LEBANON — The Mike Babcock Era has officially kicked off with pre-season workouts for the McKendree University football program.
Approximately 130 players were put through an hour-long conditioning workout recently at Leemon Field.
The Bearcats have now started preparations for the first game of the 2013 season, which is scheduled for Sept. 7 at home against Tiffin University. McKendree will look to avenge a 23-13 season-opening loss to the Dragons one year ago.
Babcock was hired back in December as the 17th head coach in McKendree football history.
Babcock comes to McKendree after spending the last five years as an assistant coach at Colorado State University-Pueblo, one of the top NCAA Division II programs in the country. For the last four years, Babcock has served as the ThunderWolves' quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator. Under his leadership, CSU-Pueblo has registered back-to-back undefeated regular seasons and claimed Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) championships. Also for the second year in a row, the ThunderWolves were the top-ranked team in the final American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) regular-season poll.
"I'm very excited about this opportunity to become the head coach at McKendree," said Babcock. "It's a new chapter for myself, my wife and my family. McKendree has a lot of great things to offer both academically and athletically. There's a lot of talent (at McKendree) and we need to add to that.
"When we started the program (at CSU-Pueblo) in 2008, it was our challenge to recruit student-athletes who could believe in our vision, our goal for the program. That is an unbelievable feeling. We're going to use that same approach at McKendree, and I cannot wait to get started."
With Babcock at the offensive controls, CSU-Pueblo set 13 team and 15 individual offensive records as the ThunderWolves advanced to the national quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II playoffs in 2012. CSU-Pueblo set new team season standards in every major passing category, including attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns and completion percentage. The ThunderWolves also established new records for total offensive yards, plays and points scored this year.