Norse had strong season

The 2003-2004 sports season for NKU athletics could be looked at 10 years down the road as one that has set the pace for the university’s athletic program in years to come.

The big story of legendary men’s head basketball coach Ken Shields retiring highlighted the year, but that was just the beginning of an eventful year.

The university is still waiting to hear if it gets the money that has been put into the state budget in order to construct a brand new regional special events center.

They it will most likely begin the process of moving up to compete at the Division I level..

Just this past week, Dave Bezold was named to replace Shields, while women’s assistant coach Brian Neal left his post to take over as head coach at Thomas More College.

In the fall, the women’s soccer team made a surprising run in the NCAA tournament, advancing all the way to the Elite Eight.

The cross country teams made strong efforts, led by sophomore Tracy Inman, who was the first women’s cross country runner at NKU to receive all-conference honors.

John Basalyga made big strides in his first season at the helm of the men’s soccer team.

In the winter, the men’s and women’s basketball teams once again had strong seasons.

Nancy Winstel led a youthful group of ladies to the NCAA tournament for the sixth straight season.

Shields enjoyed an exciting final season of coaching, by leading a rather unexperienced squad to a 16-15 record and a berth in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament.

Shields’ season was highlighted by a dramatic 93-90 triple overtime victory over Lewis during his final game at Regents Hall.

The spring season has seen its successes as well.

The softball team is currently ranked number one in the Great Lakes Valley Region, with a record of 43-3.

The baseball team is enjoying a strong late-season run after a sluggish start.

The men’s tennis team has enjoyed a great season as well. The Norse have won their second straight GLVC championship and have now won 23 consecutive conference matches.

I have been lucky to witness much of this success firsthand. It has given me probably the best experience in the best working environment I could imagine.

The group of people I’ve had the privilege to work with in the NKU athletic department have given me every opportunity I’ve needed to succeed and learn.

The professional atmosphere that I have been exposed to through Jane Meier, Don Owen, Ken Shields and Nancy Winstel in particular has given me a tremendous amount of insight into my future profession.

I would like to thank them for the experiences that I already know will be invaluable in whatever I do.