MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – When the St. Thomas football team learned it wasn't playing in the 2013 postseason, there was some uncertainty around the program in a few areas.
Last season was Glenn Caruso's fifth as head coach, and it was the first time in four years they wouldn't be participating in the NCAA Playoffs. It ended a three-year-run of MIAC perfection and league titles, and it was only their second season with more than one regular season loss.
There were a few questions facing the St. Thomas football program after the season. Could the Tommies get back to their dominating ways this year after being average for so many seasons before Caruso? Would the guy who's brought the St. Thomas football program to national Division III relevance be lured away to a more prominent job? Would St. Thomas football continue to be broadcast on WCCO Radio?
The loose ends were tied up in all areas as the Tommies started winding down their 2014 spring practice. Caruso has one of his strongest recruiting classes yet coming in with a mix of top returning veterans, and his name was never out there as a serious candidate for other coaching jobs. But would fans and alumni still be able to listen to games on the radio if they couldn't make the Saturday trip to St. Paul?
It was recently announced that St. Thomas football reached an agreement with WCCO Radio to stay on the local station for at least the next three years. The move came not long after the University of Minnesota extended its agreement to stay on with KFAN Radio. WCCO Radio 830 AM has been broadcasting St. Thomas football since 2011.
The tradition will continue with Dave Lee providing the play-by-play on Saturdays and Eric Nelson providing color commentary. Last season, former star wide receiver Fritz Waldvogel made cameo appearances in several games. I would expect the same to happen in 2014.
The new agreement has St. Thomas football on WCCO Radio through the 2016 season.
"We are ecstatic about having WCCO Radio on board for another three seasons," Caruso said in a statement. "The relationship and bond that UST and WCCO have been able to form over the past three years has been phenomenal. Both parties are deeply-rooted Minnesota institutions, and I could not have asked for a media partner more in line with what our university, athletic department and our football program is all about."
"We look forward to continuing the Tommie football partnership with WCCO Radio," St. Thomas athletics director Steve Fritz said. "We have received excellent feedback from alumni, parents and fans on the value of having our games carried on a station with the history and reputation of WCCO. It's not only benefitted our university, but the entire Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference."
The Tommies have had quite a run since Caruso took the program over and established a new winning tradition. St. Thomas has gone 50-5 from 2009-2012 with a national title game appearance two years ago, a run to the national semifinals in 2011 and trips to the quarterfinals in 2009 and 2010.
All St. Thomas football regular season games for 2014 will start at about 1:10 p.m., with short pregame shows before kickoff. The Tommies will be looking for their fourth MIAC title in five years in 2014.
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