Dixie State University kicked off its 2016 athletic year with its annual fall sports media day press conference Thursday.
Along with being accompanied by representatives from all of the 2016 fall sports, DSU Athletic Director Jason Boothe announced when the school will begin renovations on the new football stadium during media day.
“I believe that by the first of next year, we are going to be breaking dirt on the new stadium,” he said. “We’ve received a lot of new donations and are excited to begin the renovations.”
Fall sports media day was not limited to this announcement, however, as members from each of the fall sports programs gathered to talk about their upcoming seasons.
Five sports will begin their seasons this fall: football, women’s soccer, men and women’s cross country, men’s soccer, and volleyball.
Head football coach Shay McClure and a few members of the football team sat down with various members of the St. George media to answer questions about the upcoming season. McClure is entering his maiden season as head coach at DSU.
Since his hiring, a lot of changes have been made to the university, such as a new mascot, a new logo, a new conference, and a new name for the stadium in which his team will play. He spoke about the changes the football program has seen over the past year.
“We’re excited for all of the changes we’ve seen,” he said. “We got a little bit of a late start on recruiting because of all the changes with the university. It’s been a work in progress, but the players have been very receptive of the changes.”
With the first game of the season just under two weeks away, McClure said many of the starting positions are still unfilled.
“There’s probably 19 of the 22 starting positions that are up for grabs,” he said. “The competition has been hot and heavy. We are moving guys around to see what works.”
McClure said at least seven or eight freshmen “most definitely” could find themselves in a starting position during the season.
The DSU football team was picked to finish ninth in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, the new conference the football program joined. Junior defensive back Colton Olson commented on what the team thought of the preseason ranking.
“Preseason standings don’t mean anything,” said Olson, a finance major from Spanish Fork. “Last year was last year. We want to build off of last year and improve.”
The Trailblazers are coming off a three-win season but aim to change the momentum this year under the direction of a new coaching staff.
The women’s soccer program won 11 games last season, its best win total since the 2011 affair. Head Coach Kacey Bingham said that her goal for the team is to win the conference.
“The team is focused on doing that right now,” she said. “We’ve got a really good returning group to make that happen.”
The cross country team and the men’s soccer team are also coming off two of their best seasons in school history. The men’s soccer team won a school record of 10 games last season. They believe that last year was just a stepping stone to what they will ultimately accomplish this season.
The volleyball team is coming off a Pacific West Conference championship in 2015, and Head Coach Robyn Felde is determined to keep the title in St. George.
“We want to win the PacWest again this year,” she said. “We focus on trust and loyalty on this team. I believe that if we can build our team in the right way, wins will come.”
Junior right-side hitter Brette Anderson was enthusiastic about the upcoming season based on how training camp has gone.
“I love the competition we have in practice,” said Anderson, a biology major from Prescott, Arizona. “Everyone is competing for a spot, and it makes all of us work harder.”
In anticipation for the beginning of the 2016 athletic season, Boothe added some final thoughts on DSU athletics.
“If there is one constant thing you can say about DSU athletics, it’s that it’s always changing,” he said.