News Archives: Athletics

Spirited HPU football prop donated to Sidney I.S.D.

BROWNWOOD – June 22, 2012 – Howard Payne University recently donated a large, inflatable football helmet, used at home football games, to the Sidney Independent School District. Sidney, a rural community in Comanche County, has a six-man football team.

helmet_for_webThe helmet will be repainted and used at Sidney football games.

“We appreciate the donation and look forward to using it on Friday nights,” said Greg Bowden, Sidney superintendent. “Some of our players have seen it and are excited about it. We also look forward to taking our students to some HPU games as well.”


Photo cutlines: The helmet, shown in use at an HPU football game, was recently donated to Sidney I.S.D.

Roger Geise (left), HPU’s head football coach, meets with Greg Bowden, superintendent of Sidney I.S.D.


HPU athletic trainer treats injuries while sharing the word of Christ

BROWNWOOD – August 14, 2012 – According to Kara Taylor, assistant athletic trainer at Howard Payne University, no sports medicine professional would leave home without basic supplies.

“I keep rolls of athletic tape in my car, in my backpack,” she said. “It’s in our DNA, or maybe it’s drilled into us in school.”

csma_ukraine_for_webTaylor and other athletic trainers are always prepared to attend to people’s physical injuries but, more importantly, a unique ministry has developed in which they can also address their spiritual needs. Taylor volunteers as director of mobilization and volunteers with the Christian Sports Medicine Alliance (CSMA), an organization that allows sports medicine professionals the opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ through their gifts and talents around the world.

She recently returned from mission trips to Costa Rica and Ukraine sponsored by the organization. She had a similar purpose in each country – to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ through sports medicine.

“We were able to spend only a week in Costa Rica,” she said. “We spoke at the University of Costa Rica and Santa Paula University about the similarities and differences in sports medicine between their country and ours, and we showed them what we do in the field.”

They also had the opportunity to meet and demonstrate the importance of proper warm-ups and stretching to members of the University of Costa Rica men’s basketball team, a few local soccer teams and a ladies’ fitness group.

Taylor wrote periodic updates to her friends, family and supporters of her mission work back home. She shared an experience from a soccer game she attended.

“One girl had been hurt the previous day and the coach asked if I could take a look at her,” Taylor wrote. “She had a muscle strain in her thigh. I was able to explain to her and her family what that meant and how to take care of herself and get better. They were very thankful we were there. We were probably the only sports medicine professionals they had ever met. What a blessing to be able to help others!”

Just a few weeks after she returned home to the U.S., Taylor traveled to Ukraine where she spent two weeks working with the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) organization.

The first week in Ukraine, she assisted with the FCA Power Camp for children ages 8 to 16. Five schools and churches participated in the camp which encompassed lessons in 10 different sports.

“The children started every day by warming up and reciting the Lord’s Prayer,” Taylor said. “Then they would split up into huddles, grouped by ages. They would play sports and have a huddle time of Bible lessons. On the medical side of things, I gave out a few Band-Aids and cleaned up some scrapes and bruises. Praise God there was nothing more serious.”

During her second week in Ukraine, Taylor gave presentations to government sports medicine professionals in the city of Rivne and at the International University of Economics and Humanities.

“We took six 50-pound bags of donated supplies to leave with them,” Taylor said. “It was our way of saying, ‘The Lord has blessed us so we can bless you.’”

During her visits to both Costa Rica and Ukraine, Taylor was questioned about what it means to be a Christian sports medicine professional.

“We were able to share our testimonies and let the Lord lead how we spoke, without ‘preaching’ to them,” she said.

Mike Jones is HPU’s athletic director and Taylor’s supervisor.

“Kara has a heart for missions and a great desire to share Christ through sports medicine,” he said. “It is wonderful to see staff members volunteer their time to serve others and spread the Gospel. I am very proud of her and glad she is on our staff.”

Taylor developed many friendships in Ukraine and Costa Rica that will last a lifetime. She specifically mentions a young woman named Tanya.

“She knew no English, but wanted to learn,” Taylor said. “We began learning each other’s languages together and became fast friends. We worked on English and Ukrainian between sports and she sat with me during one of the huddle times at camp. I was able to tell her in Ukrainian that I love her and that I love Jesus Christ. The people of Ukraine are open, waiting to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and feel the love of our Savior. The opportunities for CSMA to be used there in the future are endless.”

The Christian Sports Medicine Alliance, made up of 45 volunteers from 15 states across the U.S., bills itself as “medicine with a mission.” It was founded in 2009 by Paul Waller, who serves as the president. The group aims to provide sports medicine professionals with opportunities to participate in mission projects around the world. For more information about the organization, visit or e-mail


Photo cutline: Kara Taylor, right, assistant athletic trainer at HPU, demonstrates sports medicine techniques while on a mission trip to Ukraine.

Howard Payne University student spends summer in Malaysia

galindo_with_camper_for_webBy Jes Miera, Howard Payne University junior

BROWNWOOD – September 21, 2012 – Many Howard Payne University students spend their summers working at camps. This summer Jessi Galindo, an HPU athletic training major from Del Rio, followed in the footsteps of her peers. However, Galindo’s camp was in Malaysia.

The camps at which Galindo volunteered were offered through the Christian Sports Medicine Alliance (CSMA) through a partnership with the International Sports Federation. Galindo served as an athletic trainer and volunteered at camps in four Malaysian cities.

A goal of the camps was to teach fundamental basketball skills to students from elementary through high school. Additionally, Galindo functioned as an athletic trainer, taping ankles, helping players stretch and attending to other minor scrapes and bruises. CSMA’s other main goal with the camps was for the volunteers to build relationships and share the Gospel with students.

“We held basketball camps in the morning and in the afternoons we played pick-up games against colleges and other teams,” Galindo said. “After the games we would go out to eat with the teams and talk to them.”

Galindo spoke about one student with whom she grew close while she was there. One night at dinner she simply asked him, “What do you believe?”

He replied “When you do bad, you have to do good to make up for it. Otherwise you won’t go to heaven.”

Then it was Galindo’s turn and she began to tell him what she believed. Galindo quoted Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Then she asked him if he had ever heard of Jesus. He had not.

Reflecting back on the conversation Galindo said, “It was so peculiar to me that he was 19 and didn’t know who Jesus was. It really made me think about how many people have probably never heard about Christ. If there was no one to tell this teenager, then it was likely his parents and grandparents didn’t know about God either.”

Through her experiences this summer, Galindo was greatly encouraged because God showed her that He is the one who leads her steps. Not only was she able to encourage the students, but she was encouraged by the relationships she built with them. “He puts the right people in your life to encourage you and push you along, because He knows exactly what you need,” she said.


Photo cutline: Jessi Galindo volunteered at summer camps in Malaysia. She is shown with one of the camp participants.

HPU Lady Jackets basketball featured on ESPN’s “SportsCenter”

tresta_donahooBROWNWOOD – January 25, 2013 – The exciting conclusion of Thursday’s Howard Payne University Lady Jackets basketball game against Concordia University Texas was featured on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” segment “Top Ten Plays” Thursday evening, coming in at number 10.

HPU’s Tresta Donahoo, a junior from Early, made the final shot as time expired in overtime to give the Lady Jackets a 79-77 victory over visiting Concordia.

HPU student Molly Marriott, a senior from Corpus Christi, captured video footage of the game-winning play. Eric Villy, a senior from Paradise, shared the video with ESPN via Twitter, resulting in its airing on the national sports program. In addition, a number of Yellow Jacket fans shared their excitement on Twitter, Facebook and other social media networks.

To view Marriott’s raw video footage, visit HPU’s Facebook page at For more coverage from the game and other HPU athletic news, visit


Photo cutline: HPU’s Tresta Donahoo’s game-winning play aired on ESPN “SportsCenter” Thursday night.

HPU cheerleaders named National Champions

cheerleaders_with_banner_for_webBy Rachel Ellington, Howard Payne University freshman

BROWNWOOD – April 4, 2013 – The Howard Payne University cheerleaders recently participated in the 2013 Christian Cheerleaders of America Cheer Nationals and were named “National Champions” in the small co-ed college division and fourth place overall. The competition consisted of more than 50 divisions, ranging from toddlers to college students, from more than 20 states.

The HPU cheerleaders, divided into three teams, also competed in the group stunts division, receiving second-, fourth- and fifth-place honors.

“This year’s team has worked very hard throughout the semester and the championship highlights the students’ dedication, talent and ‘coachability’,” said Jeffri Foster, cheer coach. “I could not be any more proud of the team and I look forward to continuing to build a successful program alongside these cheerleaders.”

The HPU cheer team includes Brooke Belcher, a freshman from Gunter; Harli Benham, a freshman from Three Rivers; Aly Castle, a junior from Lampasas; Kelci Feist, a sophomore from Deleon; Kelsey Johnson, a freshman from Goldthwaite; Kris Lowrey, a freshman from Brownwood; Lawrence Martinez, a freshman from Pflugerville; Rachel Moore, a junior from Sierra Blanca; Whitney Presbaugh, a junior from Fort Worth; Dariann Reed, a sophomore from Houston; Rachel Runnels, a sophomore from Paradise; and Mitchell Sostarich, a sophomore from Devine.


Photo cutline: The HPU cheerleaders were recently named “National Champions” at the 2013 Christian Cheerleaders of America Cheer Nationals. Back row, from left: Coach Jeffri Foster, Kelsey Johnson, Rachel Moore, Whitney Presbaugh, Aly Castle, Brooke Belcher and Kelci Feist. Front row, from left: Kris Lowrey, Rachel Runnels, Lawrence Martinez, Harli Benham, Dariann Reed and Mitchell Sostarich.

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, named president of ASC Executive Committee

Dr-Bill-Ellis ASCBROWNWOOD – May 28, 2014 – Dr. Bill Ellis, Howard Payne University president, was recently named president of the American Southwest Conference (ASC) Executive Committee. He will begin his one-year term Tuesday, July 1.

The ASC, one of the largest intercollegiate athletic conferences in NCAA Division III, will begin its 19th year of league competition in 2014-15. Twelve colleges and universities located in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas hold membership in the athletic conference.

Dr. Ellis served as vice president for the Executive Committee during the 2013-2014 academic year.


Photo cutline: Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, was recently selected president of the American Southwest Conference Executive Committee.

Football season evokes happy memories for HPU alumni couple

BROWNWOOD –September 24, 2014– Of all of the things associated with autumn, football is certainly a Texas favorite. Though they’re not often able to make it to games, one Howard Payne University alumni couple says HPU football is still a beloved institution in their lives.

Mike Martin for webMike and Sari (Ryan) Martin of San Angelo, both 1971 HPU graduates, met their freshman year in 1967. Mike played offensive tackle for the Yellow Jacket football team.

“We had geology class together and I took roll for the football players in Chapel which, at that time, was held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday,” said Sari. “That’s when we started making eyes at each other.”

The relationship blossomed their sophomore year when Sari became a cheerleader. They were married by the end of their junior year and will celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary next May.

Mike coached for many years at Angelo State University and was inducted into the HPU Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.

Sari Martin for webLast year, Sari learned of the opportunity to name a locker in the Yellow Jacket field house in honor of a loved one. She chose locker #75 after her husband’s former jersey number. She told him about it on Christmas morning and presented him with a note from Roger Geise, HPU’s head football coach.

“He loved it,” said Sari. “I was glad because you can’t buy men anything.”

This season, the HPU Yellow Jackets have started strong, advancing to 3-0 with wins over Wayland Baptist University, Trinity University and Southwestern Assemblies of God University.

“We thought coming into the season that we had a chance to be good and winning our first three games certainly enhances that feeling,” said Coach Geise.

The community is encouraged to attend the Yellow Jackets games, both at home and on the road. A schedule can be found online at

“I am so proud of our football team,” said Mike Jones, HPU athletic director. “Coach Geise and his staff have done a great job of making consistent improvements each year with our football program. We are looking forward to continuing a great year with this group of student athletes.”

Mike and Sari for webThose interested in supporting the Yellow Jacket football team by sponsoring a locker in honor of a loved one may contact Coach Roger Geise at (325) 649-8209 or via e-mail at






Photo cutlines: Mike and Sari Martin are pictured during their college days and more recently as they near their 45th wedding anniversary.

HPU’s Chuck Boland named FAR Fellow by NCAA Division III

Chuck Boland FAR for webBROWNWOOD – October 9, 2014 – Howard Payne University’s Chuck Boland, faculty athletic representative, professor of accounting and chair of the accounting department, has been selected as a 2014 NCAA Division III FAR Fellow.

According to the organization, the Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR) Fellows Institute was launched in 2010 and aims to increase the effectiveness of Division III faculty athletic representatives at the campus, conference and national levels.

Boland has served at HPU since 1981.

“I am grateful that the NCAA selected me,” said Boland in a news release issued by the organization. “I plan to take the opportunity to enhance the FAR position and be more noticeable in the athletic-academic circles.”

As a FAR Fellow, Boland will participate in a three-day professional development program at the NCAA national office in Indianapolis October 17-19. The program is designed to examine best practices and issues surrounding the role and responsibility of faculty athletic representatives, help fellows develop the leadership skills necessary to carry out their responsibilities on campus and in their conference, and strengthen the network of FARs needed to serve on conference, divisional and association-wide committees.

“We’re very pleased that the NCAA has recognized Chuck in this way,” said Mike Jones, HPU athletic director. “He is a tremendous asset to our campus and the American Southwest Conference. It is a pleasure to work alongside Chuck to advocate for our student athletes and our coaches.”


Photo cutline: Chuck Boland, faculty athletic representative, professor of accounting and chair of the accounting department at HPU, has been selected as a 2014 NCAA Division III FAR Fellow.

Daniels, champion team inducted into ASC Hall of Honor

Champs Stuckly for webRICHARDSON, Texas – Meia Daniels and the 2007-2008 HPU women’s basketball team will be honored in the Class of 2014-15 members of the American Southwest Conference Hall of Honor.

The Class of 2014-15 represents the fifth group inducted to the ASC Hall of Honor and includes the first team to be honored. The American Southwest Conference Hall of Honor recognizes outstanding former student-athletes, coaches, administrators and teams who brought pride and honor to the conference through their contributions. On-campus recognition ceremonies are planned for each Hall of Honor inductee during February.

Meia Daniels and the 2007-08 HPU women’s basketball team will be honored in between the women’s and men’s basketball home games on Saturday, February 21, 2015 in the Brownwood Coliseum.

Read the full story on the HPU Sports website.

Photo by Derrick Stuckly, Brownwood Bulletin