July 2012 Archives

Head Swim Coach Abby Steketee on the Summer Olympics

Nevada head swimming and diving coach Abby Steketee joined the Wolf Pack staff at the beginning of July and comes to Nevada after spending the last four seasons at the University of South Carolina. She coached six athletes at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials this June, and her husband, Steve, who will serve as Nevada's volunteer assistant coach, also has experience with Olympic swimmers. Steketee offers a great perspective on this year's Summer Olympics in London in this guest blog:

Since I was about seven years old, I've marked time in four-year intervals:  1988 Seoul, 1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing, 2012 London.  I am, of course, talking about the Olympic Games and my dream of participating in them.  This summer, I took a large step toward that dream when I coached six athletes to the U.S. Olympic Trials held in Omaha, Neb.  The Olympic Trials themselves were fantastic, but it was the journey leading to that meet that makes me so proud.  For no athlete--or coach--is the journey a perfect upward progression; instead, it's a journey of ups and downs that requires athletes to stay focused on the goal, keep faith in themselves, rely on teammates, and as Winston Churchill said, "Never, never, never give up."

None of my swimmers at the U.S. Olympic Trials qualified for the London Games, but I am proud to have several friends and acquaintances there.  On top of the list is the bronze medalist from the 1988 Olympic Games, Sergio Lopez.  He coached my husband, Steve, at Northwestern University, has been my professional mentor for more than 10 years and served as a groomsmen in our wedding.  Now he is the head coach of Singapore's Olympic team as well as the personal coach to two American Olympians, Charlie Houchin (800 Freestyle Relay) and Ariana Kukors (200 IM).  I'm also extremely proud of Michael Walker, a swimmer I helped coach at West Virginia University, who is on the pool deck in London as an assistant coach of Brazil's National Team.

And finally, I was overjoyed to see Matt Grevers become Olympic Champion in the 100 Backstroke, not just because we are both Northwestern alumni but because my husband was one of his high school coaches in Illinois.  Matt made the most of his first Olympic experience back in 2008 when he won a silver medal in the 100 Back.  But 2010-11 were disappointing years for him as he struggled to find joy in swimming underneath the pressure of being expected to win all the time.  Nevertheless, Matt stuck to his journey and learned to view the pressure as "living the dream"; in other words, he looked at his pursuit of a gold medal as a wonderful, unique opportunity instead of a life-or-death event.  Plus, he nailed one of the best proposals ever when he asked Annie Chandler (another swimmer) to marry him at the Missouri Grand Prix in February.  If watching Matt win his gold last night wasn't enough for you, take a look at this clip of the proposal.

Being an Olympian isn't about having one spectacular moment, it's about pressing forward on a journey through many moments, no matter how high or low.


Red, white and BLUE!

We received this picture recently from the mother of a University of Nevada student who is part of the Nevada National Guard, serving at FOB Shank in Afghanistan. Three University students, A.J. Salaices, Jared Struber and Nels Hansen are showing their Wolf Pack pride while serving our country. The Silver and Blue Nevada flag is hanging from the tail of a Chinook Helicopter.
It's such a neat feeling to see the Wolf Pack represented all over the world.
To A.J., Jared and Nels, and to all of our men and women in uniform at home and abroad, we simply and humbly say Thank You for all that you do to serve our great country.

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Wolf Pack Cheerleader Competes in Miss Teen International Pageant

Incoming Wolf Pack cheerleader, Amanda Jenkins, is competing in the Miss Teen International Pagaent this week in Chicago, Ill.

A native of Vacaville, Calif., Jenkins will be a freshman at the University of Nevada this fall and plans to major in community health sciences with the career goal of becoming a physical therapist.
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"I chose Nevada because it has a major that suited my career choice, it's close to home, and I wanted to be involved with cheer at a school with strong traditions," she said.

Jenkins first became involved in the pageant scene two years when some family friends encouraged her to compete in her local pageant, and this year, she was named Miss Teen California International, which earned her a spot in the national pageant.

While the event is a beauty pageant, Jenkins said its primary focus is community service and involvement. She is actively involved in raising funds and awareness in the fight against cancet, participating in numerous events with the American Cancer Society including Relay for Life, Making Strides against Breast Cancer and Coaches vs. Cancer. Jenkins also implemented a program, Cheer for a Cause, through her high school cheer team to fundraise for the local Midnight Suns Foundation.

"This was important to me because I always believed in giving back," Jenkins said. "With the title Miss Teen International, I will be able to raise funds and awareness for cancer, not just statewide but nationwide as well! This is a very exciting year, and I'm looking forward to being a member of the Wolf Pack!"

Best of luck to Jenkins as she competes for the title this weekend!

Wolf Pack Athletics in the Black for 2011-12

Wolf Pack Athletics is back in the black for the first time since 2008-09 as this Reno Gazette-Journal blog entry by beat writer Chris Murray details. Today is the official close of the 2011-12 fiscal year, and Nevada Athletics has ended with a $50,000 surplus. 

As Nevada's chief financial told Murray:

"When you get to a point like this where your numbers cross over and you're in the black it's a culmination of a whole bunch of different things. Cost containment has been a big priority the past few years and we always try to make sure we have the welfare of the student-athletes first."

A Note From Our New Partner, Legends Sales & Marketing

The following is from Legends Sales & Marketing General Manager Ricardo Ramos, who will head up ticket sales operations for Nevada Athletics. Click here for the full announcement.

To the Wolf Pack Nation,

My name is Ricardo Ramos and I am the General Manager in charge of ticket sales for Legends Sales & Marketing and University of Nevada.  I am very excited to be in Northern Nevada and working for Wolf Pack athletics.  My experience leading, managing, and training sales people in the NBA and in college have led me to this great position.

Our mission in partnering with Nevada is simple: We're here to help strengthen the Wolf Pack Nation. Wolf Pack athletics has a strong, proud history and a bright future. Our job is to sell tickets and help Nevada grow its fan base - more fans, more excitement, more Wolf Pack success. There is so much tradition and enthusiasm for Wolf Pack athletics and I am so excited to be a part of it.

I look forward to building a team of sales professionals that represents the university and interacts with the community in a first class manner.  We will do everything we can to get more people to experience the excitement of Wolf Pack athletics.  Battle Ready. Battle Born.

Ricardo Ramos

Governor's Dinner Speaker Doug Gottlieb and the "Douger"

As many of you know, ESPN college basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb was the speaker at the 44th annual Governor's Dinner last Friday. The evening was a great success, and Gottlieb entertained the audience with a great message about taking advantage of the opportunities in your life when they present themselves.
But Gottlieb's day began much earlier and he had the chance to experience what "One Community, One Pack" is in northern Nevada. Gottlieb had a busy day, arriving on campus at 10:30 a.m., answering questions from the media at a press conference at 11 a.m., heading to the ESPN Radio 94.5 FM studios to do the Doug Gottlieb Show live from Reno from 1-4 p.m. and finally driving to Carson City for the dinner at the Governor's Mansion.

Needless to say, the day's schedule left Gottlieb feeling a bit run down, so as his car pulled into Carson City, he asked Nevada's Senior Associate AD Rory Hickok if they could stop at Starbucks for a little caffeine.

The barista behind the counter saw Gottlieb and said "You're Doug Gottlieb! I was just listening to your show and was thinking 'wouldn't it be great if Doug Gottlieb stopped in on his way to the Governor's Dinner?' I can't believe it!" His manager also heard and recognized Gottlieb's voice and came out to meet him.

Gottlieb ordered his usual coffee, which he calls the "Douger," and signed a Starbucks cup for the staff, kindly checking off all of the ingredients in the "Douger" for them.  He even took a picture of the Starbucks staff and tweeted it.

Definitely a great day for a couple of Wolf Pack and Doug Gottlieb fans and an example of how lucky we are to be able to put on a great event and bring speakers like Gottlieb to our community  every year!

Dan Hinxman of the RGJ has a nice item this week capturing the success of Nevada golf alums over the weekend. That includes Kirk Triplett (below) gaining his first career win on the Champions Tour and Charlie Wi finishing third at the Greenbrier event in West Virginia.

From Hinxman's Birdies and Bogeys column:
It was a good week for a couple of former Nevada golfers. Kirk Triplett, in his first season on the Champions Tour, won the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach on Sunday. Triplett, who won a Web.com Tour (formerly nationwide Tour) tournament last August, now has five professional wins on the U.S.'s top three tours, including three on the PGA Tour. Charlie Wi, who played at Nevada before transferring to Cal, tied for third at the Greenbrier Classic. The 18th-year pro has six top-threes and is still looking for his first PGA Tour win.

As part the Nature Valley First Tee Open, select junior golfers from First Tee programs also compete in the event and are paired with pros for a team event. Nevada recruit Kit Carson, a Sacramento native who will join the team this fall, played in the event and finished in fourth place along with Tour veteran Hal Sutton.

In Memory of Scott Benning

The Nevada Wolf Pack family lost a member recently with the passing of former football player Scott Benning on June 27 after a courageous battle with cancer.

Scott was a standout on the Wolf Pack's Big Sky Championship teams in 1990 and 1991 as a starting tight end.

A memorial service and Celebration of Life will be held on July 13, 2012, 11:00 a.m. at Saint Christopher's Catholic Church located at 1576 Curtner Avenue, San Jose, CA. with a reception following at the San Jose Elks Lodge #522.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation-Scott Benning Memorial Scholarship, Mail Stop 0162, Reno, NV 89577-0162. Checks can be made payable to University of Nevada, Reno Foundation.

Here is a link to Scott's full obituary.


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