When second-year Quincy University men's basketball coach Ryan Hellenthal looked to fill two vacancies on his staff, he sought out young coaches who had been a part of a winning culture.
He found two with solid pedigrees.
Austin Hawkins and C.J. Gleaton, graduate assistants a year ago for programs that combined to win 44 games, joined Hellenthal's staff after Tim Bergstrasser and Von Washington III both left during the offseason.
"I love the energy and the passion they bring to our program," said Hellenthal, who returns three full-time starters from a team that went 9-18 last winter. "The two things I look for most in an assistant coach are their energy and their passion, but also their ability to better student-athletes. Both of these guys can do that."
Hawkins spent last season as a graduate assistant at Winona State and helped the Warriors go from 11-16 during the 2016-17 season to 19-10 last season with a 14-8 mark in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
He played at Concordia College, an NCAA Division III school in Moorhead, Minn., before suffering a career-ending injury. He served as a student assistant his senior season. He also coached the Concordia junior varsity program.
"Austin has worked for some very, very good coaches," Hellenthal said. "He has great knowledge of the game."
Gleaton spent the previous two seasons as a graduate assistant at Clemson and was part of the staff that steered the Tigers from a 17-16 finish in 2016-17 to a 25-10 mark last season and a berth in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011.
"He witnessed that culture change," Hellenthal said. "Those are things that are very exciting for me."
Gleaton played at Anderson (S.C.) University, an NCAA Division II school. He averaged 16 points and eight rebounds per game as a senior to earn second-team all-South Atlantic Conference honors. He broke the single-season record for free throw attempts and led Anderson in rebounding.
"Both are what I would describe as self-starters and have experience in the business," Hellenthal said. "They were able to hit the ground running and have used the last couple of weeks to build relationships with our guys."
Musso earns first victory
Former Quincy University women's soccer coach Dave Musso picked up his first victory at his new school by beating a familiar foe. The Lions knocked off Drury 4-0 on Friday night to improve to 1-1-1.
During his 12 seasons at QU, Musso coached the Hawks to a 9-4-1 mark against Drury.
Nokes earns weekly honor
Quincy High School product Bradyn Nokes was named the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin men's soccer player of the week after helping Millikin University open its season with back-to-back victories.
The junior midfielder scored the Big Blue's first goal of the season in the seventh minute of a 3-0 victory over Kalamazoo. He added an assist later in the game. In the 2-1 victory over Alma, Nokes scored Millikin's first goal in the 31st minute.
Hickman honored by Heart
Culver-Stockton College outside hitter Gabby Hickman was named the Heart of America Athletic Conference Volleyball Attacker of the Week for her play in four matches a week ago.
Hickman, a senior from Albuquerque, N.M., averaged 5.13 kills per set in the Wildcats' 4-0 week. She had 26 kills in a four-set victory over Hannibal-LaGrange on Aug. 28, and collected 24 kills in a five-set victory over MacMurray.
Hickman totaled 77 kills on 181 attempts in the four matches. She also recorded 2.60 digs per set and led the team with eight service aces during the week.
McClelland helping Racers
Kolby McClelland, a redshirt freshman from Bowen and a Southeastern graduate, has 23 kills and 14 blocks in the first eight games this season for the Murray State volleyball team.
The 5-foot-11 middle blocker missed all of last season with a knee injury. She has played in 19 of 26 sets for the Racers, who have a 5-3 record. McClelland had a career-high four blocks in Friday night's three-set victory over Binghamton.
The Racers were picked as the preseason favorites to win the Ohio Valley Conference.
Spraker's season ends in playoffs
Former Quincy University right-handed pitcher Graham Spraker saw his second professional end with another playoff appearance. However, this one didn't lead to a championship.
The Lansing Lugnuts were eliminated from the Class A Midwest League playoffs when they were swept in a first-round series by the Bowling Green Hot Rods. Spraker suffered the loss in the second game, although he allowed just three runs in seven innings with three strikeouts and one walk. It matched his longest outing of the season.
A year ago, after pitching for the Bluefield Blue Jays following his selection in the June amateur draft, Spraker was promoted to the Class A short-season Vancouver Canadiens and helped them win the Northwest League championship, earning two victories out of the bullpen in the championship series.
Spraker spent nearly six weeks this season on the disabled list, but he returned to the Lugnuts to fashion a 4-3 record with a 3.26 earned run average. He struck out 66 and walked 26 in 91 innings. He went five or more innings in each of his last 10 starts.