Rice Owl senior distance runner Allison Pye has accomplished a lot during her four years as a student-athlete. Below are Pye's highlights:
On April 21 former Rice Owl Philip Humber took over
the day's sports news by throwing a perfect game in the major leagues. The
event created a whirlwind of national attention and even landed the Sid
Richardson-ex an appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman.
Perhaps the most impressive and inspiring aspect of recent "Humber-mania" however, was that when things settled down some for Philip, he turned his thoughts to his alma mater and Head Coach - Wayne Graham. Earlier this week Philip sent coach Graham a letter which is now published here with the permission of both parties...
I read that you and the team were watching the closing moments of the game on Saturday after you all had finished off an exciting win yourselves. The article said that you were 'calling for the slider in the ninth inning.' That reminded me of my first game as an Owl, when you called a 3-2 curveball from the dugout with the bases loaded and the Aggie fans going crazy at Minute Maid.
I think that one moment sums up what you mean to me as a person and a ballplayer. You believed that I was up to the task and because of the leader you are, I believed it, too. There were many times in my career at Rice when you told me what I needed to hear whether I agreed or not. The further along I go in life and in baseball, the more I realize how right you were. You helped me achieve more than I ever thought possible by pushing me in ways nobody else could.
The reality of the perfect game is still sinking in and I'm trying to process everything that has happened as a result, but as of now I would rank the feeling I had Saturday second to winning the National Championship. The culmination of a season of hard work within a team environment towards an ultimate goal is the most gratifying moment in sports. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of that.
It has taken me a lot longer to get to the big leagues in a meaningful role than I thought it would. The ups and downs have been worth it, and I know it has all been used to make me a better person and pitcher. However, I firmly believe it would have happened sooner if I had you around to challenge me mentally like you did at Rice.
I know you have been keeping up and pulling for me this whole time and I've been doing the same for you guys. I wish you continued success and can't wait to see the Owls bring home another Championship.
All my best!
Rice's Earl Cooper recalls a far less glamorous draft day experience as he waited on a call during the 1980 NFL Draft.
Rice and Texas A&M will open the 2013 college football season. Mark it down in ink and make your travel plans now.
For the first time since 1995, two of the original eight schools who created the Southwest Conference in 1915 will return to a place that has seen them create some memorable moments both on, and off the field.... More on that in a minute.
With the shifting sands of conference membership anything but settled, future schedules are a tenuous listing at best. Rick Greenspan and the Rice Athletics administration have sought to turn this uncertainty into opportunity in order to ensure that the Owls will have at least one road game that can be counted upon to guarantee significant revenue.
The Aggies game in 2013 and the previously-announced game at Notre Dame in 2014 have addressed this need in the immediate future, and with the topsy-turvy reality of the times, these are but two of the games that are truly locked in.
But those are issues that will remain fluid for an extended period in the future. Let's get back to reuniting the Aggies and Owls and the return of a matchup that thrilled Owls fans for generations.
The two first met in 1914, and one year later they joined with six other schools to form the Southwest Conference. Two years later, their fledgling rivalry gave would give the Owls mascot its name.
A group of A&M students kidnapped the large canvas representation of an Owl that was used as Rice's mascot during games. Rice students hired a private detective to locate their taken symbol, and upon discovering its whereabouts, the detective telegraphed back to Houston that "Sammy is fairly well and would like to see his parents at 11 o'clock", the recovery mission was confirmed.
While A&M enjoyed the greater measure of success in the early years, Jess Neely's arrival on campus would mark the dawn of an extended period of dominance by the Owls.
Neely was winless in his first five tries against A&M, but beginning in 1945 he would reel of 10 consecutive wins over the Aggies, as he build Rice into a program that won three conference crowns and was ranked in the final top 20 five times.
Paul "Bear" Bryant ended that skein in 1955 and two years later, he brought a powerful and undisputed #1 team into Rice Stadium for a later November showdown in front of a standing-room only crowd of 73,000. King Hill would put on all around performance in front of a national audience that he would earn first-team All America honors. It was his extra point kick after the Owls touchdown in the first half that would stand up and deliver on of the most memorable wins in Rice history.
Former Houston Chronicle columnist Mickey Herskowitz, a longtime Bryant friend and biographer, recalled in an interview for the "100 Years of Rice Football" documentary how deeply the loss impacted Bryant, even years later when he returned to Houston:
In later years, the series again more to the Aggies favor, but the Owls could always be counted upon to deliver a stunning blow, perhaps no more so than in 1973 when Al Conover reached deep in to his bag of special teams tricks and thwarted a spirited Aggie comeback with a kickoff return by Carl Sweirc.
Rice's last win in the series came in 1980 when Ray Alborn led the Owls in to College Station and escaped with a 10-6 wins, part of an undefeated SWC road schedule for Rice that year. In the years that followed, A&M would roll on to win 15 straight to give them their current advantage of 50-27-3.
Ironically, that streak began in 1981 on the strength of the right arm of Aggies quarterback Gary Kubiak, who threw six touchdown passes to lead A&M to a 51-26 win over Rice. When the two teams take the field in 2013, Kubiak's son, Klein, will be a senior wide receiver for the Owls.
The last two games between the two were rugged defensive affairs, with A&M winning 7-0 in College Station in 1994 and 17-10 at Rice Stadium in 1995. Such scores are not so common place in the wide open world of 21st century college football.
After nearly 20 years, two foes will get familiar again, at least for one season. Sammy can return to the city that gave him his name and countless generations of Owls will have a moment to recall games of the past.
We've barely scratched the surface of those memories.
The floor is open for your submissions....
After throwing a major league perfect game on April 21, former Rice Owls star Philip Humber presented the Top Ten List on the Late Night David Letterman Show on April 23.
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
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:
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.
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.
Sammy & Alex
Simone Martin and Kiri Kendall