But the Cougars won't be playing in the NCAA Tournament any time soon. Its reclassification won't be complete until 2012 when they will be eligible for postseason competition.
Former Scott Gallagher executive and longtime SIUE assistant Kevin Kalish takes over for the retired Ed Huneke.
One tough challenge will be its 2008 schedule. The Cougars will play a mix of D1 and D2 teams but ill only have two home games, both against D2 teams.
Not on the schedule this year is Saint Louis. The SLU-SIUE games for the Bronze Boot drew huge crowds at the old Busch Stadium in the 1970s and early 1980s.
The freshman class includes a pair of second-generation SIU-E players, Brian Groark and Jack Twellman. Tom Groark and Mike Twellman were both members of SIUE's 1979 team.
PENN STATE MOTIVATION. Three years ago, Penn State won the Big Ten Tournament title and reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament. This year, the Lions are last in the preseason Big Ten coaches' poll.
"It's big-time motivation because I like being the underdog," Coach Barry Gorman told the Daily Collegian. "If people are voting us number seven out of seven, we'll take it and we'll surprise those people."
One reason for the low ranking: star Jason Yeisley is likely out for the season. His last two seasons ended prematurely with a knee injury.