Mid-South Sports Year in Review - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mid-South Sports Year in Review

(WMC-TV) – As usual, it's been an eventful year in sports for the MidSouth.

2012 started off with a bang, thanks to the Arkansas Razorbacks.  The Hogs finished their season by matching a school record with 11 wins, and a victory over Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl.

In February, Tigers fans got the news they'd been waiting for...Memphis was officially accepted into the Big East Conference.  Since that time, realignment in college athletics has blown up, and it remains to be seen what shape Memphis' new league will be in when they join up next year.

Jurgan Melzer and Sofia Arvidsson won the Regions Morgan Keegan Championship and Memphis International tennis tournaments at the Racquet Club of Memphis.  It turns out they will be the last winners, with management group IMG buying the rights to both tournaments and moving them to Brazil.

Six years after Pau Gasol became the Grizzlies first ever All-Star, younger brother Marc followed suit.  With Z-bo hurt at the time, Big Spain shouldered the load for the Grizzlies in the first half, averaging at 15 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks per game.

March was all about the Madness and the Memphis Tigers.  Will Barton and the gang won both the CUSA regular season and tournament titles.  But the celebration was short-lived, after getting a 9-seed for the NCAA tournament, the Tigers lost in the first round to the late Rick Majerus and Saint Louis.

The University of Memphis women also enjoyed the post season. The Tigers getting their second straight invite to the Women's NIT and made it to the second round before falling to Missouri State.

April saw several coaching changes for mid-south teams, some by choice, some not.

After 38 years and more than 1,000 coaching victories, Tennessee Lady Vols Head Coach Pat Summitt called it a career, stepping down after announcing she was afflicted with early onset dementia.

Rick Stansbury also called it quits, retiring after 14 seasons as the Bulldogs head coach.

Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino was subject of one of the juiciest scandals in 2012.  The 51-year-old Petrino was involved in a motorcycle accident, along with his 25-year-old mistress, and then lied about the circumstances surrounding the crash.  He was fired for what his bosses called a pattern of misleading behavior.

April was also the beginning of a new era for the University of Memphis.   After 16 years as the school's athletic director R.C Johnson handed the reigns over to former San Jose State AD Tom Bowen.

May brought on the NBA Playoffs and a second straight appearance by the hometown team.  But the Grizzlies made a quick exit from the post season, falling in seven games to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The dog days of summer were full of excitement in the mid-South.  On the links, Dustin Johnson became a first time winner in Memphis, taking home the top prize in the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

The Memphis Grizzlies got a new owner in June.  The 34-year-old millionaire Robert Pera, along with a star-studded local ownership group that includes Justin Timberlake, Peyton Manning and Penny Hardaway, purchased the team for 350-million dollars from Michael Heisley.

The fall was a new beginning for a few college football teams with Justin Fuente, Gus Malzahn and Hugh Freeze all taking over their respective programs.  Fuente led the Tigers to 4 wins in his first season with the Blue and Grey, Malzahn a 9-and-3 record and a Sun Belt Conference title with Arknasas State and Freeze a 6-and-6 record and BBVA Compass bowl invite for Ole Miss.

December was one to remember for the Whitehaven Tigers.  The Tigers wrapped up their perfect season with their first ever state championship beating powerhouse Maryville in overtime.

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