CSU Holds Special Graduation Ceremony for Student-Athletes

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University held a special graduation ceremony Thursday afternoon for seven student-athletes who might not be able to participate in the university’s regular ceremonies because they will be competing in post-season tournaments.

CSU’s graduation ceremonies will be held on Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13. If things go as planned, CSU’s baseball team will be competing that weekend in their conference championship tournament, and CSU’s men’s and women’s tennis teams will be in Orlando in the NCAA Round of 16. It will be the Lady Cougars’ sixth straight appearance in the Round of 16 and the men’s first appearance since 2014.

When Director of Athletics Todd Reeser heard about the conflict, he and President Chris Markwood quickly huddled and found some free time this week when they could honor the student-athletes.

“This is a recognition of the ultimate of victories for these student-athletes,” Reeser said. “We did not want them to miss graduation. We wanted them to feel special.”

The ceremony was held in the Lumpkin Center, which will host CSU’s regular graduations later this month. The students wore caps and gowns and the graduation march music played from a nearby computer. The president and other senior administrators wore full academic regalia. They even had a commencement speaker: the 2016 Muscogee County School District Teacher of the Year, Stefan Lawrence. Lawrence is a two-time graduate of Columbus State University and used to be a starting guard on the CSU basketball team.

“We are so proud of our graduates and thankful you could be here today,” Markwood told the graduates, who were being watched by a room full of parents, coaches, friends and administrators. “One of the things I think is so special about graduation is that while it is an individual effort, it is also a team accomplishment. That is even more true today.”

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Columbus State, CORTA Officially Dedicate New Tennis Complex

COLUMBUS, Ga. — In conjunction with the Columbus Regional Tennis Association (CORTA) and the Columbus Consolidated Government, Columbus State University celebrated the official opening of the new tennis complex at Cooper Creek on Thursday, April 6.

The ceremony brought together dignitaries from across the Columbus community, including Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, CSU President Chris Markwood, Director of Athletics Todd Reeser and Executive Director of USTA Georgia Darren Potkey.

“The Cooper Creek Tennis Facility represents excellence in vision, teamwork, and partnership, and is truly one of the top tennis complexes in the country,” Reeser said. “Our student-athletes strive for competitive excellence in all facets of their intercollegiate experience, and the new facility allows them to develop their games to a championship level.”

Thursday’s festivities included the official naming of the complex. The entire expansion will be named the Judy and Roger Pearce Tennis Center.

The 12 hard courts used by the Columbus State men’s and women’s tennis programs will be known as the John W. Walden CSU Tennis Complex and the clubhouse is designated in honor of Nora Garrard.

“We are extremely honored and grateful for all of the people that have made this possible,” CSU head tennis coach Evan Isaacs added. “So many people have worked long hours in order to make this possible, and it truly is a dream come true for this program and me.”

This extraordinary public/private partnership expands Cooper Creek’s previous 30 rubico (clay) court facility by adding nine more rubico courts, 12 hard courts and four ‘quick start’ junior-size courts.

A 12,000 square foot, two story, brick clubhouse has been built in the center of the expansion. The administration of CSU’s nationally-ranked men’s and women’s tennis programs will operate out of the first floor of the clubhouse and the teams will be the primary users of the new 12 hard courts.

The Cougars began playing on the new courts on Feb. 8 and are a combined 19-1 at home this season. The two teams will play their final regular season home match against Lander on Saturday, April 15.

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CSU Discontinues Volleyball Program

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University announced today it will discontinue the women’s volleyball program effective immediately.

“Our current budget projections and realities facing the overall athletics program for FY ’18 make it now financially necessary to adjust our sport offerings. Based on those projections, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue our volleyball program,” said Todd Reeser, CSU’s athletic director.

To minimize the educational and financial impact on the effected student-athletes, returning volleyball athletes will have their scholarships honored at their current equivalencies to allow them to continue their education at Columbus State University, unless that athlete chooses to transfer to another program.  We are also working with impacted coaches and staff to match them with other employment opportunities.

“While various other options have been considered and reviewed, eliminating one sport helps us toward meeting the financial targets while also minimizing the number of student-athletes impacted,” added Reeser. “Across the board cuts to each of our programs would only reduce the quality of all programs, as well as impact the competitiveness and overall student-athlete experience we have become accustomed to achieving and providing.”


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Lady Cougars Win Southeast Region Title

COLUMBUS, Ga. — In front of more than 1,700 people, the fourth-ranked and top-seeded Columbus State University women’s basketball team captured the Southeast Region championship with an 86-75 win over 13th-ranked Lincoln Memorial on Monday night. The championship game was played inside the Lumpkin Center.

The victory was the third region championship in program history and the first since 2001. Columbus State (31-1) will now head to Columbus, Ohio for the national quarterfinals to begin Tuesday, March 21.

“I really felt like we finally put together a complete performance from start to finish tonight,” head coach Anita Howard said. “Lincoln Memorial is a great team and has been playing great basketball, but we played well on both ends of the floor.

“We have been checking off goals this season: Peach Belt Conference regular season champs, Peach Belt Conference Tournament champs, Southeast Region champs, and now we can focus on the ultimate goal of a national championship.”

A back-and-forth first quarter saw the Lady Cougars trail by four points early on. Tatiana Wayne dropped in a 3-pointer to spark a 10-2 stretch that gave CSU a 15-10 advantage.

As it would most of the night, Lincoln Memorial (28-5) had the answer as it knocked down a 3 of its own late in the quarter that brought the Railsplitters back within two, 17-15, after 10 minutes of play.

Columbus State continued its strong shooting night from the perimeter to start the second as Alexis Carter drained a pair sandwiched around one from Narshanda Malone. The second 3-ball from Carter gave the Lady Cougars their largest lead of the day at 27-20 two minutes into the second.

The lead spread out to as much as nine in the quarter, but LMU hung within striking distance scoring seven of the final 10 points to cut the CSU lead to 38-33 at halftime.

Lincoln Memorial continued to chop away at the lead, getting it down to two midway through the third. However, Columbus State had the answer each and every time.

Leading 51-47, Britteny Tatum connected on her only 3-pointer of the night and the Lady Cougars used it to fuel a 10-3 run to open up their first double-digit lead of the game at 61-50 after three.

LMU refused to go away though, getting the deficit down to six on three different occasions. Up 67-61, Jasmine Herndon grabbed a huge offensive rebound and stuck it back in to stem the Railsplitters’ momentum and CSU pulled away from there.

Columbus State led by as much as 17 coming down the home stretch on their way to the region title.

Alexis Carter ended the regional as the Most Outstanding Player following 25 points, 14 rebounds, six steals and six blocks on Monday night. Ashley Asouzu was 7-of-10 from the floor and finished with 18 points. Keyrra Gillespie added 11 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Asouzu and Gabby Williams were named to the All-Tournament team.

The Lady Cougars shot 42.2 percent (27-of-64) from the field, their highest total of the postseason. CSU knocked down 9-of-24 3-pointers and was 23-for-37 from the free throw line.

Lincoln Memorial ended the game at 35.4 percent (28-for-79) overall and 7-for-24 from outside.

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Columbus State University to Host NCAA Southeast Regional

COLUMBUS, Ga. — For just the second time in program history, the Columbus State University women’s basketball team will host the NCAA regional tournament as the Lady Cougars were selected as the top seed in the Southeast Region Sunday night.

The 2017 NCAA Southeast Regional will be played March 10, 11 and 13 inside the Frank G. Lumpkin Center. Columbus State will play eighth-seeded Anderson at 5:30 p.m. on Friday night.

“We are honored to serve as host for the 2017 NCAA Southeast Regional tournament at the Lumpkin Center,” CSU Director of Athletics Todd Reeser said. “Our women’s basketball team has had an incredible season and now is the time for all of Columbus and CSU to come out and support their efforts. It is our goal to deliver a first-class experience for all fans and participants, as well as to showcase our great community.”

Columbus State earned the No. 1 seed after putting together a 28-1 record and capturing the Peach Belt Conference regular season title. The Lady Cougars added an exclamation point on Sunday with a 76-61 win over Lander in the PBC championship.

“We are excited to be the number one seed in the Southeast Region,” head coach Anita Howard stated. “Getting the top seed and serving as the host is a great reward for all of the hard work and effort our young ladies have put in this season.”

The NCAA Tournament selection is the 10th overall for the Lady Cougars and fourth straight. CSU has gotten to the second round of the tournament in each of the last two seasons.

Seven other teams will join Columbus State in the first women’s basketball regional in Columbus since 2001. Wingate, Lincoln Memorial, Limestone, Lander, Clayton State, King and Anderson make up the rest of the eight-team field.

“I am delighted to hear Columbus State University is hosting the NCAA Women’s Southeast Regional tournament,” Columbus State University President Dr. Chris Markwood added. “Being named a host not only speaks to the excellence of Cougar Athletics, but helps reaffirm the prestige of CSU, and is an economic benefit to the Columbus community.”

Play begins on Friday at noon in the Lumpkin Center. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for seniors, children and military.

For more information and details, go to www.CSUCougars.com.


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Women’s Basketball, Cheer Win Peach Belt Conference Championships


GREENWOOD, S.C. – The fourth-ranked Columbus State University women’s basketball team erased an 11-point halftime deficit and took home the Peach Belt Conference tournament title with a 76-61 victory over Lander on Sunday. The championship contest was played inside Horne Arena.

Five Lady Cougars finished in double figures led by Ashley Asouzu’s 16 points. The senior added 10 rebounds as well. Alexis Carter recorded a third straight double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Gabby Williams turned in 14 points, while Britteny Tatum tallied 13. Narshanda Malone came off the bench and scored 12.

Asouzu and Tatum were named to the All-PBC Tournament team, while Carter was the tournament Most Valuable Player.

With the victory, Columbus State earns the PBC’s automatic bid into the upcoming NCAA Southeast Regional.

“Lander dictated the game over the first 20 minutes,” head coach Anita Howard said. “We had a good talk at halftime and came out looking more like ourselves in the third quarter.

“This group has fought really hard this season and this is another step on the journey toward our ultimate goal.”

Behind 29 percent shooting, Columbus State (28-1) trailed 38-27 at the halftime break. The switch flipped starting the third quarter however, and the Lady Cougars stormed back.

Columbus State finished the game at 38.1 percent (24-of-63) from the field. The Lady Cougars were outstanding at the foul line, knocking down 25-of-30 attempts.

Lander was 33.9 percent (19-for-56) from the floor and 9-of-23 from the 3-point line.

The Columbus State University cheerleading program added two more championships to its ledger on Saturday at the annual Peach Belt Conference spirit competition. The competition was held inside Horne Arena at Lander University.

Columbus State took home the top spot in the Co-Ed competition as well as the All-Girl division.

The pair of titles gives the CSU program 19 conference championships under the guidance of head coach Jimbo Davis.

Find out more at www.csucougars.com.


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CSU Athletics Launches New Online Store

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University Athletics has launched its official online store at ColumbusStateGear.com, allowing Cougar fans, students and alumni to purchase the latest gear from brands such as Adidas, Columbia and Under Armour. Items include t-shirts, jackets, hats and much more.

“Columbus State Athletics is excited to partner with Advanced-Online to provide convenient access to our alumni and fans in obtaining Columbus State branded items,” said CSU Director of Athletics Todd Reeser. “We are pleased to offer this service to our fans throughout the country.”


A portion of the proceeds from each item will go to benefit the Columbus State athletic department and its student-athletes.

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Howard Tabbed to Lead Lady Cougars

HowardCOLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University Director of Athletics Todd Reeser introduced Anita Howard as the next head coach of the Lady Cougar basketball program at a press conference Friday morning.

Howard becomes the third head coach in program history, following Jonathan Norton and Jay Sparks.

“I am pleased to attract a rising star in the basketball coaching profession in Anita Howard to lead our highly successful women’s basketball program,” CSU Director of Athletics Todd Reeser said. “Anita brings a passion for people and coaching, and her proven ability to recruit and develop young women for success, on and off the court, makes her the perfect choice to lead our program forward.

“I could not be more excited for the future of Columbus State women’s basketball.”

Howard comes to Columbus State after a pair of winning seasons at NCAA Division II Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C. Howard guided the Lady Blue Bears to a 41-14 record achieving a top-five ranking for the first time in program history. In 2014-15, Howard led Livingstone to a 26-2 overall mark, including winning 23 consecutive games to set the longest winning streak in HBCU history.

“I am thrilled to be the new head coach of the Columbus State University women’s basketball program,” Howard said. “I have to thank God, my family, President Markwood and Todd Reeser for allowing me this outstanding opportunity. Columbus State has a long tradition of success and it is my goal to take that success to the next level.

“Columbus State has a great foundation that has been laid by my predecessors and I’m looking forward to the challenge of building upon their successes and leading the Lady Cougars to the ultimate goal of a national championship.”

Before Livingstone, Howard coached at Division III Salem College in Winston-Salem, N.C. for two seasons. In her first season, Howard turned around Salem leading the Spirits to a 13-win improvement from the season prior and a 17-11 overall record. She was named the Great South Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for her efforts. Just a year later, Howard won Salem’s first GSAC Championship with a 22-5 record sending the Spirits to their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance.

Overall, Howard’s career coaching record is 79-30, a .724 winning percentage, in four seasons.

Prior to her head coaching stints, Howard was an assistant coach at Winston-Salem State University, Shaw University and Saint Augustine’s University. She helped each program find success in her tenure. At Shaw, Howard helped the Lady Bears to a CIAA Championship and a trip to the Division II Final Four in 2010-11. As the associate head coach at Saint Augustine’s, the Lady Falcons became one of the top defensive teams in Division II while she also help to produce the 2012 CIAA Player of the Year. At her first coaching stop at Winston-Salem State, Howard helped the team transition into the Division I game ushering in a new era in their women’s basketball history.

Howard was a stellar player herself in her collegiate days. She played three seasons from 1998-2001 at Fort Valley State willing FVSU to two Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles. She was named the SIAC’s Defensive Player of the Year in all three seasons while also earning a spot on the Dean’s List twice. Howard wrapped up her playing days at fellow Peach Belt Conference school Armstrong State where she continued her success. Howard helped the Pirates to their first ever PBC title in 2003 with a 27-3 record. She graduated from Armstrong Magna Cum Laude in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts design.

Following college, Howard began coaching at the high school and AAU level in Georgia. She took Savannah High School to the school’s first state playoff appearance in 25 years. She served as the head coach of the Peach State Elite travel team, coaching several All-State players.

Howard was born in Montgomery, Ala. and is married to Theo Howard. They have three children – Jason, Thallan and Theo II.

What They’re Saying

“Columbus State has found a winner in Anita Howard. She brings a wealth of coaching experience to the table and I know she will continue to excel and raise the bar just as she has on every step of her head coaching journey leading up to this new position. Anita has a passion for the game, relates well to her student-athletes, and is a competitor. I know she is excited to be back in her home state and I look forward to watching her do great things at Columbus State.” Joni Taylor, University of Georgia head women’s basketball coach

“Anita is a rising star in women’s basketball! Her love and passion for the game is evident when you meet her! She is a great role model and a hardworking coach that will have an instant impact at Columbus State!” MaChelle Joseph, Georgia Tech head women’s basketball coach

“Congratulations to Columbus State University for hiring Anita Howard as its new head women’s basketball coach. I’ve observed unparalleled energy and passion in her leadership. She is a true winner and a great person!” Dwight Howard (no relation), eight-time NBA All-Star

“Columbus State has made an excellent hire in Anita Howard. Anita prides herself on her faith, family, friendships and the future of the young women that she impacts on a daily basis. Anita is a player’s coach! Her knowledge and passion for the game is contagious to all who come in contact with her. Anita is a proven winner and competitor. Her team will play with passion, discipline and a competitive spirit. She is a tireless worker who will continue the winning tradition at Columbus State while embarking on establishing an even bigger winning tradition of her own.” Natasha Adair, Georgetown University head women’s basketball coach

“I am very happy for Anita! She is a great coach looking to make a impact on the student-athlete on and off the court!” Josh Howard (no relation), ten-year NBA veteran

“Congratulations to both Columbus State and Anita Howard on Anita’s recent appointment as Head Women’s Basketball Coach. I have enjoyed getting to know Anita over the last several years with her involvement in our summer camps. She is a fabulous teacher and a rising star full of energy and enthusiasm for this game we all love. The swift turn-around she led at Salem College was remarkable and I am sure the Cougars will benefit from the guidance of this bright young coach immediately.” Jen Hoover, Wake Forest University head women’s basketball coach

“I applaud Columbus State for finding and recognizing what a wonderful coach, mentor, and person Anita Howard is. She has helped Livingstone reach amazing milestones and I know she will do an outstanding job leading the women’s basketball team at Columbus State. You have secured a proven winner and rising star in our profession!” Jackie Carson, Furman University head women’s basketball coach

“Anita Howard is the consummate professional. She is definitely a rising star in the women’s game. Her passion translates into creating a winning culture both on and off the court. I’m excited to see her footprint on the program at Columbus State. You have a true winner on your hands!” Charlotte Smith, Elon University head women’s basketball coach

“I am excited to learn of Coach Howard’s hiring as head basketball coach. Her energy and passion should positively impact Columbus State for years to come.” Matt Doherty, former division I head coach and current NBA scout


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Columbus State Wins PBC Commissioner’s Cup

PBC CupHILTON HEAD, S.C. – Putting the spotlight on the many athletic achievements of the academic year, Columbus State University was awarded the 2015-16 Peach Belt Conference Commissioner’s Cup Tuesday night in Hilton Head, S.C.

The Cougars also took home their second straight Peach Belt Conference Presidents’ Academic Award, which recognizes excellence in academics concerning all of an institution’s student-athletes, during the annual Peach Belt Conference awards dinner.

The Commissioner’s Cup is given annually to the best overall athletic department as defined by the conference standings. Columbus State captured its first Commissioner’s Cup since 2010-11 and its fifth overall, which ties North Florida for the most in conference history.


The winner of the Cup is determined by calculating the number of points possible to each school, given the number of sports they participate in, divided by the number of points earned during the year.  Points are determined by placement in the final regular-season standings in each of the PBC’s 15 championship sports.

Out of a possible 150 points, CSU amassed 113.5 to tally a rating of .757. The mark was more than four-tenths higher than second place Lander, which came in with a .715 rating.

“Winning the Commissioner’s Cup is an incredible accomplishment by our student-athletes, coaches, and the overall athletic department,” CSU Director of Athletics Todd Reeser said. “This award is a direct reflection on our outstanding coaches and their effort and resourcefulness to recruit talented young men and women and inspire them to compete at a very high level.

“We set a goal to win the Cup, and this achievement puts an exclamation point on a very memorable 2015-16 athletic year. I could not be more proud of our athletic department and their representation of Columbus State University.”

The Commissioner’s Cup is the cherry on top of an outstanding athletic year for Columbus State. The Cougars and Lady Cougars brought home PBC regular season championships in women’s soccer, women’s basketball, men’s basketball and men’s golf and baseball, while also winning the PBC tournament in women’s soccer and baseball and the all-girl cheerleading title.

CSU also scored well with women’s tennis and men’s track and field, each recording second-place finishes, while men’s tennis and men’s and women’s cross country teams each took third.


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Chastain to Headline Second Annual CSU Girls in the Game Advance Initiative


COLUMBUS, Ga. — After a successful inaugural year, the Columbus State University athletic department will hold its second annual Girls in the Game Advance Initiative on Thursday, April 28. The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Country Club of Columbus.

The Columbus State University Girls in the Game Advance Initiative began in 2015 with one goal in mind: to raise money to empower CSU’s female student-athletes and support their programs.

This year’s event will be headlined by two-time Women’s World Cup Soccer champion and Olympic gold medalist Brandi Chastain. Now an assistant women’s soccer coach at Santa Clara University, Chastain spent 16 years with the United States Women’s National Team.

“Attracting Brandi Chastain to share her message of empowering female student-athletes blends perfectly with the Girl’s in the Game Advance Initiative,” CSU Director of Athletics Todd Reeser said. “Investing in the female student-athlete experience serves them well as champions today representing CSU, but more importantly, as leaders for tomorrow in their chosen field of endeavor.”

Chastain has been a big advocate for the empowerment of women through her work in coaching and philanthropic efforts. Along with coaching, Chastain helped found the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative (BAWSI), a nonprofit organization that equips female athletes through a series of leadership and service programs. She is also a strong supporter of the All Girls Can Play movement, which uses soccer to raise awareness about discrimination challenges faced by girls worldwide.

“Empowering our future leaders, especially females, is one of the most critical things that we do as coaches and administrators,” CSU head women’s soccer coach Jay Entlich said. “This is one of the most unique events of its kind at our level and building upon the success of last year’s event is crucial.

“Having someone of Brandi’s caliber headline this year’s event speaks volumes about the opportunity we have to make a significant impact in the future of our female student-athletes.”

Along with Chastain, the event will feature Columbus State student-athletes, past and present.

The Girls in the Game Advance Initiative is an invite only event. For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact Jay Entlich at 706-507-8055 or Entlich_Jason@ColumbusState.edu.

Donations can be made regardless of attendance at the event by downloading the pledge card and returning it via mail.


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Norton Steps Down as Lady Cougar Head Coach


COLUMBUS, Ga. — After seven seasons at the helm of the program, Columbus State University head women’s basketball coach Jonathan Norton has announced his resignation.

Norton is leaving the Columbus State program to become the Principal of Wynnbrook Christian School and the Chief Administration Officer of Wynnbrook Baptist Church in Columbus.

Columbus State will immediately begin its national search for the next head coach of the Lady Cougars.

“Beyond his highly successful record as the head women’s basketball coach, Jonathan Norton leaves a profound impact on all aspects of the program,” CSU Director of Athletics Todd Reeser said. “His proven ability to recruit, develop, and nurture student-athletes will continue to serve him and young people well as he enters a new and exciting chapter in his life. We are extremely appreciative of all that he has done for Columbus State University.”

“I have been blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of the CSU Cougar family for 16 years, as a student, assistant coach and head coach,” Norton said. “At this point in my career, I feel like I have accomplished way more than I ever dreamed, but the most important accomplishments are the personal relationships I have had the pleasure of developing over the years.

“Now God has called me and my family into a different season in our lives. My priorities in life have always been faith, then family, then basketball. I now have the opportunity to put that faith into action by serving God and my family in much greater capacity. I am forever grateful to CSU for all the opportunities this institution has provided me. CSU is in my DNA. I bleed red, white and blue, and I will always be a Cougar.”

Norton steps down from the Columbus State program with an overall record of 141-61. The Lady Cougars saw tremendous success during his tenure, reaching three straight NCAA Tournaments, twice winning the Peach Belt Conference regular season title and winning two conference tournament championships.

Hired in April of 2009, Norton was just the second head coach of the CSU women’s basketball program. He had previously worked as an assistant coach for five seasons at the start of his career and returned to Columbus after head coaching stops at Berry and Lander.

Columbus State has been the premier women’s basketball program over the last three seasons winning the 2014 and 2015 PBC Tournaments and the regular season crown each of the last two years.
The Lady Cougars matched the program record with 31 wins during the 2014-15 season, while sweeping the league titles. CSU followed it up with a 25-6 record this year with yet another NCAA Tournament appearance.

Norton garnered back-to-back PBC Coach of the Year honors for his work over the last two seasons.

The Columbus State women’s basketball program crossed the 500-win plateau during the 2015-16 season. The Lady Cougars have averaged nearly 19 wins over their first 27 seasons of competition. CSU holds an overall record of 508-292, winning close to 64 percent of its games all-time.


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Lady Cougars Headed to National Championship


CSU is providing a Fan Bus to Pensacola, FL to watch the game. The bus ride is FREE, however student admission to the game is $7, and general admission is $12. The bus will leave at 8 am tomorrow from the Lumpkin Center.  Seating on the bus is limited, so please sign up asap  by clicking here. 


PENSACOLA, Fla. – Behind a pair of first half goals, the third-ranked Columbus State University women’s soccer team took down fifth-ranked Bridgeport in the national semifinals on Thursday at the Brosnaham Soccer Complex.

With the victory, the Lady Cougars advance to Saturday’s national championship match where they will take on top-ranked and two-time defending national champion Grand Valley State. GVSU defeated second-ranked Western Washington 3-2 in Thursday’s second semifinal.

The win ups the season total to 22 for the Lady Cougars, breaking the program record of 21 previously done by the 2008 and 2014 teams.

“I’m super proud of this group, but we’re not done yet,” said head coach Jay Entlich. “We didn’t come down here to come in second place. We want to make sure we don’t stop — we haven’t arrived. Hopefully, we’re put on a performance Saturday like we did today.”

It didn’t take long for Columbus State (22-2-1) to get on the attack, earning a corner kick less than 90 seconds into the match.

Bridgeport (21-2-1) took the game’s first three shots, but it was the Lady Cougars that controlled the first 45 minutes.

Mandy Janowitz nearly put CSU on the board first in the 14th minute, but her attempt slid just over the crossbar. The junior got another look less than four minutes later, but that one missed high as well.

Twenty-one minutes into the match, redshirt-senior Chelsea Person did what she has done for the Lady Cougars all season long: set up a scoring opportunity.

Person took Columbus State’s second corner kick of the match and sailed it into the box. The ball was knocked down in front of the net and Peach Belt Conference Freshman of the Year Olivia Jarrell tapped it over the goalline to put the Lady Cougars in front.

The goal was the 17th of the season for the St. Augustine, Fla. native and ties her with Stephanie Parrish in 2007 for the highest goal total by a Lady Cougar freshman in program history.

Columbus State would continue to attack the Bridgeport net, getting six shots off over the next 17 minutes before striking again.

Junior midfielder Atalia Ramirez subbed onto the pitch at the 36-minute mark and made an instant impact. Person once again helped set the play up, driving down the right side before dribbling into the box. Person then slid the ball across the 18 where Ramirez ripped a blast past the keeper and into the left side of the net.

The goal was just the second of the season for Ramirez and upped Person’s assist total to 16, tying her for the national lead.

“If you’re going to work for the girl next to you, then she’s going to put the ball in the back of the net for you,” Person said. “If you get a chance to get in, then give it your all. That was the game plan and I think we were able to execute that today.”

The Lady Cougars took the 2-0 lead into the locker room at halftime, just 45 minutes away from a national championship appearance.

Bridgeport came out strong to start the second half, requiring Maylyn Parsonsto make strong plays in net for CSU. The junior goalkeeper was more than up to the task though keeping the Knights off the board during the stretch.

In the 64th minute, Columbus State found the net again, this time with a little assist from the Purple Knights.

Person worked her way down the left flank and into the box looking for a place to play a cross. The senior’s cross deflected off a Bridgeport defender and into the net to give the Lady Cougars a 3-0 edge.

Bridgeport finally broke through in the 88th minute, getting its only goal of the afternoon, but the game was already decided by that moment.


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Lady Cougar Soccer Final Four Bound

Soccer Final Four

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — For the first time in program history, the third-ranked Columbus State University women’s soccer team is headed to the Final Four after a 2-0 victory over fourth-ranked Barry on Sundayafternoon. The NCAA quarterfinal match was played at McCown Field in Jefferson City, Tenn.

The Lady Cougars will take on East Region champion and fifth-ranked Bridgeport on Thursday, Dec. 3 in the national semifinals. The Final Four will be played at Ashton Brosnahan Soccer Stadium in Pensacola, Fla.

“I was really proud of our girls today,” said head coach Jay Entlich. “They believed all year this was going to be our year and that says a lot about the character of this team.

“We’re not done though. A lot of teams are satisfied with just getting to the Final Four, but we realize the job is not done yet. We want to be the team holding the trophy at the end.”

As it has done for much of the year, Columbus State (21-2-1) struck first, finding the net in the match’s 10th minute. Chelsea Person placed a corner kick onto the back post that was headed toward the goal by Mandy Janowitz. Hugrun Elvarsdottir finished the sequence off with a header into the net to put CSU in front. The goal was the second of the year for the sophomore.

Less than one minute later, it looked as if the Lady Cougars were going to find the net for a second time. Olivia Jarrell played a ball into the box from the right side that was knocked down by the Barry keeper. With the keeper out of the play, the rebound rolled onto the foot of Taylor Marks who ripped a shot at the open net. Barry’s defenders stepped in at the last moment however, and deflected the shot wide keeping the match at 1-0.

From there, the game began to pick up rhythm as Maylyn Parsons came up huge in net for Columbus State. The junior made five saves in the opening 45 minutes, keeping the Lady Cougars in front by a goal at halftime.

After the break, Nicole Corcione charged toward the net and delivered a strong shot right off the kickoff. The shot sailed just wide of the mark though keeping the lead at one.

Barry (15-3-1) continued to find chances to tie the match, but the CSU backline deflected a pair of shots and Parsons added two more saves before the Lady Cougars put the match away.

With less than 15 minutes to play, Barry committed a foul at the top of the box giving the Lady Cougars a dangerous free kick. Marks took a shot at net that was knocked down by the Buccaneers defense. The ball fell right in front of the net where Corcione was able to tap it home to seal the win. The Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year now has 15 tallies on the season.

Parsons made seven saves in goal for the Lady Cougars, earning the team’s 13th shutout of the year.

Columbus State outshot Barry 18-15 on the day.


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CSU Athletics Officially Opens Key Golf Studio

COLUMBUS, Ga. — With the cutting of the ceremonial red ribbon, the Key Golf Studio was officially opened for the Columbus State University men’s and women’s golf teams on Friday, Nov. 13.

“Today we are officially cutting the ribbon on one of the finest golf facilities at any level,” said CSU Director of Athletics Todd Reeser. “To be here today would not have been possible without a clear vision, a committed university and the generosity of many.”

Columbus State University's Key Golf Studio Ribbon Cutting

The Key Golf Studio sits on 13 acres of land along University Avenue and will be the new home of the CSU golf programs. The facility features a large putting surface, two short game areas and a full hitting range to help Columbus State student-athletes develop their game. Also included is the latest in golf technology providing everything needed to hone a player’s skills.

“This facility is out of this world,” said CSU Director of Golf Mark Immelman. “We are doing things that established elite Division I programs do.”

Namesake and longtime Columbus State supporter Billy Key hit the first official shot from the practice facility in front of CSU staff, student-athletes and supporters to wrap up the day’s ceremonies.

Key, now the retired president of First National Bank of Columbus, won the Georgia State Junior Championships in 1946, 1947 and 1948. In 1947 and 1948, he also won the Southern Interscholastic Championships. In 1948, he won the Georgia Interscholastic Championship. Other big early wins for Key include the Florida Intercollegiate Championship in 1951, the Western Amateur in 1958, the Southeastern Amateur in 1962 and the Georgia Amateur in 1968. As a senior, he won the American Seniors Best-Ball Championship five times. In 1989 and 1990, he won the Society of Seniors Individual Stroke Play Championship and, in 1990, Golf Digest ranked him as the No. 2 senior golfer in the U.S.

The Key Golf Studio also features a clubhouse which includes offices, locker rooms and study areas for the two programs.


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Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for Cooper Creek Tennis Expansion

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Partnering with the Columbus Regional Tennis Association (CORTA) and the city of Columbus, Columbus State University helped break ground Monday, Nov. 9 for the new additions coming to the Cooper Creek Tennis Center.

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, CSU President Chris Markwood and CORTA Expansion Project Chair Will White put shovels into the ground as part of the ceremony.

The expansion to the existing facilities will become the new home of the Columbus State men’s and women’s tennis programs.

“This has been a dream come true for me,” said tennis head coach Evan Isaacs. “Since I’ve been the coach here, I’ve wanted to upgrade the facilities. I feel like Columbus State and the City of Columbus deserve a first-rate tennis facility.”

Nearly seven acres of land has been cleared to make room for the new expansion. The expansion will include 12 new hard courts, nine clay courts and four “QuickStart” courts.

A new clubhouse will also be built, providing locker rooms for the two programs as well as coaches’ offices and new offices for CORTA.

“The new facility is going to help us attract future student-athletes that we hope will help us reach our ultimate goal of a national championship,” added Isaacs.

The current clearing of the area is expected to last through October, with an expected opening of August 2016.

The Columbus State tennis programs have made a combined 24 NCAA Tournament appearances during Issacs’ 14 years at the helm. The Cougars reached the second round in 2015, while the Lady Cougars made their fourth appearance in the NCAA quarterfinals.

Tennis Groundbreaking



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CSU’s Women’s Soccer Team Sweeps PBC Awards, Places 10 on All-Academic Team

PBC Awards

From left, Columbus State Soccer’s Nicole Corcione, PBC Player of the Year; Jay Entlich, PBC Coach of the Year; and Olivia Jarrell, PBC Freshman of the Year, take home three of the team’s 12 total awards from the annual Peach Belt Conference (PBC) banquet held Thursday, Nov. 5 in Augusta, Ga.

— Making history for the second year in a row, the sixth-ranked Columbus State University women’s soccer team racked up 12 awards at the annual Peach Belt Conference banquet held Thursday, Nov. 5 in Augusta, Ga.

Columbus State became the first PBC women’s soccer program to sweep the big three awards with Nicole Corcione taking home Player of the Year honors, Olivia Jarrell earning Freshman of the Year and Jay Entlich getting the Coach of the Year nod.

The Lady Cougars also had eight players selected to the All-Conference teams, tying the conference mark CSU set in 2014.

Corcione, Maylyn Parsons and Shelby Rolling were each first team selections, while Hugrun Elvarsdottir, Jarrell, Taylor Marks, Chelsea Person and Cassandra Wade were voted to the second team.

Corcione becomes the third Lady Cougar in program history to win the conference’s Player of the Year honor, joining Stephanie Lowery (2010) and Kansas Bayly (2011). She is also just the fourth player in league history to be named Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year in her career. The junior is tied for the league lead with 13 goals and leads the PBC with 12 assists and 38 points. As the conference’s leading scorer, Corcione was also awarded the Brine Gold Ball Award Thursday night.

Parsons and Rolling are also repeat selections on the All-Conference team. Parsons was a first team selection last season, while Rolling becomes just the 10th player in PBC women’s soccer history to earn All-Conference honors in all four seasons.

For Entlich, this is the fourth PBC Coach of the Year award he has earned and the second straight. The Lady Cougar head coach led CSU to its ninth PBC regular season crown in 12 seasons as a program and is just two wins away from 200 for his CSU career.

Ten players from the women’s soccer squad also were recently placed on the PBC All-Academic team. Claire Belay, Rebecca Calder, Nicole Corcione, Tori Hood, Mandy Janowitz, Lindsey Law, Taylor Marks, Maylyn Parsons, Chelsea Person and Shelby Rolling were selected, making Columbus State just one of two PBC schools to place at least 10 players on the 75-member team.


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Columbus State Tennis Earns ITA All-Academic Honors

SKILLMAN, N.J. – The Columbus State University men’s and women’s tennis teams both earned All-Academic honors from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

In addition, five student-athletes were tabbed as Scholar Athletes by the organization.

Maciej Kierkus and Martynas Zakaitis joined the trio of Beartriz Leon, Elena Preadca and Kirsa Utech on the Scholar Athlete list.

The individual honors are the first in each student-athletes’ careers.

On the women’s side, it is the third time in four years that the Lady Cougars have earned the honor and the sixth time under current head coach Evan Isaacs.

However, the men were honored by the organization for the first time since the team Academic Award was established.

Columbus State was one of only four Peach Belt Conference schools that had both its men’s and women’s teams honored by the ITA for their work in the classroom.


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CSU Athletics Wins First-Ever Peachbelt Conference SAAC Award

PBCAUGUSTA, Ga. – Columbus State University won the inaugural Peachbelt Conference (PBC) Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Challenge Award, a recognition honoring the member institution’s SAAC that showcases the best commitment to academics, sportsmanship, service and Make-A-Wish funds raised.

“What a great recognition of our student-athletes for their impact on and off the field of competition,” said Todd Reeser, athletic director for Columbus State University. “I appreciate our SAAC leaders, coaches and students in emphasizing the importance in developing all facets of our well-rounded student-athletes.”

Member schools are awarded points during the academic year based on six categories. The first three categories are attendance at PBC SAAC meetings, community service and engagement events and the dollar amount raised for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The next three categories are the number of PBC Elite 15 Award winners at the school, the percentage of PBC Presidential Honor Roll students and points earned towards PBC Team Sportsmanship Awards.

Columbus State earned the maximum amount of points for community service and engagement and had five PBC Elite 15 Awards to claim the honor.


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Columbus State Places 112 Student-Athletes on PBC Presidential Honor Roll

Nicole Corcione

Nicole Corcione

AUGUSTA, Ga. – The Peach Belt Conference announced its annual Presidential Honor Roll on Monday, with 112 Columbus State University student-athletes among the 1,607 student-athletes recognized.

The Presidential Honor Roll recognizes all student-athletes at the 14 PBC member institutions who had a GPA of 3.0 or higher for the academic year. The 1,607 student-athletes surpasses the old record of 1,448 set in 2013-14 and gives the Peach Belt 1,000 or more honorees for the sixth year in a row. Each student-athlete will receive a certificate from the conference office.

The honor roll has been divided into four groups: Presidential Scholars, Bronze Scholars, Silver Scholars and Gold Scholars. All student-athletes with a GPA from 3.0 to 3.24 are Presidential Scholars while Bronze Scholars are 3.25 to 3.49; Silver 3.50 to 3.74 and Gold Scholars are those with a 3.75 to 4.00.

Columbus State had 32 Gold Scholars, 28 Silver Scholars, 26 Bronze Scholars and 26 Presidential Scholars.

McKenzie Fagioli

McKenzie Fagioli

The Lady Cougar soccer team led the way with 19 players on the Honor Roll. CSU softball (16), baseball (14), men’s cross country and track & field (13) and women’s cross country and track & field (13) each put double-digit student-athletes on the list as well.

Gold Scholars: Caden Ferguson, Jacob Dirkman, J.S. Fielding, McKenzie Fagioli, Nicole Corcione, Lindsey Law, Taylor Marks, Maylyn Parsons, Kelsey Pelletier, Chelsea Person, Shelby Rolling, Elena Preadca, Shelby Nelson, Kayla Parsons, Hunter Bowling, Kirsa Utech, Blake Edwards, Brianna Henthorn, Jalen Tolbert, Abigail Green, Martynas Zakaitis, Lee Anne Rees, Kaity Howard, Taylor Turner, Kristen Carr, Courtney Lowery, Rachel Dixon, Asha Alexander, Maciej Kierkus, Caleb Kutsche, Robert Mize, Meosha Hatcher.

Silver Scholars: Tim Thompson, Caitlyn Merritt, Lexus Houston, Renee Usher, Erin Morrow, Beatriz Leon, Sydney Barker, Jordan Villhauer, Dimitri Davis, Duncan Anderson, Marko Maksimovic, Andrea Skipor, Eryn Cochran, Hussen Saddik, Kelly Orck, Rebecca Calder, Colleen Gottfried, Ashley Asouzu, Christopher Miles, Olivia Ivings, Kia Smith, JaCori Payne, Samie Anderson, Rayna Green, Autumn Evilsizer, Jaccob Mobbs, Kailey Boone, Megan Frame.

Blake Edwards

Blake Edwards

Bronze Scholars: Ariel Johnson, Benedikt Wilde, Taylor Woods, Emilee Leslie, Sabrina Rogers, Jorge Vargas, Shea Wilby, Jacob Boccucci, Michelle Mitchell, Danielle Brendel, Carson Bowers, Cordaryl Whitehead, Calli Star, Kyle Peals, Ivana Kazic, Mandy Janowitz, Zachary Benjamin, Rachel Rhodes, Stephanie Kolwicz, Marco Almorin, Ciera Bagley, Saravinder Pannu, Kaycee Meeks, Joey Lewis, Nathan Reeves, Tori Hood.

Presidential Scholars: Andi Larese, Sumer Culberson, Jackson Oliver, Kylie Beaubien, Kiana Perez, Tyler Sheffel, Alice Arnold, Jessica Siggers, Deandre Holmes, KJ Lee, Austin Collins, Ryan McFall, Kristin Rawlins, Claire Belay, Katie White, Heath Lamb, Dustin Averett, Ryan Ihle, Yannick Gumowski, BJ Battle, Shauna Griffin, James Slavik, Jocilyn Gilbert, Riley Presnell, Jack Stumpfig, Linette Cepeda.

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Columbus State Awarded PBC Presidents’ Academic Award

Hilton Head, S.C. – For the first time, the Columbus State University athletic department was honored with the Peach Belt Conference Presidents’ Academic Award. The award was presented on Tuesday night at the league’s annual meetings in Hilton Head, S.C.

At the end of the academic school year the Peach Belt Conference asked each of the league’s 14 members to submit an average GPA for the undergraduate student body and a GPA for all student-athletes. These two numbers were used to determine each institutions’ GPA ratio that identifies which school’s athletes are performing most ahead of the curve in comparison to the student body. The schools are not measured against one another, just their athletes to their students. Columbus State had the highest ratio at 1.153, and 12 of the 14 PBC member institutions the student-athletes had, on average, a better GPA than the general student body.

The President’s Academic Award is part of a larger conference program to highlight the accomplishments of PBC student-athletes in the classroom as well as on the field.

“Winning the PBC Presidents’ Academic Award culminates a fantastic year for our Cougar student-athletes and recognizes their hard work and results in the classroom,” said CSU Director of Athletics Todd Reeser. “This recognition is important for our program and is a team win for Columbus State athletics.”

Columbus State posted a 3.0 GPA as an athletic department in the fall and bumped that number up to 3.02 this spring. CSU saw 159 student-athletes achieve at least a 3.0 grade point average in the first semester of the year and well over 100 again in the spring.


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