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Bucket Reliant Blog headline.jpg

The announcement today that the Bayou Bucket will extend at least into the first year of the separation of Rice and Houston into different conferences sets aside for the moment concerns about the immediate future of the series.  The next two games will be played at Reliant Stadium as originally announced last fall, only now the second game will be a nonconference game.

 

The question in the minds of many Owls fans remains on why the move to Reliant in the first place?  Why give up a game at Rice Stadium, when the Owls have won the last two Buckets played on their home turf?

 

There's no disputing the facts on paper regarding our record of success against Houston at home in recent times. Rice has won the Bucket four times in the last seven Rice Stadium contests dating back to 1993.  But Rice's record as the home team in the series only improves when you factor in the 10-7 win at Reliant in 2004.

 

Home games at Rice Stadium have a familiarity to our fans who have a time-honored routine for each game.  There is a comfort level that only comes from being in familiar surroundings and with familiar faces. 

 

So why make the move?

 

Simply because Lone Star Sports, whose mission is to produce sporting events at Reliant Stadium of both high interest and quality, made it very clear that they view the Bayou Bucket as a signature event for the City of Houston, an event that is a central component of their buildup to the Meineke Car Care Bowl and to their sports lineup overall.

 

Moving this one game allows Rice to tap into the promotional muscle and reach that Lone Star has at its disposal.  The game will be promoted inside other events at the stadium, most notably to the sellout crowds at Texans games on Sundays, reaching an audience that far exceeds anything we could do on our own.   When the mission is to reach the largest audience possible to promote Rice Football specifically, as well as the Centennial Celebration of Rice University, it became an easy decision to make.

 

It allows us to marshall our marketing efforts on our remaining five home games, and part of that effort will include promotional messages inside Reliant during that game.

 

One of the greatest memories of the 2008 Texas Bowl at Reliant was the number of Houston sports fans who were in the stands that night along with our faithful Owls supporters.  One of the most frustrating aspects of that game was not being able to leverage that momentum towards the future.  To have those same fans in their seats and be able to reach them directly about our remaining home games is another invaluable asset.  

 

Any reflection upon the fan experience of previous Rice games at Reliant has to be divided into two distinct periods.  There were the early games dating back to our first appearance there in 2002, and then most recent game, which was the 2010 season opener against Texas.  

 

Those early games were not produced with the same level of commitment or overall marketing power that exists today.  As a fan, in the days before I came to work at Rice, I stood in the heat and long lines while attempting to get into the 2004 Bayou Bucket through one of the few ticket windows that were open. I saw first-hand how many people walked away in frustration and could only be frustrated at an opportunity lost. That won't happen this year, or in 2013.

 

The 2010 Texas game was heavily marketed, but to a fan base that extended far outside the greater Houston area.   We will benefit from that same promotional clout this time, creating an opening for our fans to invite friends and neighbors to join them at this great event.

 

We know our season ticket holders have been frustrated to see past home games played at Reliant were not offered as part of their package.   That won't happen these next two years.  Very shortly, our season ticket renewal letters will hit the mail. In them, we detail some exciting offers we are making available to those of you who have been our most devoted supporters, as well as others who want to join us for the 2012 season.

 

If the 2012 Bucket was the last game of the series and there was no return game there in 2013, the move of this year's game alone would be worth it for all the reasons mentioned above.

 

But with the added knowledge that our fans will have access to great seats for the game in 2013--rather than the smaller allotments allocated road teams--and Rice Football will tap into Lone Star's promotional energy for a second consecutive year, the positives far outweigh the negatives

 

 

Will McClay, Man of the Gridiron.

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Former Rice defensive back Will McClay, who now works in the front office of the Dallas Cowboys, is featured in the lastest issue of Rice Magazine... (Turn to page 46).

Warren Comments on J.Fred Duckett

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JFredDuckett.jpg Rice University hosts the ninth annual J.Fred Duckett/Rice Twilight track and field meet on Saturday, April 21. Running events begin at 6 p.m. with the 4x100m relays. The women's hammer throw starts at 1 p.m. At 5:30 p.m. Rice track and field announces its team awards.

This will be the last home track and field meet for Rice for the 2012 outdoor season. Teams competing include HBU, Prairie View A&M, Sam Houston State, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Texas A&M Kingsville, Lamar University, Texas Southern, Houston, Dallas Baptist, Incarnate Word, and Houston Community College.

While Houstonians identified J.Fred Duckett as the voice of Rice Athletics, as well as that of the Houston Astros for many years, a far greater segment of the country knew him as one of the premiere public address announcers in track and field.

A life-long fan of the sport who threw the discus for Rice in the mid 1950's, Duckett combined an encyclopedic memory of the sport with an affinity of knowing just what nugget to throw out to the fans in the stands while a race was unfolding before them. He was able to narrate multiple events that unfolded almost instantaneously before him, often armed with little more than a pair of binoculars, a heat sheet, and his trusty microphone.

Those who came to South Main to compete at Rice took note of his talents, and soon Duckett was being asked to share those gifts at meets throughout the country. Fans at Southewest Conferece, WAC, and Conference USA Championships, as well as fans at the Kansas and Texas Relays were regularly treated to Duckett's talents. No track meet was too small for Duckett's enthusiastic descriptions. He was a fixture at countless high school and age group meets, and many of those moments he called found there way into later descriptions when any of those youthful runners found themselves competing in college. His record keeping was so renowned, he became one-man archive for many local high school coaches.

Those who were privileged enough to have had him describe a race will never forget him. Those who found an extra burst of energy when they heard him announce their name, owe him a debt of thanks. But J. Fred would have just shrugged off such compliments. He did it all, for the love of the sport.

Head men's track and field coach comments below on the late J.Fred Duckett:

Washington Wizards Sign Morris Almond

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Morris Almond, who had a stellar career at Rice University before being selected in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz, signed today with the Washington Wizards. Almond was called up from the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League and is expected to be available tonight when the Wizards play at Chicago.

Almond has spent the past four seasons in the NBA D-League where he has averaged 24.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and shot .495 from the field in 119 career games.

This season, Almond has played in 29 games for the Red Claws, averaging a team-high 23.4 points to go with 6.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists. He has scored in double figures in 28 games and has scored 30 or more in seven outings.

The 2007 Conference USA Player of the Year, Almond scored 1,825 points during his career at Rice.

Owls on Stage - Final Installment - Five Acts

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Rice's student-athletes are already known for their academic and sports achievements, but fans had an opportunity to see a new side of the Owls at the inaugural Rice student-athlete talent show.

The student-athlete talent show, titled "Owls on Stage," featured 11 performances from members of Rice's various varsity athletic teams such as baseball, volleyball, football, soccer and more, all showcasing their versatile `non-sports' talents.

A project of the school's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), "Owls on Stage" included a variety of musical, vocal and dance acts. Below are the final five videos from football player Christian Covington, volleyball player Tyler Jenkins, from men's track and field Sammy Abuhamra and Alexander Zinchenko, baseball player Michael Aquino, and from women's track and field Simone Martin and Kiri Kendall.

Christian Covington

Tyler Jenkins

Sammy & Alex

Michael Aquino

Simone Martin and Kiri Kendall

Owls on Stage - Gabe Baker & Alexandra Trenary

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Rice's student-athletes are already known for their academic and sports achievements, but fans had an opportunity to see a new side of the Owls at the inaugural Rice student-athlete talent show.

The student-athlete talent show, titled "Owls on Stage," featured 11 performances from members of Rice's various varsity athletic teams such as baseball, volleyball, football, soccer and more, all showcasing their versatile `non-sports' talents. A project of the school's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), "Owls on Stage" included a variety of musical, vocal and dance acts. Below are two more videos, one of football player Gabe Baker and the other featuring soccer's Alexandra Trenary:

Owls on Stage

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Rice's student-athletes are already known for their academic and sports achievements, but fans had an opportunity to see a new side of the Owls at the inaugural Rice student-athlete talent show.

The student-athlete talent show, titled "Owls on Stage," featured 11 performances from members of Rice's various varsity athletic teams such as baseball, volleyball, football, soccer and more, all showcasing their versatile `non-sports' talents. A project of the school's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), "Owls on Stage" will included a variety of musical, vocal and dance acts. Below are two videos, one of soccer player Annie Kadota and the other featuring golfer Tommy Economou:

Rendon ready to get to work

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Kuster.jpg

Rice University women's basketball player Jessica Kuster finished the 2012 season ranked in the top 10 in the nation for rebounding.

Kuster, a sophomore forward from San Antonio, Texas, and Reagan High School, concluded the campaign ranked ninth in the NCAA and led Conference USA with an 11.1 rebounding average. She was among the nation's top 10 leaders throughout this past season.

"Jessica ranking ninth in the nation is a tremendous individual achievement," says her coach Greg Williams. "It shows a strong work ethic, determination and consistency game-in and game-out. She was also the second best rebounder in her class for the second consecutive season. Jessica's rebounding on the defensive end was a big reason we were one of the best defensive teams in Conference USA, while giving us numerous second-chance opportunities off her offensive rebounds."

She was one of only two C-USA players that averaged a double-double for 2012, and only one of 21 nation-wide to average a double-double in scoring and rebounding. Kuster averaged 17.3 points a game (second in C-USA) to pair with her 11.1 rebounding average. The team co-captain was selected to the All-C-USA First Team and All-C-USA Defensive Team for the second straight season.

2012 Top 10 Rebounders in the Nation
Rank, Player, School, Ht., Pos., Games, Avg.
1 Courtney Hurt, VCU, Sr., 6-0, F, 34, 447, 13.1
2 Sequeena Thomas, Sam Houston State, Jr., 6-0, F, 30, 377, 12.6
3 Ashar Harris, Morehead State, Jr., 5-9, F, 29, 361, 12.4
4 Cheyenne Parker, High Point, So., 6-4, C, 33, 403, 12.2
5 Rachael Hackbarth, Drake, Sr., 6-3, F, 34,401, 11.8
6 Kylie Kuhns, Sacramento State, Jr., 6-0, F, 31, 360, 11.6
7 Avery Warley, Liberty, Sr., 6-3, C, 33, 381, 11.5
8 Megan Herbert, Central Arkanas, Jr.5-11, F, 31, 350, 11.3
9 Jessica Kuster, Rice, So., 6-2, F, 30, 334, 11.1
10 Markel Walker, UCLA, Jr., 6-1, G, 23, 252, 11.0

McNamara Earns Two Side-Out Foundation Awards

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LaurieMcNamara_Stanford_at_Rice-141550-114233.jpg Rice University volleyball student-athlete Laurie McNamara is the recipient of not one, but two honors from the Side-Out Foundation.
 
McNamara, from Coppell, Texas, was a member of the Side-Out Ambassador Program (SOAP) and she has been awarded one of seven SOAP Scholarship Awards as well as one of eight SOAP Community Service Awards.
 
McNamara represented the Owls volleyball squad during its Dig Pink campaign for the 2011 season. She showed exceptional commitment toRice, the community, and in raising funds for breast cancer awareness.
 
Says McNamara's head coach Genny Volpe, "Laurie is one of those special individuals that's driven to be a well-rounded person. She impacts the team in many ways by organizing several community service events and she spends a lot of her down time in the community.
 
"I am really proud of Laurie because she embodies what a scholar-athlete is at Rice, someone that is driven to be their best on the court, in the classroom, and in the community and she represents Rice in each of those aspects."
 
With a 3.9 grade point average, McNamara was named to the 2011 Conference USA All-Academic squad and she received the team's 2011 Commitment Award. McNamara, one of the squad's co-captains, was second on the team in kills per set with a 2.51 average and second in kills with 294 during the 2011 campaign.
 
"This really means a lot to me, because working with the Side-Out Foundation is something that I have wanted to do for some time. I worked on a Dig For the Cure event while in high school and it is something that I am really passionate about. I am passionate about helping people," stated McNamara. "My grandmother was diagnosed this year with breast cancer, she's in the clear now, but it just means a lot to be acknowledged for all of the hard work that I have put into this."
 
Besides working with the Side-Out Foundation, McNamara also spends at least three hours per week at Texas Children's Hospital as a volunteer and she worked as a volunteer at the Texas Med 5K that was sponsored by Ben Taub General Hospital.
 
The Side-Out Foundation (Side-Out) was established in 2004 to unite volleyball players and coaches and to have them work toward the common goal of furthering breast cancer awareness, education and patient services.Side-Out supports teams nationwide in their volleyball tournaments, clinics, and other fundraising efforts.

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