The annual Tarleton State athletics kickoff luncheon Tuesday gave members and guests an inside look into the upcoming volleyball and football seasons.

Before introducing the head coaches for the two sports, TSU Athletic Director Lonn Reisman told Texan Club attendees that they can get reserved parking if they join this year, with revamped parking areas being part of the stadium renovation.

“We are going to start construction on the stadium in late September,” Reisman said, noting that the 14-year-old turf is already gone. “The new turf has been installed, and we will be excited about playing on it this fall.”

TSU head football coach Todd Whitten, a four-time Lone Star Conference Coach of the Year, called the new turf, “One hundred percent top-shelf Cadillac — the best they make.”

Whitten said he is “very excited” going into this season, and emphasized that the team has to develop a more effective running game and continue to improve on defense in order to improve on its 5-6 record from last season. He also noted that the team suffered some injuries in 2016 and lost several leads along the way that could have been victories.

“A year ago, we couldn’t finish games, and that’s why we were 5-6,” Whitten said. “If this team plays together, I do think we have a chance to have a push and have a winning season.”

TSU volleyball coach Mary Schindler noted that senior outside hitter Hailey Roberts is back after earning all-America status three years in a row.

“I’m looking forward to her spirit … to carry us a little farther” than last season, when the Texanns tied a school record with 27 wins, and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years.

Schindler, entering her 13th season as coach of the Texanns, said one key returning player, junior libero Adrianna Knutson, is “a firecracker,” and is “one of the most tenacious people I’ve ever met. I’m expecting her to be phenomenal.”

The next Texan Club luncheon will be Sept. 12, once again at City Hall next to the Agave Bar and Grill.