When I tell people in North Carolina where I went to college, the typical response is, “Oh.”
That’s because most people (outside of Texas) have no idea where Stephen F. Austin State University is or why in the world I chose to go there. Well, SFA — located in Nacogdoches, Texas — isn’t the tiny school it sounds like. It’s Texas’ version of Appalachian State, except for the sports teams.
That is, until this week … SFA is on the sports map (nationally, anyway). The Lumberjacks are in the NCAA Men’s Tournament for the first time in school history. They’re a No. 14 seed (not bad for a Southland Conference team), and they’re facing Syracuse in the first round. I’m hoping Syracuse’s seven total overtimes this past week will make them too tired to give a damn in this one.
So for anybody who wants to know more about SFA … here you go. It’s located in Nacogdoches, Texas, which is about three hours southeast of Dallas, two and a half hours northeast of Houston, an hour from Tyler and half an hour from the Louisiana border. It’s a great school for teachers and people in the forestry business (hence, the nickname), and the campus and city are surrounded by giant, gorgeous pine trees.
Because of its long drive from Texas’ big cities, it’s not a commuter school. Most of the students who go there live there, and hence, the Greek system there was very popular in the 90s. I’m assuming it still is today, because, hey, kids need stuff to do.
The city last made national headlines when the space shuttle exploded upon re-entry in 2003, and much of the scattered remnants of the ship landed in Nacogdoches.
As far as sports go, the women’s basketball team was consistently a top 25 team when I went to school there and even went a few rounds deep in a few NCAA women’s tournaments. The football team was good then, too … Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter was a Lumberjack, as was former Cowboys backup QB Mike Quinn, former Lions tight end Mikheal Ricks, former Chargers cornerback Terrance Shaw and former Cardinal Larry Centers.
But now they’re in the big dance, and I’ll be sure to catch their one-and-done this week, holding out my two fingers and thumb to perform the “axe-em-Jack” tomahawk chop … wow, that’s cheesy.