InsideRunnerSports.comI was sitting at a table for a catered lunch Conference USA offers talking with other members of the media, some from the biggest media outlets in Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana when I look up and see Ruffin McNeill, head coach of ECU, getting ready for his afternoon press time.
Through the Camera Lens 7.31
Just outside in the hallway was Larry Coker talking with another coach. Meanwhile, I see Skip Holtz, La Tech head coach, walking down the hallway and cameramen getting ready to interview Bill Blankenship about the possibility of repeating as CUSA champs. Trust me, I was trying to play it cool like all the other seasoned media vets, but it's hard to overpower the sports fan inside and simply "ooh" and "awe" when Dan McCarney, UNT head coach, sits down in front of you and starts chatting with you like old friends. This made me think about how only a few years ago we spent more time talking about tailgating than reporting UTSA sports news to us now having full media access to something the C-USA media day – amazing. I guess time flies when you're having fun (or is when you're working non-stop?). It seemed as it were only yesterday when Antonio called me up after tailgating with them a few times and asked me to join the JAE team. Now, we're an affiliate of Fox Sports with full access to events like the CUSA media day to bring to RunnerNation the best Roadrunner coverage out there. It's extra sweet to think we were doing this before anyone else. It's been a team effort, with JJ and Antonio, being hardcore insiders who had the drive to fill the void that the San Antonio media left empty for years – UTSA sports coverage. This is why we were the only San Antonio media outlets in Las Vegas for an entire week giving Runner diehards full coverage of the basketball team's run in the WAC tournament and spent the entire week in Grand Prairie covering every single exciting piece of action as the Roadrunners screamed to the WAC baseball title in their first and only season in that league. Coach Thompson When we began to really give coverage on our humble site, then known as UTSAtailgaters.com, it was all about the basketball team. And to this day we've never let down on covering the first big program at UTSA. I still remember when he was first introduced as the new head coach during a UTSA baseball game in the summer of 2006. To go off topic just a bit, that moment in my opinion was the turning point for UTSA. It symbolized where Athletic Director Lynn Hickey was taking UTSA. And it sure wasn't down or lateral. Thompson's hire hasn't let anyone down. He's lived up to expectations and lifted the bar in the program. After last season's crazy season in which the runners struggled in conference play, the Roadrunners still found themselves one win away from winning the WAC tournament and possibly an NCAA bid. The record may show otherwise, but Thompson brought a new hard-nose attitude to a program that was lacking and made them competitive. In his years at UTSA, Thompson - with limited tools ::Cough:: subpar arena ::Cough:: - He's been able to raise the talent level coming into the program and win. That's why it was great news to hear about his contract extension and know the basketball program would be on steady ground going into the tougher Conference USA for the next four years. But at the same time, it wasn't a surprise, because if you've followed him at all through his years at UTSA, you know he has a dedication to not only competing, but wanting to compete and win with his guys at UTSA. Though the details of his contract extension have not been disclosed, I should say congratulations to Brooks Thompson. However, I think I should say congratulations to UTSA. They have one heck of a basketball coach leading the way into Conference USA. Until next week, Runners. Talk about Through the Lens in the Free RunnerNation Forum