The Ouachita Baptist University Tigers will begin the defense of their football conference championship one day earlier than expected thanks to Tropical Storm Isaac.
The Tigers’ season opener, originally set for Thursday, Aug. 30, has been shifted to Wednesday, Aug. 29, to avoid possible severe weather conditions related to Isaac. According to weather forecasts, the tropical storm could be classified as a hurricane by the time it hits the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday. Remnants of the storm are expected to hit Arkansas by Thursday.
“We have officially moved the game to Wednesday due to deteriorating weather conditions,” said Ouachita Athletic Director David Sharp. He said the schedule change is based on “concern for the safety of all participants, including student-athletes and spectators.”
The Tigers, who won the inaugural Great American Conference championship last year, will open the season in a home game at A.U. Williams Field against Northwestern Oklahoma State University. Kickoff time for the rescheduled game is set for 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
Head Coach Todd Knight, who was named the 2011 GAC Coach of the Year, enters his 14th season with the Tiger football program. The Tigers are returning the 2011 GAC Offensive Player of the Year in Casey Cooper as well as two All-GAC Second Team selections in center Hunter Soper and wide receiver Brett Reece. The Tigers have been picked second in the GAC’s 2012 preseason poll.
Ouachita again will have one of the largest radio networks in NCAA Division II with seven Ouachita Football Network affiliate stations whose combined signals cover most of Arkansas and parts of Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. The Wednesday evening broadcast will begin with the Baptist Health Tiger Countdown to Kickoff.
Network affiliates for the 2012 season are:
KYXK-FM, 106.9, Arkadelphia-Gurdon
KELD-FM, 106.5, in El Dorado-Hampton
KZHS-AM, 590, in Hot Springs
KVMA-AM, 630, in Magnolia
KNAS-FM, 105.5, in Nashville
KUOA-AM, 1290, in Siloam Springs
KQOR-FM, 105.3, in Mena
By special arrangement, the first game of the season also will be heard on KABZ-FM, 103.7, The Buzz in Little Rock.
Rex Nelson will return for his 30th season of play-by-play duties, making him one of the longest-serving play-by-play announcers in the country for one school. He will be joined in the broadcast booth by Dr. Jeff Root, who has provided analysis for more than a quarter of a century.
Nelson is the president of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities, the association that represents the state’s 11 private institutions of higher learning. Root is the dean of Ouachita’s School of Humanities. Nelson and Root grew up within blocks of Ouachita’s A.U. Williams Field and began doing the radio broadcasts of Tiger football when they were students at Ouachita.
Richard Atkinson and Dr. Casey Motl will round out the broadcast team for 2012. The stadium producer for the Ouachita Football Network is Patrick Thomas of El Dorado. The executive producer is Sandy Sanford of El Dorado.
“It’s an honor to bring my alma mater’s games to listeners in parts of six states,” Nelson said. “Ouachita is the only college football program in the state with four consecutive winning seasons, and we want the quality of our broadcast to match the quality of the team.”
The presenting sponsor of the Ouachita Football Network for 2012 is the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas.
Each network broadcast begins one hour prior to kickoff with the Baptist Health Tiger Countdown to Kickoff. The program includes a 15-minute visit with Coach Knight, an interview with the head coach of the opposing team, the Great American Conference Report, highlights from previous games and interviews with Ouachita players and assistant coaches.
The Hot Springs Halftime Report features live interviews, the This Week at Ouachita feature, scores from games across the country and halftime statistics.
The one-hour Southern Bancorp Tiger Recap features postgame comments from the head coach, final statistics, game highlights, scores from other games and the naming of offensive and defensive players of the game.
“We constantly receive comments from alumni and college football fans who are pleased with the quality and the reach of our football broadcasts,” Sharp said. “It’s a more complete game day broadcast package than you’ll find at many Division I schools.”
By Josh Fink, OBU Sports Information Director, and Trennis Henderson, OBU Vice President for Communications