FORT WORTH —It was a historic day for the Lone Star Conference, which hosted the league’s first ever pre-season football media day at the Hilton in downtown here Monday.
“We’re trying to do things to move the conference forward and catch up marketing-wise to where we are competitive-wise,” said Stan Wagnon, commissioner of the LSC. “This is a great step for us to get our name out there in both the local and regional media.”
The program began with Wagnon’s proclamation of football success experienced by the conference in its 75-year history. While in the NAIA, LSC teams captured 10 national football titles from 1969-79. No LSC team, however, has claimed a national championship on the gridiron since 1981, when the league joined the Division II ranks of the NCAA.
Encouraged by the success of Abilene Christian in its first 8-win season in 25 years, Midwestern State’s first 9-win season since joining Division II and West Texas A&M’s first run of back-to-back conference titles in school history, Wagnon is confident the league is headed back to prominence on the national scene.
“I have a sense it won’t be long until the LSC crowns a national champion in football again,” he said.
West Texas A&M head coach Don Carthel addressed the crowd, consisting of dozens of media outlets, LSC personnel, and coaches and sports information directors from the league’s 15 member institutions. Carthel has led WTAMU to consecutive conference championships, but calls himself and the Buffaloes very fortunate to have escaped with wins against so many talented opponents.
“I’ve been associated with this league since 1985,” Carthel said. “It’s a great conference, and its as good or better now than its ever been. The parity that’s there is what makes it exciting.”
Tarleton State was represented at the event by Texans Head Football Coach Sam McElroy, Director of Athletics Lonn Reisman and Associate Athletic Director Susan Burton.
“This is a very nice event,” McElroy said. “Its nice to have the media exposed to the high caliber of football we play in this conference.”
Reisman believes the event provided much needed exposure for the conference, especially in the DFW metroplex.
“We have what I think is top-to-bottom one of the best and largest conferences in the nation,” Reisman stated. “I think the turnout today shows the excitement that our local communities and this region have for the conference and for our universities.”
Tarleton Sports Information Director Joey Roberts was also in attendance, calling the event a great showcase for the LSC.
“We’re always looking for ways to increase exposure, and today’s festivities will hopefully prove to be even more influential than expected,” Roberts said.
In addition to football, the LSC staff also previewed the upcoming volleyball, soccer and cross country seasons. The much anticipated pre-season polls in both football and volleyball were released, complete with pre-season player of the year honors for each sport (see related story).
Before working in the conference office as media relations director and now commissioner, Wagnon served Tarleton as director of sports information. He was assisted in administering the league’s first media day by current LSC Media Relations Director Melanie Robotham.