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Then-sophomore guard Joe McDonald drives toward the basket against Radford last season. Hatchet File Photo

Then-sophomore guard Joe McDonald drives toward the basket against Radford last season. Hatchet File Photo

The men’s basketball team will make at least 14 appearances on national television this season, including six at home, the athletics department announced Wednesday.

GW’s record 14 national appearances is a three-game improvement from last season when the Colonials were featured in 11 nationally televised games. Three of GW’s home games will be broadcast on ESPN networks, which will be the first time ESPN has broadcast a Colonials’ home game since the 2006-07 season.

The first broadcast from home will be Jan. 15 on ESPNU, when the Colonials host Richmond’s Spiders.

On Feb. 6, ESPN will broadcast GW’s home game against Dayton and just a week later ESPN2 will give GW its final home-court broadcast on Feb. 14, when GW hosts VCU in a Valentine’s Day matchup.

The remaining ESPN broadcasts include three away games when GW jumps into the Diamond Head Classic from Dec. 22 to 25.

Another eight GW conference games, split evenly, will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network and NBC Sports Network.

In addition to the national attention, the department expects at least 20 of the Colonials’ 31 regular season games will land on regional broadcasts.

“This is phenomenal exposure for our university, men’s basketball program and athletic department,” Athletic Director Patrick Nero said in a release. “Our team and the Colonial Army have worked hard to raise the level of GW basketball, and I am happy to see their accomplishments being recognized.”

After going 24-9 last season (14-1 at home), head coach Mike Lonergan will look to build on last year’s success.

“Our students, fans, campus community, alumni, players and recruits all rally around national TV games, so to have at least 14 of them, including three home games on the ESPN Networks, is going to make this an exciting season in Foggy Bottom and at the Charles E. Smith Center,” Lonergan said.

Overall, the Atlantic 10 set a new conference record with 75 nationally televised games for the season.

GW’s full A-10 schedule:
Saturday, Jan. 3 at Saint Joseph’s – TBD – CBSSN
Tuesday, Jan. 6 vs. Saint Louis – TBD – CBSSN
Saturday, Jan. 10 at La Salle – 12:30 p.m. – NBCSN
Thursday, Jan. 15 vs. Richmond – TBD – ESPNU
Saturday, Jan. 17 vs. George Mason – 4:30 p.m. – NBCSN
Thursday, Jan. 22 at Fordham – 7 p.m. – NBCSN
Saturday, Jan. 24 vs. Duquesne – TBD
Tuesday, Jan. 27 at VCU – TBD – CBSSN
Saturday, January 31 at Rhode Island – TBD
Friday, Feb. 6 vs. Dayton – TBD – ESPN2
Wednesday, Feb. 11 at Duquesne – 7 p.m. – A-10 Network/SNY
Saturday, Feb. 14 vs. VCU – TBD – ESPN2
Wednesday, February 18 vs. Davidson – TBD
Saturday, Feb. 21 at Richmond – TBD – CBSSN
Wednesday, Feb. 25 vs. St. Bonaventure – TBD
Saturday, February 28 at Davidson – TBD
Wednesday, March 4 at George Mason – 7 p.m. – A-10 Network/SNY
Saturday, March 7 vs. Massachusetts – 3:30 p.m. – NBCSN

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GW’s third women’s lacrosse coach in program history will leave the team after posting a 47-69 record over seven years.

Tara Hannaford, who was a four-year letter winner at the College of William & Mary, coached the Colonials to three Atlantic 10 Championship appearances. She said in a release Wednesday that she would leave the program to spend more time with family.

“I would like to thank [Athletic Director] Patrick Nero and the athletic department for a tremendous experience at GW,” Hannaford said. “I’ve loved coaching the student-athletes and being part of a thriving program.”

The Colonials went 7-9 last season, missing the playoffs after two consecutive postseason appearances in 2012 and 2013.

The search for Hannaford’s replacement is already underway.

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Then-senior Owen Beightol hits in GW's win against George Mason last season. File Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Then-senior Owen Beightol hits in GW’s win against George Mason last season. File Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The Colonials will host the Atlantic 10 baseball championships at Barcroft Park for the first time in the team’s history next year.

The top seven teams from the regular season standings will compete in the double elimination tournament from May 20 to 23, the league announced this week. The winner will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship.

The Colonials narrowly missed last season’s tournament when they finished the season eighth in the standings, a single game behind No. 7-seeded Fordham. GW last qualified in 2013, when it was seeded fifth.

GW has won the A-10 championships four times – the first time in 1979 – but has never served as host.

The team has played at Barcroft Park in Arlington, Va. since 1993 and saw the venue undergo a $3 million renovation before the 2013 season. The project added bullpens, batting cages and artificial turf to a facility that Athletic Director Patrick Nero has joked GW no longer hides from recruits.

Barcroft Park holds 500 spectators in grandstand seating at 4200 South Four Mile Run Drive. The University operates a student shuttle bus for weekend home games during the conference season, though GW has not yet released information about a shuttle for the tournament.

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This post was written by contributing sports editor Nora Priniciotti

Then-junior guard Chakecia Miller squeezes pass a George Mason defender for a layup in a January game. File Photo by Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

Then-junior guard Chakecia Miller squeezes pass a George Mason defender for a layup during a January game. File photo by Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

For the first time in more than a decade, the women’s basketball team will take a trip to Europe.

The squad will travel to England and France from Aug. 13 to 23 to see the sights and play in exhibition games against European teams, the athletic department announced Tuesday.

Women’s basketball has not traveled internationally since it took a tour of Italy and Switzerland in 2001, but will boast plenty of stamps on their passports by the end of the year, with a tournament in the Bahamas also scheduled for Thanksgiving break.

“[The trip will] greatly enhance our team chemistry by giving our returning players and incoming freshmen an early opportunity to bond while also playing strong international competition,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said in a release.

The team will first head to London, where the women will go on guided tours of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, take a ride on the London Eye and sightsee on a cruise on the River Thames.

GW already took home top marks in the Revolutionary Rivalry with George Mason, but the Colonials will hope to stage a reenactment of the Battle at Yorktown in a game against Barking Abbey, a London-based team.

International tensions will ease, however, with a Colonials youth clinic for Barking Abbey’s younger players.

They will then travel to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Palace of Versailles and the River Seine before departing by train for Marseille and traveling along the French Riviera through Nice and the Principality of Monaco.

The port of Nice in France. Photo used under the Wikimedia Commons License

The port of Nice in France. Photo used under the Wikimedia Commons License

Athletic director Patrick Nero said in a release that giving student-athletes who can not study abroad the chance to travel internationally is a priority for his department.

“While we of course hope this trip allows the women’s basketball team to build on a successful season this past year, more importantly we hope that the experience our student-athletes will gain from an international tour broadens their horizons and enriches their lives,” Nero said.

After their final dinner in Nice, the Colonials will fly home and get to work stateside in preparation for the 2014-15 season, building off their first Atlantic 10 Championship semifinal appearance since 2008 and their nine-win improvement from last season.

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Director of Athletics Patrick Nero

Since arriving at GW, athletic director Patrick Nero has made academics a priority for GW athletes. Hatchet File Photo

Along with notable improvements on the field, GW athletes made strides in the classroom this year.

Fifteen of GW’s 19 Division I NCAA-competing programs achieved perfect Academic Progress Rates for the 2012-13 season, the association announced Wednesday. Of those 15 programs, nine teams were in the top-10 percent multiyear rate, three more teams than last year and tied for second-most in the conference with Dayton University.

The APR weighs a combination of factors including eligibility, retention and graduation rates, providing a measure of each team’s academic performance. The current multiyear period reflects the 2009-10 through 2012-13 academic years.

GW teams that received perfect scores included baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s cross country, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, women’s rowing, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s water polo.

“Athletics has been a campus leader in striving for academic excellence, and this announcement is a testament to those efforts,” Provost Steven Lerman said in a release.

Athletic director Patrick Nero has made academics a priority for the department. Since he came to GW three years ago, team GPAs and six-year graduation rates have risen across the board.

Nero receives regular progress reports from professors about athletes’ grades and participation in classes. He also enforces a mandatory class attendance policy and requires eight hours of study halls each week.

“At GW our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and staff strive for excellence in everything that we do, and today’s report is proof of the tireless efforts put into academics” Nero said in the release.

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Head coach Jonathan Tsipis speaks at his introductory press conference in 2012.  Hatchet File Photo.

Head coach Jonathan Tsipis speaks at his introductory press conference in 2012. Hatchet File Photo.

This post was written by assistant sports editor Nora Princiotti.

Women’s basketball head coach Jonathan Tsipis has seen his contract extended through the 2020-21 season, director of athletics and recreation Patrick Nero announced Tuesday.

The announcement comes after a turnaround year for the Colonials, in which they reached the Atlantic 10 semifinals for the first time since 2008, knocking off two ranked teams in the process.

After winning just 25 games in the last four seasons under previous head coach Mike Bozeman, Tsipis was tasked with restoring the reputation of a once nationally known program that had made 15 appearances at the NCAA tournament.

Since he joined GW for the 2012-13 season, Tsipis has not disappointed: He coached the Colonials to a nine-game improvement this season as they finished with a 23-11 overall record.

“We brought Jonathan here to restore the tradition of excellence of GW women’s basketball, and in just two seasons at the helm of our program he has done exactly that,” Nero said in a release. “We’re excited to continue on that path under his leadership in our women’s basketball program.”

Tsipis’ ability to recruit top athletes to the program has marked his success as coach. Freshman Caira Washington earned the A-10 Rookie of the Year award this season after leading the conference in offensive rebounding and field goal percentage.

Sophomore transfer Jonquel Jones, another Tsipis recruit, led the Colonials in scoring with nearly 15 points per game and rebounding with more than 11 rebounds per game. Jones also received postseason honors, earning a spot on the All-Conference Second Team.

Tsipis’ leaps in recruiting are extending into next season: His incoming players are touted as the highest-ranked recruiting class in the A-10 conference.

At season’s end, Tsipis was one of three finalists for the 2013-14 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Region I Coach of the Year, alongside Geno Auriemma, the head coach of National Champion team Connecticut and Louisville head coach Jeff Walz, whose team made an appearance in the Elite Eight.

Tsipis came to GW as a rookie head coach, toting an impressive start to a coaching career with a gold NCAA championship ring on his finger after nine seasons as Muffet McGraw’s associate and recruiting coordinator at Notre Dame.

Tsipis brought the experience of five NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances, with four coming in his last five years in South Bend. He pushed the Colonials to a playoff appearance this season, which was new territory for every player on his roster.

The North Carolina alumnus was one of CollegeInsider.com’s top-10 assistant coaches in the nation after back-to-back NCAA National Championship game appearances in 2011 and 2012. He helped pull together one of the nation’s top-20 recruiting classes in each of his nine years and a top-10 class in three of his last four seasons.

“I want to thank Patrick Nero and President Knapp for bringing me to Washington and for their support and belief in me, my team and my family,” Tsipis said in the release. “George Washington has become a home for us and I’m honored to be the head coach of this proud program.”

The details of Tsipis’ contract have not been publicly released, though Nero has said in the past that Tsipis is the highest-paid women’s basketball coach in the conference.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 7:09 p.m.

NCAA votes to lift meal restrictions

Director of Athletics Patrick Nero

Athletic director Patrick Nero has spoken out against the NCAA’s rule on feeding athletes. Hatchet File Photo

Good news for hungry GW athletes.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association will likely allow student athletes to get access to unlimited meals and snacks from their universities – abolishing a rule that athletic director Patrick Nero had been advocating against.

Currently, student athletes receive three meals a day or a food stipend. Additionally, partial-scholarship athletes, walk-ons and commuters are not included in the meal plans and instead pay for their own food.

That’s been a big problem at universities like GW, which has a non-traditional dining plan and expensive on-campus options.

“We hear from our students that it runs out mid-semester,” Nero told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

He added that the University had appealed the NCAA to establish its own cafeteria for athletes on campus, but was denied.

If the NCAA’s Legislative Council’s proposal is finalized by the Division I Board of Directors on April 24, athletes will be afforded unlimited meals as early as Aug. 1.

The pressure to change the bylaw was heightened when University of Connecticut point guard Shabazz Napier told reporters that he sometimes goes to bed “starving” because he doesn’t have enough to eat.

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Members of the men's water polo team dressed in togas and cheered raucously earlier this year at the Smith Center. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster

Members of the men’s water polo team dressed in togas and cheered raucously earlier this year at the Smith Center. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster

Ben Krimmel, a senior majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.

Foggy Bottom had become a virtual ghost town by Monday afternoon of spring break.

Except for a few holdovers — like myself — milling around campus, the only people around were prospective students on tours. With the sun cascading down on the Smith Center, I snuck up on one such group to listen for any mention of the men’s basketball team.

Knowing the GW marketing team’s penchant for hyperbole, I expected the guide to proclaim the basketball team serious NCAA Tournament contenders next to the likes of Florida and Kansas.

Instead, the bragging was rather scant. The tour guide simply stated that there had been a few attendance records set during this year’s season. I was mystified.

No mention of the 23 wins – the most since 2007 – and nothing about the team’s No. 3 seed in this weeks A-10 Tournament. The guide didn’t even let his group know that tickets are free for students. This may have been the guide’s only chance to boast about the University without any hint of irony, and he let the opportunity go by.

Of course, the omission of more statistics about GW’s winning season was this particular tour guide’s choice. But perhaps the underselling of the team’s success by this student and others on campus can be chalked up to the University’s collective uncertainty on how to promote the men’s basketball team’s victories – a new source of GW pride – to prospective students.

This is something that GW should highlight more, certainly at least as much as we tout the school’s proximity to national landmarks.

Sure, one winning season certainly does not mean there will be a flood of applications from students more interested in “bracketology” than election forecasting. But as the basketball team brings more national attention to the University, and some seedlings of the change have already taken root.

The increase in this year’s student attendance demonstrates the beginnings of a greater sense of community — something the University is often criticized for failing to create.

Higher attendance is a testament to the work of Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero, the leaders of the Colonial Army, the players and men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan. Whether it is the pregame tailgates, t-shirt giveaways or a free trip for students to the game at George Mason, this has been a year where pride seems to finally be coming naturally to GW students.

Tour guides and all other current students would be unwise to continue using athletics as a punchline. In fact, they should make it a focal point: For the millions who fill out an NCAA Tournament bracket, GW will now be known as one of 68.

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Elana Meyers became the first GW graduate to earn a silver medal Wednesday, finishing in second in the two-women bobsled competition in Sochi.

The former women’s softball shortstop, who now drives the top sled for the United States along with brakewoman Lauryn Williams, finished second behind the Canada-1 sled by just 0.10 seconds.

Photo courtesy of GW

Elana Meyers, right, represented the United States in the Winter Olympics this week. Photo by Pim Bonten, courtesy of Fireworks Sports and Entertainment

The gold medal only became out of reach for Meyers after her duo set a track record Tuesday, and had a .11 second lead going into the fourth and final run. But a cleaner run by the Canada-1 sled of Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse gave the Canadians the edge Wednesday.

After already becoming GW’s first-ever Olympic medalist after winning a bronze medal in the 2010 Vancouver games, Meyers made national history Wednesday night in Sochi becoming the first female bobsled athlete from the U.S. to win two Olympic medals.

Athletics director Patrick Nero, who is in Sochi supporting Meyers, said in a release that the alumna “exemplifies the dedication, passion and attitude that we want all of our student-athletes to train and compete with every day.”

“Her commitment to mind and body enabled her to make the transition from elite college softball player to one of the best bobsled pilots in the world, and we couldn’t be more proud of how Elana represents GW on the global stage,” he said in a release.

A recent inductee of the GW Athletic Hall of Fame, Meyers made her mark on the GW community as a standout softball athlete. During her GW softball career Meyers was both a two-time Atlantic 10 Student-Athlete of the Year for softball and former CoSIDA Academic All-American.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from the School of Public Health and Health Services in 2006 and her master’s degree from the GW School of Business in 2011.

NBC will re-broadcast the final runs tonight from 8-11:30 p.m.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Scott Nover.

There’s nothing like the feeling of coming home. A Maryland native, Mike Brey, a 1982 alumnus, will feel just that as he brings his Fighting Irish men’s basketball team to College Park Wednesday to face the Terrapins.

But on Tuesday, in front of a sold out Smith Center crowd, Brey was reunited with a different home as he was inducted into the GW Athletics Hall of Fame.

Brey, who received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from the University, led the men’s basketball team in his only season for the Colonials. Brey’s 116 assists in 24 games earned him MVP honors for the 1981-82 season as GW went 13-14 for the season.

When his time as a Colonial came to an end, Brey decided his basketball career was far from over. He returned to DeMatha Catholic to serve as an assistant coach, before serving in the same role at Duke University under the leadership of legendary head coach, Mike Krzyzewski. Coach K was among the many well known college basketball faces to leave a message on the Smith Center’s jumbotron during halftime of GW’s matchup with VCU.

Brey then took the head coach position at Delaware and led the Blue Hens to two March Madness appearances in five years. In 2000, Brey moved to South Bend and took up the task of revitalizing a failing basketball program at what many would consider a “football school:” Notre Dame. Following a 10-year drought of failing to make the NCAA Tournament, Brey has turned the team around, taking the Irish to the NCAA Tournament nine times in his 14 years, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance during the 2002-2003 season.

Born in Bethesda, the Notre Dame head men’s basketball coach graduated from DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md., but chose to venture to Northwestern State University in Louisiana, for his first two years of college. Brey quickly returned to the DMV area for his final two years of school (1980-82), saying he “reinvented himself” during his time at GW.

The coach’s GW ties extend further, as his mother – an Olympic swimmer – once coached the GW swimming team, while his father, received a master’s degree from the University. He’s also close to Jonathan Tsipis, GW’s women’s basketball coach who previously coached at Notre Dame.

“Jonathan Tsipis was a close friend,” Brey said.

“And Mike Lonergan is almost like my little brother in a lot of ways,” Brey added, speaking of how “proud” he was of the current head coach.

Brey complimented the current athletics program, noting that it “is in great shape” with athletics director Patrick Nero at the helm. He spoke to reporters at a press conference before Tuesday’s game, but later addressed the jam-packed Smith Center while being honored during halftime of GW’s eventual 76-66 win.

Brey said, in his mind, his mother, the aforementioned swim coach, and his wife, a GW volleyball player, are the two “best athletes” in the family. “My mom and my wife should be in the hall of fame way before me,” he said.

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