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Director's Column



Leatherneck Student-Athletes to Receive Provost Awards for Academic Excellence

Fifty Western Illinois student-athletes will be presented with the Provost Award at halftime of the men's basketball Bracket Buster contest against Cleveland State on Saturday (Feb. 23). Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Western Hall.

To qualify for the honor, Leatherneck junior and senior student-athletes must own a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher and be enrolled at Western for a minimum of two semesters.

Women's soccer had a school-most 13 make the list, followed by women's track and field and men's track and field with five apiece. Baseball, men's soccer, football, women's basketball and women's golf each had three. Five teams put two on the list including men's basketball, women's tennis, men's golf, softball and volleyball, while men's swimming and diving and men's tennis each had one.

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Leathernecks Take Down #1 Arkansas 7-5

Scoreboard photo of WIU winWestern Illinois baseball used a mix of timely hitting and pitching, and took advantage of three Arkansas errors, to defeat the #1 Razorbacks 7-5 on Sunday afternoon (Feb. 17). The win is a milestone in program history as it is the first time a Leatherneck team has defeated a #1 team in the country. It's the second straight year Western defeated a 'Top 10' ranked team (def. #8 Georgia last year), and surpassed the 2008 team beating then 4th-ranked Missouri and #7 Long Beach State in the same season.

The win also is the first of the year for the Leathernecks and the first in the Ryan Brownlee coaching era.

“What a great win for our program, especially after the way Friday and Saturday went. I’m extremely proud of our guys because we actually showed up today and expected to win and that something we hadn’t done the previous two games,” said Brownlee. “This is a great day for our program, it was a complete team effort today. Our pitchers did a great job, our defense was awesome and our situational hitting was there today when it wasn’t the last two days.”

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Leatherneck Football Announces 2013 Schedule

FootballWestern Illinois Football and head coach Bob Nielson announced the Leathernecks will play six games at Hanson Field as part of the 2013 schedule. The first-year head coach announced the upcoming fall's schedule on Friday (Feb. 15).

NCAA Division I FCS teams are allowed to play an extra 12th game in 2013 due to the calendar setting (and again in 2014), and Western will take advantage of the extra game to play a second Football Bowl Subdivision program.

Western again opens the season at home on Thursday night, playing host to Hampton of the MEAC on August 29th. NCAA Division II Quincy travels to Hanson Field the following weekend on September 7th. Hampton won the only meeting between the two teams (2004 at HU), and Western holds a 10-2 all-time advantage over Quincy - last defeating the Hawks 63-0 in 2008.

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Laura DeBruler Named Assistant Volleyball Coach

Laura DeBrulerFighting Leatherneck head volleyball coach April Hall announced the hiring of Laura DeBruler as her assistant coach Monday (Feb. 11).

"I'm beyond excited that Laura is coming on staff here at Western Illinois," said coach Hall. "Laura brings a wealth of knowledge from her playing experience at Illinois as well as professionally overseas. She exudes passion for the game unmatched by most, and her commanding work ethic will inevitably motivate our players to the highest level."

DeBruler joins the Leatherneck coaching staff after serving as a volunteer assistant at Illinois where she helped provide input at practices and competition, while assisting with video and statistical breakdown.

"I'm extremely excited for the opportunity to work with April and be part of the Leatherneck community," said DeBruler. "April's passion, hard work and dedication to the athletes both on and off the court is very inspiring and I can't wait to contribute to this up and coming program."

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Men's Soccer Announces Spring Schedule

Head men's soccer coach Dr. Eric Johnson announced the 2013 spring men's soccer schedule, featuring six total games, including four at John MacKenzie Alumni Field.

Coming off their second straight Summit League Championship and sixth of the past nine years, the Leathernecks are looking to continue the momentum through the spring season and into the fall of 2013.

Western Illinois will travel to Bradley for the first of five straight Saturday contests on March 30 to open the schedule.

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Record Amount Raised During Annual “Food Fight Nights”

Western Illinois Athletics set a record for amount of food donated during the recent "Food Fight" night's. All food was donated to the Western Illinois Regional Council (WIRC) in Macomb.

The fifth-annual event is a Summit League-wide food drive initiative tied in with the Students Team Up to Fight Hunger (STUFH) and organized by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) at each institution.

Leatherneck fans donated 7,172 pounds of canned food, which more than doubles last year's record amount of 3,050 pounds raised. Fans also raised $625 to be donated to the Western Illinois Regional Council. 

2013 "Food Fight" nights took place during the men's basketball game on January 19, and the women's basketball game on January 26. Leatherneck Athletics will present the WIRC with a check at the men's basketball game against Omaha on February 7.

"The Macomb community has again come together to help fill the food pantry shelves at the WIRC and the cash that was collected will help go towards a purchase of a new freezer," said Lisa Melz-Jennings, Assistant Athletics Director for Academic Services. "I would like to thank all that donated, the student athletes that helped donate and collect food and also to the Lincoln school students for partnering with us for the cause".



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