McMurry University’s athletics program has come a long way. Previously a Division III school, this Abilene, Texas-based school now is in its second year of candidacy for full NCAA Division II membership.
As a D2 school, McMurry can award athletic scholarships to its student-athletes for the first time since 1976-77 and will be able to compete in NCAA D2 playoffs for the first time in 2014-15, when it anticipates its claim of the eighth football spot in the Lone Star Conference.
On Saturday, Oct. 5, the former McMurry Indians-turned War Hawks nation hosted Angelo State University from the LSC for its Homecoming game. I attended their first football rivalry in over four decades for my 10-year college reunion. To top it off, both of my alma maters faced off: I earned my Bachelor’s degree from McMurry and my Master’s from Angelo State.
Before their match, McM and ASU were tied 4-4 from their eight previous 1964-71 meetings when McM was first part of the LSC. Since then, ASU now has a one-up on McM, giving them a 5-4 series record after the Rams pulled a 48-35 victory on the Hawks’ turf. They both entered Saturday’s game with a 1-3 season record and ended it with McM at 1-4 and ASU at 2-3.
Currently, the LSC has seven full-fledged schools, including another one with whom I also share ties: Texas A&M University – Kingsville, home of the Javelinas, where I taught speech and journalism. TAMUK was the first LSC school that the Hawks played this season.
With McM added as a contender to the mix, the Hawks can enjoy perks such as the Lone Star Football Festival at the former Cowboys now-AT&T Stadium, where I also went the day after McM’s Homecoming game for a NFL game: the Dallas Cowboys vs. the Denver Broncos (neither of the home teams that I supported won this past weekend).
Most of McM’s sports are affiliated with the NCAA D2 Heartland Conference, but its football team has been competing as an independent during its D3-to-D2 transition.
A recent claim-to-fame for the Hawks is McM’s QB Gabe Rodriguez, who was named the NCCAA‘s national offensive “Player of the Week” ending Sept. 28.