Its 6 PM and the sun has just set.The blue sky is still lit up with streaks of orange. Screeches, trills, squeaks and warbles fill the evening air as birds fly back to their nests.A little while back, it poured heavily. While the rain has stopped now, the roads are filled with large puddles of water and the air is laden heavy with the fragrance of damp earth and freshly blossomed jasmine! How I love this smell!I stand on my balcony for a while and fill my lungs up with the pure air around.And while I am busy looking up at the sky, marvelling at its beauty and breathing in this sweet air, I suddenly catch sight (from the corner of my eye) of a neighbourhood uncle staring at me as if in surprise! Maybe he has never seen anybody look up at the sky before or maybe he never saw anybody practice deep breathing? Who knows, who cares!For it’s the city’s first shower this year and it arrived magically just when I was least expecting it but badly needed it!The last few months have been increasingly stressful for me, especially at work and it had reached almost an insane level this last week. So much so that I found myself contemplating some extreme steps to prevent a complete meltdown.And then came this shower!Like a long-lost friend who suddenly drops by to say hi and instantly transports you to a happy world, far away from your sordid reality!Drenched in the first showers of the year, the city wears a new look today. The trees look greener, the air feels cleaner and the temperature has dropped a notch. One by one the windows of the houses and multi-storey apartments light up. It’s almost dark now and the street lights come up.The blares from the city buses from the not-so-distant main road, the whoosh of the cars driving by down below in the streets near my apartment, the honks from an occasional auto-rickshaw, the trill of a bicycle bell and the squealing of a puppy all entwine to make the city come alive.I catch myself feeling relaxed, almost tranquil for the first time in what seems like an eternity!A wave of optimism rushes in from somewhere and takes a firm hold over me. I decide to cast away all thoughts of self-doubt, negativity and dejection at least for tonight. I decide to live a little if only for the night and shut the door firmly on the ghosts of fear, worry, anxiety and depression that love to haunt me eternally.I am a new me tonight.One charged up with the light of a thousand suns.One filled with hopes of endless possibilities.One that is determined to break down the rickety walls of a life lived constantly looking back over the shoulder, overthinking every decision, worrying about losing the only source of income, toiling away like a slave in bonded labour to get paid every month, losing sleep over the tiniest mistakes and fretting over the uncertain future.The new me shall have multiple sources of income, the new me would find peace, the new me would live a life in creative pursuits that help her unravel all that life has to offer. And most of all, the new me shall never shy away from living the present to the fullest, doing what she wants to do, being bold and uninhibited.And when the time comes, she shall ride off into the golden sunset, glorious and unrestrained, with a happy heart and a smile on her mortal lips knowing she spent some meaningful time back here on Earth.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A student’s drone crashed into a part of newly renovated Commonwealth Stadium before the Wildcats faced Louisiana-Lafayette in the season opener, Kentucky officials confirmed Saturday.School spokesman Jay Blanton said via email that the unmanned aircraft was recovered near the suite level. He added that there were no injuries to spectators or damages to the facility, which just underwent a $120 million renovation.Blanton said school officials have talked to the student and that police are considering what steps to take.As skydivers parachuted on to the field carrying American flags before kickoff, the drone hovered behind the scoreboard over the west end zone. It was in airspace close to heliports at nearby UK Chandler Hospital and Baptist Hospital.It was the second incident involving a drone at a sports event in the past week.An unmanned aircraft plummeted into empty seats and caused a scare during a women’s singles match Thursday night at the U.S. Open. No one was injured, but it broke into pieces as it crashed.A high school science teacher who had been flying the drone from a park outside the tennis venue was arrested Friday on reckless endangerment and other charges, police said.The Federal Aviation Administration put drone and model-plane enthusiasts on notice last October that it’s illegal to fly the aircraft near Major League Baseball, NFL and NCAA Division I college football games and major auto races.The move came months after police detained people for using small drones at Carolina Panthers and University of Texas football games. This past June, police questioned a man flying a drone near a gate at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia during a Colorado Rockies-Philadelphia Phillies game.
MAURICIO POCHETTINO has told impatient fans that Tottenham’s new stadium will be the “best in Europe.”Spurs supporters have been waiting for what feels like an eternity as the club’s multi-million pound arena prepares to open early next year.4 Mauricio Pochettino reckons the new stadium will be the best in EuropeCredit: ReutersTottenham have been playing matches at Wembley for the last 18 months after moving out of White Hart Lane.But fans are running out of patience after initially being told they were going to be playing in the new stadium at the start of this season.The switch to the new venue saw Spurs hold back on their transfers in the summer, with Pochettino landing not one single player.But the Argentine, who signed a new contract at the end of last season, insists the wait will be worth it.4 Spurs fans had been hoping to move into the new stadium last summerCredit: PA:Press AssociationLatest Spurs newsRacing TipsHOT OFF THE PRESSDon’t miss The Sun’s each-way thief and NAPs for today right hereDEIDRE’S CLASSIC PHOTO CASEBOOKSingle mum Penny avoids telling her date about baby PoppyMYSTIC MEGJuly 27: Passion is full-on and might ask a lot of you - but is worth the effortMIXED DOUBLESTennis legends Boris Becker and Bjorn Borg set sail with partners in IbizaHIT & RUN ‘MURDER’Woman, 38, ‘killed in hit & run’ after getting into van as man arrestedBLADE SHUNNERSAshley Banjo reveals Dancing On Ice could ditch studio audience in 2021Speaking after Saturday’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace, Pochettino said: “I would like to be 20-years-old and be a player that Tottenham offer a contract to, because [the stadium] will be amazing.“Again I say to our fans ‘patience’, because it’s going to be the best stadium in Europe.”However, Pochettino will be hoping the club upgrade his jacket after having a tricky time zipping it up at Selhurst Park.The Spurs boss reached for his coat after the heavens opened but struggled to close it properly… and ended up cutting his own fans with the zipper.Mauricio Pochettino is next manager to have trouble with his coat on the sidelines as he appears to cut his face open 4 Tottenham are set to start playing there in 2019Credit: Splash News4 Pochettino has told fans it will be worth the waitCredit: ReutersMost Read In SportFeatureNAKED TRUTHThe most embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions in sport, including Venus WilliamsBRO MESSAGEBobby Charlton’s touching tribute to Jack revealed as he misses funeral serviceFRESH OUTFITMicah Richards pokes fun at Roy Keane backstage at Sky Sports studiosLEADING BY EXAMPLEBrian O’Driscoll feels ‘too guilty’ not to wear face mask when shoppingFOND FAREWELLShane Lowry shares moving snap as he says goodbye to daughter Iris at airportVideoMAC IN ATTACKMcGregor shows off football skills as UFC star proves he’s no one-trick ponyCrystal Palace 0-1 Tottenham: Juan Foyth scores the winner as Spurs grab tight win at Selhurst Park
Postseason News & Notes (PDF) Perfect in Conference Play: Stephen F. Austin was one of just three Division I teams to finish the season without a loss in a conference game. Joining the Lumberjacks on the list are Wichita State (18-0 Missouri Valley) and Florida (18-0 Southeastern). The Lumberjacks are 29-2 overall and 18-0 in Southland games. All three also won their respective conference tournament. SFA Wins Southland Tournament: Stephen F. Austin used a 21-5 second-half run to turn a tight game into a 68-49 rout of Sam Houston State to win the 2014 Southland Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament Championship at the Leonard E. Merrell Center last Saturday night to earn the automatic bid into the NCAA tournament in the process. The win was also the 28th straight for the Lumberjacks (31-2), the nation’s second-longest streak in the nation. Only undefeated Wichita State has a longer run. SFA went undefeated in 18 Southland Conference games en route to earning the school’s second tournament championship. Tournament most valuable player Thomas Walkup scored 19 points and added five rebounds and four assists for the Lumberjacks, who led just 35-32 with 18:12 remaining before going on their decisive run, which put them up 56-37 with 7:08 left after a basket from Conner Brooks. Sam Houston (23-10) hit just 2 of 8 shots and committed six turnovers during the pivotal run and the Bearkats were held to only 38.6 percent shooting on the night. Southland in the CIT: Sam Houston’s win on Tuesday was the Southland Conference’s third win in four years in the CIT, though that includes a trip by ORU in the 2011 tournament when it lost at SMU in its final season in the Summit League. McNeese State lost at Toledo in the 2012 CIT, but ORU broke through for the Southland last year for a pair of wins, beating Texas-Arlington and California-Irvine before dropping a third-round game at Weber State. Current Southland teams are 3-3 in the CIT after Sam Houston’s win Tuesday. Second-round opponents will be announced Thursday. Lumberjacks First-Year Mentor Tabbed Coach of the Year: Stephen F. Austin took home its second consecutive coach of the year award. Brad Underwood, who joined the Lumberjacks after a long career as an assistant coach, most recently at South Carolina, and previously at Kansas State under Frank Martin and Bob Huggins, is making a name for himself in his first season as a head coach. The Lumberjacks finished the regular season with a 29-2 record and became the first Southland team to win 30 or more games. The record ranks in the top-10 all-time starts by a first-year head coach in NCAA history. Underwood’s squad became the first in the Southland to navigate a perfect 18-game schedule and is the first undefeated league champion since Arkansas State in 1967. No team in the league’s 51-year history had gone undefeated in more than an eight-game schedule. 2014 All-Tournament Team: Stephen F. Austin sophomore guard Thomas Walkup was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2014 Southland Conference Tournament. He scored 19 points in the championship game and averaged 12.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in his two tournament games. He was joined on the team by senior teammate, guard Desmond Haymon (17.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.5 apg), Sam Houston State junior guards Jabari Peters (11.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.3 apg) and Kaheem Ransom (13.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.3 apg, 2.3 spg) as well as Northwestern State sophomore guard Jalan West (27.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 3.5 apg). Sam Houston State has Newcomer of the Year: Sam Houston State junior guard Jabari Peters is the fourth player from Sam Houston State to earn Newcomer of the Year accolades and the first since Gilberto Clavell in 2010. Peters, a junior guard from Brooklyn, N.Y. (Grady H.S.) is a junior college transfer from Seward (Kan.) County Community College and has made an immediate impact in Huntsville. One of five players who started every game for the Bearkats, he led the team in scoring with 12.9 points per game. Peters is tied for fifth in the league with 4.2 assists per game and his 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio is seventh in the Southland. He has scored 20 points or more five times and has scored in double figures in 18 games. Through the regular season, he had led the Bearkats in scoring 11 times this season and tallied a season-high 29 points against Prairie View A&M in November. He hit the game-winning 3-pointer against 2013 NCAA tournament team James Madison in December. Peters recorded his second double-double of the season against New Orleans to close the regular season, going for 11 points and season-high 10 assists. Other Bearkats that have been named newcomer of the year include Jejuan Plair in 2006 and Donald Cole in 2002. Bearkats, Islanders in CIT: Sam Houston State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi were selected for the CollegeInsider.com Tournament this year. The Bearkats, who finished third during the regular season before losing to Stephen F. Austin in the tournament championship, were awarded a home game Tuesday against Alabama State. Sam Houston improved to 24-10 record after claiming a 71-49 win on Tuesday. This season is the first time the Bearkats have won 20 or more games since the 2009-10 season when they won the regular season and tournament titles. A&M-Corpus Christi reached the postseason for the first time since it’s 2007 sweep of regular-season and tournament championships. The Islanders, which have one of the best turnarounds in the NCAA this year, were awarded with a CIT berth at Northern Colorado on Wednesday. A&M-Corpus Christi was just 6-23 a season ago, but rebounded to go 17-15 overall. Their 14-4 conference record was one game better than Sam Houston, the team it lost to in the semifinals of this year’s Southland tournament (69-63). Northwestern State’s West is Top Defender: A season after earning conference freshman of the year honors, Northwestern State sophomore guard Jalan West was named the Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year, an award in just its second year. The 5-foot-10 sophomore guard from Bossier City, La. (Bossier H.S.), led the Demons during the regular season in scoring with 18.9 points per game, which ranks fifth in the Southland. He paced the conference with 6.6 assists and 2.6 steals per game to go with a conference-best 87.7 free-throw aim. In league play, he averaged 7.1 assists per contest. West, who has been heralded by Bleacher Report as one of the nation’s best players under 6-feet tall, is the only Division I player who averaged at least 18.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game. West has tied the school record with 76 steals this season and he ranks fifth in the NCAA. He ranked eighth nationally in assists and is one of only two Division I players to rank among the top 10 in both assists and steals. West ranks seventh on the school’s career list in steals with 151 and is on pace to eventually shatter the school record of 264. UCA Tabs Pennell as Coach: Central Arkansas has named Russ Pennell as its new head men’s basketball coach. Pennell, who played at UCA from 1982-84, was interim coach at Arizona in 2008-09 and head coach at Grand Canyon University from 2009-2013. He most recently coached the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA. Pennell, a native of Pittsburg, Kan., has an extensive background as a collegiate assistant coach, at Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Arizona State and Arizona. Pennell, 53, replaces UCA interim coach Clarence Finley, who stepped in for Corliss Williamson last August when he left to be an assistant coach for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. Southland’s 20-Win Teams: In addition to Stephen F. Austin becoming the Southland Conference’s first 30-game winner, the Southland had two other teams win 20 games this year. Sam Houston State is 24-10 overall and recorded its first 20-win season since 2009-10. First-year conference member UIW also won 20 games, finishing with an overall mark of 21-6 in its first season as a Division I member. SFA is a No. 12 Seed: Stephen F. Austin drew the No. 12 seed in the South Regional. That is the best seed for a Southland team since former league member Louisiana Tech, led by Karl Malone, earned a No. 5 seed in the 1985 NCAA tournament. That was the first year of the 64-team tournament. Louisiana Tech won its first two games of the tournament, including wins over No. 12 Pittsburgh (78-54) and No. 4 Ohio State (79-67) before falling in the Sweet 16 to No. 1 Oklahoma (86-84) in overtime. Since then, three teams have been as high as a No. 13 seed. Louisiana-Monroe was a No. 13 in 1986 and 1993 and Nicholls was a No. 13 seed in 1995. Since 1985, the Southland has been a No. 14 seed six times, including last year’s Northwestern State team; a No. 15 seed nine times and a No. 16 seed 10 times. All-Conference Breakdown: Ten conference teams placed at least one player on the all-conference teams, led by first-place SFA, who landed three players – one on each of the three teams. Northwestern State, Oral Roberts and Sam Houston State each garnered two selections. Central Arkansas, McNeese State, Nicholls and A&M-Corpus Christi were joined by first-year members UIW and New Orleans with one selection each. Stephen F. Austin in the NCAA Tournament: Stephen F. Austin is making its second trip to the NCAA tournament. It was a No. 14 seed in the 2009 tournament and lost 59-44 to No. 3 seed Syracuse. The Orange ran out to a 20-4 lead and never let SFA get anything going in its first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament. Benson Akpan led SFA with 12 points and Nick Shaw added 10 in the first-round game at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Fla. The Lumberjacks missed 12 of their first 13 shots, and did not connect from 3-point range until Walt Harris hit from the left wing with 11:25 to play. It was the team’s 16th attempt from beyond the arc. SFA, which had led the nation in 3-point field goal defense, lived up to that billing. The Orange were 2-for-16 from long range, plus committed 21 turnovers to the Lumberjacks’ six. Syracuse held a 51-32 edge in rebounding and limited SFA to 25 percent shooting. SFA’s Parker Named Player of the Year: Stephen F. Austin junior Jacob Parker has been named the 2013-14 Southland Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year by a vote of the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. Parker helped lead the Lumberjacks to their second consecutive Southland regular-season championship and their fourth overall. The forward from Bixby, Okla. (Bixby H.S.), averaged 14.5 points and 7.1 rebounds during the regular season to pace SFA. Among the conference leaders, Throughout the regular season, Parker was highly ranked in several statistical categories, including second in free-throw percentage (.870), fifth in offensive rebounds (2.5), seventh in rebounding (7.1), ninth in field goal percentage (.537), 11th in scoring (14.5) and 12th in defensive rebounds (4.5). He scored in double figures in all but five of the Lumberjacks’ 31 regular-season games and scored 20 or more points five times, including a season-high 31 points at Marshall in November. Parker has nine career double-doubles (all this season) and cleared a season-high 13 rebounds against Northwestern State in January. Parker is the fourth Lumberjack to earn the award and is the second consecutive SFA winner. Taylor Smith won the award last season, while Josh Alexander and Matt Kingsley won the award in consecutive seasons in 2008 and 2009. More on the Lumberjacks: Stephen F. Austin became the first Southland team to win 30 games in a season and enters the tournament with a 31-2 record. The 1985 Louisiana Tech team that reached the Sweet 16 finished 29-3 but won twice in the NCAA tournament. The Lumberjacks won 29 games during the regular season. SFA has won its last 23 conference games, including its last five league games in 2012-13 and all 18 games of the 2013-14 season. That broke the previous conference record of 19 set by Louisiana-Monroe. ULM’s streak included the final 16 games of the 1992-93 season and the first three games of the 1993-94 season. SFA’s overall win streak is 28 games and is the second longest active streak in the nation behind Wichita State, which is a perfect 34-0 this season and is the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional. SFA has not lost since Nov. 23 at East Tennessee. It’s only other loss was at Texas Nov. 15. That 72-62 loss snapped a string of 66 games that the Lumberjacks were able to hold their opposition to less than 70 points. SFA is 58-7 the last two years. The Lumberjacks are also enjoying a 33-game home-court win streak dating back to the 2011 season. It’s tied with Duke as the longest streak in the nation. SFA’s 14 road wins this season are the best in the nation, while its 12-game road win streak is tied for first. SFA enters the tournament ranked third in the nation in win percentage (93.9), tied for fifth in turnover margin (+5.2), seventh in scoring margin (+13.8), eighth in assists per game (16.6) and 11th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.49). SFA is also tied for 25th in scoring defense (62.6) and 43rd in scoring offense (76.5). First-year coach Brad Underwood, the Southland Conference Coach of the Year, enters the tournament in a three-way tie for third among the NCAA’s top-10 best career starts at the Division I level. He’s tied with Murray State’s Steve Prohm, who was 31-2 in 2012 and Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon, who was 31-5 in 2004. Southland NCAA Tournament Tidbits• The Southland Conference is 11-37 all-time in the NCAA tournament; that does not include a 2-5 tournament record by Oral Roberts or an 0-1 record by Houston Baptist, who are current conference members.• Since seeding began in the NCAA tournament in 1979, this year marks eighth time a Southland team has been a 12-seed or better. Louisiana Tech was a No. 5 seed in the 1985 tournament as the all-time best seed by a conference team. Lamar was No. 8 seed in 1981 and Louisiana-Lafayette was a No. 8 seed in 1982. Lamar was a No. 10 seed in 1979 and 1980, while Louisiana Tech was a No. 10 seed in 1984. Lamar was a No. 11 seed in the 1983 tournament.• Since the 2010 tournament, the Southland has received three No. 14 seeds and two No. 16 seeds.• Last year’s No. 14 seeding of Northwestern State snapped a two-year stretch in which the league’s tournament qualifier was a No. 16 seed. The Southland’s tournament team has been a No. 16 only three times since 2005 and 10 times overall, all since 1988. The Southland tournament champion was a No. 16 seed five years in a row between 1997-2001.• The winner of the Southland Conference regular-season title has been the league’s representative in the NCAA tournament only four times since 2006.• When the Southland regular-season champion wins the tournament to become the league’s AQ, it is rarely a No. 16 seed. In fact, that has happened only once since 1999. The league regular-season champion was a No. 14 seed in 2002, 2006 and 2009; and was a No. 15 seed in 2003, 2005, 2007.• The current members of the conference are 9-24 in the tournament, including Oral Roberts, which just finished its second season in the Southland Conference, and Houston Baptist, which completed its first Southland season. Lamar has five wins in the NCAA tournament while Northwestern State and Oral Roberts each have two. Eight former members were 4-19 as Southland members, including Louisiana Tech, which won three tournament games in 1984 and 1985 with Karl Malone.• The Golden Eagles have made five trips to the NCAA tournament and are 2-5 in tournament games. Both wins came in 1974 when the Golden Eagles reached the Sweet 16 before falling to Kansas 93-90 in overtime. ORU made three consecutive trips to the tournament from 2006-08 to go with another appearance in 1984.• This is the 30th anniversary of Houston Baptist’s only appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Huskies lost 79-60 to Alcorn State in a preliminary round game of the 1984 tournament. Southland in the NCAA Tournament: Stephen F. Austin is making the Southland’s 37th appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Southland is 11-37 in the tournament all time. Eight of those wins came between 1969-1985. The Southland was 8-8 in its first eight tournament berths, highlighted by Sweet 16 runs by Lamar in 1980 and Louisiana Tech in 1985. Northwestern State’s win in 2001 ended a 15-year drought by the league in the tournament. The Demons won again in 2006 and Texas-San Antonio won a first-round game against Alabama State in Dayton in 2011, giving the Southland three tournament wins since 1986. Demon Rookie Woodley is Best Frosh: Northwestern State freshman guard Zeek Woodley gives the Demons back-to-back Freshman of the Year winners in the Southland Conference. Overall, the guard from Pelican, La. (All Saints H.S.), is the third Northwestern State player to earn freshman of the year honors. He and West have a lot to do with how the Demons closed the year, with victories in 11 of their last 13 regular-season games, rallying the team from a 1-4 league start. Woodley was the top-scoring freshman in the conference through the regular season, averaging 14.1 points per game overall and 14.4 points in conference action. His 63.2 field-goal percentage led all Southland players and ranks third nationally. He is also shooting 42.9 percent on 3-pointers and 81.2 percent at the foul line. Woodley’s 14.1 points per game overall is the best scoring average in the league by a freshman since Stephen F. Austin’s Josh Alexander led the Lumberjacks with a 14.2 scoring average while winning the freshman of the year award in 2006. The two are the top scoring averages by league freshmen since former league member Texas-San Antonio’s Devin Brown averaged 16.7 points per game in 1998-99. Woodley, who maintained a 3.2 grade-point average in his first college semester, was a three-time Louisiana Class C MVP in high school. Southland’s Entrant in 2013 Tournament: Northwestern State won its third Southland Conference tournament title last year to make its third overall appearance in the NCAA tournament. Northwestern State drew the No. 14 seed in the tournament, but lost 79-47 to Florida at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas in a second-round game. Northwestern State soared into the tournament as the nation’s top-scoring team, but fell flat against the No. 3 seed Gators. Despite a great first half, Northwestern could not maintain its momentum in the second half. The Demons made just three field goals in the second half, shooting a season-low 18.8 percent. DeQuan Hicks led Northwestern with 12 points and eight rebounds; he was the only Demon to score in double-figures. The Demons finished the season with a 23-9 record, which marked the program’s 10th 20-win season. Florida, which got a game-high 18 points and eight rebounds from Eric Murphy, advanced the Elite Eight before falling to national runner-up Michigan. West Leads All-Defensive Team: Four all-conference selections also appear on the league’s five-member all-defensive team, including Northwestern State sophomore guard Jalan West, UIW junior guard Denzel Livingston, Stephen F. Austin sophomore guard Thomas Walkup and Oral Roberts senior guard/forward Shawn Glover. The other is McNeese State junior guard Kevin Hardy, who, like West, is on the all-defensive squad in each of the two years the team has been selected. FRISCO, Texas – For the second consecutive season, the Southland Conference has sent three teams to the postseason, led by Stephen F. Austin, the regular season and conference tournament champion. The Lumberjacks drew the No. 12 seed in the NCAA South Regional and will open the tournament Friday against Virginia Commonwealth at 6:27 p.m., CT, on truTV. SFA swept through an 18-game conference schedule and received a bye to the semifinal round of the league tournament. The Lumberjacks defeated defending tournament champion Northwestern State 85-78 before claiming a 68-49 victory against Sam Houston State in the championship game. It was the Lumberjacks second tournament win and this is their second trip to the NCAA tournament. The Bearkats are joined in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The Islanders, who finished second in the regular season. drew an opening round CIT game at Northern Colorado, while Sam Houston drew Alabama State in a home game. SFA Men, Women Sweep Regular-Season Titles: Stephen F. Austin has won regular-season Southland Conference titles in both men’s and women’s basketball this year to become just the second school to claim men’s and women’s titles in the same year. McNeese State was the first to do it in 2011. The Lumberjacks will be the No. 1 seed in the men’s tournament, while the Ladyjacks will be the No. 2 seed after sharing this year’s championship with Lamar, the top seed. Under Underwood’s tutelage, the Lumberjacks became the first Southland team to win 29 games in the regular season, matching the 1985 Louisiana Tech team that finished 29-3 after reaching the Sweet 16. SFA finished a perfect 15-0 at home for the second consecutive year and has run its home-court win streak to 33 games, which is tied with Duke for the best in Division I. The team’s 26-game overall win streak obliterated the former conference record of 19 set by Louisiana Tech in 1992-93 and 1993-94. SFA leads the nation with 14 road wins this season and their current 12-game road win streak is tied with Wichita State for the national lead. Underwood follows former SFA coach Danny Kaspar, who won the award last season, and is the fourth Lumberjack recipient of the honor. Kaspar was a two-time Southland coach of the year (2008 and 2013) and Ned Fowler claimed the honor in 1991. Lamar Removes Interim Tag Off Price: Tic Price has been named the head men’s basketball coach at Lamar, becoming the university’s 11th head coach, following a five-game stint as the interim coach to close out the 2013-14 season. A 32-year college coaching veteran, Price has spent 10 seasons as a head coach with nine combined NCAA and NIT appearances between stops at Memphis, McNeese State and New Orleans. His head coaching career began in 1994 at New Orleans. During his time at UNO, the Privateers won 20 games each season, and advanced to the 1996 NCAA Tournament and the 1997 NIT. Following his time at New Orleans, Price was hired as the head coach at Memphis where he spent two seasons as the Tigers head coach. Price posted a 30-27 record at Memphis, leading the team to the second round of the 1998 NIT. Price has a full understanding of the Southland Conference, after spending six seasons, including five as head coach at McNeese State. He was named associate head coach prior to the 2000-01 season when he helped the Cowboys produce the nation’s largest turnaround, going 22-9, winning a conference title and advancing to the NCAA tournament. The following season, Price was named head coach and led the Cowboys to a 20-win season, a Southland regular-season title and a berth in the 2002 NCAA tournament. The Cowboys won 74 games during Price’s five seasons in Lake Charles, La.
Research shows that when a company embraces diversity, it can become more innovative and competitive. These traits are especially important for companies who continue to experience exponential growth, expand their applicant pool and hire more talent.Diversity is integral to the ecosystem of a company because it enables an organization to innovate and adapt in a fast-changing environment. Studies have also shown that a more diverse talent pool is pivotal to competitive advantage and economic success.As a global company, we work hard to support and leverage the diversity of our workforce. We also understand that in order to attract and maintain a diverse workforce, we must ensure that we have an inclusive culture.We recently conducted a study of 1,002 people currently employed in the technology industry, and 77 percent of respondents say it is very or quite important to have a diverse company, yet nearly a quarter (24 percent) felt that they had been personally discriminated against.Having a truly diverse and inclusive culture doesn’t happen overnight and it requires a broad and long term commitment to see results. Here are some of the things we are doing to help us achieve a dynamic and diverse workforce.Develop Programs that Source & Support Diverse Candidates:If you are constantly sourcing a diverse slate of candidates, you will increase the diversity within your company. Educate recruiters so they can focus on creating an inclusive and supportive work environment or find recruiters who have experience with diverse hiring practices.In order to source diverse candidates, however, it’s important to enhance efforts in creating a more inclusive environment, so that you can attract and retain a diverse workforce. We should all be thinking about how to recruit great talent with a diversity of skills, experiences, culture, background and abilities to contribute to the success of your company.Partner with Organizations that Are Experts in InclusionI’ve learned that we need to implement a wide array of action plans to move the needle, which includes partnering with the right academic institutions and organizations to create a diverse pipeline of talent.For example, we partner with a number of groups that are committed to increasing workplace inclusion, including Girls Who Code, StemConnector, Anita Borg Organization and Grace Hopper, to name just a few. These relationships have helped impact decision-making and success in achieving our inclusion goals, and we will continue to expand and grow this list.Openly Communicate with your Employees on Diversity & Inclusion PlansIndeed’s survey finds that 57 percent of people do not know what meaningful action their company is taking when it comes to diversity and inclusion, while 25 percent said their company is not taking any meaningful action.Employee education should be a main priority. This means we all need to do a better job communicating our initiatives and making people more aware of them. Organizations are responsible for inclusion. All employees need to be champions of inclusion, and by getting more people involved, we can help attract more diverse employees and create a workplace where all employees are respected and valued.Engaging in a holistic approach—from identifying conscious and unconscious biases that may exist in our talent acquisition processes to educating our hiring managers and all leaders on the benefits of a diverse workforce—is essential to creating and embracing inclusion in our overall business strategy. As employers, it’s our responsibility to make sure we have a supportive culture that’s committed to educating employees and investing in strategies to build a pipeline for the future.
Related Posts jason rothbart 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Most people quickly answer this question in the affirmative. I certainly do. However, there are people out there who aren’t sure. They look at the monthly cost of a SaaS application and compare it to the equivalent licensed product over an extended period of time. Given enough time, you will eventually hit a point when the SaaS product appears to be more expensive. Let’s look at it from the perspective of the total cost of ownership (TCO).The true cost of a licensed product is much higher than just the software. Here are other things to factor in:Hardware costs: You have to either buy machines or add your software to existing servers and manage them. If it is a mission-critical application, you will probably need dedicated machines and back-ups.Additional software costs: You will most likely need an OS, application server software, a database, monitoring software, etc. Many of these products are open source now, but there are still associated costs.Implementation costs: In my experience, the implementation costs associated with a behind-the-firewall solution are always higher than those of a SaaS application. There is simply more to do. You will either pay consultants or use your own valuable resources and time to worry about installing software, integrating it, building servers, configuration, etc.Maintenance labor: If you have in-house software, there is going to be some level of effort required to keep it happy. Your IT people will need to take care of it, which will keep them from doing more value-added activities.Another huge factor here is the ability to get the latest and greatest technology. Once you install software in a data center, it becomes more difficult to upgrade and maintain it (especially if you customize it). In such a case, you will be stuck with old software that you will have to replace in the same time frame described above. In other words, unless you are absolutely sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that your licensed software is going to meet your business needs for 5 years or more, then SaaS might make financial sense.Let’s look at a real-world example. A 100-person company has been sharing files via email and internal servers. The executives have finally concluded they need to join the 21st century and put a solution in place. One option is to implement SharePoint. Here is a rough estimate of what that might cost:Year 1MOSS server = $4,500User client access license = $90Hosting and maintenance = $5,000Implementation and developer support = $20,000Total = $29,590Year 2 and onHosting and maintenance = $5,000Developer support = $3,000Total = $8,000I know of a SaaS solution that has 80% of the file-collaboration functionality of SharePoint but charges $850 per month for 100 users.Year 1SaaS fees = $10,200Implementation support = $10,000Total = $20,200Year 2 and onSaaS fees = $10,200Total = $10,200It would take over 4 and a half years before the licensed software became cheaper. By that time, I’m quite sure there would be another solution that could replace SharePoint, and the cycle would start again. We can quibble about the numbers, but you get the point. Plus, the numbers don’t reflect that the SaaS solution is likely to improve and innovate faster than the licensed software by a significant amount.What do you think? Have you done this analysis, and what did you conclude? Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#enterprise#Knowledge Management#web
Editor’s Note: Ever wonder how loss prevention is managed in other countries around the globe? In this post, we have a perspective on the loss prevention profession from the South American country of Brazil presented by Fernando Guinzani, who has more than 17 years experience in loss prevention. Graduating with a degree in fraud risk management and compliance from the Foundation Institute of Administration, Guinzani currently serves as country loss prevention manager at C&C Home and Bulding, and is also director at IBEVAR (The Brazilian Institute of Retail Executives) as part of the Loss Prevention Committee.In the last decade, the Brazilian retail market has assumed a leading role in the Brazilian economy. In a study conducted by IBEVAR (Brazilian Institute of Retail Executives) in October 2018, the sector projected growth of 3.55 percent compared to 2017. However, when looking at loss prevention, we noticed that these trends are not advancing at the same speed.In Brazil, the first studies on loss prevention began in 1998, through the PROVAR (Retail Administration Program), an entity linked to the FIA (Foundation Institute of Administration), with the contribution of retailers for the maintenance of the project. Large corporations, similar to the movement in the United States, adopted the nomenclature “loss prevention” for sectors then responsible for process control and security. For example, the Carrefour Group, currently the country’s largest retailer, referred to loss prevention as “fiscalização e controle” (Supervision & Control) until 2001 and was integrally focused on asset security.- Sponsor – Despite the lack of bibliography produced in the country, some Brazilian authors have established lines of reasoning that already allow national retailers to target the best practices for the implementation of a solid loss prevention movement. In his book “Pentagon of Losses”, Anderson Osawa, loss prevention director at Cinemark and director of the loss prevention committee of IBEVAR, describes how an efficient loss prevention area should be supported by five elements:People are the backbone of any company’s loss prevention planning strategy, to include motivation, involvement, environment, and engagement. According to the author, “People management strategies are among the most evolved in the last decades for application across all business segments.”Processes determine how the company will implement the program, taking into account risk points and their impacts and controls. In loss prevention, there are two phases of process components:Knowing the business, to include the evaluation of organizational chart, responsibilities, interviews for survey, macro flows and key processes.Design and Implementation, to include process design, identification of risks, causes and origins, action plans and norms and procedures.Operational Auditing is the responsibility of Loss Prevention in the retail environment and includes the monitoring and measurement of the application of processes The audit is an activity that can only be executed if people and processes are in place, since there is no audit without formalized processes and, neither, without previously trained persons.Loss Prevention Technologies help mitigate the risks of fraud or deviations by setting up an environment that naturally reverses the burden of action for the possible fraudster. In loss prevention planning there are important support tools in strategic pursuit by building the best financial loss results to include CFTV (In Brazil the CCTV system is called Circuito Fechado de Televisão), electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems, and intrusion alarmsKey Performance Indicators. Vicente Falconi, a Brazilian author, project specialist, and Ph.D., states that failures to achieve good results occur because:Wrong goals or definitions of wrong problems are establishedAction plans are performed in the wrong way, either due to lack of knowledge of the methods of analysis or due to a lack of technical knowledge or necessary information.Incorrect execution of the action plan after the established deadline or due to circumstances beyond our control.A financial metric creates the possibility of translating all other objectives into a single unit of measure, which makes it possible to compare them and identify priorities more clearly. The principle of loss prevention work is to find out the number that represents the losses in its result. For example, the physical inventory process and identifying the value of their inventory loss.With regards to the development of the loss prevention sector in Brazil, there is still much that needs to be done. The first Association of Loss Prevention Professionals (ABRAPPE) just launched in September 2018. Forums and events remain an area of opportunity, but industry professionals believe it is be possible to build a strong and independent loss prevention presence within the Brazilian retail industry. Time will tell.This post was originally published May 8, 2019 and updated May 24, 2019. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now
I recently had the chance to host a webinar with two of Network for Good’s DonateNow customers, Renee O’Donnell from SIFF and Katie Matney from The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. Our goal was to understand how they’re retaining more donors through recurring giving at their respective organizations. With 70% of donors never returning to make a second gift, we were eager to learn from two peers who are building and retaining a large sustaining network of recurring donors.While SIFF is primarily membership-based, The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio takes a more traditional view of recurring donors through their 1,000 Women campaign; however, during our Q&A session we uncovered four common themes despite the different approaches.Here are four takeaways for executing a successful recurring giving program for your organization:1. Start donors as recurring donors. A small, monthly recurring gift is an easy entry point for donors. A gift of $10 or $15 a month is easier to budget for than a gift of $50, and with services like DonateNow, those donations can be automatically processed—no extra effort for you or your donors. Our data shows that recurring donors give 42% more over the course of 1 year than a one-time donor does. In addition, your recurring donors will likely do more than just make a recurring gift. For both SIFF and The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, recurring donors make additional one-time gifts throughout the year, attend events, and encourage their networks to support and donate. In short, these recurring donors are the most loyal and generous supporters over time.2. Thank donors within 48 hours. In addition to any automatic tax receipts you send after every donation, thank your donors for every gift within 24 to 48 hours. A thank-you letter, hand-written note, or phone call within that time frame is one of the easiest things you can do to keep a donor giving. However, for recurring donors especially, listen to the donor’s feedback. If a donor doesn’t want an acknowledgement every month, don’t send one. Listening and responding to a donor’s wishes makes him or her feel heard and appreciated—and more likely to give for longer! Both Katie and Renee suggest that fundraisers make thank-yous a team effort and involve everyone in their organization. Remember, it’s your donors who allow you to continue your mission.3. Have a plan to engage donors once they get in the door. I love how Katie from The Women’s Fund described planning for the relationship you want with your recurring donors: How are you going to pick up these donors and take them with you on this ride towards social change? Keep your donors involved with frequent email updates, but pepper in personal touches. Take your recurring donors to coffee, write them a quick email, hold special events for them, and ask them for their feedback.Giving is highly personal, so make sure you understand what inspires your donors to give.4. Make it manageable. The above advice may sound like it requires a lot of effort. While that can be true, both Renee and Katie offered tips to make this work at your organization:Have a plan. Recurring donors are your most loyal supporters and they should be treated like it! Map out how your organization interacts with recurring versus one-time donors. Those with recurring gifts should receive more frequent communications. It’s easier to save time if you’re following a thought-out strategy and process, so set aside some time upfront for planning. Make sure your plans allow you to achieve success. Don’t promise you’ll send hand-written thank you notes to each donor if you don’t have the resources. Instead, strive toward a signed letter from your executive director within 24 hours. Make small but regular progress. By making a habit of doing something small every day to improve either the number or loyalty of your recurring donors, you’ll create a habit that allows you to be more effective and successful over time. Check out the article by Gretchen Rubin: “Best Advice: Make A Habit of Something Every Day.” Katie credits it for helping her start and maintain her donor acknowledgement program.Thanks to both Katie and Renee for sharing their stories with the Network for Good community! For more tips on making recurring giving a part of your fundraising strategy, listen to the full recording of this webinar, Getting Donors to Give Again and Again: The Secret Recipe.
Whether you’re you looking to win support for an issue, impact policy, or inspire donors to take action and give, a campaign rarely succeeds without a solid, thoughtful campaign planning.At Network for Good, we’ve always been big fans of Spitfire Strategies’ original Just Enough Planning Guide as a primer for doing just that. We’re happy to announce that the folks at Spitfire are back with an interactive road map to successful campaign planning with their Planning to Win: The Just Enough Guide for Campaigners™. The new Planning to Win toolkit builds on the original concept and provides nonprofit changemakers and campaign organizers with a nice set of resources to create an effective strategy.Inspired by the new guide, here are six key steps to putting your campaign plan together:1. Define the VictoryIt’s important that everyone agrees on the core goal or goals of your campaign. You also need to make sure the definition of your campaign’s success is specific and actionable. What exactly are you trying to accomplish? How will you know that you’ve hit your goal?2. Evaluate the Campaign ClimateOnce you clearly define your campaign win, it’s time to evaluate the climate in which you’ll deploy your outreach. When you understand what’s going on with your issue or audience, you can plan to maximize the positives and strengthen any weaknesses. Identify what’s already working in your favor and what obstacles might cause your message to get lost or be misunderstood. Some questions to help you evaluate your issue’s climate:Is your issue hot on the agenda or stuck in limbo?What is the current conversation around your issue?Who is the opposition and what is their agenda?Who else is working on this issue?What current events or opportunities can you use to your advantage?3. Chart the CourseLay out the series of milestones that you must hit on your way to reach your goal. Ideally, these steps should build off each other and indicate that your campaign is gaining momentum. Focus these milestones on the desired outcomes, rather than the tactics themselves. For example, if your campaign will reach out to local businesses to gain sponsors, your milestone should not be pitching these business owners. Rather, it should be that you reach your desired number of confirmed business partners for your cause.4. Choose Your Influence StrategyAlong with each step, understand the decision makers who will determine your success. These may be voters, business partners, or public officials. Then, find out who will have the most influence on these decision makers. These are the people you want to reach and activate to help your initiative gain momentum. Warning: avoid naming broad groups such as “the general public,” “voters” or “women.” Just as you did with your campaign goal, get very specific about your influencers so you have a clear picture of the kind of person you need to reach to achieve victory.5. Message for ImpactAll campaigns benefit from a message platform that provides everyone in your organization with a consistent positioning statement. Keep in mind that a message platform doesn’t need to be rigid, nor does it need to be memorized, but it should provide the core concepts and talking points to serve as a guide for your spokespeople. A good message platform includes the following four points:explain the problem/need that currently exists or the situation that you are working to changespecify what your campaign is working to accomplishdescribe how you recommend addressing the need or problem, along with the with specific actions that decision makers need to takeexplain the result that a campaign victory will have and how it solves the problem you noted at the start6. Manage Your CampaignOnce you outline the main tactics to achieve your goals, you still need to plan the day-to-day details to get it done. Each assignment should have a deadline/timeline, owner, metrics including outcomes, and a budget. When it comes to metrics, it’s important to think of ones that lead to outcomes. Once your campaign is underway, don’t forget to celebrate the small victories with your team to keep everyone motivated.For a step-by-step guide to building your campaign strategy, check our free guide, Step-by-Step Guide to Planning a Fundraising Campaign.How are you applying these steps to your campaigns? Share your current efforts in the comments below and add in your tips for fellow campaigners.
In the 2014 Forbes 30 Under 30 list there was a familiar face on the list: Julie Carney from Gardens for Health International. Julie, and two other young women, co-founded Gardens for Health International in 2010 to promote agriculture as part of the solution to large-scale public health challenges. Since then, they’ve helped over 2,000 Rwandan families and partnered with 18 health centers to combat chronic childhood malnutrition. We’re a big fan of Julie and Gardens for Health because of the important, life-changing work they do. We’ve had the opportunity to get to know this organization and their mission because they are one of our DonateNow customers. We’re such big fans, we even wrote a case study about their success as stellar fundraisers. Congratulations Julie! And to the Gardens for Health team: keep up the good work! We can’t want to see what you accomplish this year.