Aggie Insights E-newsletter
    VOLUME 7 | ISSUE 8 August 2009     

In This Issue



Event Listings







USU Alumni Spotlight - Ajit Nair Ajit Nair

For Ajit Nair, success comes down to how much fire you have in your belly. Ajit described that the fire in one's belly stems from how determined and disciplined you are in working to achieve your goals. While one can have dreams of achieving greatness, Ajit knows from experience that without these two vital elements, true success is difficult to achieve.

A native of Mumbai, India, Ajit’s first time in the United States was when he came to Utah State University to obtain his MBA. Ajit came to USU after hearing about the positive experience of his friends and the caliber of education they received. He commented that the community feeling present on the university campus and in Cache Valley helped him make a smooth transition into American culture.

Ajit was a very active Aggie, participating as a member of the international student council, MBA student association, and graduate student services. He also worked for The Utah Statesman, where he wrote a column every Wednesday entitled, “Country at a Glance”.  During his time at USU, Ajit was honored as the International Student of the Year.

After graduation, Ajit worked in Michigan and California, before founding his first company, Aces International in 1998. Working from the company’s headquarters in San Jose, CA, Ajit developed Aces into a multi-million dollar systems integration firm. In 2000, Computer World magazine selected Aces International, as a “Company to Watch”. A few years later, Ajit sold Aces and relocated to Tampa, FL, where he founded ProV International in 2003.

As the current President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of ProV International, Ajit oversees the workings of a firm that provides superior IT support & excellent customer service to companies locally, nationally, and abroad. ProV conducts business in the UK, as well as in India and the Philippines, where it has a second operations office. In 2005, ProV International was named the “High Growth Company of the Year”, by IT Florida, a non-profit organization representing Florida’s diverse IT community. Ajit has taken a company that started with a mere three employees, and helped it grow to a firm of several hundred employees with Fortune 500 clients and strategic partners.

Ajit is actively involved in the IT industry, his community, and his alma mater. In 2001 the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business presented Ajit with a Professional Achievement Award, and in 2005 he enjoyed a trip back to Utah State to serve as a keynote speaker for the Partners in Business program, where he spoke about outsourcing trends. At the International Business Awards in 2006, he was recognized as the Best MIS & IT Executive of the year. That same year Ajit was also a finalist for the American Business Awards Best Executive Award. He is also a member of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE), a group of successful Indian entrepreneurs who focus on ideas to grow businesses and contribute back to their communities.

With his unique ability to recognize challenges and focus on quick, effective solutions, Ajit has only scratched the surface of his influence in the IT industry. It seems the fire in Nair’s belly will not subside anytime soon.

Spotlight by Clarissa Fidler

Nominate an Alumni Spotlight

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Homecoming 2009 Honorees

Grand Marshal - Eric Hipple Eric Hipple

Born in Lubbock, TX and raised in California, Eric Hipple came to Utah State to play football in 1976. Hipple spent all four of his years as an Aggie at the position of quarterback. He is second on the school record list for percentage of passes completed in a season, as well as fifth in career touchdown passes and third in total career offensive yards. In 1980, Eric graduated from the USU Jon M. Huntsman School of Business with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. After graduation he was drafted by the Detroit Lions, where he made his NFL professional debut in 1981. In his debut game against the Chicago Bears, Hipple passed for four touchdowns and ran for two more- the best debut ever recorded by an NFL quarterback. Eric went on to play professional football for the Detroit Lions for 10 years. His career accomplishments include two playoff bids and a divisional championship. He ranks fifth in all-time passing for the Lions. Following his football career, Hipple hosted the NFL pre-game show in Detroit from 1995-2000.

In 2000, Eric’s 15-year-old son tragically committed suicide.  Since that time Hipple has dedicated his life to promoting awareness about depressive illnesses. Eric, who has personally dealt with depression, has made it his mission to share his and his son’s story to young people across the nation. He regularly visits high school and gives presentations about depression and suicide prevention. In 2006 he received a Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association for his work with adolescent depression and suicide prevention. Recently, Eric was presented with the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Hipple is the author of the book, Real Men Do Cry, a personal account of his struggle with depression and surviving suicide loss. He has also published an article on depression in a University of Michigan publication, as well as co-authored a study about depression and pain in retired professional football players. Eric currently works as the Outreach Coordinator for the University of Michigan Depression Center.

Come listen to Eric speak at 12:00 noon on Thursday, September 24th in the TSC Ballroom as part of USU Homecoming! All are invited to attend and there is no cost for the event.

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Alumni of the Year - Gary & Karen Black Gary & Karen Black

Gary and Karen Black met while attending the Huntsman School of Business at Utah State in the 1960s. Gary graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics in 1963. Since their time at USU, both Gary and Karen have shared ample success in the professional world. Although they both lead busy professional lives, the Blacks have never allowed that to detract from their family or civic efforts.  

Gary is the current owner of Black Agri Land, SL-TB Holdings, and Condies Foods. Actively involved in the food industry, Gary is a founding member of International Fresh-Cut Produce Association. He currently sits on the United Fresh Produce Association Education and Research board in Washington, D.C. He is also a member of the McDonalds Produce Council. Gary has remained an active member of the School of Business community. A long-time member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, he serves on the School of Business National Advisory Board. In 2002 Gary received the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business Distinguished Executive Alumnus award.   

As co-owner of Condies Foods, Karen also serves on the company’s board of directors. She is also the founder and owner of A Basket of Treasures. In addition, she is the owner of Karen’s Ceramics, through which she has taught ceramics in Utah and Salt Lake counties for 25 years. Karen is a past PTA president, past guild president of The Children’s Museum of Utah, past board member of The Children’s Museum of Utah, and board member of The Ronald McDonald House. She worked for 20 years with the Festival of Trees and was on the founders committee for The Children’s Museum of Utah. Karen has received the Hearts and Hands Award twice, and currently serves on the corporate committee for The Ronald McDonald House, where she was named Volunteer of the Year in 2001. 

For over two decades, the Blacks have continuously supported Utah State. As members of the Old Main Society, Gary and Karen have kept close ties with the university. Gary is also member of the Old Main President’s Circle. In 2005 the Blacks established the Gary Black and Karen Walton Black Endowment and Scholarship in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. True Aggies, through and through, the Blacks have watched their four children, Scott Black, Lorie Black Longaker, Traci Black Smith and Brittany Black Uberti all attend USU. The Blacks have 15 grandchildren and enjoy traveling—especially their annual trip to a remote fly-in fishing lodge. Karen both plays tennis and works with a personal trainer “a couple of times a week” and Gary, who began his days at USU as a botany major, continues to enjoy the pampered plants in his flower garden.

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Distinguished Young Alumna of the Year - Charisse Bremond Weaver Charisse Bremond Weaver

In 2006, Charisse Bremond Weaver assumed the presidency of the Brotherhood Crusade, the community service and development organization founded in 1968 by her late father, Walter Bremond. As the first woman to ever hold this post, she set out to maintain the organization’s reputation as a powerful, established voice for a community that has periodically erupted under the pressures of socioeconomic inequality and institutionalized injustice.  

Bremond-Weaver retraces familiar territory and simultaneously blazes uncharted frontiers when observers note her pioneering status in leading the Brotherhood Crusade. She has established her own distinguishing trademark, her ability to build corporate and community partnerships that result in long-term relationships with government officials, corporate executives and community leaders. As a consequence, she has generated over $20 million that has subsequently been used to provide services and support nonprofit institutions in the areas of health, economic development, education and social welfare.  

As a testament to her continued commitment, Charisse has received awards from Turning Point Magazine, A. Philip Randolph Institute Los Angeles, Jenesse Center (Circle of Excellence), LAAAW PAC (Power PAC), and numerous other fine organizations.

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The New Official MasterCard of Utah State University - Earn Double Points for Summer Travel!
Official Mastercard of Utah State

Planning your next vacation? Right now when you use your USU card for spring & summer travel you can earn DOUBLE POINTS on those expenses. Make your plans now to get the best deals and save...and earn double points! Offer good through August 31, 2009.

Your new USU Rewards MasterCard is available exclusively through the Alumni Association. We hope we can count on your support for the new Official MasterCard. Your involvement funds Alumni Association activities such as Aggie Family Days, Homecoming, chapter events and more! The new MasterCard is available now!

Click here for details.

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Featured Alumni Benefit- Class NotesFeatured Benefit- GradMed

There are a variety of benefits available to all USU Alumni. Each month we will be featuring a specific benefit for all former Aggies. For the month of August, discover the benefits of Class Notes.

Have you received a recent promotion, been involved in a community event, or traveled to an exotic destination? Do you ever wonder what other Aggies from your graduating class are up to?

The Alumni Association wants to hear about your many successes!

Visit the Class Notes section of the alumni website to add your own story and read highlights about other successful Aggie Alumni. All Class Notes are featured in every issue of the Alumni e-newsletter and magazine.

It only takes a minute to add your own Class Note online. Click here to add a new Class Note.

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Alumni Calendar Photo Contest Alumni Calendar

Send us your photos of campus and Cache Valley for consideration in the 2010 Alumni Calendar. A negative or electronic file of at least 300 dpi and 10" x 10" must be available, but does not need to be sent with submission. Submissions by mail or email are acceptable.

The deadline for entry is September 30, 2009.

Mail your submissions to:

Utah State University Alumni Association
7500 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-7500

E-mail your submissions to:

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Alumni Social Networking Opportunities

Keep in touch and up-to-date with the latest, official news from your Utah State Alumni Association on the following social networking services:

  Find us on Facebook
  Follow us on Twitter
  Find us on Linked in
  Connect with USU inCircle

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Alumni Legacy Nonresident Scholarship Aggie Legacy Nonresident Scholarship

Keep the tradition alive. Did you earn a degree from USU? You can now send your child to Utah State and their out-of-state tuition will be waived. Stay connected through the next generation of Aggies. We'd love to have them here!

To qualify for the Alumni Legacy Nonresident Scholarship, a future Aggie must:

* Be admitted to Utah State University.
* Have at least one parent who earned an associate degree or higher from Utah State University. (Verification required.)
* Enroll at USU as a first-time student to the Utah system of higher education.

Time spent in Utah on the Alumni Legacy Nonresident Scholarship cannot be counted towards establishing resident student status. However, the waiver will be available to your student until he or she completes their degree(s). Click here to read more about the legislation that allows USU to provide this great opportunity.

If you have any questions, please email Corey Mikkelsen at or call the Admissions office at (800) 488-8108.

USU is excited to offer this opportunity for alumni to keep the great Aggie Tradition alive!

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Back to the Buzzer


1969 "Most Preferred Man" Pepe Quintero with two lovely Aggies.

Buzzers are now available online! Click here to go to the Buzzer Yearbooks Collection at the USU Digital Library.

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Aggie Football Family Fun DayAggie Football Family Fun Day

Utah State Aggie Football Family Fun Day, sponsored by Macey's Foods, will be held Saturday, August 22 at Romney Stadium in conjunction with the USU football scrimmage.

This FREE event provides fans a chance to meet USU football players and coaches, participate in games and activities, as well as pickup season tickets.

USU football's scrimmage gets underway at 1 p.m., while the games and activities will also get underway on the South Concourse of Romney Stadium at 1 p.m.

Fans are reminded to enter Romney Stadium through the Southwest Entrance and to park in the West Parking Lot. Parking for the event is FREE.

For more information, contact the Utah State Athletics Department at (435) 797-1850.

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Celebrate America Show- "Yankee Doodle Dazzle" Celebrate America Show

The 10th Annual Celebrate America Show will take place September 2-5, 2009 at the USU Ballroom.

Come see the amazing, velvet-voiced Celebrate America Singers, with the distinguished  Larry Smith Orchestra and the acclaimed (Rockettes-style) Dancers. They will perform such timeless favorites as In the Mood, Pennsylvania 6-5000, and I’ve Got A Gal in Kalamazoo. Don't miss what promises to be the best show ever!

Click here to download a flyer with more information.

Click here to visit the Celebrate America Show website.

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2009 Big Blue Scholarship Fund Aggie Auction Big Blue Scholarship Fun

The 2009 Aggie Auction will be held on Saturday, September 12th at the Stan Laub Training Facility (1400 North 1000 East Logan, UT). A silent auction and games will be held from 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm. Dinner will be served from 7:00 pm - 7:45 pm. The live auction will start at 7:30 pm.

Reservations are required and payment in full is necessary to secure the reservation. Register by Friday, August 21st for the "Early Bird Special".

Click here to download a registration brochure and view prices.

Visit to view a sample of the night's auction items.

Call 435-797-1850 to make reservations or for more information.

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Alumni Pre-Game Parties USU Football Pregame Parties

Mark your calendars for the following Football Pre-Game Parties sponsored by the Alumni Association:

* Thursday, September 3rd- USU vs. Utah

* Saturday, September 12th- USU vs. Texas A&M

* Friday, October 2nd- USU vs. BYU

Check the Pre-Game/Tipoff Parties page to register and for more details!

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USU Homecoming 2009

Utah State's Homecoming weekend will be held September 24-26th. Check the Homecoming website for the complete schedule. There will be specific activities and events for Young Alumni, Silver Aggies, and Golden Aggies.

Registration for events is now OPEN! Click here to register online.

The Homecoming football game will be played against Southern Utah on Saturday, September 26th at 6pm at Romney Stadium.

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6th Annnual Weber County Golf Tournament Weber County Golf Tournament

Come meet the USU golf team and play with other Aggies at the 6th Annual Weber County Golf Tournament on Saturday, August 15th! After golf, stick around for a delicious BBQ. All proceeds go to the Weber County USU Scholarship Fund for incoming USU freshmen from the Weber County area schools.

Date: Saturday, August 15, 2009
Location: Schneiters Riverside Golf Course
5460 S. Weber Dr.
Ogden, UT
Time: 12:00 pm   Check In
12:00 pm   Caddy Bid
1:00 pm     Tee Time
5:30 pm     Barbeque
Cost: $70    Golf & BBQ
$20    BBQ only
$100  Hole Sponsorship
Registration: Click here to register on-line

Visit the chapter site for more information. Any questions, please contact Karen Shepherd at 801-475-0697 or

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Denver Chapter- Colorado Rockies Baseball Game Colorado Rockies Baseball

Come join fellow Aggies on Saturday, August 22, 2009 to watch the Colorado Rockies take on the San Francisco Giants!

Game starts @ 6:10 pm at Coors Field. Cost is $30 per person (includes donation to Denver Chapter Scholarship Fund). Click Here for directions to the ballpark.

Reserve tickets ASAP by contacting chapter president Scott Bills at

Visit the chapter site for more information.

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Phoenix Chapter- Arizona Diamondbacks Baseball Game AZ Diamondbacks Baseball

Come join fellow Aggies on Saturday, August 29, 2009 to watch the Arizona Diamondbacks take on the Houston Astros!

Enjoy a pre-game social from 4:00 - 5:00 pm in the Garden Area next to section 300.

Tickets are $7.50 per person (1/2 regular price!) in the right field bleachers section 105.

RSVP by August 21 to USU Alumni Association at 1-800-291-2586 or visit

The game starts @ 5:10 pm at Chase Field. Click here for directions to the ballpark.

Visit the chapter site for more information.

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Merit Citation- Larry & Bonnie Smith Larry & Bonnie Smith

A Merit Citation was presented to Larry and Bonnie Smith for their work in promoting the arts and inspiring others through music. Fittingly, the award was presented at the final concert of the summer season presented by the USU Alumni Band. The Smiths were featured performers on the program.

For over 50 years, Larry Smith has been the mainstay of jazz in the Intermountain West. A Utah State University alumnus, Larry was a founding member of the Scotsmen big band, which he led for two years while a student.  Following graduation in 1959, Larry married Miss Idaho, Bonnie Baird, a 1984 USU graduate.  Larry went on to energize students as the music teacher in Star Valley, Wyoming for two years.  This was followed by a promotion to band director at Ben Lomond High School in Ogden for four years. 

In 1966, Larry returned to USU to join the faculty of the music department at the personal invitation of Max Dalby, renowned Director of Bands. For many years, Larry performed “an afternoon of jazz” weekly at the Adult Day Center at the Sunshine Terrace, a national role model for adult day care facilities, that was founded by Bonnie. She returned the favor by being his companion, bass player, and #1 roadie for more than 50 years.  Following retirement in 2003, Professor Emeritus Smith continued to be an active force in music in the valley founding the new Jazz Kicks Big Band.  

Larry and Bonnie have four children and sixteen grandchildren.

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Traditions Story- Associated Women Students

1945 AWS CouncilThe Associated Women Students, known as the AWS, was once an active organization on the Utah State campus. Inclusive of the entire female population, the AWS were responsible for providing for the needs and desires of all female coeds. Traditionally, the AWS council “met every Thursday to iron out problems of women students” (Buzzer 1945).

A sponsor of dances every quarter, service activities, slumber parties, and the annual Preference Ball, the AWS was dedicated to fostering friendships between all female students. Every fall during the first week of school the AWS sponsored a “Little Sister Tea” to help orient freshman girls (Buzzer 1957). In conjunction with the tea, several freshman girls would be paired up with a senior “sister”, who would guide them through their first year at Utah State.

1957 AWS "Little Sister Tea"Although a sponsor of many events, the major event for the AWS was the annual Women’s Week. Throughout the years, activities during Women’s Week included a pie baking contest, presentation on silverware from Needham’s Jewelers, talk by Mrs. America, girls’ movie night, and a sweater contest.

Women’s Week also meant that “once a year at Utah State the girls [were] given a chance to date the guy that [was] the apple of her eye” (Buzzer 1948). At the end of Women’s Week, Lady Aggies would “express their opinions as to who the most sought after males on campus [were]” with the election of the university’s “Most Preferred Man” (Buzzer 1962). Heralded for his athletic prowess, good looks, irresistible charm, witty humor, and kind nature, the title of “Most Preferred Man” was held in high esteem among both male and female students.

Chloe Ann Frailey presents the award for "Most Preferred Man" to Boyd Hansen (1957)Candidates for the award were often exceptional athletes, fraternity brothers, class presidents, and student leaders. After votes were cast and tallied, the “Most Preferred Man” was announced at the Preference Ball, where the president of the AWS would present a trophy to the winner.

Today, one could argue that the title of Mr. USU rivals the former title of “Most Preferred Man”. Although the AWS eventually gave way to other organizations, the tradition of female camaraderie is still alive on the Utah State campus. Friendly, fun association among USU coeds is a legacy that will never die.

Story by Clarissa Fidler

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USU Greats- Mark DeGraffenried Mark Degraffenried

Sculptor Mark DeGraffenried developed a passion for art at an early age. Today, that passion is easily seen and is translated directly into a recent project — a memorial sculpture that honors eight Utah State University agriculture students and their professor who died in a tragic van accident in 2005.

DeGraffenried, a 1993 USU art graduate, is working in a collaborative effort with Monument Arts of Sandy, Utah, to create the commissioned tribute to the accident victims.

The memorial is composed of black granite, bronze and steel. DeGraffenried is first sculpting clay panels that will be cast in bronze. These nine panels, 3 feet by 3 feet, represent an agricultural interest of each of the nine men. Two half-circles, above and below the panels, include the men’s names. At the lower left of the installation is a bronze rubbing element that allows visitors to make a paper rubbing as a personal memento of the memorial.


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Southern States Historical Tour Photo Gallery

Check out the newly posted photo gallery of the May 2009 Southern States Historical Tour! Southern States Historical Tour Group

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Travel Opportunities


Hawaii Fall Trip: November 3-9, 2009 Hawaii Fall Trip

Join other Aggies in Oahu for fun in the sun and football! The base price of $1,175.00 (plus tax) includes:

* Round-trip airfare to Honolulu from Salt Lake City

* 5-nights of accommodation at the Hilton Hawaiian Village

* Round trip transfers between the airport and hotel

Airline reservations are very limited. Make reservations today by calling Columbus Travel at 800-373-3328 ext. 2015.

Click here to download complete trip details.


Cathedrals of Great Britain with Dr. Craig Jessop: June 2010 Cathedrals of Great Britain with Dr. Craig Jessop

Join Dr. Craig Jessop as he leads USU Alumni through a musical heritage tour of Britain's greatest cathedrals. Visit Cambridge, Westminster Abbey, Canterbury, and more for choral Evensong, plus experience traditional mystical sites.

More details to come!

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Class Notes

Read the Class Notes to find out what's going on in the lives of successful Aggie Alumni everywhere!

Have you received a recent promotion, been involved in a community event, or traveled to an exotic destination? Do you ever wonder what other Aggies from your graduating class are up to?

Add your own Class Note!

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Current Athletic Schedules

Click here for the current schedules for all Aggie athletics.

Click here to view the 2009 Football Media Guide.


USU Football Season Tickets On Sale Now!

Photo from Athletics website

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Utah State Football Picked Seventh In Both WAC Preseason Polls USU Football

Utah State football was picked seventh in both the 2009 Western Athletic Conference football media and coaches' polls released by the conference office Wednesday at the opening of the conference preview, held in Salt Lake City.

The seventh-place prediction matches USU's highest spot in the Aggies' five seasons in the league. In 2006, USU was tabbed seventh in the media poll and tied for seventh in the coaches poll.

"This is a very competitive league and there's a bunch of proven winners that are picked above us, and deservedly so," first-year head coach Gary Andersen said. "I expected us to be in the bottom portion at seven, eight and nine, and all three of those teams: us, New Mexico State and Idaho are fighting to move up."


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Aggie Spikers Picked To Finish Third In The WAC This Season

Utah State's women's volleyball team has been picked to finish third in the Western Athletic Conference's preseason poll according to the league's coaches as the Aggies received 45 votes. Hawaii, which has won 13 straight WAC titles, was once again selected as the conference favorite.

The third-place prediction for Utah State is its highest in its five years in the WAC as USU's previous high was a fifth-place prediction in both 2005 and 2008.

Hawaii garnered eight of the nine possible first-place votes and 64 points, while New Mexico State received the other first-place vote and was picked to finish second in the conference. Idaho was picked fourth in the preseason poll with 41 points, followed by Nevada (37), San Jose State (29), Fresno State (28), Boise State (12) and Louisiana Tech (11).


Photo from Athletics website

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Gary Wilkinson Named 2008-09 Stan Bates Award Winner

Utah State basketball player Gary Wilkinson has been named the 2008-09 Western Athletic Conference Stan Bates Award winner it was announced by the league office Monday. Wilkinson is the first Utah State student-athlete to earn the distinguished honor.

Named in honor of former WAC Commissioner Stan Bates, the annual award is given to the WAC's top male and female scholar-athletes and recognizes the recipients' athletic and academic accomplishments. The awards carry a $2,000 postgraduate scholarship.

Hawaii track and field athlete Annett Wichmann was this year's female recipient.


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Carissa Kalaba Named USU Head Softball Coach Carissa Kalaba Named USU Head Softball Coach

Carissa Kalaba has been named Utah State head softball coach, it was announced Wednesday by Athletics Director Scott Barnes. Kalaba becomes the eighth head coach in 33 years of Aggie softball.

"Carissa has a great pedigree having been an elite player at the Pac-10 level along with her success as a head coach," Barnes said. "It is evident that Carissa has great energy and passion for helping young women reach their potential in softball, academics and in life. She will be a great addition to our team."

Kalaba (Cal-uh-ba) comes to Utah State after five seasons at Biola University in La Mirada, Calif. Biola is part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). While at Biola, Kalaba led the Eagles to five-straight playoff appearances, the longest streak in the program's 17-year history. Her teams also finished no lower than fifth in the tough Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC), posting an overall mark of 59-61. During her tenure at Biola, she compiled an overall record of 143-93 (.606 winning percentage), averaging just under 29 wins per year.


Photo from Athletics website

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Aggie Soccer Match with Utah moves to Rio Tinto Stadium

Utah State's athletic department announced Wednesday that the12th meeting between the Aggie soccer team and the University of Utah on Sept. 24 will not be played in either Logan or Salt Lake City. The in-state rivalry will be played at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, home of Major League Soccer's Real Salt Lake. The match is set for 7 p.m. MT.

"We are extremely excited for this opportunity to play in Rio Tinto Stadium," Cairns said. "The combination of a world class facility and the fact that we get to bring a home Aggie event right to our Salt Lake City supporters and alumni's doorsteps, will allow us to play in a truly unique atmosphere."

This is the first time that the Utah State soccer team has played a match in an MLS stadium.


Photo by Jeffrey Allred, Deseret News

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