2006: The Year of The Blue Raiders

The Blue Raider Zone looks back on 2006 and the highlights in Middle Tennessee athletics

Blue Raider fans have many things to be grateful for in the year 2006. The list is long, but the memories are awesome. As 2006 comes to an end, let's take a look back over the past year. These highlights are in no particular order.

1) The hiring of Rick Stockstill. Yes, this did happen at the end of 2005, but it laid the groundwork for an awesome football season.

2) Feb. 23- The men's basketball team takes down conference rival Western Kentucky 80-74.

3) Feb. 1- Signing Day. Who knew Desmond Gee would contribute as much in 2006 as he did?

4) March 7 and December 27- Lady Raiders defeat Western Kentucky in Murphy Center.

5) New field turf in Floyd stadium. Boy, didn't that improve the look of the field as the Blue Raiders took back home field advantage in the Sun Belt.

6) April 25- Adam Warren hits for the cycle against Lipscomb.

7) Blue Raider baseball. Who would have thought they could make it to the Sun Belt championship game? Coach Pete and his squads continue to amaze.

8) April 11- Jeff Beachum breaks the Middle Tennessee career hits record with a home run.

9) Hosting the basketball Sun Belt tournament. Not only did the university do a great job of hosting, the Lady Raiders came from behind to beat rival Western Kentucky 84-73 and earn their 3rd straight conference title and 3rd straight NCAA bid.

10) Dec. 26- The Motor City Bowl. MTSU was picked to finish 6th in the conference. Who would have thought they would be bowling in Detroit?

11) Matt Peck and the volleyball team. Dominating all year, beating Louisville in the NCAA's, and finishing #34 in the nation.

12) Coach Dean Hayes- He continues to be one of the best track coaches in the country.

13) August 31- Football finally returned to Floyd Stadium and Coach Rick Stockstill made his head coaching debut. The Blue Raiders won their opening game in Floyd and took the lead in the Sun Belt with a 7-6 win over FIU. Who knew at that time that this would be such a special season?

14) Coach Aston Rhodes and the soccer team. Finishing 17-4 and being one of the top scoring teams in the nation.

15) Shelby Stiner- Her blogs kept us up-to-date over the summer.

16) Brad Smith and Andrea Curran in the marketing department. They worked tirelessly to increase attendance and make the games more fun.

17) The Middle Tennessee students. In year's past they have taken heat for not supporting Middle Tennessee athletics. This year they were the life of the crowd in Murphy Center and Floyd stadium.

18) Chris Massaro. Enough said. He continues to amaze the Blue Raider faithful.

19) Sept. 30- The football team exorcised the North Texas monkey winning in Denton 35-0.

20) Blue Raider fans for setting attendance records in football and women's basketball and continuing to show up in large numbers for men's basketball.

21) The announcement of a new baseball stadium. Coach Pete deserves this new stadium. Also, props to all those who have stepped up and donated money to make this stadium a reality.

22) Oct. 6- The Blue Raiders played in front of a national TV audience in Nashville against a top 10 Louisville team.

23) The Blue Raider student-athletes. Not only have you impressed the fans on the field/court, you all are a class act. It makes it much easier to cheer for you when we know the great people you are.

Thanks for a great 2006. We can't wait to see how you will top it in 2007.


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