The holiday season means spending time with family and friends. This year, the Hmielewskis hosted the Miller Christmas get together. It is normal practice for me to take a ribbing from at least one of my fellow brothers in-law being the youngest of the six who married into the Miller Family.
On top of being the youngest, I am Polish and left-handed, which only adds fuel to the fire.
This year my brother in-law, Lonnie Swenson, decided to tease me about the Hoofprints article I write each week. He wants more of the behind the scenes details, an on the edge type of column. He also shared the enjoyment he had when reading about the crew from Mike's Caf that I wrote about a few times over the four years I have been writing the column.
So Lonnie, this one's for you. Since I have become AD at SMSU, I have made it part of my weekly routine to go to Mike's each morning (that I am able) around 6 a.m. for coffee. I have my on-campus athletic administrative staff, and I have my "off-campus" athletic administrative staff (the Mike's Crew). Tommy Mac says, I get my AD's education each morning at Mike's, and he is right. Every morning is a learning experience. I like to think of the crew as my assistant athletic directors, always providing me wonderful advice, solid recommendations and some of the most challenging questions I have encountered.
The agenda items may include but are not limited to: improved parking options at SMSU athletic events, scheduling of games and events, student-athlete recruitment strategies, review and assess the week's athletic contests, brainstorming on potential fund raising events, just to name a few agenda items we cover at my morning class. We will also venture out and cover the weather, agriculture (for the guy from Chicago), Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau's Hall of Fame careers and a favorite of the group, cell phone and Blackberry capabilities.
Recently, we have been fortunate enough to have Joe Mauer join us for breakfast each morning. One of the crew hung a picture of Ronnie Mac's favorite player, the Twins' MVP catcher, on the wall near the tables we sit at each morning. Ronnie will be giving me a dirty look about now, because someone from the group will read him this part of the article. The bottom line is we have fun, continue to develop thick skin and it is a great way to start the day. Thank you, Lonnie and the morning crew at Mike's Caf.
The SMSU Men's Basketball team (7-2, 2-1 NSIC) returns to NSIC action this weekend with a pair of road games. SMSU will battle MSU Moorhead (4-7, 1-3 NSIC) Saturday, at Alex Nemzek Hall with tip-off slated for 6 pm. On Sunday, the Mustangs will face the University of Minnesota, Crookston (3-7, 0-4 NSIC) at Lysaker Gymnasium with tip-off set for 6:00 pm. The weekend games begin a four-game road trip for SMSU. The Mustangs will play at Winona State on Jan. 8 and Upper Iowa on Jan. 9, before returning home to play St. Cloud State on Jan. 15.
On Tuesday, the SMSU Women's Basketball team had six players score in double figures and got a double-double from Laura Kramer to roll past Clarke (Iowa) 96-50. This gives the Mustangs their fifth straight win to improve to 8-2 before heading to MSU Moorhead (9-2, NSIC 3-1) on Saturday with a start time of 4:00 pm. The 8-2 start is the best for a Mustang squad since SMSU started 10-2 in 1995-96. On Sunday, the Mustangs will also battle the University of Minnesota, Crookston (4-6. NSIC 2-2) at 4 p.m.
The SMSU Wrestling team (1-0) will be back in action in a conference dual competition against Augustana on Jan. 15. The Mustangs will be on the road all of January before returning to the PE Gym on Feb. 13 when they will host the University of Mary at 3 p.m.
The Mustang Wheelchair Basketball team (0-5) will be on the road Jan. 15 when they head to Champaign, Ill., for a two day competition. The Mustangs will not be home again until we host the National Intercollegiate Basketball Tournament March 18-20 in the R/A Facility.
I would like to wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year. Good luck to our Mustang teams this weekend. Go Mustangs!
n No one provided the correct answer to last week's Mustang Hoofprints Trivia Question: How many years has the infamous "sweater" been auctioned off during the event? Greg Stemen's sweater has been auctioned off at the Gold Rush Raffle for seven consecutive years and has raised over $3,600 at the event.