The Noise is Back in Town

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Gary Stallard
Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games. Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.

AC Basketball Teams Open Seasons Starting Monday

The “Palace in the Pines” is about to start rocking again.

            For 20 long months, there have been no Angelina College basketball teams in game action inside AC’s Shands Gymnasium. The last time either the Lady Roadrunner or Roadrunners played an actual game there was in February of 2020, just before the pandemic shut down the following season.

            Starting Monday, the teams – and the noise – are back.

            The Roadrunners tip off the regular season Monday night against the East Texas Flight, and will play again on Wednesday against the Houston Hurricane. Monday’s game might carry slightly more excitement for the men: It will mark the debut of new head coach J.J. Montgomery, who’s highly familiar with the confines of Shands Gym after spending two years as a Roadrunner – and leaving as the program’s all-time leading scorer. Montgomery and assistant coach Rakim Hollis have assembled a very young but highly athletic squad, and early indications are the team is going to surprise any opponents who take them lightly.

            The Roadrunners made some strong showing against more established teams throughout the scrimmage season, leaving Montgomery to say, “We’re going to be better than a lot of people think.”

            “We’re not a big team, so obviously we’re going to be playing some small-ball, but our guys are very quick and athletic, so we’ll try to use that to our advantage,” Montgomery said at the Region XIV Media Day.

            Lady Roadrunner head coach Byron Coleman will open his 17th season as head coach when his team tips off on Tuesday night against Grayson College. Like the men’s team, the Lady Roadrunners will field a roster of new faces – save for the return of two key players from Coleman’s 2019-2020 squad. Lovietta “Pinky” Walker and Derrica Gilbert have returned to AC for their sophomore campaigns, and both played key roles in the team’s tournament run in 2020.

            Coleman has lauded the two players for their leadership in assembling his new group, and he’s also praised some of the experienced transfers along with some very hungry freshmen. Like Montgomery, Coleman believes his team is going to provide plenty of surprises throughout the new season.

            “It’s been a different year for us,” Coleman said. “We’ve got nobody back, so we’re starting over. We have some JUCO transfers we know are going to help us.

            “But we’ve got plenty of kids who can play this game. I’m excited to see what they can do.”

            The Roadrunners tip off at 7:30 p.m. on Monday and at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

            The Lady Roadrunners’ game against Grayson College on Tuesday is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start.

            All games will be live streamed. Fans can watch by clicking the provided link at angelinaathletics.com.

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