When Radford University’s basketball team took the court this weekend against Duquesne, there was at least one person with torn allegiance. Paul Hightower is a ’84 graduate from RU and is now the director of athletic facilities and events at Duquesne University.
His degree was in Recreation Administration with an MS in Counseling and Student Development, and his secret identity was RU’s famed mascot “Rowdy Red.” Hightower has fond memories of the Radford campus.
“I’ve been on a lot of campuses in the last three decades and it’s the most beautiful place. I think it’s one of higher education’s best hidden gems. The education I received there helps me every day both professionally and personally. We all had a lot of fun last year on Facebook with the NCAA tournament success. Lots of pride out there among the alums from my era because of the experience and education,” he said.
He started at Duquesne in 1990 after three years at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.
There has not been much mention about Hightower’s time as Rowdy, but he is honest when asked about donning the costume.
Radford and Duquesne have met four times before. Hightower’s new school holds a 4-0 record.
“Coach Mike Jones (RU) is a not only a great guy but a great coach. Plus his players are battle tested. It was awesome having them in the NCAA’s last year here,” he said.
Deep down, he might have been cheering for the Highlanders, but we may never know for sure. His new school, Duquesne got the best of his alma mater this time.
On a side note, this writer also donned that same mascot suit. So, Paul and I hold another link to Radford University.
On some signing notes: The Radford University women’s golf team has signed Jayde Dudley (Hidden Valley) to a National Letter of Intent. It was announced by head coach Jeff Beeler.
Dudley won the 2018 Region 3D Tournament after carding a 63, nine strokes under par. She also won the two-day 49th Virginia State Junior Girls Championship after recording a 145 (72-73, +1).
Dudley, a four-time letter winner at Hidden Valley, is a two-time winner of the Roanoke Women’s City Championship and was the youngest winner ever when she took home the trophy at the age of 15.
The owner of a 70.2 stroke average during the 2018 season, Dudley was a 2018 All River Ridge District member and 3D All Region Team pick. In addition, she was named the 2018 Roanoke Valley Golf Hall of Fame Player of the Year.
Andres Silva and Yevhen Sirous have joined the Radford University men’s tennis program.
Silva comes to Radford from Valencia, Venezuela where he represented the national team in 2013 and currently ranks No. 5 in the nation in the 18-year-old age group.
In 2018, Silva has been a two-time doubles champion and a singles finalist in the G1 National Tournament. In each of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd ITF G5 tournaments, he was the doubles champion as well.
His career also includes a G2 National Tournament singles championship, G1 National Tournament singles and doubles championships in both 2016 and 2017, and two COSAT G3 singles championships.
A 6’6″ native of Kharkiv, Ukraine, Sirous will transfer to Radford from the University of Detroit Mercy where he began his collegiate career.
As a Titan, Sirous compiled a 10-7 singles record while playing primarily as a No. 3 and No. 4. He went 3-1 at No. 3 and 7-6 at No. 4 including a 4-3 record in Horizon League play to help Detroit Mercy break the school record for wins in a season. They also advanced to the Horizon League Championship match for the first time in program history.
Before coming to the United States, Sirous won G5 juniors in Belarus and G5 doubles in Poland. He currently has a UTR of 12.02.