KOMU.com http://www.komu.com/ KOMU.com Sports Sports en-us Copyright 2016, KOMU.com. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Mon, 27 Jun 2016 13:06:56 GMT Synapse CMS 10 KOMU.com http://www.komu.com/ 144 25 Lue to return to Mexico for "Home Court Shout Out" celebration http://www.komu.com/news/lue-to-return-to-mexico-for-home-court-shout-out-celebration/ http://www.komu.com/news/lue-to-return-to-mexico-for-home-court-shout-out-celebration/ Sports Wed, 22 Jun 2016 10:49:04 PM Laurel Bloom, KOMU 8 Digital Producer Lue to return to Mexico for

MEXICO - Cleveland Cavaliers head coach and Mexico native Tyronn Lue will return to his hometown on July 2nd. 

The city will throw a homecoming celebration for Lue called "Home Court Shout Out."

Lue recently led the Cavaliers to the 2016 NBA championship, the first for the team in 52 years. He also won two NBA championships during his time as a player for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Lue will speak at the celebration and a children's choir from several local churches will perform. The event is free to the public.

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Cardinals stop 5-game slide with 3-2 victory over Cubs http://www.komu.com/news/cardinals-stop-5-game-slide-with-3-2-victory-over-cubs/ http://www.komu.com/news/cardinals-stop-5-game-slide-with-3-2-victory-over-cubs/ Sports Tue, 21 Jun 2016 4:36:05 PM Associated Press Cardinals stop 5-game slide with 3-2 victory over Cubs

CHICAGO (AP) – Brandon Moss and Jhonny Peralta homered against John Lackey, and the St. Louis Cardinals stopped a five-game slide by holding off the Chicago Cubs for a 3-2 victory on Monday night.

Aledmys Diaz added an RBI single and Jaime Garcia (5-6) pitched into the seventh inning as the Cardinals got back on track following their first winless homestand of at least two series since 1983. It was their first trip to Wrigley Field since they were eliminated by the Cubs in the NL Division Series last year.

Seung Hwan Oh got four outs and Trevor Rosenthal worked a shaky ninth for his 13th save in 15 chances. Catcher Yadier Molina made a great play to throw out rookie Albert Almora Jr. trying to take third on a ball in the dirt, and Jason Heyward popped out with runners on the corners to end the game.

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NFL player Sylvester Williams gives back to Jefferson City http://www.komu.com/news/nfl-player-sylvester-williams-gives-back-to-jefferson-city/ http://www.komu.com/news/nfl-player-sylvester-williams-gives-back-to-jefferson-city/ Sports Sun, 19 Jun 2016 12:23:29 PM Mark Kim, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter NFL player Sylvester Williams gives back to Jefferson City

JEFFERSON CITY - Sylvester Williams has accomplished a lot as a football player.

The Denver Broncos starting nose tackle wrapped up his third NFL season with a Super Bowl triumph as his team beat the Carolina Panthers, 24-10.

"The feeling of winning is unbelievable because I've accomplished the ultimate goal at the highest level in the sport that I play," Williams said.

For Jefferson City head football coach Ted LePage, watching the defensive lineman he once coached play in Super Bowl 50 was a surreal moment.

"Here’s a dude chasing Cam Newton and he was just in our high school a few years ago. So it was exciting the whole time," LePage said. 

Williams suited up on Friday nights for LePage for one year, in 2008. Because of that season, Williams wanted to give back to the community that gave him an opportunity to pursue his dream. 

"This is some of my roots and I’ve been able to be here and be blessed to be a part of some of the programs here," Williams said. 

USA Football helped Williams organize a football camp for kids in Jefferson City on June 18. LePage, Arkansas running back Kody Walker and Lincoln University receiver Khiry Draine were among the staff members that returned to Adkins Stadium to help Williams run the event. 

A former teammate of Williams, Walker couldn't pass up the opportunity to help his friend out.

"When I heard about it, I had to come back and help. I love, especially, what he’s doing for the community, for these kids," Walker said.

LePage describes watching his former players return to help out the Jefferson City community as "humbling." 

"It is a very big honor to think that many guys were affected by this program and then want to come back and give back to these young people," LePage said. 

Williams says the event's success surpassed his expectations. 

"I think we had 115 T-shirts and ran out so it was a blessing. I didn’t expect this many kids so to have this many kids show out; that was exciting," Williams said. 

Williams won't be in Jefferson City for much longer as he continues to prepare for the 2016 NFL season, but his hometown will continue to motivate him to work as hard as he can. 

"The support I’ve received, the love I got back here and all of the fans I got back here definitely motivates me and pushes me that much harder every day so I got a tremendous amount of support right here and it means everything," Williams said. 

Williams said he plans on bringing the camp back to Jefferson City next year. 

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Hamels pitches Rangers to 1-0 win over Cardinals http://www.komu.com/news/hamels-pitches-rangers-to-1-0-win-over-cardinals/ http://www.komu.com/news/hamels-pitches-rangers-to-1-0-win-over-cardinals/ Sports Fri, 17 Jun 2016 9:42:39 PM Associated Press Hamels pitches Rangers to 1-0 win over Cardinals

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rougned Odor homered and Cole Hamels pitched 7 2/3 innings as the Texas Rangers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 1-0 on Friday night.

Hamels (7-1) allowed three hits while striking out six and walking three. He lowered his road ERA to 1.64 this season and turned in his fourth consecutive quality start.

Hamels scattered five baserunners and allowed only one to reach second.

Odor homered on the first pitch he saw in the fifth, hitting it 433 feet to straightaway center. It was Odor's third homer in as many games and the 19th for the Rangers in their last eight games.

Sam Dyson picked up his 12th save.

The Rangers have won four straight, improving to an AL-best 43-25. Texas improved to 4-0 all-time at Busch Stadium in the regular season and is a win away from winning a franchise-record eighth consecutive series.


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Former Missouri football star Sam responds to Orlando shooting http://www.komu.com/news/former-missouri-football-star-sam-responds-to-orlando-shooting/ http://www.komu.com/news/former-missouri-football-star-sam-responds-to-orlando-shooting/ Sports Sun, 12 Jun 2016 4:58:00 PM Carter Woodiel, KOMU 8 Digital Producer Former Missouri football star Sam responds to Orlando shooting

COLUMBIA - Former Missouri football star Michael Sam said Sunday's shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida should "be a wake up call for America" in a passionate Instagram post Sunday.

Sam, who came out as gay in 2014, called for increased awareness of violence toward LGBTQ individuals in his post, asking "How many more must die from a hate crime?" 

The former SEC Defensive Player of the Year also offered encouragement to his fellow community members, imploring them to "not let this coward put fear into your hearts."

The shooting, which happened early Sunday morning, left 50 dead and hospitalized 53 others, making it the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Sam's full post is below.


To my brothers and sisters of the LGBTQ community please take the time to read this. If you have not already heard there was a terrible shooting at a gay night club in Orlando. It is not only a sad day for the #LGBTQ community, but for the American people. 50 people lost their lives because of a hateful coward with a gun. Let this hateful act of terror of the #LGBTQ community be a wake up call for America. Men and women of all races, ages, and sexual orientation are being slaughtered because of hate crimes. How many more must die from a hate crime? We need to create awareness for ALL to show that hate is not the foundation of our nation. Friends DO NOT let this coward put fear into your hearts!!! Let us all come together stronger than ever and let the world know that we will not be terrorized or bullied by the actions of hateful bigots. We are here to stay and fight not only for equality, but for our very existence. To the victims love ones of this terrible crime I and the entire #LGBTQ community in the world stands with you and mourns with you. #standwithorlando #prayfororlando #love #peace #lbgtq #pride

A photo posted by Michael Sam (@mikeysam52) on

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Show-Me State Games finish first round Sunday http://www.komu.com/news/show-me-state-games-finish-first-round-sunday/ http://www.komu.com/news/show-me-state-games-finish-first-round-sunday/ Sports Sun, 12 Jun 2016 4:16:00 PM Alex Dostaler, KOMU 8 Reporter Show-Me State Games finish first round Sunday

COLUMBIA - The first heat of the U.S.'s largest state games will finish Sunday.

The 2016 Show-Me State Games kicked off Friday at various locations around Columbia. Competitions were held in eight different sports, including football, soccer, and basketball.

Athletes ranged from younger than 8 years old and older than 50 years old.

Many of the top Amateur Athletic Union boys and girls' basketball teams around the Midwest competed in the competition.

Southern (O'Fallon) Illinois Panthers basketball coach Cedric Cobb said the games have "really good, high-quality games in a two day's span of time."

"It's always, just great competition, awesome accommodations, and as a team, we come together real well," he added.

Cobb participated in the games during his playing days before playing at Division II Pittsburg State.

"When I was an athlete playing on the amateur level, some of the best weekends of my life were spent playing at the Show-Me State Games," he said.

The main competition will be held on July 22-24 and July 29-31.

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2016 MLB Draft Tracker http://www.komu.com/news/2016-mlb-draft-tracker/ http://www.komu.com/news/2016-mlb-draft-tracker/ Sports Sat, 11 Jun 2016 12:03:09 PM Lauren Petterson & Brendon Baker, KOMU 8 Digital Producers 2016 MLB Draft Tracker

SECAUCUS, New Jersey - The Major League Baseball draft has started. Stay updated on who has been drafted with our draft tracker.

Here are the Mizzou Baseball players that have been drafted so far:

Overall PickTeamPlayerPosition
155thSan Francisco GiantsRyan HowardSS
387thSeattle MarinersReggie McClainRHP
931stBaltimore OriolesJake RingCF
1053rdMinnesota TwinsAustin TribbyLHP

Here are the players that have been drafted to the St. Louis Cardinals:

Maryville University 

Overall PickSchoolPlayerPosition
23thColegio Individualizado PJ Education SchoolDelvin PerezSS
33thElk Grove High SchoolDylan CarlsonOF
34thMississippi StateDakota HudsonRHP
70thVirginiaConnor JonesRHP
106thNorth CarolinaZac GallenRHP
136thUSCJeremy MartinezC
166thGeorge County High SchoolWalker RobbinsOF
196thStanford UniversityTommy EdmanSS
226thNorth Carolina StateAndrew KniznerC
256thWichita StateSam TewesRHP
286thMinnesotaMatt FielderOF
316thWestern Kentucky UniversityDanny Hudzina 3B
346thVanderbilt John KilichowskiLHP
376thUnion High SchoolBrady WhalenSS
406thWingateShane BillingsCF
436thTennesseeVincent JacksonOF
466thOklahoma State UniversityJ.R. Davis2B
496thSpartanburg Methodist CollegeTyler LancasterC
526thUC RiversideMatt EllisRHP
556thMississippi State UniversityAustin SextonRHP
586thBaylorDaniel CastanoLHP
616thUniversity of Louisiana at LafayetteStefan Trosclair1B
646thBixby High SchoolCade CabbinessOF
676thCalifornia University of PennsylvaniaMick FennelCF
706thFrancis Marion UniversityJohn CroweOF
736thMonmouth UniversityAnthony CiavarellaLHP
766th North CarolinaSpencer TraynerRHP
796th University of Louisiana at Lafayette Eric CarterRHP
826thFlagler CollegeMichael O'Reilly RHP
856thClemson UniversityPat KrallLHP
886thLewis-Clark State CollegeNoel GonzalezRHP
916thVauxhall High SchoolJosh BurgmannRHP
946thBolivar High SchoolJonathan Murders2B
976thBellevue UniversityLeland TilleyRHP
1006thUniversity of West GeorgiaCaleb Lopes2B
1036thAdelphi University Jonathan MulfordRHP
1066thMichiganJackson LambRHP
1096thMaryville UniversityRobbie GordonRHP
1126thIndiana State UniversityAndy Young3B
1156thUniversity of Nebraska-OmahaRobert CalvanoRHP
1186thSan Jacinto North CollegeAaron BondOF
1216thSt. Francis High SchoolJeremy YdensCF

Here are the players that have been drafted to the Kansas City Royals:

Overall PickSchoolPlayerPosition
67thPepperdine UniversityAJ PuckettRHP
103rdFlint Hill SchoolKhalil LeeCF
133rdTexas A&MJace VinesRHP
163rdCreighton UniversityNicholas LopezSS
193rdDadeville High SchoolCal JonesCF
223rdOregon StateTravis EckertRHP
253rdUniversity of New MexicoChris DeVito1B
283rdStetson UniversityWalker ShellerRHP
313thKennesaw State UniversityRichard LoveladyLHP
343rdStetson UniversityVance VizcainoCF
373rdColby Community CollegeJeremy GwinnRHP
403rdAustin PeayLogan Gray2B
433rdFlorida AtlanticDavid McKayRHP
463rdBellarmine UniversityMike MessierLHP
493rdNorthwestern St UniversityNick HeathCF
523rdSeminole State CollegeDillion DrabbleRHP
553rdMississippi StateVance TatumLHP
583rdCochise CollegeTyler FallwellRHP
613thSanta Rosa Junior CollegeAnthony BenderRHP
643rdSouth Effingham High SchoolDalton GriffinCF
673rdSan Jacinto College NorthCody NesbitRHP
703rdUCLAKort PetersonOF
733rdSeattle University Mike McCann


763rd Bryant University Robby Rinn 


793rdUC Irvine John Brontsema3B
823rdTCURex HillLHP
853rdBroward CollegeYordany SalvaC
883rdCentral MissouriGrant Gavin RHP
913thAlabamaGeoffrey Bramblett  RHP
943rdHanahan High SchoolMalcolm Van BurenRHP
973rdProvidence Classical Christian Academy Luke BandyCF
1003rdPoplar Bluff High SchoolKameron MisnerOF
1033rdLee's Summit High SchoolNathan WebbRHP
1063rdCalifornia Baptist UniversityM.J. SanchezC
1093rdTulane UniversityAlex MasseyRHP
1123rdAuburn University Justin CampRHP
1153rdMurrieta Valley High SchoolJoey FregosiSS
1183rdUniversity of Rhode IslandChase LivingstonC
1213thUniversity of San DiegoTaylor KaczmarekRHP

[Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the most recent information.]


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Head Mizzou Baseball Coach Tim Jamieson resigns http://www.komu.com/news/head-mizzou-baseball-coach-tim-jamieson-resigns/ http://www.komu.com/news/head-mizzou-baseball-coach-tim-jamieson-resigns/ Sports Sat, 11 Jun 2016 11:05:32 AM Lauren Petterson, KOMU 8 Digital Producer Head Mizzou Baseball Coach Tim Jamieson resigns

COLUMBIA – Mizzou Baseball will have to find a new head coach after Tim Jamieson’s resignation.

According to the Mizzou Athletics website, Jamieson has coached eight All-Americans and 10 Freshman All-Americans. During Jamieson’s time as head baseball coach, he led the team to the 1996 Big Eight Championship and the 2012 Big 12 Tournament Championship. Ten of Jamieson’s former players have made it to the big leagues. In 2011, Jamieson was the USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team head coach.

"I would like to express my appreciation for all the players and coaches who I have had the honor of working with during my 28 baseball seasons at the University of Missouri," Jamieson said. "I am proud of what they have accomplished in the sport of Baseball but more importantly how positively they have represented the Mizzou Baseball Program as well as the University of Missouri. I am also thankful for the opportunity that I have had to lead this program and for all the great people that I have met along the journey. This is a special place and I wish great success as the program moves in to the future."

MU Athletic Director Mack Rhoades applauded Jamieson for his 22 years as the head baseball coach.

"Coach Jamieson has been an outstanding leader for Mizzou for more than two decades," Rhoades said. "We are grateful for his devotion to Mizzou, and more importantly, the tremendous impact he's had on hundreds of young men."

Jamieson may stay at MU in an administrative role.

KOMU 8 Sports' Chris Gerivino wrote on Twitter that Tony Vitello could possibly replace Jamieson.

[Editor's note: This article has been updated to include the most recent information.]

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Missouri baseball's Howard drafted by the Giants http://www.komu.com/news/missouri-baseball-s-howard-drafted-by-the-giants/ http://www.komu.com/news/missouri-baseball-s-howard-drafted-by-the-giants/ Sports Fri, 10 Jun 2016 8:42:28 PM Matt Vereen, KOMU 8 Sports Digital Producer Missouri baseball's Howard drafted by the Giants

COLUMBIA — A tough junior season for Missouri shortstop Ryan Howard ended on a high note today.

Howard was drafted in the fifth round by the San Francisco Giants with the 155th overall pick.

Howard is the highest-drafted Missouri position player since 2005.

The Giants also drafted Howard last year in the 31st round of the draft, but did not sign him.

A product of Francis Howell Central High School in St. Louis, Howard started every game for the Tigers at shortstop.

Despite a slow start to the season, Howard did well down the stretch.

He finished third on the team with a .295 batting average. He hit a team-best .381 with 13 runs and nine RBIs in the last 16 games of the season. He also had eight of his 19 multi-hit games in the same span.

Howard is still eligible to return for his senior year at Missouri.



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Arnel Monroe taught Hickman players more than football http://www.komu.com/news/arnel-monroe-taught-hickman-players-more-than-football/ http://www.komu.com/news/arnel-monroe-taught-hickman-players-more-than-football/ Sports Thu, 9 Jun 2016 10:47:16 PM Conner Handel, KOMU Sports Reporter Arnel Monroe taught Hickman players more than football

Family, coaches, players and members of the Columbia community all gathered at Alumni Stadium Thursday night to remember Hickman football coach Arnel Monroe.

Monroe wore a Kewpie uniform as a high schooler and rejoined the program in 1995 as a coach. He coached as an assistant until he earned head coaching honors in 2011.

Over his 21 seasons coaching at Hickman he had the opportunity to work with several hundred players. Some of his players said his impact on their lives went beyond the game they were a part of.

"He just taught us what it was like to be a man, not just on the field but off the field," sophomore football player Ryan Padgett said.

"Coach Monroe, he finds out about everything," sophomore football player Foster McCormick said. "And every time I got in trouble he had a talk with me, like he sat me down and he just kept telling me 'You've got to quit what you're doing, you’ve got to get your life back together,' like he really cared about us and he was always there for me."

Hickman running back Darmarion Avery said he might not be on pace to graduate high school without Monroe in his life.

"I probably would have dropped out and said, 'Forget it,'" Avery said, "but he kept me on the right path."

Atah Knighten, an assistant football coach at Hickman and Monroe's fraternity brother, said he had a special bond with Monroe.

"Me and coach, that’s my brother," Knighten said. "He was a big brother, I was a little brother."

Knighten said Monroe strived to teach students more than football.

"Family, dedication, loyalty. That's what we teach the kids," he said. "Life knocks you down, get back up."

If Monroe noticed a student needed help getting back up, he would provide assistance.

"Like this year he sent me to Douglas [High School] to get my grades up and all that," Avery said. "If he didn't want me to get my grades up he would have let me stay here and would’ve let me struggle, but he sent me somewhere he knew I could get an education and come back to play football my senior year."

Avery said Monroe wanted to help him achieve his goals.

"He said 'I got a big dream for you', and he said, 'You’re going to go to JUCO [junior college]. You're going to go D-I [division one]. If you try hard and stay in school you’re going to make it,'" Avery said. "Every time I was in bad or doing bad he would tell me, 'What did I tell you? What dreams do I have for you? And he just let me know, 'Hey, you’re going to make it. Just pay attention."

"I hope what he has instilled in these kids is, like I said, the fight," Knighten said. "To keep on fighting. No matter what, keep fighting."


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SEC announces kickoffs for first two Mizzou football games http://www.komu.com/news/sec-announces-kickoffs-for-first-two-mizzou-football-games/ http://www.komu.com/news/sec-announces-kickoffs-for-first-two-mizzou-football-games/ Sports Tue, 7 Jun 2016 3:51:11 PM Mercedes Mackay, KOMU 8 Sports Digital Producer SEC announces kickoffs for first two Mizzou football games

COLUMBIA – The first couple of weeks of the 2016 SEC football television selections have been announced. It reveals the kickoffs and networks that will be airing Mizzou’s first two home games at Faurot Field.

The home opener is set on Sept. 10th, with the Tigers facing Eastern Michigan.

This game will be aired on the SEC Alternate channel.

On Sept. 17th,  Georgia will make their way to Columbia, and it will be televised on the SEC Network. The first two home games will kickoff at 6:30 p.m.

The Southeastern Conference will announce the remaining kickoff and television designations for the 2016 season on a 12-day advance notice.

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Hickman football practices put on hold following coach's death http://www.komu.com/news/hickman-football-practices-put-on-hold-following-coach-s-death/ http://www.komu.com/news/hickman-football-practices-put-on-hold-following-coach-s-death/ Sports Mon, 6 Jun 2016 12:34:40 PM Melissa Zygowicz, KOMU 8 Reporter Hickman football practices put on hold following coach's death

COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools announced Monday summer football camp for the Hickman High School football team is put on hold due to the sudden death of head coach Arnel Monroe.

Summer football camp was scheduled to begin Monday but instead, coaching staff and administrators will be meeting with players Monday evening. CPS said resumed camp practices will be determined by how the players are feeling at Monday night's meeting. 

CPS said they are taking it one day at a time. The football team will not be at the Central Methodist University camp scheduled for Saturday.

CPS does not have any information from the family on memorials or funeral arrangements at this time.



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Jefferson City caps historic season with state final appearance http://www.komu.com/news/jefferson-city-caps-historic-season-with-state-final-appearance/ http://www.komu.com/news/jefferson-city-caps-historic-season-with-state-final-appearance/ Sports Sun, 5 Jun 2016 6:24:18 PM Chris Turner, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter Jefferson City caps historic season with state final appearance

O'FALLON - The last time Jefferson City won a State Championship in baseball, Missouri softball head coach Ehren Earleywine was the team captain for the 1989 Jays.

27 years later, the Jays ended their season at Carshield Field as the runners-up in Class 5, dropping the title game to Francis Howell, 8-2. Despite the loss, the 2016 season will go down as one of the best in school history for Jeffeson City. The Jays end the season at 28-7, shattering the previous single-season record of 23 wins in 1987 and 1997.

"To come out here and experience the Final Four experience, and get to the state championship, we accomplished everything that we wanted to." said Jefferson City head coach Brian Ash. "Just didn't finish it off the way we wanted."

After dropping a game to Lee's Summit West 11-2 on April 16, the Jays went 9-1 in their next 10 games en route to the District 9 championship game. There, they met Rock Bridge for the third year in a row. The Bruins had knocked the Jays out of the playoffs the previous two seasons.

Jefferson City went on to beat Rock Bridge 6-1 at Battle High School in May, clinching its first District title since 2008.

"That was our first hurdle, to get through the district championship." Ash said. "And now to be here in this position, and an opportunity to win a state title for this town. We're excited to represent the central Missouri area."

The Jays cruised past Willard and Nixa in the sectional and quarterfinal rounds, respectively, to punch their ticket to the Class 5 Final Four, their first since 1992. Jefferson City drew Lindbergh in the first semifinal game.

The Flyers scored four runs off Jays junior starter Jacob Weirich in the first inning to jump out to an early lead, but Jefferson City responded with seven straight runs. Weirich bounced back with 10 strikeouts to give the Jays the 7-4 win.

"They just wanted me to command the strike zone, and let my defense make plays." Weirich said of his performance. "I was leaving it up in the zone and they were able to drive it. But after that I was able to bring it down and go away from the inside and they weren't able to drive it as well."

Despite the early deficit, Coach Ash said he had complete trust in his offense to put Jefferson City back in the game.

"There really wasn't a whole lot to be said other than we still have seven innings of hitting to do." said Ash, "Once we tied it up, we felt pretty confident that we were going to be able to get into that bullpen and do a little more damage."

The Jays fell in the final game of their 2016 campaign, but the future looks bright for the Jefferson City program. Ash will return 75 percent of the Jays total hits and RBIs from this season, along with his ace pitcher, Weirich.

"If I know them as well as I think I do, I think they'll even be hungrier," said Ash. "We wanna get over the hump of winning the district, and we finally did that. To finally get here and realize this, I think it will motivate them to get back here and work hard in the offseason."

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Hickman football coach dies at 49 http://www.komu.com/news/hickman-football-coach-dies-at-49/ http://www.komu.com/news/hickman-football-coach-dies-at-49/ Sports Sun, 5 Jun 2016 10:53:48 AM Melissa Zygowicz and Ben Burke, KOMU 8 Reporters Hickman football coach dies at 49

COLUMBIA — Columbia Public Schools said Hickman High School football coach Arnel Monroe passed away Sunday morning at about 8:30 a.m. He was 49 years old.

A family friend said Monroe died of a heart attack.

CPS said it is working to notify family, players and staff, as well as contacting counselors to provide support for the students of Hickman High School.

Monroe graduated from Hickman in 1985. He began coaching in 2011.

According to a blog post from Monroe on Friday, his death comes a day after players volunteered at a car wash to raise funds for summer and food expenses for the team.

Mikayla Logan, a family friend of Monroe, said he was an amazing mentor and coach.

"He would bend over backwards for you," Logan said. "He was going to push you to be the best you could be. Any time I thought I really couldn't do something, or wasn't going to make it through something, he told me I was and never really gave me an option to just quit."

Logan also said many people who knew him are devastated.

"He was Hickman," Logan said. "Someone said heaven got a little more purple and it couldn't be more true."

Messages of support and remembrance from around mid-Missouri poured in on social media Sunday morning.

Hickman graduate and current Battle assistant coach Cedric Alvis shared kind words for Monroe on Twitter.

Former Kewpie and current Missouri Western State University defensive backs coach Regi Trotter also took to Twitter.

Friends and family nicknamed Monroe "Spanky."

Many others shared their memories of Monroe, using the hashtag #RIPSpanky.

[This story was updated to provide clarity and add quotes from Monroe's friends.]

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Muhammad Ali, who riveted the world as 'The Greatest,' dies http://www.komu.com/news/muhammad-ali-who-riveted-the-world-as-the-greatest-dies/ http://www.komu.com/news/muhammad-ali-who-riveted-the-world-as-the-greatest-dies/ Sports Sat, 4 Jun 2016 12:14:00 PM The Associated Press Muhammad Ali, who riveted the world as 'The Greatest,' dies

He was fast of fist and foot — lip, too — a heavyweight champion who promised to shock the world and did. He floated. He stung. Mostly he thrilled, even after the punches had taken their toll and his voice barely rose above a whisper.

He was The Greatest.

Muhammad Ali died Friday at age 74, according to a statement from the family. He was hospitalized in the Phoenix area with respiratory problems earlier this week, and his children had flown in from around the country.

"It's a sad day for life, man. I loved Muhammad Ali, he was my friend. Ali will never die," Don King, who promoted some of Ali's biggest fights, told The Associated Press early Saturday. "Like Martin Luther King his spirit will live on, he stood for the world."

A funeral will be held in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The city plans a memorial service Saturday.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer ordered flags lowered to half-staff to honor Ali.

"The values of hard work, conviction and compassion that Muhammad Ali developed while growing up in Louisville helped him become a global icon," Fischer said. "As a boxer, he became The Greatest, though his most lasting victories happened outside the ring."

With a wit as sharp as the punches he used to "whup" opponents, Ali dominated sports for two decades before time and Parkinson's disease, triggered by thousands of blows to the head, ravaged his magnificent body, muted his majestic voice and ended his storied career in 1981.

He won and defended the heavyweight championship in epic fights in exotic locations, spoke loudly on behalf of blacks, and famously refused to be drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War because of his Muslim beliefs.

Despite his debilitating illness, he traveled the world to rapturous receptions even after his once-bellowing voice was quieted and he was left to communicate with a wink or a weak smile.

"He was the greatest fighter of all time but his boxing career is secondary to his contribution to the world," promoter Bob Arum told the AP early Saturday. "He's the most transforming figure of my time certainly."

Revered by millions worldwide and reviled by millions more, Ali cut quite a figure, 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds in his prime. "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee," his cornermen exhorted, and he did just that in a way no heavyweight had ever fought before.

He fought in three different decades, finished with a record of 56-5 with 37 knockouts — 26 of those bouts promoted by Arum — and was the first man to win heavyweight titles three times.

He whipped the fearsome Sonny Liston twice, toppled the mighty George Foreman with the rope-a-dope in Zaire, and nearly fought to the death with Joe Frazier in the Philippines. Through it all, he was trailed by a colorful entourage who merely added to his growing legend.

"Rumble, young man, rumble," cornerman Bundini Brown would yell to him.

And rumble Ali did. He fought anyone who meant anything and made millions of dollars with his lightning-quick jab. His fights were so memorable that they had names — "Rumble in the Jungle" and "Thrilla in Manila."

But it was as much his antics — and his mouth — outside the ring that transformed the man born Cassius Clay into a household name as Muhammad Ali.

"I am the greatest," Ali thundered again and again.

Few would disagree.

Ali spurned white America when he joined the Black Muslims and changed his name. He defied the draft at the height of the Vietnam war — "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong" — and lost 3 1/2 years from the prime of his career. He entertained world leaders, once telling Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos: "I saw your wife. You're not as dumb as you look."

He later embarked on a second career as a missionary for Islam.

"Boxing was my field mission, the first part of my life," he said in 1990, adding with typical braggadocio, "I will be the greatest evangelist ever."

Ali couldn't fulfill that goal because Parkinson's robbed him of his speech. It took such a toll on his body that the sight of him in his later years — trembling, his face frozen, the man who invented the Ali Shuffle now barely able to walk — shocked and saddened those who remembered him in his prime.

"People naturally are going to be sad to see the effects of his disease," Hana, one of his daughters, said, when he turned 65. "But if they could really see him in the calm of his everyday life, they would not be sorry for him. He's at complete peace, and he's here learning a greater lesson."

The quiet of Ali's later life was in contrast to the roar of a career that had breathtaking highs along with terrible lows. He exploded on the public scene with a series of nationally televised fights that gave the public an exciting new champion, and he entertained millions as he sparred verbally with the likes of bombastic sportscaster Howard Cosell.

Ali once calculated he had taken 29,000 punches to the head and made $57 million in his pro career, but the effect of the punches lingered long after most of the money was gone. That didn't stop him from traveling tirelessly to promote Islam, meet with world leaders and champion legislation dubbed the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act. While slowed in recent years, he still managed to make numerous appearances, including a trip to the 2012 London Olympics.

Despised by some for his outspoken beliefs and refusal to serve in the U.S. Army in the 1960s, an aging Ali became a poignant figure whose mere presence at a sporting event would draw long standing ovations.

With his hands trembling so uncontrollably that the world held its breath, he lit the Olympic torch for the 1996 Atlanta Games in a performance as riveting as some of his fights.

A few years after that, he sat mute in a committee room in Washington, his mere presence enough to convince lawmakers to pass the boxing reform bill that bore his name.

Members of his inner circle weren't surprised. They had long known Ali as a humanitarian who once wouldn't think twice about getting in his car and driving hours to visit a terminally ill child. They saw him as a man who seemed to like everyone he met — even his archrival Frazier.

"I consider myself one of the luckiest guys in the world just to call him my friend," former business manager Gene Kilroy said. "If I was to die today and go to heaven it would be a step down. My heaven was being with Ali."

One of his biggest opponents would later become a big fan, too. On the eve of the 35th anniversary of their "Rumble in the Jungle," Foreman paid tribute to the man who so famously stopped him in the eighth round of their 1974 heavyweight title fight, the first ever held in Africa.

"I don't call him the best boxer of all time, but he's the greatest human being I ever met," Foreman said. "To this day he's the most exciting person I ever met in my life."

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay on Jan. 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky, Ali began boxing at age 12 after his new bicycle was stolen and he vowed to policeman Joe Martin that he would "whup" the person who took it.

He was only 89 pounds at the time, but Martin began training him at his boxing gym, the beginning of a six-year amateur career that ended with the light heavyweight Olympic gold medal in 1960.

Ali had already encountered racism. On boxing trips, he and his amateur teammates would have to stay in the car while Martin bought them hamburgers. When he returned to Louisville with his gold medal, the Chamber of Commerce presented him a citation but said it didn't have time to co-sponsor a dinner.

In his autobiography, "The Greatest," Ali wrote that he tossed the medal into the Ohio River after a fight with a white motorcycle gang, which started when he and a friend were refused service at a Louisville restaurant.

The story may be apocryphal, and Ali later told friends he simply misplaced the medal. Regardless, he had made his point.

After he beat Liston to win the heavyweight title in 1964, Ali shocked the boxing world by announcing he was a member of the Black Muslims — the Nation of Islam — and was rejecting his "slave name."

As a Baptist youth he spent much of his time outside the ring reading the Bible. From now on, he would be known as Muhammad Ali and his book of choice would be the Quran.

Ali's affiliation with the Nation of Islam outraged and disturbed many white Americans, but it was his refusal to be inducted into the Army that angered them most.

That happened on April 28, 1967, a month after he knocked out Zora Folley in the seventh round at Madison Square Garden in New York for his eighth title defense.

He was convicted of draft evasion, stripped of his title and banned from boxing.

Ali appealed the conviction on grounds he was a Muslim minister. He married 17-year-old Belinda Boyd, the second of his four wives, a month after his conviction, and had four children with her. He had two more with his third wife, Veronica Porsche, and he and his fourth wife, Lonnie Williams, adopted a son.

During his banishment, Ali spoke at colleges and briefly appeared in a Broadway musical called "Big Time Buck White." Still facing a prison term, he was allowed to resume boxing three years later, and he came back to stop Jerry Quarry in three rounds on Oct. 26, 1970, in Atlanta despite efforts by Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox to block the bout.

He was still facing a possible prison sentence when he fought Frazier for the first time on March 8, 1971, in what was labeled "The Fight of the Century."

A few months later the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction on an 8-0 vote.

"I've done my celebrating already," Ali said after being informed of the decision. "I said a prayer to Allah."

Many in boxing believe Ali was never the same fighter after his lengthy layoff, even though he won the heavyweight championship two more times and fought for another decade.

Perhaps his most memorable fight was the "Rumble in the Jungle," when he upset a brooding Foreman to become heavyweight champion once again at age 32.

Many worried that Ali could be seriously hurt by the powerful Foreman, who had knocked Frazier down six times in a second round TKO.

But while his peak fighting days may have been over, he was still in fine form verbally. He promoted the fight relentlessly, as only he could.

"You think the world was shocked when Nixon resigned," he said. "Wait till I whup George Foreman's behind."

Ali won over a country before he won the fight, mingling with people as he trained and displaying the kind of playful charm the rest of the world had already seen. On the plane into the former Congo he asked what the citizens of Zaire disliked most. He was told it was Belgians because they had once colonized the country.

"George Foreman is a Belgian," Ali cried out to the huge crowd that greeted him at the airport. By the time the fight finally went off in the early morning hours of Oct. 30, 1974, Zaire was his.

"Ali booma-ya (Ali kill him)," many of the 60,000 fans screamed as the fight began in Kinshasa.

Ali pulled out a huge upset to win the heavyweight title for a second time, allowing Foreman to punch himself out. He used what he would later call the "rope-a-dope" strategy — something even trainer Angelo Dundee knew nothing about.

Finally, he knocked out an exhausted Foreman in the eighth round, touching off wild celebrations among his African fans.

"I told you I was the greatest," Ali said.

That might have been argued by followers of Joe Louis or Rocky Marciano or Sugar Ray Robinson, but there was no doubt that Ali was just what boxing needed in the early 1960s.

He spouted poetry and brash predictions. After the sullen and frightening Liston, he was a fresh and entertaining face in a sport that struggled for respectability.

At the weigh-in before his Feb. 25, 1964, fight with Liston, Ali carried on so much that some observers thought he was scared stiff and suggested the fight in Miami Beach be called off.

"The crowd did not dream when they lay down their money that they would see a total eclipse of the Sonny," Ali said.

Ali went on to punch Liston's face lumpy and became champion for the first time when Liston quit on his stool after the sixth round.

"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee," became Ali's rallying cry.

His talent for talking earned him the nickname "The Louisville Lip," but he had a new name of his own in mind: Muhammad Ali.

"I don't have to be what you want me to be," he told reporters the morning after beating Liston. "I'm free to be who I want."

Frazier refused to call Ali by his new name, insisting he was still Cassius Clay. So did Ernie Terrell in their Feb. 6, 1967, fight, a mistake he would come to regret through 15 long rounds.

"What's my name?" Ali demanded as he repeatedly punched Terrell in the face. "What's my name?"

By the time Ali was able to return to the ring following his forced layoff, he was bigger than ever. Soon he was in the ring for his first of three epic fights against Frazier, with each fighter guaranteed $2.5 million.

Before the fight, Ali called Frazier an "Uncle Tom" and said he was "too ugly to be the champ." His gamesmanship could have a cruel edge, especially when it was directed toward Frazier.

In the first fight, though, Frazier had the upper hand. He relentlessly wore Ali down, flooring him with a crushing left hook in the 15th round and winning a decision.

It was the first defeat for Ali, but the boxing world had not seen the last of him and Frazier in the ring. Ali won a second fight, and then came the "Thrilla in Manila" on Oct. 1, 1975, in the Philippines, a brutal bout that Ali said afterward was "the closest thing to dying" he had experienced.

Ali won that third fight but took a terrific beating from the relentless Frazier before trainer Eddie Futch kept Frazier from answering the bell for the 15th round.

"They told me Joe Frazier was through," Ali told Frazier at one point during the fight.

"They lied," Frazier said, before hitting Ali with a left hook.

The fight — which most in boxing agree was Ali's last great performance — was part of a 16-month period on the mid-1970s when Ali took his show on the road, fighting Foreman in Zaire, Frazier in the Philippines, Joe Bugner in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Jean Pierre Coopman in Puerto Rico.

The world got a taste of Ali in splendid form with both his fists and his mouth.

In Malaysia, a member of the commission in charge of the gloves the fighters would wear told Ali they would be held in a prison for safekeeping before the fight.

"My gloves are going to jail," shouted a wide-eyed Ali. "They ain't done nothing — yet!"

Ali would go on to lose the title to Leon Spinks, then come back to win it a third time on Sept. 15, 1978, when he scored a decision over Spinks in a rematch before 70,000 people at the Superdome in New Orleans.

Ali retired, only to come back and try to win the title for a fourth time against Larry Holmes on Oct. 2, 1980, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Aligrew a mustache, pronounced himself "Dark Gable" and got down to a svelte 217 1/2 pounds to beat Father Time. But Holmes, his former sparring partner, mercifully toyed with him until Dundee refused to let Ali answer the bell for the 11th round.

"He was like a little baby after the first round," Holmes said. "I was throwing punches and missing just for the hell of it. I kept saying, 'Ali, why are you taking this?'

"He said, 'Shut up and fight, I'm going to knock you out.'"

When the fight was over, Holmes and his wife went upstairs to pay their respects to Ali. In a darkened room, Holmes told Ali that he loved him.

"Then why did you whip my ass like that?" Ali replied.

A few years later, Ali said he would not have fought Holmes if he didn't think he could have won.

"If I had known Holmes was going to whip me and damage my brain, I would not have fought him," Ali said. "But losing to Holmes and being sick are not important in God's world."

It was that world that Ali retreated to, fighting just once more, losing a 10-round decision to Trevor Berbick in the Bahamas.

With his fourth wife, Lonnie, at his side, Ali traveled the world for Islam and other causes. In 1990, he went to Iraq on his own initiative to meet with Saddam Hussein and returned to the United States with 15 Americans who had been held hostage.

One of the hostages recounted meeting Ali in Thomas Hauser's 1990 biography "Muhammad Ali — His Life and Times."

"I've always known that Muhammad Ali was a super sportsman; but during those hours that we were together, inside that enormous body I saw an angel," hostage Harry Brill-Edwards said.

For his part, Ali didn't complain about the price he had paid in the ring.

"What I suffered physically was worth what I've accomplished in life," he said in 1984. "A man who is not courageous enough to take risks will never accomplish anything in life."

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66-year-old weightlifter overcomes challenges to do what he loves http://www.komu.com/news/66-year-old-weightlifter-overcomes-challenges-to-do-what-he-loves/ http://www.komu.com/news/66-year-old-weightlifter-overcomes-challenges-to-do-what-he-loves/ Sports Wed, 1 Jun 2016 11:20:50 AM Landon Burke, KOMU 8 Anchor 66-year-old weightlifter overcomes challenges to do what he loves

COLUMBIA - Bench pressing more than 350 pounds is an impressive feat for anyone, but especially for a senior citizen. Russ Tandy has been lifting weights since he was a young man. But now, at 66 years old, he's still setting new personal records.

"Age to me is just a number," Tandy said. "When I look in the mirror, it shocks me sometimes. I don't think of myself that way! I think like I'm in my 40's."

Tandy said he enjoys the challenge of lifting weights because it requires constant dedication.

"If you're gonna be good at this, this is 52 weeks a year," Tandy said. "If you wanna look good this Summer, you don't start lifting in April. If you want to feel strong, you don't wait until 3 weeks from now to start."

Tandy said he has learned the importance of surrounding himself with people who challenge him to keep pushing. He admitted there were a few times in his life where he was satisfied with his strength. But any time he tried to take it easy, one of his buddies would get in his ear.

"Somebody would push me a little bit. They'd say, 'you can do more than that," Tandy said.

As he has gotten older, Tandy has learned his true competition is with his old self.

"Weightlifting is one of those things where, once you get reasonably good at it, and once you understand what you're doing, you keep reaching a little deeper, and a little deeper," Tandy said. "That's where I am today."

Tandy told KOMU 8 News lots of people look at his success in the weight room and assume he's "lucky" to still be in such good health. But in reality, his success in the weight room came with several medical obstacles.

In the past 11 years, Tandy has had 3 major surgeries.

In 2005, Tandy learned that he had a serious condition in his colon. To contain the illness, surgeons had to surgically remove several inches of Tandy's colon.

Tandy said his recovery took several weeks. About six weeks after his operation, he cautiously took to the treadmill.

"I started walking on the treadmill at no incline, at about a half a mile an hour pace," Tandy said. "It wasn't much, but after that, I felt like I conquered the world," Tandy said.

In 2007, Tandy got more bad news. He had developed prostate cancer. 

Tandy said this operation was much more serious than the last.

"I kept thinking 'there goes everything,'" Tandy said.

Tandy knew after this surgery, he would have a long way to go. But once again, he started small, and worked up gradually.

"I couldn't touch anything for six weeks," Tandy said. "I was as weak as a kitten, but I knew I'd get back into it. Six weeks later, I'm back on that flat treadmill, going a half a mile an hour. And I build it up from there."

His operation was a complete success, and now Tandy has been cancer-free for about 9 years. But even though he is no longer battling cancer, he still faces other challenges.

About two years ago, Tandy had shoulder surgery to fix a bone spur that had cut through 80 percent of his rotator cuff. Tandy said at first he thought it was just a sore muscle. It wasn't until he visited a doctor that he learned it would require an operation.

Though he had already overcome a colon condition and prostate cancer, Tandy feared this shoulder injury would really be the end of his weightlifting career.

"That was the one I thought might put me down," Tandy said. "But within a year I was benching 375 again."

Tandy said when it comes to the body's limitations, the key is mind over matter.

"Get up and go," Tandy said. "Attitude is everything. Attitude, to your health, is everything. Attitude, toward your life, is everything."

Tandy said he often sees people his age give up on their bodies too soon.

"I've seen some of my friends, they'll have any one of the things that I've had... and be done," Tandy said. "They'll say, 'I can't do anything now.' When I see that, I'd challenge them on that."

Tandy said he first learned the power of a positive attitude from his father.

"I was raised by a World War II combat veteran," Tandy said. "Pleasant guy, but you never heard him complain. Even when I knew that he hurt, or he didn't feel good, he never complained."

Tandy said his years as a nurse showed him first-hand the power of the mind. He said there were several instances in his career when he witnessed an odds-defying recovery, mainly due to a patient's will to live. Tandy said he is still inspired by the strength of his patients, though he has since retired.

"I've met people that have resolve beyond anything that I could imagine," Tandy said. "I've taken a lot of that from patients and families. Man, they're tough."

Tandy admits that growing old isn't easy. He said he knows one day he might have to rack the weights, for good. But he said when he can no longer lift weights, he will find a new way to keep his mind and body active.

"If that stops you from doing one thing, do something else, don't stop," Tandy said.

Tandy added people should not focus on what they can't do, instead they should focus on what they can do.

"No matter what your age is, if you have something limiting in your life, that is only one limitation," Tandy said. "Move on, and do something else."

Tandy said sometimes people decide to "stop living" long before their life actually ends. He said death is inevitable, but keeping the mind and body active is the best way to get the most out of our time on this planet. 

"When the time comes, and it's our time to go, that's ok," Tandy said. "But I'm not gonna sit and wait for it."

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Royals catcher Salvador Perez leads American League in first All-Star fan balloting http://www.komu.com/news/royals-catcher-salvador-perez-leads-american-league-in-first-all-star-fan-balloting/ http://www.komu.com/news/royals-catcher-salvador-perez-leads-american-league-in-first-all-star-fan-balloting/ Sports Tue, 31 May 2016 4:46:14 PM Mercedes Mackay, KOMU 8 Sports Digital Producer Royals catcher Salvador Perez leads American League in first All-Star fan balloting

KANSAS, CITY- The first round of votes are in and Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez is the front runner for the American League in fan balloting for the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. He has 1,094,942 votes thus far. The All-Star Game Ballot will be available until the voting period ends on Thursday, June 30th at 11:59 p.m.

The 26-year-old Venezuelan native was elected by the fans as starting catcher for the AL at the 2015 Midsummer Classic. He is on his way to becoming the first AL backstop to win fan elections consecutively since Minnesota’s Joe Maeur (2008-10). Perez leads all Major League catchers with 20 extra base-hits and holds the highest caught stealing percentage in the Majors at 50.0 percent.

Alongside Perez in the American League include: Eric Hosmer of the Royals, Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros, Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles, Xander Bogaerts of the Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz of the Red Sox, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, Lorenzo Cain of the Royals, and Mark Trumbo of the Orioles.

The 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot allows fans to cast their votes a total of 35 times. Through the fan balloting program, the AL All-Star Team will have nine elected starters while the NL All-Star Team will have eight elected starters. This year fans will also have the chance to vote for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award.

Visit AllStarGame.com and follow @AllStarGame on social media to receive all the insight about MLB All-Star Week.

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Baylor demotes Starr, fires coach amid sex assaults scandal http://www.komu.com/news/baylor-demotes-starr-fires-coach-amid-sex-assaults-scandal/ http://www.komu.com/news/baylor-demotes-starr-fires-coach-amid-sex-assaults-scandal/ Sports Thu, 26 May 2016 1:36:57 PM Jim Vertuno, The Associated Press Baylor demotes Starr, fires coach amid sex assaults scandal

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Baylor University demoted school President Ken Starr and fired football coach Art Briles on Thursday, issuing a scathing report over the university's handling of sexual assault complaints against players.

The board of regents at the nation's largest Baptist university said in a statement that Starr, a former prosecutor who investigated the Monica Lewinsky scandal, will vacate the presidency on May 31 and will become the school chancellor. It said it suspended Briles "with intent to terminate" and placed athletic director Ian McCaw on probation.

Starr asked a law firm last year to review Baylor's handling of sexual assault cases following allegations that the school mishandled several cases in which football players were accused of attacking women.

Among the firm's findings was that football coaches and athletics administrators had run their own improper investigations into rape claims and that in some cases, they chose not to report such allegations to an administrator outside of athletics.

By running their own "untrained" investigations and meeting directly with a complainant, football staff "improperly discredited" complainants claims and "denied them a right to a fair, impartial and informed investigation."

"The choices made by football staff and athletics leadership, in some instances, posed a risk to campus safety and the integrity of the University," the report said.

The report's "findings of facts" did not name specific coaches or athletics staff.

The university's statement said the review revealed "a fundamental failure."

The report also found that's Baylor was too slow to enact federally-required student conduct processes, and that administrators failed to identify and eliminate a "potential hostile environment" for victims.

Baylor has faced increasing criticism in recent months for its handling of reports of rape and other violent incidents involving football players and students. One victim has sued the university, saying it was deliberately indifferent to her allegations against a former player who was eventually convicted of sexually assaulting her.

Starr ordered an investigation last year but has been mostly silent amid the criticism. The former prosecutor took over as the university's president in 2010, about a decade after he investigated former President Clinton's sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewisnky.

The football team enjoyed unprecedented success under Briles' tenure, including two Big 12 championships in the last three years. That success brought a financial windfall, and in 2014, Baylor opened a new, $250-million on-campus football stadium. But Briles' program has also been criticized for recruiting or accepting transfer players without regard to the harm they might cause fellow students.

Starr rode the waves of the program's success, and often ran on the football field with Baylor students in pregame ceremonies. But as investigations began into the school's handling of sexual assault allegations against players, Starr provided only brief comments, even as criticism of the school mounted.

In a February statement issued by university, Starr said "our hearts break for those whose lives are impacted by execrable acts of sexual violence." And at a prayer breakfast last month, Starr told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "I am in favor of transparency. Stand up, take your medicine if you made a mistake."

Starr initiated the law firm's review last year, after former football player Sam Ukwuachu was convicted of sexually assaulting a female soccer player.

Ukwuachu, who was convicted last year, transferred to Baylor after he was dismissed from Boise State. His former girlfriend testified during his rape trial in Texas that he had struck and choked her when he attended Boise State.

Ukwuachu's former coach, Chris Petersen, now the coach at Washington, said he "thoroughly apprised" Briles about the circumstances of Ukuwachu's dismissal. Briles disputed that account, saying he talked with Petersen and there was no mention of the incident.

The school is also facing a federal lawsuit from a former student claiming the school was "deliberately indifferent" to rape allegations levied at a former football player Tevin Elliott, who was convicted in 2014 of sexually assaulting the woman.

The uproar following Ukwuachu's conviction caused Baylor to initiate the review by the Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton, and to announce a $5 million effort to improve efforts on how it responds to sexual assault, including adding another investigator and more staff.

But the Ukwuachu case was just the start of months of revelations of football players being involved in violent incidents with little or no repercussions. At least seven other woman have publicly come forward to say the school ignored their sexual assault allegations.

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Santos falls in women's tennis NCAA round of 64 http://www.komu.com/news/santos-falls-in-women-s-tennis-ncaa-round-of-64/ http://www.komu.com/news/santos-falls-in-women-s-tennis-ncaa-round-of-64/ Sports Wed, 25 May 2016 8:01:49 PM Holly Sias, KOMU 8 Sports Digital Producer Santos falls in women's tennis NCAA round of 64

TULSA, Okla. — Missouri Tigers junior tennis player Bea Machado Santos fell in the first round 6-3, 2-6 to No. 16 ranked Klara Fabikova in the NCAA Division 1 singles tournament.

Santos was the first Mizzou player to compete in the tournament since 2003.

Fabikova led the first set 3-1 before Santos tied the score, 3-3. Fabikova continued success and secured the first set, 6-3.

Santos came back in the match, taking the second set, 6-3.

In a close third set, Santos and Fabikova alternated leads, with Fabikova ultimately coming out on top win a 6-3 win.

Santos finished her second season at Mizzou with a singles record of 21-17, defeated six ranked opponents, and was named second-team All-SEC.

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TARGET 8: Local high school football soars, despite national drop http://www.komu.com/news/target-8-local-high-school-football-soars-despite-national-drop/ http://www.komu.com/news/target-8-local-high-school-football-soars-despite-national-drop/ Sports Wed, 18 May 2016 11:53:44 AM Landon Burke, KOMU 8 Anchor TARGET 8: Local high school football soars, despite national drop

COLUMBIA - A national decrease in high school football participation has been attributed to heightened awareness of concussions. The game of football was thrust into a new spotlight after thousands of former professional football players sued the NFL in a concussion lawsuit, a case that ended last spring with a judge ruling in favor of the athletes. This past winter, the Golden Globes-nominated movie "Concussion" depicted the dramatic discovery of the condition, and directed more criticism at the NFL.

While concussions continue to make headlines, the number of high school boys playing football has dropped. According to the most recent statistics from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), there were 25,771 fewer high school football players in the 2014/2015 season, than there were in the fall of 2009.

These heightened concerns over concussions and brain injuries are not just a national phenomenon. Last year, a high school in St. Louis County disbanded its football team, for fear of players' safety. 

The medical element

To get a better understanding of the medical risks associated with football, KOMU 8 News reached out to Stefanie West, an athletic trainer at Hickman High School. West said, in the past, trainers and athletes were much less inclined to notice the signs and symptoms of a concussion.

"Thirty years ago, even twenty years ago, coaches would just say, 'oh, you got your bell rung, it's no big deal,'" West said. "I've been doing this for 25 years, and I treat concussions vastly different now, than I did when I started."

The trainer said, now, athletes and coaches are trained to recognize the signs of a concussion much sooner.

"Athletes now, from a young age, are educated in 'here's what a concussion is, if you have a headache, report it,'" West said.

Despite recently-heightened concussion awareness, West said the game of football is not any more dangerous now than it used to be.

"Certified athletic trainers, across the board, will generally say we get the same amount of injuries that we had ten years ago, or even five years ago," West said. "It's just a matter of how much they are reported."

Battle High School's head football coach, Justin Conyers, agreed. He said the game is safer now than it's ever been.

"It's way more safe now," Conyers said. "There are more rules in place for safety. The rules are making the game safer, and the equipment is making the game safer."

West said medical professionals now know way more about concussions than they did ten or twenty years ago. She said if retired NFL athletes knew then what today's athletes know now, things would be very different.

"Nowadays, we are so informed, you see everything," West said. "We didn't used to know what was going on in the NFL. You saw it on Monday night, Sunday night... that's all you saw. Now, we see all the stories. The background stories, the retired athletes with dementia... it's all out there. And the parents and athletes get a little concerned."

Conyers said the troubling stories of retired NFL players reverberate down to the high school level.

"That does make it a little rough," Conyers said. "Parents get a little scared about their kids, with the concussion issues and what that may lead to, like further injury later in life."

The coaches' concerns

However, Conyers said doctors, trainers and coaches have learned from the past.

"Now, there's so much information out about concussions," Conyers said. "It's made sure the game is a lot more safe now than it was, even when I played."

West said from an early age, today's football players are taught to protect their heads, and report any signs of a possible concussion. West said this has created a very apparent cultural change in high school football.

"The athletes have changed," West said. "The parents' attitude... the athletes' attitude about 'how hard do I need to push myself...' that has changed. Football coaches have noticed it. That die hard attitude of the past... that's gone away."

Conyers said the state has adopted new rules to help protect the players. He said while some rule changes have been for the better, he worries too many new regulations will have a negative effect.

"The game is forever changing, and I think the scary part of that is, you feel like the contact piece is slowly being taken away," Conyers said.

Conyers told KOMU 8 News, in years past, Missouri high school football teams were allowed 25 days of "contact" practice every summer. This year, however, MSHSAA will only allow 20 days of contact practice.

Conyers said those summer contact days are vital to prepare the athletes for the fast-paced, full-tackle games in the fall. Conyers said he is worried about not having as many days to practice proper hitting technique.

"I think that hurts the kids more than it helps the kids," Conyers said. "That time lets us get acclimated to having that helmet on, having those shoulder pads on, learning how to keep your head up. It's not full-tackle in the summer. We're learning how to use proper technique. My fear is, we lose those days, now those kids aren't as conditioned, they're not as inclined to use the proper technique as we get into season. Then the minute we get into full pads, and we're full contact... our kids aren't ready for that."

The parents' concerns

Though injury is always a possibility in football, West said most local parents don't express any concern about concussions until their child has one of his or her own.

"I don't get a lot of concern about it, until their athlete has had a concussion," West said. "That's where the red flags start popping up, and then they are a little more hesitant to let that athlete go back in the sport."

Conyers said most parents in Columbia don't express too much concern over concussions because they trust the coaches to watch out for their kids.

"I think it's about the community, if they believe the coaches are teaching good technique," Conyers said. "Making sure safety comes first with their kids."

Conyers said his coaching staff takes their responsibility very seriously, and they spend a lot of time emphasizing the importance of proper tackling form.

However, Conyers made it clear that there will never be such a thing as "concussion-free" tackle football.

"I mean, it's just not ever gonna happen," he said.

"It's a physical sport," Conyers said. "It's a violent sport. A lot of people want to use the world 'contact.' It's a collision sport, it truly is. On Friday nights, kids are going out, and playing physical. There are going to be some hard hits. But that's what the game is about."

Conyers said pain and injury are a fundamental part of football. He said his players understand that when they play football, they might get hurt.

"There is a risk, but there's also a reward that comes with this game," he said. 

Conyers said football can be a violent game, but it teaches young men valuable lessons.

"It's about 'are you willing to commit yourself, to something bigger than yourself,'" Conyers said. "To be a part of this team... to grow and to learn way more valuable lessons out of football, than just the game. And I think whenever parents look at that, when they see how their young men develop... I think that's encouraging to parents to let their kids play."

The numbers in Columbia

After looking at the national numbers, KOMU 8 News reached out to local high school coaches and athletic directors, to see how participation has been affected on the local level. The athletic directors at Hickman and Rock Bridge were able to provide MSHSAA-verified numbers for the years 2015-2016, but they said they could not find record of any participation numbers before that.

To get the participation numbers for the years 2000 and 2005, KOMU 8 News dug through old yearbooks at the Boone County Library.  

Here's a look at the number of high school football players in Columbia, per year. Numbers with (*) are approximate values based off team rosters in yearbooks, not records from coaches or MSHSAA.

Note: Fr. Tolton first opened in 2011, and Battle opened in 2013.

Even amidst the growing concussion concerns, and national high school participation decreasing, football appears to be alive and well in mid-Missouri.

High school athletic officials in Columbia said this recent surge in football participation is mainly due to the opening of Battle High School.

Conyers said by adding another football team, the city created more slots for players. And when it comes to football teams, "if you build it, they will come."

"It gives the kids who normally wouldn't have the opportunity, the opportunity to play," Conyers said.

One player's story

Conyers said the creation of a new high school gave a chance to a lot of kids, many of whom would never have thought to try out.

One of those students, is Tyler Gray.

Gray almost went his whole high school career without playing football. But in May of 2015, the spring before his senior year, he decided to go out for the team.

"I started going to workouts, and then I ended up getting the starting corner spot," Gray said.

Gray said, at first, he had a few reservations about playing football, due to his size. 

"Everybody has that image of football where, if you play, you're gonna get injured," Gray said.

But after some encouragement from his coach, the former basketball player decided to put away his sneakers, and put on the cleats.

Though he has not played the game very long, Gray said he knows football is a crucial element in the lives of many young men.

"It takes care of a lot of kids," Gray said. "It changes a lot of kids' lives. If they didn't have football, they wouldn't come to school. They wouldn't care about their grades, and they wouldn't have good friends, or good people trying to achieve the same goal as them." 

Though he is no longer a high school athlete, Gray's days of football are far from over. After one season of football with Battle High School, Gray managed to land a spot as a preferred walk-on for Missouri State's football team. He starts practice this fall.

The numbers in mid-Missouri
KOMU 8 News reached out to several smaller schools in mid-Missouri, to see if they had noticed a different trend. In a statement to KOMU 8 News, Pat Lacy, the athletic director for Southern Boone County High School, said his school has also seen an increase of participation.
"We have had an increase in numbers in the high school football program each year for the last 4 years," Lacy stated. "Middle school football has also had an increase in numbers, or stayed the same the last 4 years."
Lacy said coaches at Southern Boone do their best to keep their roster full, not just because it makes a better team, but also because it's safer for the younger athletes.
"When you do have a drop in numbers, it is a concern," Lacy stated. "You might have to play a 9th grader that is going up against a senior, and the physicality of the game can lead to injuries. Currently that is a goal of our head coach, to get good numbers out of each class. It is really important to get a good number out for each grade, to prevent those situations." 

In the coming weeks, many mid-Missouri high school football teams will start summer practice to prepare for the season. Conyers said this year, his team will be about 120 players strong.


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