As you may have seen on NevadaWolfPack.com today, former Wolf Pack standout Olek Czyz has made it to the Final Four of the HoopsManifesto.com dunk competition. Czyz has knocked off Oregon State's Jared Cunningham, Kentucky's Michael Kidd Gilchrist and Connecticut's Jeremy Lamb and will be going up against Darrion Pellum of Hampton in the finals.
Here is a Q & A with Czyz about the competition and some of the specifics of his dunk:
Q: What was the name of your dunk? A: It was a reverse windmill, but a lot of people know it as LeBron James' signature dunk.
Q: Describe a little bit about the HoopsManifesto.com dunk competition. A: It is basically a nomination for the dunk of the year, and two players are put against each other and people can vote for the dunk they liked better.
Q: During the game when you got the steal, were you already thinking about your dunk? A: I did not really think of it once I stole the ball because I was just trying to get under control, but then I thought why not do something cool? That was the dunk that came to me.
Q: How did you feel after you dunked the ball and how was the reaction from the crowd and your teammates? A: I got a great reaction from both my teammates and the crowd and I felt like it ultimately just sent a message to the other team and helped us to capitalize on our win.
Q: How did you find out your dunk had been nominated? A: I actually found out about it on Twitter. I was tagged in a link to the contest and from there I just checked it out for myself.
Q: What was your reaction when you found out your dunk had made it to the competition's Final Four? A: I felt very honored, because my dunk has been included with some of the biggest names in college basketball. I also feel that it is a great thing for our community.
Q: How can people vote for your dunk? A: Click here for the link to see it. Please vote!
Story by former women's basketball student-athlete and communications intern Christina Gough
This is pretty remarkable. We were all pretty excited to see that Olek Czyz was nominated of rate Dunk of the Year (as he should have been) for the breakaway reverse he threw down against Pacific this past season. He was originally one of 16 nominees, set up in bracket form with voting on hoopsmanifesto.com. Now we learn that Olek has advanced to the finals of the contest. And he's doing it without his best stuff, if you will. See, that video they're using is shot with a camera watching the dunk on a TV. We feel like the dunk is best done justice with this video linked below. Let's help Olek win this thing and send him off with one last hurrah from Wolf Pack fans everywhere.
The Nevada women's soccer team will wrap up a busy spring this weekend when the Wolf Pack takes on Chico State at 2:30 p.m. at Mackay Stadium. Admission is free.
The Wolf Pack has scored 12 goals and turned in three shutouts in its four contests this spring, including a 5-0 win over the program's alumni on April 7. About 30 former Wolf Pack soccer players - with each of the last seven years represented by at least one player - came back to campus for the exhibition against the current team. All of the current and former student-athletes then enjoyed a post-match meal courtesy of Famous Dave's BBQ and received their Varsity Club coins.
"Alumni came back to the Wolf Pack for this annual event full of laughs, great memories and some really good soccer," head coach Dr. Melissa Price said. "The turnout was incredible."
Here's a great shot of all of the players after the alumni match:
Nevada Soccer also hosted a clinic during the Washoe County School District's spring break. Over 110 kids ages 5-14 signed up the event. According to assistant coach Lauren McAdam, "it was very successful and we had some very nice feedback! The No .1 reason the kids were so excited to come back each day was because of our student-athletes being such good role models for these young soccer stars."
Here's a picture of some of the kids at the Spring Break Clinic:
The Wolf Pack soccer team will open its 2012 fall season in August. Check NevadaWolfPack.com later this summer for the updated schedule.
Nevada women's soccer coach Dr. Melissa Price was recently invited to join the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Coaching Academy Staff, which means that she will be part of the group of coaches who teach other coaches and helps them earn their coaching licenses.
Since becoming the head coach at Nevada two years again, Price has worked hard to become very active in the local soccer community, running clinics and teaching classes.
She recently wrote this feature for the NSCAA website about her thoughts about developing the role of soccer in our community.
One of the things that we plan to do from time to time on Inside Wolf Pack Athletics is update our fans on what some of our former student-athletes are doing now, and the first in the series is former wide receiver Marko Mitchell.
Mitchell played for the Wolf Pack football team from 2006-08 and electrified Nevada fans with his athletic catches. A first-team All-WAC selection in 2008, he ranks eighth in career receiving yards in the Nevada record book at 2,763 and turned in two of the top 15 single seasons in school history. After he earned his degree in general studies with a minor in human development and family studies in December of 2008, Mitchell was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the 2009 NFL Draft. He spent one season with the Redskins and was also a member of the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings. He also spent time in the Canadian Football League.
Mitchell is now back on campus training and volunteering with the Wolf Pack, and he took a few minutes to answer a few questions for us:
Q: What are you doing now?
A: I'm still training. I'm hoping to get back in the league (the NFL). I've also been volunteering with the football team, helping out with the receivers. When I'm done playing, I want to get into coaching.
Q: What is your best memory from your time at the University of Nevada?
A: My best memories are the four-overtime game at Boise State in 2007 and the near comeback against Hawaii that season. I remember those games because of how highly rated those teams were in the nation. Everybody doubted us and we shocked them.
Q: What is the biggest transition from college football to the NFL? A: The speed and tempo of the game and how fast it goes. That definitely was the biggest transition.
Q: What was the highlight of your NFL career? A: I'd have to say my touchdowns and when we played the New England Patriots. That was my first time being star-struck by playing with Tom Brady and Randy Moss. On top of that, I had to stay focused and play the game myself.
Q: What did you learn at Nevada that has served you well in your professional career? A: Hard work. No matter what is thrown your way, you can overcome it if you set your mind to it and work hard. That was definitely taught by my coaches, especially Coach (Scott) Baumgartner. He put a lot on my plate by making me the leader of the receivers. He knew that I was the most experienced guy and that I could handle it.
Today I had the privilege of participating in a press conference with Nevada First Lady Kathleen Sandoval about Denim Day, which is Wednesday, April 25. Denim Day is a national and statewide movement to raise awareness about sexual assault.
The Nevada Athletics staff will be wearing our denim (and Wolf Pack shirts) tomorrow as part of the Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Campaign, and I hope all of our Wolf Pack fans will join us to support this important cause.
More information about this effort is available here.
Here is the photo from today's press conference (from left: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Reno CEO Ann Silver, Nevada Director of Athletics Cary Groth, Old Navy Store Manager Leslie Crossley, First Lady Kathleen Sandoval and AlertID Founder Keli Wilson):
As Nevada prepares to move into the Mountain West Conference on July 1, a great source of news and information for Wolf Pack fans is Mountain West senior writer Mick McGrane.
McGrane writes a blog called McGrane's Take: Your Look Inside the Mountain West that highlights all of the member institutions as well as feature stories on student-athletes. He has covered the Mountain West since its inception in 1999 and spent 12 years as the beat writer for San Diego State football and basketball at the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Most recently, McGrane just completed a series of previews on all of the Mountain West football teams that is definitely worth a look. His last preview was on the Wolf Pack.
Fans can subscribe to McGrane's blog via email or can follow him on Twitter: @MWCMick.
The San Diego Union-Tribune recently ran a great story, catching up with former Nevada football star quarterback John Dutton. Dutton is still playing professional football, gearing up now for the Arena season with the Cleveland Gladiators as a "neat way to fill the time between helping save the world." For those who aren't aware, Dutton and his wife, former Wolf Pack swimming standout Terina (Cook) Dutton, has spent much of the past six years in Africa establishing ministries to help women and children.
If you have visited NevadaWolfPack.com this week, and it seems like there were a lot of accolades for the Wolf Pack this week, you were right.
Three Wolf Pack student-athletes earned WAC Player of the Week honors this week, and 23 Nevada student-athletes were just named to the Winter Academic All-WAC team in men's and women's basketball, women's indoor track and field and swimming and diving.
Here's a quick recap of all of Nevada's WAC Players of the Week from this week:
Michelle Okhremchuk - Women's Tennis Okhremchuk, a sophomore from Doneck, Ukraine, went undefeated in singles and doubles play last weekend, while Nevada went 1-1 against Idaho and Gonzaga. She earned a 6-0, 6-3 victory in No. 1 singles against Idaho's Vicky Lozano and teamed with Emma Verberne to defeat Lozano and Almudena Sanz in a tiebreaker, 9-8 (7-4). Okhremchuk turned in another straight-set victory in the match vs. Gonzaga, topping Prue Teitzel 6-3, 6-0. She and Verberne also notched a victory in No. 1 doubles. The two singles wins give Okhremchuk 20 this season, which is good for fifth most in a season at Nevada.
Nikki Prichard - Women's Golf A freshman from Newhall, Calif. (Hart HS), Prichard tied for seventh place at the Wyoming Cowgirl Classic held in Chandler, Ariz., last week. Prichard finished with a 5-over par 221 (72-75-74) in posting her third top-10 finish of the year for the Wolf Pack. The 72 in the first round tied her career-best. It is the first time in her career that Prichard has won a WAC golfer of the week or month award.
Bradey Shipley - Baseball (Pitcher) Shipley, a sophomore from Medford, Ore. (North Medford HS), pitched eight shutout innings to earn his sixth win of the season as the Pack defeated Louisiana Tech 3-2 last Friday. The eight innings are a career high in which he struck out five and walked two. Shipley did not allow a hit in his last four innings on the mound. All three hits allowed were singles and came in the first four innings of the game. No LA Tech hitter reached third base when Shipley was on the mound.
And another congratulations to baseball coach Gary Powers who got his 900th career win (all at the University of Nevada) with the Wolf Pack's 10-5 victory over San Francisco yesterday at Peccole Park. Nevada is 20-16 overall this year and is tied for second with a 4-2 WAC mark (a half-game out of first), while the Wolf Pack takes a four-game winning streak into this weekend's series at Sacramento State.
Nevada head baseball coach Gary Powers is in his 30th year as Nevada's skipper, and he is just one win away from a career milestone - his 900th win - heading into Tuesday afternoon's game with San Francisco at 2 p.m. at Peccole Park.
Coach Powers holds a career mark of 899-721-5, which ranks 21st nationally among active NCAA Division I coaches in victories. Even more impressive, all 899 of those victories have come at the University of Nevada.
As he approaches this career accomplishment, here are a few interesting facts about his 30-year career at Nevada:
- Powers got his first career win on March 4, 1983 when Nevada downed Utah 5-4 on March 4, 1983.
- Coach Powers has taken four Wolf Pack teams to NCAA Regional appearances in 1994, 1997, 1999 and 2000. He averaged 34 wins per game in the 1990s (and just under 30 a year in his career).
- He has produced 16 All-Americans, 139 all-conference honorees, five conference players of the year and 79 Major League Baseball draftees.
- Not only has he coached the Wolf Pack for 30 years, Powers was a Nevada student-athlete. He was a two-year starting pitcher from 1970-71 and set team records for appearances and innings pitched.
We hope you can join us as Coach Powers goes for his 900th victory tomorrow. Tickets range from $4-10 and can be purchased here or at the gates at Peccole Park.
Congratulations to former Nevada golfer Michael Allen on his win on Sunday at the Encompass Insurance Pro-Am. It was his second win on the Champions Tour.
Allen competed for the Wolf Pack from 1978-82 and has gone on to a successful professional golf career. He is currently ranked first in the Charles Scwab Cup standings on the Champions Tour and narrowly missed his first win of the season after finishing second at last month's Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.
If you went to Wolf Pack basketball game this year, you likely heard the Pack City song and saw the video.
That song about the Wolf Pack men's basketball team and the follow-up song, Never Doubt the Pack, are the brainchild of University of Nevada student Jimmy Thorngren. Thorngren paired up some friends, including former men's basketball player and current graduate assistant Adam Carp and Kyle Weerheim (also a student on campus and volunteer in the Wolf Pack media services office) to produce videos to go along with those songs.
McGee played at Nevada for two seasons from 2006-08. An amazingly athletic 7-footer, he led the WAC and ranked 14th in the nation in blocked shots in 2007-08 and ended his Nevada career ranked fourth on the school career charts with 120 blocked shots.
He was taken as the 18th pick in the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards and was recently traded to the Denver Nuggets.
Two more former members of the Nevada men's basketball program are on the move...
Former guard Todd Okeson, one of the stars of the 2004 NCAA Sweet Sixteen run, was just named an assistant coach at Southern Utah. Okeson had spent the last three years on former Wolf Pack head coach Mark Fox's staff at the University of Georgia.
Former Wolf Pack guard Armon Johnson recently signed a 10-day contract with the New Jersey Nets. He spent last year and the first part of this season with Portland Trailblazers after being drafted in the second round in 2010.
Congratulations to former Nevada head basketball coach Trent Johnson who was introduced as the new head coach at TCU today.
Johnson turned in a 79-74 record in five years as Nevada's head coach before moving on to coach at Stanford and LSU. His best year at Nevada came in 2003-04 when he led the Wolf Pack to a 25-9 record, the first of five consecutive WAC regular-season titles and a run to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
You should be receiving your 2012 football season ticket renewals in the mail in the coming days, and I wanted to share some information with you before you receive your renewal and before we send out this information out to the media.
We are very excited to move into the Mountain West Conference this summer and we have spent the last few months preparing to make that move. One of the things we felt necessary was finding out how our football ticket prices compare to those of our future Mountain West opponents.
After gathering all of that information, we decided to make some reductions to some tickets and some increases to others to bring our football prices more in line with the Mountain West and provide us the funding we will need to stay competitive as we make this move. This is the first change we have made to our football season ticket prices since 2008.
One of the most important things to us is providing our fans an affordable and family friendly option to attend our games, so we have decided to reduce the prices for all of the general admission seats at Mackay Stadium by $10. Those tickets will be $85 in 2012, down from $95, and account for 11,706 seats at Mackay Stadium (nearly 40 percent of the seats in the stadium).
Reserved premium field and priority field seats will increase by $50 total (a $25 increase in both the ticket price and seat premium) to $275 and $250, while field and plaza reserve seats will increase by $25 to a total of $150. More information about the 2012 pricing structure is available by clicking here.
Here is the comparison of football ticket prices (including seat premiums) in the Mountain West. We haven't made any changes to our football prices in four years - since 2008 - and as you can see, Nevada remains one of the most affordable options in the Mountain West:
San Diego State
For more information on tickets, please contact us at (775) 348-PACK (7225). For donation information, call (775) 682-6973. Our staff is happy to answer any questions you might have.
I want to thank each and every one of you for everything you do to support Wolf Pack Athletics. In your season ticket renewal package, you will also find a small token of our appreciation for everything that you have done to support the Wolf Pack.
We couldn't do what we do without you, and we hope that we will see you at Mackay Stadium this fall when we kick off our inaugural season in the Mountain West.
My mornings start with an examination of my (ever-growing) to-do list. For the past week or so, I've skipped over one particular item, making a mental note each time to make sure I get back to it. "Blog an update on Jayme King" I kept pushing it off because doing so would be quite time intensive. And with the Wolf Pack softball into conference play (last weekend's series win at Utah State was big) and spring football underway, finding the time has become difficult. Thankfully, Juan Lopez, the editor of the Nevada Sagebrush, has bailed me out. I knew Juan had been working on a story about King for a while and it ran in today's edition of the student paper. I've known Juan for nearly four years and have seen his progression as a reporter and writer each year. His story today on Jayme and her recovery from Ewing's Sarcoma (which is the same rare type of cancer that former Boston College standout and current New York Giants player Mark Herzlich overcame) is worth your time.
Spring is in the air and baseball season is just around the corner.
While the Wolf Pack has been playing since mid-February, Major League Baseball opens its season this week and Nevada fans may recognize more than a few familiar names on opening day rosters.
Some former Wolf Pack baseball standouts to look out for when opening day rosters are announced include: Konrad Schmidt and Lyle Overbay with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chris Dickerson with the New York Yankees, Chris Gimenez with the Tampa Bay Rays, Kevin Kouzmanoff with the Kansas City Royals, Eddie Bonine and Chad Qualls with the Philadelphia Phillies, Brett Hayes with the Miami Marlins.
And if you haven't had a chance to catch the Wolf Pack in action yet this year, fans will have a chance tonight at 6:05 p.m. as Nevada takes on the Reno Aces in an exhibition game at the Aces Ballpark. Tickets are still available at the door.
The Wolf Pack has turned in a 15-12 record so far this season and head coach Gary Powers, who is in his 30th year as the Wolf Pack skipper, is nearing the major career milestone of 900 wins. Powers is at 895 victories and ranks 25th among active NCAA Division I coaches.
After tonight's game, the Wolf Pack heads to Las Cruces, N.M., for a three-game series against New Mexico State this weekend but returns for a pair of games against Pac-12 powerhouse (and 2006 and 2007 College World Series champions) Oregon State on Monday and Tuesday, April 9 and 10. First pitch is at 2 p.m. on Monday and 1 p.m. on Tuesday. Tickets range from $6-10 for adults and $4 for juniors and seniors and can be purchased online here or at the gate at Peccole Park.
The Sparks Tribune ran a nice story on one of our donors - Dr. Harry Huneycutt - last week - click here for the link.
Dr. Huneycutt and his wife, Dr. Rita Huneycutt, have sponsored our Academic Excellence and Scholarship Banquet since its beginnings in 2006. That great event recognizes the academic achievements of Wolf Pack student-athletes as well as all of the donors who have endowed scholarships for student-athletes.
This year's banquet, held in November, recognized 119 Wolf Pack Scholars who maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0-3.49 and 76 Silver and Blue Scholars who hold a cumulative GPA of 3.5-4.0. In addition, Nevada honored the 100 student-athletes who earned Western Athletic Conference All-Academic honors during the 2010-11 academic year, student-athletes who were named scholar-athletes by coaching associations and the 50 Wolf Pack student-athletes who graduated this winter.
Speaking of scholarships, Nevada just held its third annual Blue Tie Ball on Friday night at the Peppermill. Over 450 people attended the elegant and exciting event, which raises money for student-athlete scholarships at the University of Nevada. We will have all of the photos and videos of the dances featuring Wolf Pack student-athletes up at this link in the next day or so. Definitely check them out - who knew that our student-athletes had such great moves off the field/court!
A special thanks to the Huneycutts and all of the donors who contribute to the Pack Educational Fund and support scholarships for student-athletes at the University of Nevada.