News Archives: Athletics

Sims to be head coach at end of semester

By HPU Sports Information

BROWNWOOD, Texas – The Howard Payne University athletic department today announced that current assistant head coach Hunter Sims will take over as head football coach at the end of the semester.

Following the recent announcement that Howard Payne head football coach Roger Geise would be retiring at the end on the semester, the university made it clear today that it already had the new head coach in Hunter Sims.

“I am very excited for Hunter,” said Mike Jones, director of athletics. “I know he will do a great job and he is a perfect fit for Howard Payne and the football program.”

Sims spent three years as an assistant at Howard Payne before being promoted to offensive coordinator and assistant head coach in the spring of 2012. His first two years with HPU, he was the wide receivers coach and then worked as defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator in his third season.

“Hunter Sims is a man of great character, wisdom and energy,” said Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president. “Since I came to Howard Payne, I have been impressed with his commitment to our football players and to the program, and I am confident that in his new role, Coach Sims will advance HPU football and bring honor to our university.”

Sims’ offenses have been some of the best in the American Southwest Conference, setting a new Howard Payne record for total offense in a game last season at East Texas Baptist with 720 yards in a 54-53 road victory. He has coached current HPU career record holder for field goals Joshua Martinez and wide receiver standout Colby Mica, who is on pace to break the HPU career receptions record.

Sims worked as a graduate assistant wide receivers coach with Angelo State University before coming to HPU. Also during that time, he helped coach defensive backs for the professional arena football team San Angelo Stampede of the IFL (Intense Football League).

As a player, Sims was a three-year letterman and two-time Academic All-Conference selection at quarterback at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas. After his college playing career was over, he served as a student assistant at McMurry University working with wide receivers and quarterbacks.

He went on to play quarterback in the GFL (German Football League) for the Professional Schwabisch Hall Unicorns. He also played one season with the San Angelo Stampede and Frisco Thunder of the IFL.

While in Germany playing professional football, he was also the head baseball coach of the Schwabisch Renegades Baseball team (Men’s team 18 and up). Sims led them to the Landesliga Championship and was named Coach of the Year. Sims has worked football camps around the state and spent extensive time working with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes as a camp counselor.

Sims is a 2007 graduate of McMurry University with a degree in Education and a minor in History and in 2010 he finished a master’s degree in Sports Management. He was married in the summer of 2011 to his wife, Shannon.

HPU head football coach Roger Geise to retire at semester’s end

BROWNWOOD – October 8, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s Roger Geise announced recently that he will be retiring at the end of the fall semester after four seasons as Yellow Jacket head football coach and 11 seasons total with the university.

Mike Jones, athletic director, said it has been a pleasure to work with Geise.

“I appreciate all that he has done for HPU and our football program,” Jones said. “He is a great friend and I wish him the best in his retirement.”

In Geise’s first three seasons as head coach of the Yellow Jackets, he was 9-21 overall with back-to-back 4-6 records in 2013 and 2014.

“I am very blessed to have had the opportunity to work at Howard Payne over the past 11 seasons and will greatly miss all the student-athletes and co-workers that have become my friends and family over the years,” said Geise. “I am thankful for the opportunity that Dr. Bill Ellis (HPU president) and Mike Jones gave me and wish HPU a bright and blessed future.”

Geise joined the HPU coaching staff in 2005 as the defensive line coach. He then served as the Yellow Jacket defensive coordinator from the 2008 season until the end of the 2011 season. Geise’s 2005 defensive unit set an American Southwest Conference record for interceptions in a season, with 29.

Geise, who has more than 35 years of coaching experience, began his career in his native state of Pennsylvania in 1970. He joined the Louisiana State University staff in 1974 as a graduate assistant and served there for three years.

Geise entered the high school coaching ranks in Texas in 1977 through which he coached for more than 25 years.

In 2005, Geise was inducted into the Romanoski Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Roger and his wife, Sandra, live in the Mercury area where they have a ranching operation.


Photo cutline: Roger Geise, HPU head football coach, will retire at the end of the fall semester.

Serving God By Serving Others: HPU’s Xavier McFalls leads ministry to athletes

A version of this article originally appeared in the spring 2015 issue of HPU’s Link magazine.

Xavier McFalls feature for webBROWNWOOD – May 15, 2015 – During his freshman year at Howard Payne University, Xavier McFalls stood before his football teammates and told them something that perhaps few young men have the courage to say to one another.

“I told them I love them and God loves them,” he said. “It was definitely intimidating. My knees were shaking, but I think it was important for them to hear that.”

McFalls was a fairly new Christian at the time but felt God encouraging him to speak out about his new-found faith. Now a senior, he continues to answer the call by leading the athlete discipleship ministry through HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry.

McFalls gets to know student-athletes from all sports and helps them get involved in Bible studies, worship services and other various events on campus. He also leads devotionals and helps disciple younger players to become spiritual leaders on their teams.

“I help them learn how to play as Christian athletes and how to ask themselves if they’re glorifying God through their actions,” he said.

Discipleship is important to McFalls, as he spent a lot of time around godly mentors in his hometown of Amarillo. These individuals helped him see the importance of surrounding himself with good Christian influences.

“I wanted to know more and more about God and I wanted to go to a Christian university,” he said.

He learned about HPU through recruiting letters from the football program and scheduled a campus visit.

“It felt like home,” he said. “I knew that I belonged here.”

He entered the university in the fall of 2012 as an exercise and sport science major. That semester, through the encouragement of Christian influences at HPU, he made a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ during Encounter Week, the university’s fall revival.

He sought new ways to grow in his service to Christ. At HPU, McFalls is involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is an intern with the college ministry at Brownwood’s Coggin Avenue Baptist Church. He also regularly hosts a Bible study in his apartment on campus.

McFalls has had the opportunity to participate in several mission trips during his time at HPU. For the past two years during Spring Break, he has traveled with a team from HPU to take part in the annual Beach Reach ministry at South Padre Island. He has also participated in two mission trips through Texas Baptists’ Go Now Missions and recently traveled to Alaska for a mission experience with his church.

Keith Platte, director of HPU’s BSM, has known McFalls for two years.

“Xavier is one of the leading examples on campus of how to be a follower of Jesus,” Platte said. “He has a fervor for service, a burden for those who do not have faith in Jesus Christ and a willing attitude.”

Though the idea of being so outspoken among his peers was originally daunting, McFalls said he’s had a good response.

“They respect me because I understand them,” he said. “I spend time with them, live life with them and love them where they are in their lives.”

Platte said that McFalls is a good example to other believers because of his authenticity and faithfulness.

“When he is asked to share his faith, he makes no excuses,” Platte said. “He does it because he sees the need, and because God calls him to obedience in that.”


Photo cutline: HPU student-athlete Xavier McFalls is pictured on the HPU campus.

Saturday deadline to register for HPU’s George “Pat” Bell Memorial Golf Tournament

BROWNWOOD – April 23, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s athletic department will host the George “Pat” Bell Memorial Golf Tournament on Saturday, May 2, with check-in beginning at 8 a.m. Interested players must register their teams by Saturday, April 25.

The event, a four-man scramble, will be held at the Brownwood Country Club with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. Cost is $400 per team and prizes will be given for longest drive and closest to pin. Additional prizes will be given to members of the first-place team and a drawing will take place among remaining teams for second- and third-place prizes. All participants will receive a complimentary gift.

The university recently renamed the annual tournament in memory of George “Pat” Bell, former HPU golf coach.

Bell was the Howard Payne women’s and men’s golf coach from 1997 to 2001. During his time at the helm of the HPU golf program, he coached HPU Sports Hall of Fame golfer Tim Pavlas, who won American Southwest Conference men’s individual championships in 1999 and 2000.

Even after Bell stepped down as head coach of the Yellow Jacket program in 2001, he continued to be an advocate for HPU. Bell passed away in February 2015 at the age of 87.

This is the third year of the tournament and the first year it will be hosted by the Brownwood Country Club.

Teams may register online at and pay online or by check. Make checks payable to Howard Payne Athletics and mail to HPU Athletics – Golf Tournament, 1000 Fisk St., Brownwood, TX 76801. Checks may also be delivered to HPU’s Mamie D. McCullough Athletic Center at 1310 Hawkins Street in Brownwood.

HPU’s Daniels, champion team to be honored during Saturday’s basketball games

Nat Champ Team Photo for webBROWNWOOD – February 19, 2015 – Several Howard Payne University basketball standouts have been inducted into the American Southwest Conference Hall of Honor and will be honored in between the women’s and men’s basketball games this Saturday, February 21, at the Brownwood Coliseum.

Meia Daniels, 2008 HPU graduate and current head women’s basketball coach for the university, and the members of the 2007-08 HPU women’s basketball team were inducted into the ASC Hall of Honor in December. According to the ASC, the team holds distinction as the first to win an NCAA Division III team title for the conference.

Team members include Daniels, Stacy Blalock, Stephanie Brewer, Makiesha Davis, Mionca Hall, Elaine Hobbs, Hope Hohertz, Kimberly Hoffman, Sarah Pfiester, Daphnie Pippins, Katy Sarem, Tiffany Warner, Chris Kielsmeier (then head coach), Lindy Hatfield (then assistant coach) and Traci Ortiz (then student manager).

“These young women and their coaches brought national attention to HPU and the Brownwood community during their record-setting season,” said Mike Jones, HPU athletic director. “We hope the community joins us Saturday as we honor their achievements.”

Tickets to the game are $3 for adults, $2 for senior citizens and $1 for children ages 12 to 18. Children under 12 receive free admission.

Meia Daniels
A four-time all-conference honoree and three-time West Division Player of the Year, Meia Daniels capped her Howard Payne women’s basketball career with a NCAA Division III national championship, selection as the WBCA Division III Player of the Year (2008) and as a finalist for the Women’s Collegiate Sports 2008 Athlete of the Year award. Daniels is one of two women to twice earn American Southwest Conference Female Athlete of the Year honors, claiming the league’s highest student-athlete honor for both the 2006-07 and 2007-08 academic years.

A point guard, Daniels is one of two women’s basketball student-athletes to have been named to the All-ASC team in each of her four seasons (2005, ’06, ’07, ’08). She also earned All-West Division First-Team honors all four seasons and was three times voted ASC West Division Player of the Year (2006, ’07, ’08). Daniels was the 2005 ASC West Division Freshman of the Year. Howard Payne made four straight ASC Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament appearances during Daniels’ collegiate career, winning the conference title three times (2005, ’07, ’08) with Daniels selected the tournament most valuable player in her junior and senior years (2007, ’08).

Daniels was named Most Valuable Player of the 2008 NCAA Division III Women’s Final Four and selected to the All-Tournament team. The WBCA named Daniels as an all-American in 2008 and honorable mention all-American in 2007. Her list of collegiate honors included WBCA and all-South Region awards, including South Region Player of the Year citations as a junior and senior (2007, ’08).

As a player, Daniels was part of an HPU program that posted a 109-12 record and made four trips to the NCAA Division III playoffs. Both Howard Payne and American Southwest Conference records bear Daniels’ name. She still holds seven Howard Payne career, season and game records and currently holds two ASC career marks – games played (121) and field goals attempted (1,694) – and five conference season records – points (649), field goals made (215) and field goals attempted (479). Daniels lists second all-time in career scoring in the ASC and at Howard Payne (2,118).

Daniels holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and criminal justice from HPU (2008) and a master’s degree in organizational management from Wayne State College Nebraska (2010). Following graduation from HPU, Daniels spent two seasons as a women’s basketball graduate assistant coach at NCAA Division II Wayne State College (Neb.). She helped guide WSC to a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference championship in 2010.

Daniels is a member of the Howard Payne University Athletics Hall of Fame, both as a student-athlete and as a member of the 2007-08 HPU women’s basketball national champion team. Daniels is presently assistant director of athletics/senior woman administrator and women’s basketball head coach at Howard Payne.

The 2007-08 Women’s Basketball Team
The American Southwest Conference claimed its first NCAA Division III national team championship when the 2007-08 Howard Payne University women’s basketball team capped a perfect 33-0 season with a 68-54 win over Messiah College for the 2008 national title. It was just the fifth time a team had gone undefeated in claiming the Division III women’s basketball championship. The HPU women’s basketball team was the only collegiate basketball team, men’s or women’s at any level, to finish the 2007-08 season with an undefeated record.

In addition to winning the first national team title in the ASC, the 2007-08 team also recorded the first national team title for Howard Payne since the institution joined the NCAA in 1996. The 2007-08 women’s basketball national championship team was inducted to the Howard Payne University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009.

Howard Payne’s championship season included an American Southwest Conference title and West Division championship. The Lady Jackets led Division III women’s basketball in home attendance average and extended their Brownwood Coliseum home win streak to 36 games. The HPU win streak vs. ASC opponents stretched to 34 games. Only four of the season’s 33 games were decided by 10 or fewer points, and HPU led NCAA Division III women basketball in scoring margin (27.8 pts. per game).

The 2007-08 Lady Jackets established three ASC season records that still stand: points (2,485), free throws made (671) and free throws attempted (885). During the season, Howard Payne earned the first No. 1 national ranking for women’s basketball in school history.

In addition to team accolades, the 2007-08 Howard Payne team produced numerous national, region and conference individual award winners, including WBCA Division III National Player of the Year and All-American, Meia Daniels; WBCA and National Coach of the Year, Chris Kielsmeier; WBCA Honorable Mention All-American, Stacey Blalock; and three all-region picks, Daniels, Blalock and Kim Hoffman. The conference postseason awards list included HPU players on the all-ASC team, all-West Division first, second and defensive teams; West Division freshman team; and ASC All-Academic team. ASC West Division awards were presented to Daniels (Player of the Year), Blalock (Defensive Player of the Year) and Kielsmeier (Coach of the Year).


Photo cutline: Meia Daniels and the members of the 2007-08 HPU women’s basketball team were inducted into the ASC Hall of Honor and will be honored during HPU’s basketball games this Saturday.

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

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.

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.

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.