UCA leads SLC in graduation rates among football schools

University of Central Arkansas student-athletes ranked first in the Southland Conference among football-playing institutions in graduation success rate, according to numbers released this week by the NCAA.

UCA’s athletes had a combined graduation rate of 73 percent, beating out Northwestern State (72) and Lamar (70) for first among football schools in the SLC. Among all 14 schools, UCA was third behind Oral Roberts and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

"UCA has consistently been about strong academic programs," said Dr. Brad Teague, UCA director of athletics. "The fact that our student-athletes excel in this tough academic environment is a tribute to the type of young men and women our coaches recruit to UCA. I am proud of all who have contributed to this success and we intend to improve from here."

The GSR figures came from the class of athletes who entered college in 2006-07. The NCAA’s GSR includes transfer students and athletes who leave in good academic standing, unlike the federal graduation rate, which does not count transfers. The GSC and federal rate calculations measure graduation over six years from first-time college enrollment.

UCA’s highest number came from women’s golf with a perfect score of 100, while three other programs had scores in the 90s — volleyball at 94, women’s soccer at 92 and women’s tennis at 91.

Golf had the highest score on the men’s side at 86.

Hendrix adds track assistant

Andrew Raske joins the Hendrix College staff as assistant men’s and women’s cross country and track & field coach, head coach Patrick MacDonald announced Friday.

Raske, a former decathlete for Concordia University in Moorhead, Minn., spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at NCAA Division II member Minnesota State University, Mankato. While with the Mavericks, he coached five All-Americans, three Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference champions and the NSIC record holder in the decathlon and heptathlon. MSUM also won four conference titles during Raske’s tenure.

"He has a great background of experience in so many different event groups, I’m sure that he’s going to be able to help our throwers and vaulters push forward to the next level of success in our conference," MacDonald said.

Raske has a USATF Level 1 Coaching Certification and is a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.