Oct. 13, 2007

Someone call the City of Arlington Health Department. There is a new epidemic spreading across our fair Burg.

It is not the measles, west Nile virus or a bad case of the Tijuana Two-step, rather, a full outbreak of Maverick Madness.

A crowd of more than 400 converged on the Maverick Activities Center Friday night to watch a performance by the UT Arlington cheer and dance squads, the introduction of both men's and women's basketball teams and the introduction of the new white stallion mascot. The first 250 persons received a new UTA T-shirt. Posters, schedule cards and free pizza greeted the spectators at the entrance. Interested persons can help name the new mascot by going on line at

"This is an excellent turnout of students and staff," said Dr. Frank Lamas, vice president for student affairs. "The new MAC, the new mascot has generated a lot of excitement. There are a lot of great expectations on the campus. (Tonight) kicked the season off in a positive way."

Puneeth Ramaiah, a graduate student from Bangalore, India, has been on campus for two months and wanted to see what "Madness" was all about.

"I haven't seen anything like this. There is a lot of excitement and a lot of energy. I am going to be at the (basketball) games on Nov. 12."

Antwan Crutcher, a sophomore from Houston, was anxious to see both teams. "I love basketball. I'm going to make the games this season. I'm really looking forward to seeing the (women's team) play."

Men's basketball coach Scott Cross, now in his second year at the helm, was impressed with the turnout.

"I thought went extremely well. It was a great turnout and something our guys will remember for a long time," he said. "Now, it is time to go to work."

New women's basketball coach Samantha Morrow, who will open her exhibition schedule Nov. 1 against Texas Woman's University at Texas Hall, liked the atmosphere from the event.



"We haven't had a Midnight Madness-type event recently, but I think this was a success," said Morrow. "I see a lot of high school coaches and kids here. Our kids are real excited about starting practice and so am I."

A three-point shooting contest pitting members of the men's team against women's team and a slam-dunk contest was included in the evening.

The night also served as way to introduce the MAC to many who had yet to see the new, state-of-the-art, $34.5 million recreation facility where students, faculty, staff, and alumni can meet, relax, workout, and continue to be engaged in UT Arlington's campus life.

Karen Read made the hour-plus trip from Weatherford to see her son, sophomore center Matt Read, and to get a firsthand look at the new facility. "This is incredible," said Mrs. Read as she gazed over the crowd and to the basketball court and the running track that circles court on the second level."

A number of former student-athletes dotted the crowd including former volleyball standout Heather Dunn, men's basketball players Donnie Beacham and DeMarqus James, track and field sprinter Jared Connaughton and women's basketball players Tamesha Graves, Rola Ogunoye and Ashley Bobb.

"(The event) looks classy, the cheerleaders look great. They look like they are ready to win a competition," said Beacham. "I like this whole facility. I like the mascot, the new horse. It is like we starting are fresh."

Both men's and women's start their new season on Nov. 12 with a doubleheader beginning at 5:30 p.m. when the women's host Pittsburg State and the men's meet UC Riverside immediately following. -


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