Four years ago, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point was at the bottom in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Now, four years later, Head Coach Tom Journell has the Pointers competing at the top and the gradual rise is not expected to stop now.
Journell is entering his fourth season at UWSP. His career began with a 2-8 record in his first year and rose to a 7-3 record last year. He said he has tried to install consistency in the program both on and off the field.
“We expect that our student-athletes, after four years, walk across the stage to shake Chancellor Patterson’s hand with rings on our fingers,” Journell said. “We expect overwhelming academic and athletic success from all of our players.”
UWSP started last season 6-1 with Kyle Larson, junior transfer quarterback, under center. Larson missed the final three games due to injury. His return under center was noticeable as the Pointer offense put up 52 points in their season opener against Albion College, and Larson threw for 389 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Although Larson has returned, the experience gained by Cody Neurnberg, senior quarterback, at the end of last year makes Coach Journell very comfortable with the quarterback position.
“We have two great QB’s in Kyle and Cody, we have proven we can win with both,” Journell said. “Both understand our offense and execute it at a high level.”
Journell, who runs a base 4-3 defense and continues to implement the ever popular spread offense, has continued recruiting players to fit his team and is excited about his latest freshman class.
“Our coaches deserve a ton of credit. Recruiting is like shaving. If you don’t do it every day, you look look a bum,” Journell said. “We recruited very well. We had over 20 first-year student-athletes travel with us this past weekend and many contributed. We have a bright future.”
Pointer football has evolved over the years with big thanks to a simple acronym that was installed when Coach Journell took over four years ago. It has made it’s waves around the campus and has become the call card of the Pointer’s.
“Our team stands for the acronym TEE; it is who we are, why we do what we do, how we do it and for what we stand for on and off the field,” Journell said.
The acronym has a specific message: “T” stands for toughness, grit, and consistency. “E” stands for effort,and the relentless pursuit of excellence. Finally, the second “E” stands for execution, in which championship levels of discipline and execution are expected every day.
“This is the process we discuss daily, we don’t talk about winning, if the process is correct we don’t need to be concerned about the result,” Journell said.
The Pointers will next take the field in the annual Spud Bowl and Pink Game against Coe on Sept. 19 at home.