Golden Tigers: 2,4,6,8!

Call it coincidence, if you like. But literally a few days after the announcement that department store magnate Ike Belk decided to donate to Brenau the largest bronze sculpture anywhere to represent the university’s Golden Tiger mascot (see artist’s model at right), the Tigers softball and tennis teams capped what can only be classified as a historic Brenau Spring. They became the last two of four intercollegiate teams that finished in the top 10 national rankings for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. We repeat: NATIONAL.

Earlier in the spring, the brand new NAIA-sanctioned competitive cheerleading squad took No. 2 honors at the national championship tournament after the re-building swimming team, placed No. 8 in the nation. Then, the tennis team turned in an impressive-enough performance in the season and at the championship tournament to earn the No. 6 spot in the NAIA final coaches’ poll while across Mobile Bay in Gulf Shores, Ala., the Tigers softball team started a 6-0 run in the tournament only to miss playing in the title game by one run. They finished No. 4 in the nation.

On the visage of the usually soft-spoken, low-keyed, Brenau Athletics Director, Mike Lochstampfor, one could detect the slightest upturn at the corner of the mouth, which for him passes for pure ecstasy. “We are all pretty pleased,” he said, in classic understatement.

At the beginning of the 2011-12 academic year, Brenau had only eight teams competing at the intercollegiate level, including the fledgling cheer. Basketball (13-17) was rebuilding under a new first-year coach and volleyball (12-18) struggled with a mid-season coaching change. The university announced plans for a new track and field team and hired a seasoned coach for that as well. Lochstampfor’s soccer squad, loaded with talent, stumbled at the gate with a 0-3-2 record by early September but then did not lose again except to the teams that ultimately finished No. 1 and 5 in the nation. Unfortunately, both No. 1 Lee University and No. 5 University of Mobile participate in Brenau’s Southern States Athletics Conference, in which they finished No. 1 and 2, leaving 10-6-3 Brenau in third place in the conference and out of the running for Top 25 national contention.

From that point, things began looking up.

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Tigers Softball Caps 2012 Season Ranked 4th in the Nation
Swim Team’s ‘Small’ Splash Makes ‘Big Time’ History with No. 8 National Ranking
Swim Coach Bachman is ‘Coach of the Year’
Tennis Nets No. 6 Spot After a 16-Win Season
Something to Cheer About: No. 2 in Year 1
Global Awareness: Soccer Builds on 2011 “Surprise” Season
New Coaches’ Experience, Attitude Raise The Nar in Track and Volleyball
Basketball: Bouncing Back

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