Director of Athletics Mike Thomas Newsletter - August 2018

Director of Athletics Mike Thomas Newsletter - August 2018

Vikings Family:

As we inch closer to the start of the 2018-19 academic year, the Department of Athletics has introduced a theme and hashtag for the upcoming season to help build school spirit, pride and unity.

This year, we are encouraging all of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, alums, fans and supporters to #GetOnTheShip and use the hashtag when talking about Viking athletics.

We are coming off a tremendous year of success on the field and in the classroom and I am confident that the 2018-19 academic year will be just as successful as our student-athletes continue to compete for championships and excel in academics.

Thank you for your continued support of CSU athletics and I look forward to seeing you around campus and at events this year.


Mike Thomas
Director of Athletics
Cleveland State University


With the calendar turning to August, it is time to once again start thinking about CSU athletics. The women's soccer team has reported to campus to begin preseason training, while the men's soccer, volleyball and cross country teams will be arriving over the coming days.

The first official regular season event of the 2018-19 campaign will take place on Aug. 17 when the women's soccer team hosts Howard at 7:00 pm at Krenzler Field.

The home opener for the men's soccer team is on Aug. 31 against Cincinnati at 7:00 pm, while the volleyball team, which has won three straight Horizon League titles, begins the season by hosting the CSU Invitational on Aug. 24-25 in Woodling Gym.

The Vikings host Binghamton at 12:00 pm and Montana State at 7:00 pm on Aug. 24 and Canisius on Aug. 25 at 1:30 pm. The team will unveil the 2017 Horizon League Championship banner and receive their championship rings prior to the match against Montana State.


To view the latest news from CSU athletics during the months of June and July, please visit WAKELET.


To view a list of upcoming events, broadcast information, start times and stat links, please visit the calendar on our website,


The Cleveland State Department of Athletics had another outstanding year in competition, in the classroom and in the community during the 2017-18 season.

Three teams claimed Horizon League championships, while a record 231 student-athletes were honored at the 27th Annual John Konstantinos Athletic Academic Honors Luncheon for maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. All 18 programs were also highly visible throughout the year, lending a hand with multiple community service projects.

Several individuals posted record-setting performances, while many earned individual awards for competition and academics.



Bolstered by Horizon League Championships in volleyball, men's golf and men's tennis and runner-up finishes from men's swimming and diving and men's basketball, the Cleveland State Department of Athletics finished as the runner-up in the 2017-18 McCafferty Cup standings.

This year marked the highest finish for the Vikings since winning the McCafferty Trophy following the 2012-13 season.

The CSU men's programs finished as the runner-up in the men's standings, while the Viking women tied for fifth in the women's standings.

Named in honor of James J. McCafferty, who served as the League's first commissioner from 1979-80, the McCafferty Trophy is awarded annually by the Horizon League to a member institution compiling the greatest number of performance points, based on its finish in the League's 19 championship sports.


Several of our athletics teams and individuals have earned academic recognition during the summer months:

  • The men's tennis and women's golf teams received the Horizon League "Raise Your Sights" Award as the CSU teams with the top combined GPA for the academic year.
  • A total of 80 student-athletes were named to the 2018 Horizon League Spring Academic Honor Roll. Members of the Honor Roll must compete in a Horizon League sponsored sport, have completed three full semesters at the current institution and have a cumulative 3.2 GPA or higher. In addition, a total of 25 student-athletes from non-Horizon League sponsored sports met the criteria.
  • The men's and women's swimming and diving teams were both named Scholar All-America Teams for the spring semester. It was the fifth straight year that both teams earned the honor.
  • Six members of the Cleveland State University men's and women's swimming & diving teams were named Scholar All-Americans by the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA). Freshmen Matt Akers and Dominik Niedzialek, junior Jared Stergar, sophomore Tyler Stevenson and junior Jason van der Touw from the men's team and junior Molly McNamara on the women's side all earned Honorable Mention awards from the CSCAA.
  • Five student-athletes from the Cleveland State women's golf team - seniors Sophie Kelner and Emily Turski, sophomore Kaylee Neumeister and freshmen Amanda Baker and Ashley Knight - were named Women's Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) All-American Scholars.
  • The volleyball team earned the AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2017-18 after posting a team GPA of 3.348.
  • For the fifth straight year the women's tennis team was named an ITA All-Academic Team, while the duo of Jana Schober and Blanche Lenoan were named ITA Scholar-Athletes.
  • The men's tennis team earned ITA All-Academic Team recognition, while six individuals - Gabriel Evtimov, Nico Mostardi, Luke Phillips, Mirko Radosevic, Jack Santilli and Matthew Terry - were also named ITA Scholar-Athletes.


Former Cleveland State standout pitcher and 2008 CSU Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Amy Kyler has been named the head softball coach.

Amy has tremendous experience and knowledge of the sport and we look forward to the leadership she will provide our program.

For the last 11 years, Amy served as the head softball coach at Notre Dame (OH), winning 287 games and helping the Falcons transition from NAIA to Division II. She was a two-time Conference Coach of the Year and led the program to four conference titles.

The top pitcher to come through the CSU program, Amy was a three-time all-league selection and still holds the CSU career records for ERA (1.35), shutouts (37) and no-hitters (6) and ranks second in wins (68), innings pitched (728.1), strikeouts (909) and complete games (92).


The CSU men's basketball team will take a foreign tour to Italy from August 12-21. The Vikings will play three games in Italy, while also receiving a unique cultural experience and having the opportunity to bond as the team features eight newcomers to the program. In addition, the Vikings are allowed 10 practices in preparation for the trip and held their first practice on July 30.

The Vikings will fly overnight to Milan on Aug. 12, landing in Italy the morning of Aug. 13.

The team will spend Aug. 13-14 in Treviso before heading to Florence from Aug. 15-17 where the Vikings will play their first two games, facing the Italy All Stars on Aug. 15 at 6:30 pm (12:30 pm ET) and the Tuscan All Stars on Aug. 17 at 8:30 pm (2:30 pm ET). The trip concludes in Rome from Aug. 18-20 with the final game of the tour against Stella Azzurra Roma on Aug. 19 at 6:30 pm (12:30 pm ET).

In addition to the three games, the group is scheduled to take a Gondola Ride through Venice, visit Mercato San Lorenzo, take a bike tour of Florence, receive a guided tour of the Colosseum and visit The Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel.

CSU will fly back to the United States the morning of Aug. 21 and arrive back later that night.

Stay up to date with the Vikings in Italy on the athetics website (, as well as on social media (@CSU_Basketball).


The Cleveland State Department of Athletics is now accepting nominations for the 2019 Hall of Fame induction class.

Nominations will be accepted until Sept. 1, 2018 with the induction ceremony taking place in early 2019.

Individuals interested in nominating someone should complete this form: NOMINATION FORM

Please provide as much supporting documentation to your submission(s) in order for the Committee to properly review, verify and consider the nomination.