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Director's Column



The Purple & Gold Student-Athlete Alumni Challenge

About the Purple & Gold Student-Athlete Alumni Challenge:

The Western Illinois University Leatherneck Club announces the First Annual Purple and Gold Student-Athlete Alumni Challenge. The P & G Challenge was initiated to re-involve former student-athletes into our programs, connecting the past and the present. The Challenge design is for each team to compete against each other to determine which program can earn the most points by March 31, 2013.  The top three teams with most points receive a cash increase into their Leatherneck Club Foundation account. The cash prizes were given by an anonymous donor to support this competition.

Primary Goal: Re-connect our alums with today’s student-athletes and sport programs. We’re failing in that aspect and we want you—our student-athlete alums—to re-join the Western Illinois athletics’ family.

Secondary Goal: An increase of overall participation by former Western Illinois student-athletes in the Leatherneck Club from 2% to 8%, or roughly increasing membership from 105 current members to 312 members.

What matters: Re-connection and participation. We have not connected with our former student-athletes consistently.

Why now? Because it’s time.

Read more.

Athletics Department Welcomes 2012 Hall of Fame Class

Hall of Fame

The Western Illinois Athletics Department inducted five members to the Hall of Fame on Friday night (Sept. 21). The dinner and ceremony took place in the University Union Grand Ballroom.

The 2012 class consists of: Tom Carper (Contributor), Jerry Champer (Swimming/Diving Coach), Dave Dir (Men's Soccer), Craig Phalen (Football), and Holly (Killion) Van Vlymen (Softball).

More than 160 people were in attendance for the event. The class was also honored during halftime of Saturday's football game.

Western Illinois Softball Takes Part in We Care Community Service Event

Softball Team

Western Illinois women's softball again took part of the annual We Care community service event on campus. This year's project involved mulching the landscaping areas along University Drive.

During the 2011-12 academic year, Fighting Leatherneck athletics donated a total of 2,940.5 hours, the equivalent of 122.5 days, of their time, and raised a total of $10,497 for various groups.

Read more.

23rd Annual Purple & Gold Gala Raises Nearly $60,000

The 22nd annual Purple and Gold Auction and Gala raised nearly $60,000 for the Western Illinois Athletics Department. The event, held on Saturday, Aug. 25, brought just shy of 500 people into Western Hall.

The funds raised will be used to renovate many pieces of athletic training equipment, used by the 20 Division I sports programs and 400-plus student-athletes at Western.

"The 23rd annual Purple and Gold Auction and Gala was once again a huge success," Director of Athletics Dr. Tim Van Alstine said. "It's always an amazing atmosphere when we can bring so many Leatherneck supporters together, and this year was no different.

Read more.

Women’s Basketball Announces 2012-13 Schedule

Coaching StaffThe Western Illinois women's basketball team will play 14 games at Western Hall, and travel to Iowa State and Missouri, highlighting the 2012-13 schedule. Second-year head coach JD Gravina announced the schedule on Wednesday (Sept. 12).

Seven of the 2012-13 opponents advanced to postseason play last year, including NCAA Tournament participants ISU and South Dakota State. Three teams (Eastern Illinois, South Dakota and Kansas City) played in the WNIT while SIU-Edwardsville and Bradley played in the Women's Basketball Invitational. Ten of the Leathernecks' 29 regular season games will be against teams that competed in the 2012 postseason.

Three starters and eight letterwinners return for Western this season. In Gravina's first year the program improved by four wins from 2010-11 and advanced to the Summit League Tournament semifinals by beating former league-member Oral Roberts.

Western will play two exhibition games at home, first versus Monmouth on November 2nd then against MacMurray College on the 7th. The Fighting Leathernecks open the season at Big 12 Conference member Iowa State on Sunday, November 11.

The home schedule starts against Clarke University two nights later, then Western travels to new Southeastern Conference member Missouri on the 15th. Gravina and the Leathernecks travel to SIU-Edwardsville on November 19th and Saint Louis on Saturday the 24th before returning home to play host to Valparaiso on Tuesday, November 27, to close out the month.

Read more.

Lil' Leathernecks Volleyball Clinic

Western Illinois head volleyball coach April Hall recently announced a new and exciting opportunity for young Leatherneck fans called the Lil' Leathernecks volleyball clinic. It is open to boys and girls ages 5-12.

"As a staff, we are really excited to host our first annual Lil' Leathernecks Volleyball Clinic," said Hall. "We had such a great turnout for our summer camps that we wanted to do even more to reach out to the community. These camps are a great way for boys and girls to learn fundamentals and get involved in Leatherneck volleyball. We look forward to working with the community to make this a successful event."

There will be a pizza social following each session, and the Lil' Leathernecks will perform between sets two and three at the Grand Finale session at the Western Illinois volleyball match versus Fort Wayne on Friday, November 9. The event will cost $65 per participant.

There will be a total of three clinics and the dates are below:

Sunday, September 30 from 2-4 p.m.
Saturday, October 6 from 9-11 a.m.
Sunday, October 21 from 2-4 p.m.

Read more.


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