MARSHALL, Texas (ETBU) - Earning the top title in collegiate fishing and making history at East Texas Baptist University, the Tiger Bass Fishing team was named the 2020 Tackle Warehouse School of the Year on Monday, December 14, by Fishing League Worldwide (FLW). This title annually goes to the school with the highest year-end point total at the completion of the regular Abu Garcia College Fishing season presented by YETI. Points are awarded to the top two finishing teams from each school that competes in an FLW College Fishing tournament. After finishing in eighth place last year with 2,257 points, ETBU ended the season as the top team in 2020 with 2,319 points.
“ETBU Bass Fishing won Southern Conference School of the Year in 2019 which is a big deal, but the news I received about this title is even better,” Head Fishing Coach Cameron Burger said. “This is out of every school across the nation that competes in FLW. Winning this means we are consistent. We had some success in the beginning of the program, but my goal as coach has always been to be better, to be great both on and off the water. The anglers on the team have bought in to that philosophy and this title shows that.”
ETBU placed in the top 10 in all four of their qualifying tournaments this season, their best being a first-place finish in the FLW Qualifier on the Ouachita River. ETBU had two out of their three boats finish inside of the top three.
“I love to fish for the adrenaline rush and having the opportunity to enjoy God’s creation,” junior Cameron Tullis said. “Being a fisherman at ETBU means I have the opportunity to represent not only myself but my teammates, my university, and God on a platform that many other people don’t get the opportunity to use. I love fishing for ETBU because it lets me be part of something bigger and it helps me stay confident knowing that we have a whole university to back us.”
Not only is the Tiger Athletics program molding successful athletes, but it seeks to develop wellness, leadership, and Christian character among its student-athletes. The success of the Tiger Bass Fishing team has given them national platform to show the love of Christ as fisherman as well as fishers of men.
“Being a member of this team means I am a member of one of the most well-respected teams in the nation and we try to hold ourselves to a higher standard in all aspects,” junior William Cody Ross said. “It means we are not just individuals, but a team, one which competes to win as well as spread the word of God with every achievement we have.”
The ETBU Bass Fishing Team has qualified for a national championship every year since the start of the program, winning Southern Conference School of the Year in 2019. The program continues to grow thanks in part to its founding sponsor, Sam Baxter of McKool Smith, and additional sponsors including Skeeter Boats, Yamaha, Symmetry Sports Construction, V&M Baits, Rod Armorz, Elite Tungsten Co., Lew’s Fishing, Tackle Addict, Costa, and Hendrix Machinery Rental.
“When the ETBU Bass Fishing team was launched in 2016, we had the goal of becoming one of the top teams in the country, and being named the 2020 Tackle Warehouse School of the Year is a pinnacle accomplishment,” Vice President for Student Engagement and Athletics Ryan Erwin said. “Head Coach Cameron Burger and Assistant Coach Bryan Thomas, as well as the anglers that have represented ETBU, have worked tirelessly the past four years to build and grow our program and help ETBU become a national contender. We are also very appreciative of our many sponsors that supported the team and allowed ETBU Bass Fishing to successfully compete at tournaments around the country.”