Best year ever

Portland State Athletic Director Tom Burman measures success by the amount of conference championships his programs win. By that rubric, the year 2005 should be remembered as one of the best ever for the Vikings.

The list of athletic accomplishments at the decade’s halfway mark is impressive. Portland State won its first regular season Big Sky championship in men’s basketball behind an impressive senior laden squad led by Seamus Boxley and the nation’s assist leader, Will Funn. The 19-9 Vikings hosted the Big Sky tourney but would go on to lose in the first round.

The Vikings were so successful that head coach Heath Schroyer decided to take a pay raise and become an assistant coach at Fresno State.

The soccer team also recorded a regular season championship after going 4-1-1 in Big Sky play. It was head coach Tara Erickson’s last season at the helm of a program she helped build into a perennial contender. Erickson left the team at the end of the season to take the reins at the University of Oregon.

Portland State’s most consistent team, women’s golf, won its third straight Big Sky title in 2005.

The football team narrowly missed a chance at the playoffs as they went 6-5. They were led by senior running back Joe Rubin, who gained 1,754 yards and scored 17 touchdowns in a simply monster season.

While they failed to win a Big Sky regular season title or advance in the Big Sky tournament, the volleyball team had their best season playing in Division I-A. The team earned their first 20-win season and finished second in the conference. Head coach Jeff Mozzochi, in his second stint at PSU, took home Coach of the Year honors.

Junior outside hitters Jessica Brodie and Jessica Vanzant won All-Big Sky honors and senior setter Stephanie Lavigne came back from a knee injury to earn a spot on the second team. It was the most players ever to be honored in a single season for PSU volleyball.

The women’s basketball team struggled mightily in their first season under head coach Charity Elliott, limping to a 3-23 record. Sophomore guard Heather Arns anchored a young but scrappy team that is already showing improvement this season. They beat SEC power Arkansas on Nov. 26 and have leapt out to a 3-1 start.

Portland State said goodbye in 2005 to a woman who has been a fixture at the University for over 30 years. Teri Mariani retired this spring after as head coach of the Vikings softball program after 29 years of building the program and teaching young athletes the game. Mariani also played four years at Portland State immediately before taking over as head coach and still works with the Athletic Department. She retired with 660 victories. "We all work together – it’s the PSU way," she said. "That’s why I’ve been here 29 years."