By Marty Gordon
Big South Conference’s Randolph Ross, Jr., won the 400-meter NCAA outdoor national championship this past week in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field.From the University of North Carolina A&T, Ross ran a season-best 44.13 even though he was at a disadvantage coming out of the eighth lane.
Female Athlete of Year Award to honor Wanda Watkins
The Big South Conference announced Tuesday that its annual Female Athlete of the Year Award will be named in honor of Big South Hall of Fame member Wanda Watkins, beginning with the 2021-22 honoree that will be determined next month.
The award was established in March 2000 to recognize the top female athlete from the most recently completed season, and the candidates consist of the Players of the Year from each sport.
Watkins spent 35 years as Campbell’s women’s basketball head coach before retiring after the 2015-16 season, and her official coaching tenure in the Big South totaled 14 years from 1986-94 and 2011-16. She went 230-145 overall during her time in the Big South, which included a 135-67 record in conference games, still the third-most overall wins among the Big South’s women’s basketball coaches and the fourth-most for league games.
New assistant at RU women’s basketball
The Radford University women’s basketball program announced Friday afternoon that Alex Tomlinson has joined the team as an assistant coach for the upcoming 2022-23 season.
Tomlinson brings to the New River Valley an impressive résumé including most recently being named the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s Division III Assistant Coach of the Year last season with Christopher Newport. Tomlinson helped guide the Captains to a 26-1 record as the team won 26 straight games to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16.
Tomlinson was also part of the staff that collected Coast-to-Coast Athletic Conference Coaching Staff of the Year honors.
She spent three seasons in Newport News with Christopher Newport. While there, the team had a 51-5 record that included two tournament and regular-season titles. The program won four NCAA Tournament games over that span. The 2021-22 season was a historic one for the program as the Captains earned a number-one ranking for the first time in program history and had a 43-game winning streak, the ninth-longest in Division III history.
Before her tenure at Christopher Newport, Tomlinson was a graduate assistant with the University of North Carolina. She was a part of the coaching staff with the Tar Heels that guided the team to its first NCAA Tournament since 2015.
While at North Carolina, she helped grade film with the coaching staff, filmed all games, and assisted with game-day film exchange. She also assisted coaches with on-court preparation prior to practice and facilitated the UNC Women’s Basketball Summer Camp production. While she was on staff, the Tar Heels defeated a pair of top-ten programs, including the number-one team in the country at the time, Notre Dame, in 2019.
As a student-athlete at Wingate, Tomlinson spent four years with the program. She was a two-year team captain and helped guide the Bulldogs to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances with three South Atlantic Conference Tournament championships.
Ace Custis inducted into Hall of Fame
Former VT basketball player and current assistant coach Ace Custis has been inducted into the Northampton High School Hall of Fame.
At Northampton High School, Ace was part of cross-country, basketball, and baseball. He grew in stature, eventually reaching 6’8’, and excelled on the basketball court.
At Va. Tech, Ace was the third player (fourth overall) in VT men’s basketball history to score 1,000 points and bring down 1,000 rebounds. His No.-20 jersey was retired in 1997, just the third player in the history of the program to achieve such an honor.
Oklahoma State, Tech to play in Brooklyn
Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State will clash as part of the 2022 Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The fifth all-time meeting between the two schools is part of a quadruple-header on Sunday, Dec. 11, that will also feature Tennessee vs. Maryland, Iona vs. St. Bonaventure, and UMass vs. Hofstra.
The game marks the second straight season the Hokies will play at Barclays Center. In addition to winning the 2022 ACC Tournament in Brooklyn, Tech played in the NIT Season Tip-Off last November at the same arena.
Oklahoma State concluded its 2021-22 season at 15-15, which included three top-25 wins – headlined by a 61-54 upset of then-No. 1 Baylor on Jan. 15.
Tech is 4-0 all-time against the Cowboys. The teams played a home-and-home series in 2011 (Stillwater) and 2012 (Blacksburg). They have also squared off in New York before – a 59-57 Tech win at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 25, 2011.
The Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational is one event in the Hall of Fame’s series of collegiate events that continues to grow in an effort to celebrate the game outside the museum walls.