Photos from the 193rd Commencement of UC on June 8-9 in Fifth Third Arena.
T.J. Weist (pronounced WEEST), enters his third season at the University of Cincinnati coaching the wide receivers. The 24-year coaching veteran, who has mentored 14 NFL receivers, adds the additional role of recruiting coordinator heading into the 2012 campaign.
Offensively in 2011, UC averaged 385 yards per game, ranking No. 2 in the BIG EAST in rushing offense (178.5 ypg) and scored an average of 33.3 points per game on the way to a BIG EAST Conference Championship and a win in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl over SEC foe Vanderbilt.
Anthony McClung had a breakout year in 2011, leading the team in receptions (49), receiving yards (683) and touchdown receptions (6). Junior college transfer Kenbrell Thompkins was on his heels with 44 catches for 536 yards and two touchdowns. The 2011 season also saw the emergence of true freshman Alex Chisum who caught 19 balls for 302 yards and two touchdowns, averaged almost 16 yards per catch (15.9) and earned a pair of starts late in the season.
In 2010, Weist coached a pair of all-BIG EAST Conference selections in Armon Binns (first team) and D.J. Woods (second team). The duo were the No. 1 and 2 ranked receivers in the BIG EAST in 2010 and Binns became only the eighth receiver in UC football history to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in a single season.
Binns' 1,101 yards led the BIG EAST. The four-year veteran also led the league in yards per game (91.8), receptions (6.2), touchdown receptions (10), 100-yard receiving games (6), and receptions of more than 10 yards (50). Woods led the league in receptions of more than 20 yards (17), and ranked second in the conference in yards per game (74.8), receiving yards (898), and 100-yard receiving games (3).
UC showed off its high-powered offense as the Bearcats were the only NCAA FBS school to have two wide receivers with 15 or more 20-yard receptions in 2010. UC's wide receivers accumulated 23 of the team's 27 receiving touchdowns and UC was the one of two teams nationally to have a pair of wideouts with eight more touchdowns apiece.
In 2010, the Bearcats led the BIG EAST in scoring offense (27.1 ppg), total offense (417.3 ypg), passing offense (260.7 ypg), first downs (21.9 pg), third-down conversions (45.6 pct.), and touchdown passes (27).
Weist joined the Bearcats after eight years at Western Kentucky mentoring the receivers. He also served as the team's assistant head coach (2007-09), and offensive coordinator (2003-06).
During his time with the Hilltoppers, Weist was instrumental in the development of wideouts Jake Gaebler and Curtis Hamilton. Gaebler set the school record for receptions (168) and ranks among WKU's Top-5 pass catchers all-time in yardage (1,924).
Hamilton concluded his four-year career in 2007 by setting the school's all-time records for both catches and receiving yards (2,324), while his 66 receptions as a senior matched the WKU season mark. He also finished third in the season record books with 873 yards.
Seven of Weist's players recorded multiple catches, a group that included a mix of youth and experience - Gaebler surpassed the 400-yard mark for the second year in a row and Jessie Quinn averaged almost 12 yards per reception, while both Quinterrance Cooper and Wenquel Graves became regular contributors to the unit as true freshmen.
Weist was WKU's offensive coordinator from 2003-06, calling plays for one of the most prolific units in school history. Not only did four-year starters Justin Haddix and Lerron Moore etch their names in the WKU record book in numerous categories, Hamilton became the first Topper wide out to be selected to an All-America team since 1996 following the 2006 campaign.
WKU ranked 23rd in the country in total offense, also finishing 17th in pass efficiency rating, while posting more than 4,000 total yards for the fifth consecutive season. Weist's passing attack averaged better than 200 yards per outing for the first time since 1986, as the 2,248 yards racked up by the unit through the air were the fifth most in WKU history.
In addition to Hamilton's performance, redshirt freshman Gaebler was selected to the Gateway Football Conference All-Newcomer Team in his first season of action while Hamilton, Haddix, Moore and Chris Sullivan earned all-league honors, and Andrew McCloud was also a member of the All-Newcomer squad.
Weist helped direct an offense that averaged 405.73 yards per game in 2005, which was the fifth-highest mark in school history, while scoring more than 30 points a game. The Hilltoppers ranked in the top 30 nationally in four different categories, which included leading the Gateway Conference and standing 14th in rushing offense. Three Hilltoppers were named first-team all-league on offense that year, while two others made the conference's All-Newcomer Team.
Weist's unit stood second in the Gateway Conference in 2004 after averaging 396.42 yards per game and ranked third with 29.17 points per contest, with the offense throwing for more than 2,000 yards for the first time since 1986. Both Haddix and Moore were able to pick up second-team all-league honors in his offense.
In 2003, Weist directed a unit that averaged 32.8 points and 394.5 yards per contest, with the former the fifth-highest per-game figure in school history. His efforts in shifting to a more balanced attack led to the Toppers throwing for 1,974 yards, the most by a WKU offense since the 1986 season. Haddix was selected the Gateway Conference Freshman of the Year, while
Moore was an honorable mention all-league selection. Casey Rooney was selected first-team all-conference after posting the third-highest season reception total in school history.
In his first year at WKU, Weist coached second-team all-Gateway Conference selection Jon Frazier - who tied a school season record with nine 100-yard games and posted the second-best season mark with 1,537 rushing yards - as well as Jeremi Johnson and Rooney, both members of the league's All-Newcomer Team. Three running backs collected more than 500 yards as the team recorded the second-best season rushing total in school history, while three wide receivers averaged more than a catch per contest for the first time since 1998.
Weist came to WKU from Indiana, where he served as wide receivers coach from 1997-01. While at IU, he also carried special teams responsibilities with the return units and also served as the Hoosiers' recruiting coordinator his first two years.
Weist was also was the receivers coach at Tulsa (1996), Southern Illinois (1994-95), Michigan (1990-93) and Alabama (1988-89).
The Wolverines reached four postseason bowl games during his tenure, including two Rose Bowl appearances, while the Crimson Tide appeared in a pair of postseason contests while he was on the coaching staff including the 1990 Sugar Bowl.
A native of Bay City, Mich., Weist was a wide receiver at Alabama from 1984-87, taking part in three postseason bowl games. He earned a bachelor's degree in health and physical education in 1988, and then added an exercise physiology master's degree one year later.
Weist and his wife Karen have a son, James (4).