Last year was quite a year for the UTSA athletic program. It began with the men’s basketball team winning the Southland Conference tournament for the first time since 2004. The win earned the team a trip to the NCAA tournament, where they knocked off Alabama State for the first win in any NCAA tournament by a UTSA team.
The men’s basketball team was not the only UTSA squad that brought home hardware in 2011. The women’s golf team won its first-ever Southland Conference championship, and the men’s indoor track team won its sixth consecutive Southland Conference championship.
Of course, 2011 will go down in the annals of UTSA history as the year the football program got underway with a record of four wins and six losses.
With all that history it would be easy to think that 2012 will fall short of the excitement provided in 2011. That may not be the case as 2012 should offer plenty of historic opportunities.
The biggest story of 2012 will occur on July 1, when the UTSA Roadrunners will move from the Southland Conference, their home for the last 20 years, to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).
The move to the WAC means the Roadrunners will move up from the Football Championship Subdivsion (FCS) to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). While the Roadrunners will not be eligible for a bowl until 2014, the fact that they will be in the FBS when they begin their second season is unique because they will be the fastest program to move from FCS to FBS in NCAA history.
“We were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time,” Director of Athletics Lynn Hickey said of the move to the WAC. “We know that to be at that level we are going to have to get better resources.”
One of those better resources will be the athletic complex at Park West between Loop 1604 and Hausman Road. Phase one will break ground sometime in March and includes the building of a new soccer stadium and track stadium. The construction marks the first step toward UTSA athletes playing their games in the new complex.
“Everything is approved,” Hickey said. “The funding is in place to start the infrastructure and begin building.”
The phase one construction will also include the building of roads and parking facilities for the new complex.
Around the same time that ground is broken on Park West, it is possible that either the men’s basketball team or women’s basketball team—or both—could be playing in the NCAA tournament. Also, around that time, both softball and baseball will be getting into their final Southland campaign, attempting to bring back another Southland trophy before the move to the WAC.
The 2012 campaign will be a challenging one for the UTSA football team as they will face road tests with South Alabama, Georgia State and Rice in addition to hosting McNeese State and WAC opponents San Jose State, Utah State and Texas State.
No matter what happens on or off the field for the UTSA Roadrunner athletic program, 2012 promises to be another historic year.