The 130 young men who will represent Arkansas Tech University during its inaugural season of Great American Conference football competition assembled for the first time on Wednesday, Aug. 10.
The day was mostly filled by the details that accompany the start of a new season --- a team meeting (photographed, right), equipment issue, physical exams and lots of paperwork. Included in the 130 players who reported for practice are 41 returning lettermen from last season.
The Wonder Boys are scheduled to engage in their first practice of fall camp at 6 p.m. Wednesday. They will practice in full pads for the first time on Sunday, Aug. 14, at 2:30 p.m.
Head coach Steve Mullins has scheduled two preseason scrimmages for his 15th Arkansas Tech team --- one at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20, and the other at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 23. Both scrimmages will be held at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field. The public is invited to attend.
All of it is in preparation for the 97th season of Arkansas Tech football, which will begin on Saturday, Sept. 3, with a 6 p.m. game at the University of Arkansas-Monticello.
That contest will be the first Great American Conference game in school history for both Arkansas Tech and UAM.
They are two of the nine charter members of the new NCAA Division II conference, which also includes East Central University, Harding University, Henderson State University, Ouachita Baptist University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Southern Arkansas University and Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
The Great American Conference was formed as a way for the nine member institutions to limit missed class time for student-athletes and travel expenses.
Arkansas Tech enters the 2011 season with 524 all-time wins, which is tied for ninth-most in NCAA Division II history. Tech was 4-7 overall during the 2010 campaign.
The Wonder Boys have won 18 conference championships and made five national playoffs appearances, the most recent of which came when they reached the second round of the 2009 NCAA Division II Playoffs.
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