By Dave Wagner
Travis McCorkle has had a full plate the past couple of weeks.
Not only is McCorkle preparing to coach two soccer teams at Eastern New Mexico University this fall, he’s been busy trying to fill his assistant coach’s position over the past couple of weeks after Rich Stoneman, hired in the spring, resigned earlier this summer
On Thursday, Carlos Elizondo was hired by ENMU. McCorkle said Elizondo, from El Paso, will work primarily with the first-year men’s team.
“It’s a huge amount of stress off my shoulders,” McCorkle said. “The last two or three weeks have been a nightmare for me.”
Elizondo has previously been a women’s assistant at the University of North Texas, and has also coached youth club programs in Dallas and El Paso. McCorkle said Elizondo is expected to teach one or two classes at ENMU during the spring semester.
If preseason conference polls are to be believed, both of McCorkle’s teams have their work cut out this fall — the second-year women’s squad was picked ninth in the 10-team Lone Star Conference, while the men were pegged for last place in the new eight-team Southwest Soccer Conference.
McCorkle said he doesn’t see those things happening, especially with the men’s squad.
“I think they’ll be more athletic than where the women’s team was last year, compared to other teams in the (SSC),” he said. “We’ve got some pretty good players coming in, some pretty good transfers.
“Those polls don’t hurt my feelings. They don’t get you any points.”
Soccer players are scheduled to report on Monday and begin practice on Tuesday. The teams will play doubleheader formats for the first several matches before the schedules break off.
Cross country — Joel McMullen has been hired as cross country coach and compliance coordinator at ENMU. Assistant baseball coach Greg LaSage coached the cross country team last year, while compliance duties were previously the responsibility of sports information director Robert McKinney.
McMullen previously was a compliance assistant at Oklahoma State University, where he also helped out with the cross country program.
Runners aren’t scheduled to report until Aug. 23, with practice starting the following day. The first meet is Sept. 3 at West Texas A&M.
“We’re excited about the season,” McMullen said. “I wish we could get them in here earlier, but we have budget constraints.”
Volleyball — Athletic director and volleyball coach Mike Maguire is looking for a 16th consecutive winning season with the Zias. Players report Monday for physicals before beginning workouts the next day.
Maguire said the Zias, who rallied late in the season to post a 16-15 record a year ago, have added talent to go with several key returning players.
“I feel really good about this year’s group,” said Maguire, whose squad was picked third in the LSC South Division behind West Texas A&M and Abilene Christian. “We finished strong last year, and all the girls we’ve signed are good players.”