In the midst of the Civil War, Nevada became the 36th state in the union, earning the state motto, "Battle Born." Ten short years later in 1874, the University of Nevada was founded, becoming the state's Land Grant institution. Shortly thereafter, in 1896, the University's athletic program was established. While both our university and the Wolf Pack athletics program have grown dramatically, we've never lost sight of our roots here in Nevada.
Battle Born is more than a motto - it's really a mindset here in Northern Nevada that resonates with all of us. There's an independent and get-it-done type spirit about us that, in turn, leads us to take tremendous pride in our community, University and athletics program. It is that mindset and spirit that inspires people to move here, stay here after they graduate from the University of Nevada; or, as it was in my case, return home to Nevada.
During the past year, as we've prepared for our entry into the Mountain West Conference, I've given many public presentations on our latest conference move; and I've also worked closely with our staff to develop a public awareness campaign in both the marketing and fundraising areas that is based on the idea that essentially says 'we're looking ahead to the future, but we will always be rooted in our storied past.' And that's why we have created the Battle Born Campaign.
Battle Born will be seen and felt across the board. For example, when you arrive at Mackay Stadium or Lawlor Events Center this season, you will notice the Battle Born logo throughout each venue, including the football field and basketball court. In fact, some of our teams may even feature the logo on their uniforms. Battle Born will be a sub brand of our main logo and will be used in a variety of areas within our program. And of course, our partners at Silver and Blue Outfitters have already been on top of this for months now, offering great Battle Born-themed apparel.
Tied closely to our long term marketing and branding effort is our Battle Born fundraising effort. For several months now, I've been working closely with community leaders to help facilitate our move to the Mountain West Conference. I've asked them to consider giving $10,000 a year for each of the next three years as we make the financial and competitive transition to this new conference. And this commitment is above and beyond what they already give annually. No doubt, it's a huge commitment. I'm excited--and honored--to tell you that as of this week, 45 companies or individuals have signed up! They are not only leading us into a new conference, but they are helping to create a new era as well! To honor their commitment, we will have a dinner for them --on the 50-yard line under the lights at Mackay Stadium on August 30. It's our humble way of saying thank you for stepping up when we really need them.
Bottom line is this: There are only 119 Division I-A (FBS) athletics programs in the country - the elite level in college sports. And Northern Nevada can proudly claim one of them. As you well know, over the last decade, the Pack has enjoyed tremendous success on the national stage: in football, we've been to seven straight bowl games and a Top 15 ranking in 2010; in men's basketball, we've had multiple NCAA Tournament appearances, including the Sweet Sixteen in 2004 and several Top 25 rankings. Both of these programs should compete immediately in the Mountain West in 2012-13. Additionally, several other sports have had postseason success on the national stage, including softball, women's basketball, rifle and golf. In the past six years alone, Pack teams have made over 80 national television appearances!
I believe this success and national exposure is tied directly to our community, and once again, our collective mindset. Wolf Pack Athletics is 80 percent self-supported - donations, season and single-game ticket sales, sponsorships, TV and radio agreements - provide the necessary funding we need. Simply put, our teams can't line up and compete without the support we've always enjoyed from all of you in northern Nevada. I guess you could say we've always been Battle Born.
Like our troops who honorably serve on the USS Nevada submarine and whose rally cry is "Battle Ready? Battle Born!", so too, are we, as we head into the Mountain West Conference.
Thank you for all that you do for Wolf Pack Athletics!
-RoryFor more on "Battle Born" please read the piece in today's Reno Gazette-Journal by Guy Clifton. The RGJ also featured our new ticketing partner, Legends Sales & Marketing, today.