager
Jim Czajkowski - Pitching Coach
Bobby Moore - Hitting Coach
*Allan Chase - Trainer
DANVILLE (Rookie Advanced)
Paul Runge - Manager
Derrick Lewis - Pitching Coach
Carlos Mendez - Hitting Coach
*Ty Cobbs - Trainer
Luis Ortiz - Manager
Gabe Luckert - Pitching Coach
Sixto Lezcano - Coach
*Eric Malek - Trainer

* Denotes new team
# Denotes new to organization

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Keith Brooking Nominated as Finalist for 2008 Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP

In November, the Atlanta Falcon’s own Keith Brooking was nominated by Home Depot as a finalist for the 2008 Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP. The Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP is a national program that recognizes players who are making a positive impact in their local communities through charitable programs and contributions.

Vote: http://www.nfl.com/partner?partnerType=neighborhood-mvp

Keith Brooking, a Coweta-County native whose mother raised numerous foster children, was selected for his years of work with Atlanta area foster children and children in need. His Keith Brooking Children's Foundation, a 501(c)3 public charity, is devoted to serving the needs of foster children and the agencies that serve them throughout metro Atlanta.

Keith was born and raised in Coweta County, Georgia, where he played football for East Coweta High School, and went on to play for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. He was drafted by the Falcons in the 1st round of the 1998 NFL draft. Since that time, Keith has been a 5 time Pro – Bowl selection, and distinguished himself as a leader both in the Falcon’s organization and the Georgia community. Keith Brooking is one of the few active NFL players who have played their entire football career (high school, college, professional) in the same state.

Keith founded the Keith Brooking Foundation in 2003 to serve the children of the metro Atlanta area. He was selected a two time Man of the Year by the Falcons due to his tireless work in the metro – Atlanta community. The Keith Brooking Foundation has quickly become famous through it’s Locker 56 program, a program designed to provide athletic shoes to children who cannot afford them. The program promotes good physical and mental health and improved fitness by encouraging children to keep their bodies active. Locker 56 has awarded over 1500 pairs of shoes since the program was funded, and continues to grow in reach.

“Keith’s involvement in his foundation is almost daily, even during football season. It’s well deserved recognition for a man who puts his community ahead of himself,” said Miranda Graham, Executive Director of the Keith Brooking Children's Foundation. She added, “We are encouraging the community to vote for Keith online as often as possible. Winning the award not only draws attention to Keith’s mission of helping our area foster children, but it also would award his Foundation a $25,000 donation to help support our children’s programs. That could make a big impact in the lives of many children in our community.”

Among over 1600 active roster NFL players, only 17 are nominated and 8 are chosen as finalists for the Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP program. The eight finalists will receive a $5,000 donation to the charity of their choice and are now in the running to be honored as The Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP. The national MVP winner will receive a $25,000 donation to the charity of his choice and will be recognized at an All-Star playground build project during the week leading up to Super Bowl XLIII.

The winner is determined by public vote, and a person can vote as often as they’d like. If you all can rally your network to vote, we can see to it that Keith is recognized for the work he does virtually every day in our community. All votes must be cast by December 31, 2008.

Vote: http://www.nfl.com/partner?partnerType=neighborhood-mvp
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Friday, December 19, 2008

January 2009: Flag Football National Tournament Kicks Off in Las Vegas

/PRNewswire/ -- FlagMag.com, an interactive web site for flag football and touch players in the U.S. and around the world, is accepting teams for its Flag Football National Tournament scheduled for January 17 and 18, 2009 at Anthem Hills Park in Henderson, Nev. The deadline to register for the event is January 10.

Flag football is a version of American football. The basic rules of the game are similar to those of regular football, but instead of tackling players to the ground, the defensive team must remove a flag or flag belt from the ball carrier; this is referred to as "deflagging" to end a down.

In most organized play, players wear a belt. Flag football was designed in an effort to minimize injuries. However, contact leagues have emerged, where offensive and defensive players can block in certain zones or downfield, adding to the many styles now associated with the game.

In the Flag Football National Tournament, game teams will include: men, women, and youth. There are several division categories. They include: Eight man contact: A, B and C divisions; Seven man no contact: A, B and C divisions; Four man no contact: A, B and C divisions; Over 35 divisions; Five man youth: 18, 16, 14, 12, and 10; and CoRec (men playing with women).

An organized flag football team is a winning team! Teams can register by calling: 1-877-369-3076; sending an e-mail to: staff@flagmag.com; or registering online at: http://www.flagmag.com/2008/09Nationals.asp.

The winners in each division will receive $1,000 to be used for the 10th Annual World Cup of Flag Football scheduled April 30 to May 3, 2009 in Rosarito, Mexico.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Watch Top NCAA Head Coaches and Celebrities Meet Their Rivals on the Links

/PRNewswire/ -- Thirteen top NCAA head coaches including Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, Frank Beamer and Rick Neuheisel will team up with celebrity alumni and hit the links to battle for $350,000 in scholarship money in the Chick-fil-A Bowl Alma Mater at Reynolds Plantation Christmas Day. Fans across the country can tune in to see how their favorite university team fares in the tournament Dec. 25 at 2:30 p.m. (ET) on CBS.

Top CBS Sports personalities Bill Macatee and Bill Raftery make up the broadcast team that will call the action.

"This is one of those unique and wonderful events where the personalities of the coaches and celebrities really come out," said Bill Macatee of CBS Sports. "It's so rare to be able to see a new side of them. You can tell they're having fun out there and it's fun for us to be a part of it."

The Chick-fil-A Bowl Alma Mater at Reynolds Plantation is the premier head coach-celebrity golf event in the nation pitting rivals against each other in a spirited, but light-hearted competition. The event features pairings that include a university head coach and a celebrity alumnus from the same school competing in a scramble format against other university teams from around the country. The event will award $350,000 in scholarship winnings among the 13 university teams and will donate another $115,000 to charity.

"The Chick-fil-A Bowl Alma Mater is a fantastic event," said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. "They did an outstanding job of making it a first-class event and we really enjoyed being a part of the tournament."

Players and teams for the 2008 Chick-fil-A Bowl Alma Mater include:

Team Alabama
Coach: Nick Saban
Celebrity: Ken Stabler

Team Arizona State
Coach: Frank Kush
Celebrity: Michael Haynes

Team Auburn
Coach: Tommy Tuberville
Celebrity: Pat Sullivan

Team Boston College
Coach: Jeff Jagodzinski
Celebrity: Chris O'Donnell

Team Colorado
Coach: Bill McCartney
Celebrity: Kordell Stewart

Team Georgia Tech
Coach: Paul Johnson
Celebrity: Jon Barry

Team Maryland
Coach: Ralph Friedgen
Celebrity: Neil O'Donnell

Team Michigan
Coach: Rich Rodriguez
Celebrity: Brian Griese

Team Minnesota
Coach: Tubby Smith
Celebrity: Jim Petersen

Team South Carolina
Coach: Steve Spurrier
Celebrity: Sterling Sharpe

Coach: Rick Neuheisel
Celebrity: Sinjin Smith

Team Virginia Tech (defending champions)
Coach: Frank Beamer
Celebrity: Dell Curry

Team Wake Forest
Coach: Jim Grobe
Celebrity: Billy Packer

"This field of coaches and celebrities is simply awesome," said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO. "One thing is for sure, this year's match will be even more toughly contested than last year's. These guys are here to win."

In addition to seeing competitive golf on a championship-caliber golf course in a beautiful, lakeside setting, viewers will be treated to personal interviews with all the participating coaches that give viewers an inside look at the personalities that drive the men that roam the sidelines of these top national programs.

"The Chick-fil-A Bowl Alma Mater was a first-class, well-organized event played on an outstanding golf course," Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "Brian Griese and I really enjoyed the competition against coaches and distinguished alumni from other institutions."

"We are thrilled to, once again, host the Chick-fil-A Bowl Alma Mater," said Mercer Reynolds, chairman/CEO of Linger Longer Companies. "The coaches and celebrities always make this a fun event and this year, we had a hard- fought competition on our Oconee Course. We are excited to share the beauty of Reynolds Plantation with the nation on Christmas Day."

The Chick-fil-A Bowl Alma Mater at Reynolds Plantation is produced by veteran golf producer Jim Walton Jr. in conjunction with Pithey Communications for CBS Sports. Walton has also produced other golf specials including the ADT Cliffs Challenge, the Palmer Cup, The Pressure Challenge, the Doyle Brunson & Dewey Tomko Invitational and the Kiwi Challenge. The event's executive producer is Scott Savlov of Savlov Consulting, Inc. who also executive produced such events as The Par 3 Challenge on Fox, the Under Pressure Challenge on CBS and Rock the Rock from Alcatraz on VH1.

The tournament was played April 29 at the beautiful Oconee Course at Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Georgia and was taped for the national broadcast by CBS from 2:30 - 4 p.m. (ET) on Christmas Day.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Shorter College Has Played Instrumental Role In NAIA Football Championship

In the past few years, teamwork and the relationships it nurtures have become a common trait and blessing for Shorter College’s athletic program.

But when the 53rd annual Russell Athletic-NAIA Football National Championship kicks off Saturday at Barron Stadium, the event culminates a total team effort by the entire faculty, staff and student body at Shorter – from the Sheffield-Thompson Administration Building to the Winthrop-King Athletic Centre.

“It’s meant a lot to Shorter to participate in an event of this magnitude and to work with the great representatives from Rome and Floyd County,” Shorter President Dr. Harold E. Newman said about the game that will pit Carroll College from Helena, Mont., the defending national champion, against the University of Sioux Falls (S.D.) in a rematch of last year’s championship game.

“I’m really proud of the hundreds of hours our staff has invested into this game,” he added. “It makes you appreciate the amount talent the college has.”

Shorter’s involvement in the national championship is one that started nearly two years ago when Shorter Athletic Director Bill Peterson and Head Football Coach Phil Jones planted the seed for the game, eventually coming up with a proposal that involved Shorter, Rome and Floyd County.

By the summer of 2007, a bid to host the game in 2008 and 2009 was finally submitted to the NAIA, which sent a delegation that made a site visit and evaluate what the hosts – Shorter, Rome and Floyd County – had to offer. Following a long and patient wait, the NAIA made its decision and last January the announcement was made by Shorter.

“I don’t think anyone knew how intense and comprehensive it would be,” Peterson said about the challenges the Rome Host Committee, which was established to tackle the logistics, has faced. “It was more than we anticipated. But everyone had a solid heart and enthusiasm. Now we’re so close to the finish line we know we can make it a great event.”

Peterson wound up becoming the co-chair of the event with Rome attorney Bob Berry and was joined by his peers at Shorter on being a part of the host committee that represented an entire spectrum of the entire community.

Naturally, Jones took an active part and will be handling Football Operations for the game, one that the Hawks came close to playing in when Jones’ football team earned its first-ever postseason berth in the NAIA Football Championship Series.

Two other staff members in Shorter’s athletic department, Director of Operations/Athletics Ricci Lattanzi and Sports Information Director Grant Kersey, joined the Host Committee with Lattanzi in charge of Game Day Operations and Kersey being named the NAIA’s Media Coordinator.

The host committee, however, benefited from the services provided by Shorter’s wealth of individual assets to round out the team.

Melissa Hickman and Gina McDaniel, professors in Shorter’s School of Business Administration, serve as Co-Chair for Ticket Sales; Dawn Tolbert, the college’s Director of Public Relations, fills the same role for the committee; Shorter’s Web manager Dana Thompson created and updates the championship game Web site; Ken Fincher, Shorter’s Vice-President for Institutional Development, plays a key role in the sponsorship plans for the game; and Rachel Rogers, who recently became Shorter’s Director of Athletic Development, has become a member of the host committee helping with the events planned.

“It’s been a good opportunity to show the community and others Shorter College’s strengths and the things we are capable of doing,” Fincher said, “and we want to be a good neighbor and support the community.

“This game shines a light on what we do and on all of Shorter’s teams, the athletes and the coaches we have. And we’ve had a lot of members of the Alumni Association asking how they can help, and the rank and file at Shorter College is really excited about this game.”

“It has helped us get to know the people who we’ve respected here even better,” Peterson pointed out, “and respect them even more.

“It’s been a great effort by Shorter and from everyone in the community. I know everyone who has been a part of it are glad they were involved with it. It’s a good feeling.”

The game itself caps what will be a busy week of events that begins with the arrival of the two teams Wednesday and includes two banquets to be held at The Forum in downtown Rome.

On Thursday morning the Fellowship of Christian Athletics Champions of Character breakfast, sponsored by Chick-Fil-A, will be held with Dr. Nelson Price, chairman of the Shorter Board of Trustees, delivering the invocation, and former Air Force Academy Fisher DeBerry serving as the guest speaker.

And on Friday the NAIA Banquet of Champions will take place with the two teams and this year’s top players being honored.

“There are so many firsts going on,” said Fincher. “It’s been somewhat thrilling to be a part of it. But the one thing we always come back to is that the game is for the young men and the teams who are playing for a championship.”

Jim O'Hara

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Freedom Run Entries Discounted

The economy is bad. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing for local runners.

Race Director Mike Mead has announced a price cut on entry fees for Seventh Annual Freedom Run 10K and 5K road races, held at Clayton State University on Monday, Jan. 19, 2009 in conjunction with the University’s annual celebration of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,

Registration for either race prior to Jan. 11, 2009 is now $15. Race day registration will be $20, instead of $25. And, you’ll still get all the race amenities, including age group awards in eight categories (ages 14-under to 70-over) and a post-race breakfast featuring Waffle House waffles.

Both races are sponsored by the Southlake Kiwanis Club and Clayton State University and will begin at 9 a.m. on Clayton State Boulevard on the Clayton State campus in Morrow, with race day registration starting at 7:30 a.m. in the University’s Athletics & Fitness Center. Both similar loop courses (the 10K is two loops, the 5K one loop) will run through the rolling neighborhoods of Lake City and Morrow, finishing back in front of the Clayton State Athletics & Fitness Center.

For further information, or to register, go to http://www.rungeorgia.com/freedomrun.html, or call Mead, the Clayton State Track and Cross Country coach, at (678) 466-4679.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

National Distance Running Summit in Charlotte, NC Open To Coaches And Athletes

The 2009 National Distance Running Summit will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina and for the first time will be open to runners and coaches as well. The Summit, to be held on the campus of Queens University of Charlotte January 3-4, will be headlined by 2008 U.S. Olympic Distance Coach Dr. Joe Vigil and Team Running USA Coach Terrence Mahon. Vigil, one of the most popular lecturers on distance training theory, and Mahon, who is the coach of Olympians Ryan Hall, Deena Kastor, Jennifer Rhines and Ian Dobson, will be joined by 2007 National High School Coach of the Year Danny Green, six-time National Coach of the Year Scott Simmons and author-coach Will Freeman.

The National Distance Running Summit is in its third year and continues to bring together one of the most successful and talented group of coaches in America. The summit is focused on teaching coaches, athletes and fans about the principles and the training plans used by today’s top distance runners. Student-athletes qualify for a reduced rate. Presentations will explore a wide range of topics including the training of phenom Ryan Hall; how to structure a training program for beginning runners; how to measure and use VVO2Max in training; and how everyone can benefit from altitude training no matter where they live.

For more information and to register log on to www.distancesummit.com or email simmonss@queens.edu

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thrashers Recall Forward Colin Stuart from Chicago (AHL)

The Atlanta Thrashers have recalled forward Colin Stuart from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League, according to Executive Vice President and General Manager Don Waddell.

Stuart, 26, has recorded 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 25 games this season with the Wolves. He ranks fourth on the team in goals and is tied for sixth in points. The 6-2, 205-pound left wing appeared in four preseason games with the Thrashers prior to being assigned to Chicago on Oct. 6.

The Rochester, Minn. native appeared in the first 18 games of his NHL career with Atlanta in 2007-08, tallying five points (three goals, two assists). He has recorded 83 points (45 goals, 38 assists) in 228 AHL games with Chicago over the past four seasons. Stuart, who helped the Wolves capture the 2008 Calder Cup Championship, has also posted 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 39 career AHL playoff contests.

Stuart was selected by the Thrashers in the fifth round, 135th overall, of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.

Season Tickets for the Atlanta Thrashers start at $10 per game and are available for the 2008-09 season by calling (866) 715-1500 or visiting atlantathrashers.com. Individual tickets for all regular-season Thrashers games at Philips Arena can be purchased by visiting atlantathrashers.com, calling (800) 326-4000, or by visiting the Philips Arena Box Office or any Ticketmaster Ticket Outlet.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Young Harris College adds Men's Tennis to Athletic Program

Young Harris College, a two year Liberal Arts College located in North Georgia mountains, is proud to announce the addition of men's tennis to their athletic program for the 2009-2010 season. Young Harris expects to field a full team and hire a new head coach for the upcoming season.

The men's tennis team will become part of the Young Harris intercollegiate program as the college moves towards a four-year status both academically and athletically. Young Harris is currently a member of the NJCAA and plays in GJCAA Region XVII.

Men's Tennis will join the very successful Women's Tennis program. The Young Harris Lady Mountain Lions were GJCAA Region XVII champions in 1998, 2001, 2002, and 2004. They took second place in the region in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2005, and 2006.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Warner Robins Selected as Site of New Little League Southeast Region Headquarters

The Little League International Board of Directors unanimously resolved today to select Warner Robins as the site of the new Southeast Region Headquarters.

“With back-to-back world champions and a strong passion for Little League, I cannot imagine a better place than Georgia for the Southeast Region Headquarters,” said Governor Perdue. “Little League is a great program that I was proud to be a part of during my youth, and we will be honored to host the regional playoffs each year as the Southeast representative to the Little League World Series is determined. Little League is a world-class organization and I am proud to welcome them to Georgia.”

The announcement was made today by Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League International.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to thank Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, Mayor Donald S. Walker, and the leaders and citizens of Warner Robins, for their part in helping to bring the new home for the eight-state Little League Southeast Region to Central Georgia,” Keener said. “We trust our relationship will continue to grow, and that the people of the Warner Robins area will enjoy having this important center of Little League activity in their community. And we know that our volunteers in the Southeast Region will find that the new site will be convenient because of its more central location, and the facilities will be first-rate.”

The original field of 18 cities in six states was narrowed to Morganton, N.C., and Warner Robins in November. Both cities were represented by teams in the Little League Baseball World Series in recent years.

The next phase in the process will be to reach a contractual agreement with Warner Robins. Upon completion of that agreement, operations at the current Southeast Region Headquarters in Gulfport, Fla., a suburb of St. Petersburg, will begin transferring to Warner Robins.

The Southeast Region Headquarters serves as the administrative center for Little League Baseball and Softball activities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The annual Southeast Region Championship game (formerly the Southern Region Championship game) has been televised nationally on ESPN or ESPN2 every year since 1997.

As the site for the new Regional Headquarters is developed in Warner Robins, it will be necessary to play the 2009 Little League Baseball and Softball Regional Tournaments at an alternate location. That location, Ceredo-Kenova, W.Va., to be used only for one year, was announced on Monday.

Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with more than 2.6 million players and 1 million volunteers in every U.S. state and 75 other countries.
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First-Round Pairings Set for T-Mobile Invitational National High School Basketball Tournament

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The first-round pairings of boys and girls teams for the 2008 T-Mobile Invitational national high school basketball tournament have been announced by T-Mobile USA, Inc., and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

The tournament will be broadcast live by CBS College Sports Network and will be played Dec. 29-30 at Worthen Arena on the campus of Ball State University. Play-by-play announcer Jason Knapp teams with analyst Steve Wolf to call the boys games and analyst Tammy Blackburn to call the girls games. In addition, CBS Sports will air a one-hour “T-Mobile Invitational 2008 Tournament Highlight Show” on Jan. 18, 2009 (1 p.m. EST).

MaxPreps.com, the official online partner of the T-Mobile Invitational, will offer replays of the full broadcast of all tournament games, available on demand 48 hours after the conclusion of each contest. Maxpreps.com will also provide video features on all the competing teams, as well as comprehensive highlight packages following each game.

The T-Mobile Invitational is the only basketball tournament sponsored by the NFHS, and the field is composed only of schools from NFHS-member associations. The NFHS’ 51 member associations oversee and administer athletic and fine arts activities within those states. Only high schools that are members of those state associations are allowed to compete for their respective state titles.

Leading off the Dec. 29 first-round girls games is a matchup between Gentry High School (Indianola, Miss.) and Bob Jones High School (Madison, Ala.). Gentry has won back-to-back Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A state titles, while Bob Jones High School claimed the 2008 Alabama Class 6A title with no seniors in its starting line-up. The second girls game pits two-time defending New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Group 1 champion University High School (Newark, N.J.) against Washington High School (South Bend, Ind.), which has earned an Indiana High School Athletic Association Class 4A state title and two runner-up finishes the past three years.

The first boys game features Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas) High School, which began the season ranked No. 1 in multiple national preseason rankings, against South Atlanta High School (Atlanta). The second boys game features Garfield High School (Seattle) against Lawrence North High School (Indianapolis).

The winning teams will advance to the girls and boys championships on Dec. 30, with the consolation games to be played earlier that day.

The boys field features some of the top individual players in the country. South Atlanta’s Derrick Favors is the top-ranked big man in the country, according to nearly every expert’s list. The 6-foot-9 power forward averaged 23.7 points, 17.1 rebounds and 9.1 blocks as a junior. This year’s tourney also features the top-rated sophomore in the nation in Garfield’s 6-5 point guard Tony Wroten Jr. In addition to these two standouts, the 2008 T-Mobile Invitational field features at least eight other players who have committed to attend Division I universities including Louisville, Texas, Oklahoma State and Purdue.

The girls bracket also features some of the top players in the country. Leading the way is Washington High School’s Skylar Diggins, the top-rated point guard in the nation and a 2007–08 Parade Magazine first-team All-American performer. University High School’s Laurin Mincy brings equally impressive credentials to this year’s event. She was the first girl in New Jersey history to earn first-team all-state honors as a freshman and was named New Jersey Player of the Year as a sophomore.

“Once again, we have an outstanding field for the T-Mobile Invitational,” said Robert F. Kanaby, NFHS executive director. “We’re very pleased that the country will be able to see not only some of the nation’s best basketball players, but some of the top all-around student-athletes as well.”

“It just seems to get better every year,” said Mike Belcher, vice president of brand communications,

T-Mobile USA. “We’re excited about the quality of the teams, the quality of the individuals involved and being able to showcase it all for the fans watching in person in Muncie and those watching live around the country on CBS College Sports Network.”

In addition to the two days of games, all coaches and players of the participating schools will join together for a T-Mobile Huddle UpSM community service project on Dec. 28 designed to improve various elements of the Boys & Girls Club of Muncie (located at 1710 S. Madison St. in Muncie). T-Mobile Huddle Up is T-Mobile USA’s community outreach program connecting kids, primarily from single-parent families, in high-need urban communities to positive people, places and programs. T-Mobile Huddle Up focuses on addressing the critical need for safe, high-quality after-school programs for kids nationwide.

Here is the complete schedule of games (game times are approximate and subject to change). Game times are Eastern Standard Time:

Monday, Dec. 29


Noon Gentry (Indianola, Miss.) vs. Bob Jones (Madison, Ala.)
3:30 p.m. University (Newark, N.J.) vs. Washington (South Bend, Ind.)


1:45 p.m. South Atlanta (Atlanta) vs. Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas)
5:15 p.m. Garfield (Seattle) vs. Lawrence North (Indianapolis)

Tuesday, Dec. 30


Noon Consolation game
3:30 p.m. Championship game


1:45 p.m. Consolation game
5:15 p.m. Championship game

For ticket information, go to www.t-mobileinvitational.com.

The partnership between T-Mobile USA and the NFHS, the national leadership organization for high school sports and fine arts activities, strives to encourage student participation in interscholastic activities and emphasizes the importance of these programs in preparing students for life. In addition to the basketball tournament, the multiyear agreement between the NFHS and T-Mobile includes T-Mobile’s sponsorship of the NFHS annual student leadership conference, plus other initiatives and events. T-Mobile is the Official Telecommunications Partner of the NFHS.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Five from Shorter's Hawks and Lady Hawks Soccer Named NAIA Scholar-Athletes

The 2008 Daktronics-NAIA Men's and Women's Soccer Scholar-Athletes have been announced with over 200 student-athletes receiving the honor from each sport. Over 100 schools are represented on each of prestigious lists, with Shorter College having five total athletes: Kyle Timberlake from the men's side, and Mallory Barnes, Renee Glenfield, Jessica Hoskinson and Sarah Locklear from the women's side.

In order to be a recipient of the NAIA-Daktronics Scholar-Athlete award, one must fulfill these requirements: the recipient must be a junior or above in academic standing; has been in attendance at the nominating institution a minimum of one full year of attendance; has a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.50 (on a 4.0 scale) at the time of nomination at the nominating institution; has been certified as eligible.

These student-athletes were officially submitted from individual schools to the NAIA-MSCA Scholar-Athlete Coordinator.

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Braves Agree to Terms with Catcher David Ross on Two-Year Contract

Atlanta Braves Executive Vice President and General Manager Frank Wren announced on December 5th, that the Braves have agreed to terms with free-agent catcher David Ross on a two-year contract for the upcoming 2009 and 2010 seasons. Financial terms of the deal were not announced.

Ross, 31, has appeared in 431 career games with five different clubs since 2002. He owns a .222 career batting average, with 60 home runs and 154 RBIs. Ross split the 2008 campaign between the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox, playing a total of 60 games.

Ross has clubbed 41 home runs over the last three seasons (2006-08), which ranks as the 11th-highest total among all Major League catchers in that span. His average of 17 at-bats per home run ranks as the second-best average among catchers over the last three years. Ross hit a career-high 21 home runs in 90 games with the Reds in 2006, followed by 17 homers in 112 games for the Reds in 2007.

For his career Ross has nailed 77 of 218 (35%) would-be base stealers - the fifth-highest caught stealing percentage in the majors since 2002 (minimum 375 games at catcher). He threw out 10 of 36 (28%) attempted base stealers in 2008.

Born in Bainbridge, Ga., Ross graduated from Florida High School in Tallahassee, Fla., where he still resides. He was a teammate of Braves pitcher Tim Hudson at Auburn University for two years (1996-97) before transferring in 1998 to the University of Florida, where he helped the Gators advance to the College World Series. Ross was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the seventh round of the 1998 Draft.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Braves acquire pitchers Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan from White Sox

The Atlanta Braves and Chicago White Sox announced yesterday that the two clubs have completed a six-player trade. The Braves acquired right-handed starting pitcher Javier Vazquez and left-handed relief pitcher Boone Logan from the White Sox in exchange for catcher Tyler Flowers, infielder Brent Lillibridge, Minor League infielder Jon Gilmore and Minor League pitcher Santos Rodriguez.

Vazquez, 32, is under contract through the 2010 season. He owns a career record of 127-129 with a 4.32 ERA in 11 Major League seasons and ranks ninth among all active pitchers in strikeouts (2,015), 14th in innings pitched (2,270.2) and 15th in games started (353). His career strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.34 ranks sixth among all active pitchers (minimum 2,000 innings pitched).

Vazquez is the only Major League pitcher to post at least 10 wins, 30 starts and 150 strikeouts in each of the last nine seasons. In 2007 he notched a 15-8 record with a 3.73 ERA and 213 strikeouts in 216.2 innings pitched. Last season he went 12-16 with a 4.67 ERA and 200 strikeouts in 208.1 innings of work.

Vazquez has pitched at least 200 innings in eight of the last nine seasons (he had 198 IP in 2004) and has recorded 200 or more strikeouts four times in his career, including each of the last two campaigns. He has also finished in his league's top 10 in strikeouts in eight of the last nine seasons, including ranking fourth in the American League in each of the last three years (2006-08).

Originally selected by the Montreal Expos in the fifth round of the 1993 draft, Vazquez has pitched for four different clubs: Montreal (1998-2003), New York Yankees (2004), Arizona Diamondbacks (2005) and Chicago (2006-08).

Logan, 24, has appeared in 144 career games (all in relief) in three seasons. The 6-foot-5 left-hander was selected in the 20th round of the 2002 draft and made his Major League debut in 2006. Logan appeared in 55 games for the Sox in 2008, going 2-3 with a 5.95 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 42.1 innings pitched.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Roddy Jones, Todd Reesing, Jeremiah Johnson and Sam Bradford Announced as Week Fourteen Nominees for the AT&T All-America Player of the Week Award

/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Four nominees for the AT&T All-America Player of the Week award have been announced after the fourteenth week of college football action, and now it's up to fans to determine the winner. Georgia Tech running back Roddy Jones, University of Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing, University of Oregon running back Jeremiah Jones and University of Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford have been selected by ESPN as this week's top candidates, based on the players' outstanding performances over the weekend. Fans can text VOTE to 51234 on their wireless phone to opt in for the chance to vote.

Jones rushed for a career-best 214 yards and two touchdowns in the Yellow Jackets' 45-42 upset over University of Georgia. Reesing went 37-51 for 375 yards and four touchdowns, including the game-winning score with 27 seconds left, in the Jayhawks' 40-37 upset over University of Missouri. Johnson rushed for 219 yards and a touchdown in the Ducks' 65-38 victory over Oregon State. Bradford went 30-44 for 370 yards and four touchdowns in the Sooners' 61-41 win over rival Oklahoma State.

"This was another great week in college football. These four players really helped to deliver their respective teams some exciting victories," said Tim McGhee, director of corporate sponsorships for AT&T. "We are excited to present the opportunity, but it is now all in the fans hands to pick the week fourteen recipient of the AT&T All-America Player of the Week Award."

Fans have until 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday to submit their votes. The winner will be announced during Thursday's ESPN College Football Primetime Presented by Applebee's. Standard text messaging rates apply.

There is no limit on fan voting, and each vote counts as one entry into a sweepstakes to win a trip to the 2009 Bowl Championship Series (BCS) National Championship game in Miami. Full sweepstakes rules can be found at www.espnallamerica.com/rules.aspx.

In December, four finalists for the AT&T All-America Player of the Year Award will be announced during a one-hour special on ESPN in conjunction with the announcement of the AT&T ESPN All-America Team as selected by the Football Writers Association of America. Fans will then get a chance to say who the best player in the nation is by voting for the AT&T All-America Player of the Year through the BCS. Voting ends at noon ET on Jan. 6, and the winner will be announced during the BCS National Championship game on FOX on Jan. 9.

Additionally, AT&T customers can view video highlights and photos of each week's candidates and track their favorite teams through AT&T's wireless NCAA Football Portal, which is accessible on AT&T handsets by launching AT&T MEdia(TM) Net and clicking through to the sports category. AT&T wireless customers with 3G handsets can also watch "Confessions of a College Football Junkie" video clips featuring Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit by accessing ESPN on AT&T CV.*

*AT&T CV requires a MEdia Max Unlimited or MEdia Net Unlimited bundle. Details on AT&T's MEdia Net bundles and other offers are available at http://www.att.com/wireless.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Emory Women's Volleyball Wins National Championship

The Emory volleyball team capped off its storybook season Saturday evening with a 3-1 win over the University of La Verne in the title match of the NCAA Division III National championship. The Eagles closed out their year with a 35-6 record following the 16-25, 25-21, 25-17, 25-22 win over the No. 4-ranked Leopards who finished out the campaign with a 27-3 won-lost ledger. The match was held at the Shirk Center on the Illinois Wesleyan campus in Bloomington, Illinois.

Emory hit 28.1 percent in the match (56-20—128) while La Verne posted a 22.4 attack percentage (47-19—125). Each team totaled 47 digs while the Eagles finished with a 7-5 edge in total blocks.

Emory had a number of players produce outstanding matches. Senior middle Dani Huffman led a balanced offensive attack with 13 kills while finishing the contest with a 36.0 hitting percentage (13-4—25) along with four blocks. Huffman registered four digs, perhaps none more important than one she came up with in the decisive fourth set that fell into the La Verne side of the court resulting in a kill and giving Emory a 21-20 lead. Sophomore Amelia McCall banged away to the tune of 12 kills while senior Maggie Baird and freshman Alexandra Wright each came up with 11 put-aways. Freshman setter Natalie Schonefeld dished out 47 assists and sophomore Kelsey Krzyston and freshman Brannan O’Neill paced the defensive effort with 11 digs each.

Emory stumbled out of the gate in the first game, hitting just 11.5 percent while La Verne countered with an impressive mark of 34.5 percent. However, in games two and three, the Eagles’ offense got untracked and hit 40.6 and 39.3 percent, respectively, in surging to a 2-1 lead in the match. Holding a 19-18 margin in a hotly contested second game, the Eagles made the most of a pair of La Verne attack errors, along with a kill by Amelia McCall, to take a 22-18 advantage. The Leopards drew to within three points on a couple of occasions, but a pair of McCall terminations helped Emory seal that set.

Emory used a pair of kills by both McCall and Huffman in bolting to an 8-2 lead in the third game. After the Leopards crept to within 11-9, a kill by Wright, combined with a pair of attack errors by La Verne and a service ace by Schonefeld boosted Emory’s lead to 15-9. The Eagles eventually built a 22-13 cushion en route to taking a 2-1 edge in the match.

La Verne led during the early stages in game four before a kill by Wright knotted the set at 9-9. The teams battled back and forth and the game was tied on six occasions as the scored settled into an 18-18 deadlock. Eventually, the Leopards went up by a 22-21 count but Emory closed out the contest with a 4-0 run, the winning point coming on a termination by Baird.

Huffman was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament after compiling 49 kills, a 31.4 hitting percentage and 19 total blocks. Also garnering spots on the team were Schonefeld and Wright.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Agnes Scott Names Williams to Coach Georgia's First Collegiate Lacrosse Team

Agnes Scott College has named veteran lacrosse coach and player Nicolle Williams to build its varsity college program for the sport -- the first in Georgia.

“We hired Coach Williams for her outstanding depth of experience, not only as a coach, but as a player with tremendous success on the national level,” said Joeleen Akin, athletic director at Agnes Scott. “We believe she has the insight, talent and vision necessary to establish and build a strong, new Lacrosse program for Agnes Scott.”

Agnes Scott College is recruiting team members and will field its first lacrosse team in fall 2009.

“The timing is perfect for Agnes Scott College to begin a lacrosse program,” Akin said. “The sport is gaining such a wide following around the country, particularly in Georgia and the Southeast. The addition of the lacrosse program will allow high school athletes to continue their playing careers as Scotties.”

Decatur resident Williams has served over the past five years as lead coach for two local lacrosse clubs, Dixie Chix Lacrosse Academy and most recently, Hotlanta Lacrosse Company. A member of the Georgia Lacrosse Umpire Board, Williams is vice president of the Women’s Division of the Georgia Lacrosse Foundation Regional Chapter of U.S. Lacrosse.

“The growth of lacrosse in the state of Georgia is remarkable,” Williams said. “We have doubled the number of high school, middle school and recreational programs in the past five years. The skill level continues to improve as lacrosse is played year round and newcomers are picking up the sticks at younger ages. I believe the sky is the limit for our new team here at Agnes Scott.”

In October, Williams received the U.S. Lacrosse Youth Excellence Award for Girls’ Coach of the Year. Prior to her arrival to Georgia, Williams was the varsity lacrosse coach at The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn. for five years. There she amassed a 67-10-2 record as a coach, including a perfect 17-0 season in 1996, when her team won the New England Championship.

“The first step towards building a program is getting the word out to talented, student-athletes that Agnes Scott lacrosse is here,” Williams said. “Attending games and tournaments, meeting club and high school coaches and using the contacts I have established over my time as both a player and coach will all be a part of it.”

As a player, Williams was a goalie for St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., where her teams reached the Division III, NCAA National Tournament three times. The Saints appeared in the semifinals in 1989 and finals in 1990. Williams set school records for single-season goals-against average (5.01), career saves (583), career-goals against average (5.69) and was inducted into the St. Lawrence University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.

“Success is about learning, improving and desire,” Williams said. “It is my plan to develop a team that wants to truly comprehend the skills and game of lacrosse, a team that is willing to be better tomorrow than they were today, and a team that is prepared to put forth their greatest effort every time they step on the field. If we do all of those things, we will be successful here at Agnes Scott.”

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fan Vote to Determine Player Super Bowl Ad

SSG Note: Voting is now open until December 3rd.

Thirteen Atlanta Falcons told their stories. Now, fans can help turn one of them into the NFL’s Super Bowl commercial at NFL.com/SuperAd.

Babineaux and Turner are featured in a head-to-head competition against their rivals from the NFC South in the NFL’s “Super Ad: Believe In Now” promotion.

NFL Films traveled to NFL training camps and team facilities to capture the players’ stories. Now fans will have the opportunity to hear these unique tales and get an exclusive look at some of their favorite NFL players, such as:

-Babineaux, who talks about playing football with his brother as kids in their living room.

-Turner, who relives gaining more than 200 yards in his first game as a starter.

Fans can visit the Falcons section to also see: Erik Coleman, Thomas DeCoud, Jamaal Fudge, Brent Grimes, David Irons, Grady Jackson, Michael Koenen, Jerious Norwood, Chris Redman, Matt Ryan and Roddy White.

Fans will vote on the 24 stories from NFC players on nfl.com/superad from November 20 – December 3. Four NFC stories, one from each division, will be selected to continue to the Championship Round where they will compete against four videos from the AFC as well as one wildcard video. The Championship Round runs from December 18, 2008 – January 4, 2009. Fans will have eighteen days to vote for their favorites with a Super Bowl appearance on the line.

Fans can visit the “All Videos” section to watch all 215 NFL players’ stories posted on nfl.com/superad. Fans will then watch the winning pitch, and the player who told it, during Super Bowl XLIII on Sunday, February 1 on NBC.

By AtlantaFalcons.com

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Churchill Downs Announces Freeze in Most Ticket Prices for 2009 Kentucky Derby, Oaks

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Churchill Downs racetrack has announced a freeze in most ticket prices for the 2009 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, allowing customers to purchase the majority of reserved seats and general admission at the same price levels offered in 2008. The 135th running of the Kentucky Oaks will be held on Friday, May 1, 2009, while Kentucky Derby 135 will take place on Saturday, May 2, 2009.

“Our slowing economy is having a pronounced effect, and many of our customers have been affected in various ways as well,” said Bob Evans, president and chief executive officer of Churchill Downs Incorporated. “Although the Kentucky Derby occupies an elite spot in the world of sports and tickets are typically in high demand, we want to keep our price points at the same level to help our customers in this challenging economic climate. Our fans are critical to our success, and we hope this announcement makes it easier for them to join us on the first Saturday in May next year to enjoy the excitement of Kentucky Derby 135.”

The freeze in Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks ticket prices includes the majority of Churchill’s permanent seats, as well as most temporary seating areas and general admission on the day of the events. There will be a previously scheduled price increase by contract for customers in the 30-year personal seat license program, who are coming off a three-year price freeze by contract, and limited price increases in some luxury suites and for a handful of Marquee Village units adjacent to the Kentucky Derby Red Carpet venue, as well as a new price structure for a new reserved seating section in the infield that Churchill Downs will pilot in 2009.

Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 2, 2009. The track’s 2008 Fall Meet runs from October 26 through November 29. Churchill Downs is scheduled to host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for a record seventh time on November 5 and 6, 2010. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Mercer Men's Basketball Ranked No. 1 Nationally in RPI

After downing Southeastern Conference opponents Alabama and Auburn in a four-day span and starting the 2008-09 campaign with an unblemished 3-0 record for the first time since 1984, the Mercer men’s basketball team has been rewarded with the top spot in CollegeRPI.com’s rankings.

The College RPI takes into account a team's winning percentage (25%), its opponents' winning percentage (50%), and the winning percentage of those opponents' opponents (25%) when ranking every team in the nation. The Bears check in ahead of every traditional Division I roundball powerhouse in the country for the first time since the inception of the Ratings Percentage Index in 1981.

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Braves Add Four Players to 40-Man Roster

The Atlanta Braves today have added four players to their 40-man roster. They purchased the contracts of infielder Diory Hernandez and right-handed pitchers Todd Redmond and Stephen Marek. They also claimed left-handed pitcher Eric O'Flaherty off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.

The 24-year-old Hernandez spent the 2008 season at Mississippi (AA) and Richmond (AAA). He hit .286 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 22 games at Mississippi before being promoted to Richmond on April 26. In 120 games in Triple-A, he hit .288 with five home runs, 23 doubles and 53 runs batted in. He played at second base, third base and shortstop at both levels. He was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent in August 2002.

Redmond, 23, was named Southern League Pitcher of the Year, appearing in 28 games (27 starts) with Mississippi (AA). He had a 13-5 mark with 3.52 ERA in 166.1 innings pitched in 2008. His 13 wins led the Southern League, and his 133 strikeouts tied for the lead. His 3.52 ERA ranked tied for fifth. Redmond was acquired by the Braves on March 26 from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for right-handed pitcher Tyler Yates. He was originally selected by the Pirates in the 39th round of the 2004 June free-agent draft.

Marek, 25, was acquired on July 29 from the Los Angeles Angels along with first baseman Casey Kotchman in exchange for first baseman Mark Teixeira. Prior to the trade, Marek made 34 relief appearances for the Angels' Double-A affiliate Arkansas Travelers, going 2-6 with three saves and a 3.66 ERA in 46.2 innings pitched. He made 10 relief appearances with Mississippi once acquired by Atlanta, going 1-2 with a save and a 3.21 ERA in 14 innings pitched. He was originally selected by the Angels in the 40th round of the 2004 June free-agent draft.

O'Flaherty, 23, started the season on Seattle's Opening Day roster and made seven appearances, going 0-1 with a 20.25 ERA in 6.2 innings pitched. He made one relief appearances with the Double-A West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx, a scoreless two-inning outing, before making 14 relief appearances with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers, where he was 1-0 with two saves and a 4.96 ERA in 16.1 innings pitched. He was originally selected by Seattle in the sixth round of the 2003 June free-agent draft.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

BEARS DO IT AGAIN! Upset Auburn on the Road to Go 3-0

Behind another huge effort on the boards and clutch free throw shooting, the Mercer men’s basketball team won its third straight game with a 78-74 victory over Auburn in the first round of the Chicago Invitational Challenge Wednesday night at Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum.

Mercer senior Calvin Henry drained two free throws with 2.4 seconds on the clock to give Mercer a 78-74 lead and the Bears improved to 3-0 to open the season for the first time since the 1984-85 campaign that saw the Bears advance to the NCAA Tournament.

The last time Mercer defeated two SEC teams in the same season was 1952-53, when the Bears knocked off Georgia, 68-63, and Mississippi, 78-40.

Auburn was the second straight member of the Southeastern Conference to fall to the Bears – Mercer upset West Division favorite Alabama, 72-69, just two days ago in Tuscaloosa.

With a sizable contingent of Mercer students roaring in the end zone, the Bears hit 7-of-9 free throws inside the final five minutes to hold off the Tigers and avenge last season’s 68-59 loss to Auburn

Mercer sophomore forward Brian Mills drained two free throws to break a 67-67 tie with 4:50 showing and Florence drained a 3-pointer from deep in the left corner as Mercer went on to build a 73-68 advantage with 2:29 on the clock. Still leading by five, AU’s Quantez Robertson hit an inside basket and following a timeout by Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo, the Bears’ James Florence ran the clock down but turned the ball over with less than 27 seconds on the clock - and two seconds on the shot clock.

Tigers’ senior Korvotney Barber scored inside, trimming the MU advantage to just 75-74 with 21.6 ticks showing. After a Mercer timeout, Michael Ellis found guard E.J. Kusnyer open on the Bears’ end of the court, but Kusnyer elected to pull the ball out instead of laying it up and was fouled before he could dish the ball off. He hit one-of-two from the line with 9.4 seconds remaining and the Tigers hurried the ball downcourt, but Robertson was called for charging as he went inside trying to tie the game for the 11th time. Calvin Henry was fouled and sealed the game with his two from the charity stripe.

Both teams opened up patient on offense, with Mercer using a 10-0 run from the 17:40 mark to the 15-minute mark to gain a 13-4 advantage. Auburn’s Frankie Sullivan hit a 3-pointer to momentarily stop the Bears’ surge, but moments later Emerson collected one of the Orange and Black’s seven offensive rebounds in the opening half, was fouled and hit two from the line to spark another 7-2 run, giving the Bears a 22-12 lead with 11:29 remaining in the first half.

Following Emerson’s two from the line, sophomore Brian Mills scored five straight for the Bears, dropping in a basket then recording a traditional three-point play for the 10-point advantage.

Auburn (1-1) then got untracked offensively on their home court, answering with an 11-0 run of their own, fueled by junior guard Tay Waller. In the midst of the spurt, Mercer head coach Bob Hoffman was whistled for a technical foul for leaving the coaches’ box to protest an apparent travel by an Auburn player who stole an errant Mercer pass, drove the court and laid the ball off the bottom of the rim and came down with it in his hands.

Neither team was able to build more than a four-point advantage in the last six-plus minutes of the opening frame - that being Mercer’s 44-40 lead at intermission.

There were three ties inside the final five minutes, with Mercer’s James Florence scoring 12 of his 16 first half points in the final four minutes prior to intermission.

As they did in the win over the Crimson Tide, the Bears held a commanding 22-9 first-half rebounding advantage over Auburn.

In a second half that featured seven ties and eight lead changes Mercer held the lead that counted.

Henry opened the second half with an acrobatic move inside to score the basket and hit the ensuing free throw, boosting Mercer’s 44-40 halftime lead to seven but the Tigers answered with 8-0 run to grab a short-lived 48-47 lead. Mercer’s BeJay Corley came alive, battling for a basket inside, then less than a minute later he followed with another strong bucket, pushing MU’s to 51-48 with under 16 minutes remaining in the contest.

With Auburn clinging to a 59-58 lead, both teams suffered through a scoring drought og nearly three minutes before Korvotney Barber scored for the Tigers. AU edged out to a 63-60 lead with under nine minutes on the clock, but Emerson drained a high-arching 3-pointer from the top of the circle at the 8:17 mark, tying the score for the fifth time of the half.

Unlike last season’s matchup in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum when Auburn claimed a double-digit second half lead en route to defeating the Bears, tonight’s game went to the wire.

Florence led all scorers with 25 points, while Daniel Emerson added another double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Mills netted 12 points and Henry finished with 11 points and six boards.

Tay Waller posted a team-high 22 points for Auburn.

Mercer plays host to Georgia Tech in a homecoming matchup on Saturday, Nov. 22, with tip-off slated for 1 p.m. at the University Center. The game will be televised live on Fox Sports Net.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mercer Bears Upset Alabama in Tuscaloosa

Alabama’s football team is No.1 in the country and plays a tough brand of football, but the Mercer men’s basketball came into Coleman Coliseum and used a huge 56-38 rebounding advantage to shock the Crimson Tide, 72-69 in non-conference men’s basketball action Sunday night.

Junior guard James Florence found Calvin Henry underneath the basket for a contested reverse layup that proved to be the winning basket with 13.8 seconds on the clock and Florence hit two free throws to give the Bears a three-point advantage. Alabama’s Ronald Steele missed a potential game-tying trey and Florence collected the rebound at the buzzer.

Florence scored a team-high 23 points, while Daniel Emerson added 18 points. Brian Mills netted 10 points and collected eight boards with Henry just missed a double-double, scoring nine points and recording a game-high 13 rebounds.

Last year Mercer (2-0) upset Southern Cal in November and the Bears are 2-0 to start a season for the first time since the 1997-98 campaign and snapped Alabama’s four-game home win streak.

Unlike last season when Alabama held off a second-half rally to edge the Bears, 90-83, at the University Center, ‘Bama never gained more than a six-point lead.

Both teams struggled in the first couple of possessions, but junior forward Daniel Emerson, who scored the Orange and Black’s first five points, gave the Bears an early 5-3 advantage on his traditional three-point play inside the first two minutes of the contest. Unfortunately the Mercer big man picked up his second foul at the 17:03 mark, with sophomore Brian Mills taking his spot on the court.

Alabama guard Ronald Steele gave the Crimson Tide a brief two-point lead, but basket interference was whistled on Calvin Henry’s shot on MU’s next trip downcourt and the score was knotted for the second time of the night.

After trading turnovers, the Bears went on a 6-0 run ignited by Florence’s acrobatic fastbreak layup. Mills’ putback gave Mercer a four-point advantage and 20 seconds later guard Mark Hall found Michael Ellis open for the Bears’ sixth straight point.

Moments later, the Tide matched Mercer’s run with six consecutive points of their own, only to have the Bears bolt back out by five, as Florence dropped in a basket and Emerson drained a 3-pointer from the top of the circle with just under eight minutes on the clock.

With the Bears offsetting ‘Bama’s size with effort and quickness, the Orange and Black held an impressive 24-11 advantage on the boards with seven minutes remaining in the first half.

The Crimson Tide then went on a 14-5 run over the next five minutes to gain a 31-26 lead, but Mills found the range from downtown, as the Douglasville, Ga., native nailed a trey from deep in the right corner then found the distance from the opposite side of the court on the next possession, pulling the Bears to within two points with less than two minutes on the clock.

The two teams traded baskets, then Florence tied the score for the fourth time of the opening frame while drawing the foul. He misfired on the ensuing free throw attempt but the Bears had an opportunity to go into intermission with the lead after collecting the rebound, but Florence was whistled for a five-second count with just under 11 seconds on the clock. Alabama’s Steele then attempted an off-balance trey at the buzzer that was off the mark and the two teams went into the break tied at 33-33.

A cold front pushed through Tuscaloosa on Saturday while the Bears were practicing at Coleman Coliseum and it apparently carried over to the hardwood, as neither team was able to shoot better than 39 percent in the opening frame.

Junior E.J. Kusnyer opened the second-half scoring with a trey from the left corner – his first of the night – and Emerson muscled up an inside bucket and Mercer again held a five point lead.

Alabama chipped away and tied the contest at 40-apiece on a wild tip-in credited to Demetrius Jemison after the bated ball bounced high off the backboard with 15:40 on the clock.

Alabama’s Mikhail Torrance broke free for a lay-up and hit the ensuing free throw after drawing the foul, giving “Bama a short-lived four-point lead. But Mercer roared back with a 12-0 run from the 12-minute mark to the 7:31 point, forcing Crimson Tide coach Mark Gottfried to call a timeout. Bama’s Steele hit a 3-pointer out of the timeout to snap the MU run and the Bears held a 56-51 advantage at the media timeout.

With the student section staring him in the face, Florence nailed two from the charity stripe at the 7:08 mark. Following a missed free throw by the Crimson Tide, Henry swooped in to collect a Florence miss and slammed it home for a nine-point Mercer lead.

A 7-0 run by Alabama trimmed the Bears’ to a deuce, but Florence stopped the run with a traditional three-point play, but JaMychal Green answered with his own three-point play.

Mercer was outscored 16-6, surrendering the lead before Emerson hit a layup, then Alabama’ Alonzo Gee hit just his second basket of the night, a jumper from the left side to regain the lead and could have been a back-breaker, at 69-68, with just 27.5 ticks on the clock. Mercer coach Bob Hoffman called a timeout to set up the final frantic seconds and Florence and Henry combined to make it successful. Florence drove the lane, went airborne and found Henry underneath.

Florence scored a team-high 23 points, while Daniel Emerson added 18 points. Brian Mills netted 10 points and collected eight boards with Henry just missed a double-double, scoring nine points and recording a game-high 13 rebounds.

Steele led all scorers with 25 points, while Green added 17 points for the Crimson Tide.

The Bears have another quick turnaround, visiting Auburn for the second consecutive season on Wednesday, Nov. 19. Tip-off is slated for 8.p.m. (eastern) at Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum.

• With his five blocked shots on the night, Henry now ranks third all-time at Mercer.

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