Saturday, the Newman womens basketball team gets a chance to meet the country.
And the significance of the Jets game against Heartland Conference foe St. Edwards the first nationally-televised contest in school history isnt lost on anyone at the school.
Its a huge stage, a platform to show our school as a place where academics, athletics and civic engagement all blend into one, said Newman president Dr. Noreen Carocci. We feel like were the best little university nobodys ever heard of.
Newman, 11-7, and 2-1 in Heartland Conference play under first-year coach Jaime Green, tips off against St. Edwards (8-10, 1-2) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday on CBS College Sports Network Ch. 260 on Cox.
CBS has a contract to broadcast five mens and five womens NCAA Division II games each season.
A lot of credit goes to Heartland commissioner Tony Stigliano, Newman athletic director Vic Trilli said. We had approached him about doing something to make Newman feel more a part of the conference and more a part of NCAA Division II. We also assured him we would be doing everything we could to be good hosts.
Admission to the game is free and the first 1,500 fans get a free red T-shirt. Theres also a free pregame party at 10:30 a.m. in the Dugan Conference Center on campus, featuring free face-painting, free food, games and giveaways. The entire event is sponsored by Pizza Hut.
Friday, CBS trucks were setting up outside Fugate Gymnasium.
A lot of the credit for this should go to Jaime, too, Trilli said. Her personality and her coaching style, the excitement she brings to the game is a big reason why this is happening.
Green was disappointed with her team after an 84-79 loss to Texas Permian-Basin knocked the Jets out of first place on Thursday night, but was also ready for todays unique opportunity.
We understand its not about womens basketball and not just about the people on this team, Green said. Its about giving a window to the world about Newman. We have really welcomed the privilege and the responsibility of not only representing our school, but also our city.