College Corner: Lipscomb Soccer, Tennessee Basketball, Blue Raiders Hall Of Fame

Lipscomb Men’s Soccer Ranked No. 25 In Preseason Poll

Photo: Courtesy of Lipscomb Athletics

Lipscomb Men’s Soccer is starting off the 2023 season ranked at No. 25 in the College Soccer News Preseason Top-30 Poll.

The recognition comes after a season that saw the Bisons ranked in the Top-25 all last season, climbing as high as No. 10 and earning the No. 9 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. Lipscomb finished last season 14-3-2, losing just one game at home while winning eight. In the ASUN championship game, they defeated No. 2 seeded Central Arkansas 6-2, capping off their historic season. They fell to Western Michigan 1-0 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Bisons will kickoff its regular season on Thursday, Aug. 25 against FAU. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. CT at Lipscomb Soccer Complex.




Tennessee & Food City Partner On 10-Year Basketball Arena Naming-Rights Deal

Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White announced a multi-year naming-rights agreement with longtime Tennessee Athletics corporate champion Food City that rebrands UT’s on-campus arena as Thompson-Boling Arena at Food City Center.

The agreement with Food City was negotiated by Tennessee Athletics’ multimedia rights partner, LEARFIELD/The Vol Network. Food City’s overall commitment to Tennessee Athletics will allow the University to invest in excess of $20 million over the next 10 years and will aid new and needed renovations of the arena and upgrades to the facility’s interior and exterior. These improvements will significantly enhance the fan experience while attending any Thompson-Boling Arena at Food City Center event on the UT campus

Among the planned additions to the venue will include new club amenities, updates to the Ray Mears Room and a state-of-the-art center-hung video board. The exterior façade of the facility will be modernized and the look will be more in line with Tennessee’s other athletics venues.

Complete details of the enhancements to the venue will be announced at a later date.

“We are thrilled to partner with Food City on this transformative naming rights opportunity, the first of its kind for Tennessee Athletics,” says White. “Food City is a neighborhood partner who knows our state and region extremely well and has been a key partner for Tennessee Athletics for nearly 30 years. Food City is a valued member of our community and bleeds orange, and we look forward to taking this partnership to another level. I want to thank the Smith family, as well as the Food City team for this long-term partnership.”

Opened in the Fall of 1987, Thompson-Boling Arena at Food City Center is home to Tennessee’s volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball programs. The arena is named for the late B. Ray Thompson and former UT President Dr. Edward J. Boling.

In addition to delivering an incredible homecourt advantage for the Vols and Lady Vols, the facility hosts dozens of highly attended events annually, including concerts featuring world-famous recording artists, professional wrestling showcases, monster truck and professional bull-riding competitions, conferences and more.




Blue Raider Sports Hall Of Fame Induction Set For Sept. 22, Open To The Public

Middle Tennessee Athletics has opened the induction of the Blue Raider Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023 to the public on Friday, September 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the Murphy Center Auxiliary Gymnasium.

The induction ceremony will take place on Friday evening again prior to the weekend’s football game on Saturday, to allow this year’s induction class to partake in all of the Homecoming festivities set for the weekend. The induction ceremony, as always, will be open to the public and will feature refreshments after the ceremony.

The Class of 2023 features Blue Raiders from four different decades of Middle Tennessee Athletics, with inductees recognized for their on-the-field achievements and for being outstanding representatives of the MTSU community. The Class of 2023 includes:

  • Anne Marie (Lanning) Brentz was an integral part of one of the greatest eras in Lady Raider basketball, helping lead the team to four postseason appearances, including three straight NCAA Regionals. Brentz is a member of the program’s 1,000-point club, and after her career, ranked second for 3-point field goal percentage, third for 3-pointers made, and second for games played.
  • Anthony DeLuise is another great in a long line of Middle Tennessee tennis players. The highly decorated netter earned All-American status in 1996 when he was also the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year. DeLuise made six singles appearances in Collegiate Grand Slam events, tying for the most in program history, and capped his career ranked in the Top 10 of all five career categories.
  • LaRon Dendy makes history as he becomes the only Blue Raider ever to be inducted into the hall after playing just one season. Dendy led a resurgence in the men’s basketball program in 2011-12 when he was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and a Lou Henson Award Finalist and was also a Portsmouth Invitational participant. Dendy’s dominant play led the Blue Raiders to the Sun Belt Conference regular-season title.
  • Melanie (Manley) Durham was the rock for MTSU’s first softball championship in 2000. The hard-nosed catcher was a pioneer for MTSU softball and continues to be one of the top performers of all time as evidenced by her standing in the career record books. More than 20 years following the completion of her career, Melanie continues to rank in the Top 10 of 12 all-time categories. She was the 1998 OVC Medal of Honor recipient.
  • Jeff Littlejohn was a defensive force for the Blue Raider football team in the early to mid-2000s. Littlejohn was named Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2005, becoming one of just five Middle Tennessee conference players of the year at that time. He was a force at defensive tackle leading one of the top run defenses in the nation in 2005.
  • Janet Ross helped lay the championship foundation for Middle Tennessee women’s basketball as its point guard in the mid-1980s. Ross was the court general for Lady Raider basketball teams that captured four Ohio Valley Conference Championships and three NCAA Tournament berths. Ross still ranks among career leaders for assists and 3-point field goal percentage. She would go on to become a Lady Raider assistant following her decorated playing career.
Steven Boero