Aug. 16, 2012
Letter from the Director of Athletics: 2011-12 was a record year at Long Beach State
Before we transition into competition for the 2012-13 school year, I wanted to take a look back at one of the most successful competitive seasons in the history of Long Beach State. We are extremely proud of the men and women who represented us in competition, in the classroom, and in the community. They made us, as fans, proud to be 49ers.
More than 350 student-athletes continue to set the standard for academic excellence in the Big West Conference and the state of California. For the fifth consecutive year all NCAA sponsored teams at Long Beach State scored above the required 925 on the Academic Progress Rate (APR), the only California State University to do so each of the last five years. Our average multi-year APR score, 975 of a possible 1,000, was greater than the NCAA average and was the best in the Big West. In addition, 228 student-athletes were recognized as "Academic All-Stars" by achieving a 3.0 grade point average for the fall and spring semesters. Twenty-one student-athletes earned a 4.0 GPA, and 50 earned a place on the President's List with a 3.75 GPA or better, with 45 placing on the Dean's List with a GPA between 3.5 and 3.74. Forty-niner student-athletes continue to graduate with 81 receiving their diplomas in 2011-12, bringing the total number of graduates to 306 over the last four years. To be sure, the success in the classroom is a compliment to the dedication of the Bickerstaff Academic Center and the commitment of our coaches and student-athletes.
Competitively, the 2011-12 season was one we will never forget. The 49er men's basketball, tennis, softball and women's volleyball teams all claimed regular season conference championships, while the men's basketball, soccer and women's tennis teams won their conference tournaments. The men's basketball, soccer, tennis, softball and women's volleyball teams all qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
The 49er soccer team highlighted the 2011-12 school year, advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament after winning three games. In the process, the 49ers became the first Big West Conference women's soccer team ever to advance past the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, an accomplishment that head coach Mauricio Ingrassia, the women on his team, and all 49er fans should be extremely proud of achieving. The soccer team wasn't the only 49er squad to have success in the postseason. The tennis team advanced to the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament with a 4-0 win over Arkansas. It was just the second tournament win in school history for the program. The sand volleyball team capped the year with a runner-up finish in the sport's inaugural national championship tournament.
Long Beach State's success on the playing fields and courts in 2011-12 culminated in the 49ers winning the Big West Conference Commissioner's Cup for the second straight year and the third time in the last four seasons. LBSU scored a conference-record point total in claiming the latest honor, proof that our goal of making Long Beach State not only the premier school in the Big West, but a player on the national stage is being achieved.
Top notch facilities are a key to accomplishing that goal and I am happy to say we made significant progress in the last year towards improving a number of our venues thanks to support from President F. King Alexander and some loyal 49er donors. The 49er men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams will move into state-of-the-art locker rooms in the Walter Pyramid this fall because of the generosity of Glen and Debbie Bickerstaff. Our nationally-ranked soccer team will play a full season under the lights at George Allen Field for the first time this fall. All of our student-athletes in all 19 sponsored NCAA sports are benefiting from our new larger and centralized strength and conditioning facility in the Walter Pyramid that opened in January 2012. And finally, the overall experience at softball and soccer games has been enhanced by the addition of new scoreboards.
Those improvements and the continued success in all of our sports wouldn't be possible if wasn't for the support of the Long Beach State alumni and all community members who take pride in being a 49er. Our faithful supporters have helped maintain our vision of championships through scholarships, as well as the completion of the capital projects mentioned earlier. LBSU donors stepped up in 2011-12 allowing annual giving to increase by 13 percent. Director's Circle membership grew by 31 percent, 49er Athletic Club membership climbed by 20 percent, and 42 percent of current donors increased their gifts from the previous years. I am also proud of how our coaches and staff responded in a time of financial need increasing their giving by 40 percent.
These fundraising accomplishments and completed capital projects are a testament to the generosity of our friends in the Long Beach State family. It proves that our alumni and community truly understand the importance of their involvement in creating an atmosphere where our student-athletes can excel in competition as well as in the classroom. We aren't satisfied with what was accomplished over the last year. Our goal at Long Beach State is continue to get better in every aspect of the program, to reach heights that make everyone associated with LBSU proud to say that we are all 49ers. With the current economic climate of the Cal State University system and our state, there will be challenges, but I am confident that our 49er family will make it their personal responsibility to ensure that our student-athletes continue to have first-class opportunities afforded to them.
As good as the 2011-12 season was, expectations are even higher for the 2012-13 school year. Our student-athletes will continue winning championships, while competing in the classroom as well working their way toward graduation. Our department will endure significant challenges in scholarship and operational support due to the state-wide budget situation that has escalated in each of the past five years. Despite these financial cuts, and tuition doubling over that time, we have remained committed to providing the highest quality educational support for our student-athletes while competing for championships.
In an effort to maintain this momentum, we need those who have supported Long Beach State in the past to continue to play a part in allowing us to afford student-athletes the tools that they need to make all of 49er Nation proud. It is also imperative that new members consider joining the 49er family and are willing to step forward and make contributions and that our current supporters assist us in identifying new alumni and community members to support our campaign. Your generous support to our scholarship fund and capital campaign will make an impact on the lives of our student-athletes.
Thank you in advance for your support of all 49er athletic programs. We are all looking forward to a great 2012-13 competitive season and can't wait to celebrate 49er championships with everybody in the 49er family.
Director of Athletics
Long Beach State University
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Player of the Week
Raven Benton Becomes The 13th Women's Basketball Player With 1,000 Points, 500 Rebounds At The Beach
Raven Benton joined the 1,000 point-500 rebound club after notching five rebounds and 12 points at UC Davis as she helped Long Beach State to a 64-51 road win. LBSU is unbeaten to start conference play.
NEXT GAME: Thursday, January 19 at UC Santa Barbara - Santa Barbara, Calif.
LAST WEEK'S WINNER: Madison Montgomery, Women's Basketball