May 2014 Archives

Wolf Pack student-athletes excelling in classroom

From the desk of athletics director Doug Knuth:

Earlier this month, the University held its 124th Commencement exercises on the beautiful and historic campus Quad. It was a privilege for me to sit on stage as a member of the President's staff and congratulate our student athletes immediately after they received their diploma.  The list of majors for these talented students is interesting and amazing - ranging from Art, Chemistry, Biology and Business to Wild Life Ecology & Conservation.  Amazing stuff.  You can view the list of graduates and majors here.

I often speak to alumni, boosters and friends about the Mission of Wolf Pack Athletics and they are often surprised to know that our Mission is exceedingly clear - to serve and support the educational mission of the University of Nevada.  We do that by providing opportunities for achievement - academically, athletically and socially.  We teach leadership and prepare our students for life.  Yes, we want to win, and win often, but our reason for doing what we do every day is about education and transforming the lives of our students. We have a secondary mission of engaging our community in a meaningful way, but today I want to share more about our focus on education and academics.

When we talk about education and academics, we focus on some important terminology, GPA, APR and GSR, which need to be defined.  Grade Point Average (GPA) is relatively understandable because most of us had a GPA in high school or college. This is quite simply the semester by semester grade average for each student athlete. The Academic Progress Rate (APR) is a measure of academic progress based on eligibility and retention. This is a calculation of points which indicate our semester-by-semester efforts to support our students toward the goal of completing a meaningful degree. For many years the NCAA evaluated an institution's focus on academics based purely on graduation rates of student athletes. We learned that waiting until the final semester of a student's tenure was an ineffective way to calculate academic performance. Today the APR calculation gives us immediate results of our efforts and provides accountability for our work. Lastly, the Graduation Success Rate (GSR) is a calculation of the percentage of student athletes who are completing their academic degree relative to members of their freshman cohort. With definitions in hand, the question is how are we doing?

In terms of GPA, our average GPA for the 2014 Spring semester, including all 16 varsity teams and nearly 400 student athletes, was 2.863.  Our cumulative GPA for all sports and all student athletes throughout their academic career is 2.915.  On a 4.0 scale, this means our students carry roughly a 'B' average.  That's very strong. This is impressive considering the amount of time spent in competition, travel, practice, film study, weight training and team meetings.

Individually, we have 99 student athletes with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 ('B') or higher.  Inside that number, we have 61 student athletes with a 3.5 GPA ('B+') or higher.  These are impressive students who also have an extraordinary talent in their sport. Amazing.

Our department-wide APR is a solid 975 multi-year rate based on a 1,000 point scale for all 16 sports combined over a rotating four year period.  Individually, each of our sports stayed above the NCAA minimum standard of 930 and we have six sports that earned a perfect score of 1,000 for the most recent reporting year (2012-13).

Lastly, and most importantly, our GSR is a solid 77%.  Our graduation rate has improved steadily from the upper-60s in 2008 to our current position between 77% and 80% in recent years.

The success of our academic program is based largely on the following: our clear focus on the mission of Wolf Pack Athletics; the incredible support we enjoy from President Johnson and the academic, financial and student services leadership on campus; the hard work of our coaches to recruit the best and brightest students; and the great work of the students who are focused on earning a powerful college degree while proudly wearing the Wolf Pack uniform in athletic competition. I'm proud to work on a campus filled with people who share a focus on student success.

Our donors also play a vital role in our academic success.  The many donors who helped to fund the Marguerite Wattis Petersen Academic Center made a transformative contribution to the welfare and academic success of our students. The academic profile of our student athletes has increased each year since the building opened in 2008. Donations to the Pack Educational Fund, through your Scholarship Seating donations, support academic and athletic operating budgets for each of our teams.  Every donor is making a difference to our academic success and we can't thank you enough!

One last item about our focus on education and academics which we believe is essential to building a comprehensive athletics program focused on the academic mission of the University. For many athletes, the opportunity to pursue a dream of playing professional sports is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We support our student athletes who want to chase their dreams and, importantly, we stand behind these athletes and support them as they return to complete their studies when their professional sport opportunity comes to an end.  We currently have four former football players, a baseball player and a men's basketball player who left the Wolf Pack to pursue professional sports and are back now working to complete their academic degrees. Each of these young men understand the value of a college degree and we are excited to help them complete their studies.

As you can see, the focus on academic success is paramount to our daily thoughts and actions. As stated previously, we want to win, and win often. For Wolf Pack fans, you can be proud to know that we win in the classroom and in competition.  Your contributions make a difference academically and athletically. Thank you for you great support of the Pack.

I will be back in touch again soon with more information about your Nevada Wolf Pack!

Thank you,

Here to Serve Our Community

From the desk of athletics director Doug Knuth:

In recent months we have been busy building a top-notch customer service platform to serve the ticket and information needs of all Wolf Pack fans.  This is exciting for us because our new customer service staff will be 100% focused on you and your needs related to Wolf Pack Athletics.  Our goal is to make sure you know you have someone at the University looking out for your interests.

In the coming weeks and months leading up to the 2014 football season, you will be introduced to our customer service staff via e-mail, video, phone and in-person events and activities.  Take a moment to meet your service representative.  It's very easy to remember.  The service representatives are assigned to you based on the first letter of YOUR last name (if your tickets are under a company name, it will be the first letter of your company name). 

YOUR Last Name    YOUR Account Representative    Phone (775)    Email
A-F    Meredith Montoya    682-6905
G-N    Danielle Pawliw    327-5001
O-Z    Scott Turek    327-5009

Meredith, Danielle and Scott are here to serve you.  They are happy to help you with questions related to home or away game tickets, season ticket renewals/upgrades/changes, parking, donations, and just about anything you need from Wolf Pack Athletics and the University.  Test their knowledge with a question about your tickets, or just say hello - send your service representative a note today!

As our Spring academic semester comes to a close this week, I am thrilled to report the amazing work of our student-athletes in their community service efforts this year. Individual student athletes, and often entire teams, volunteer at hospitals and elementary schools, collect shoes for homeless/needy families, volunteer at the Boy & Girls Club, and serve the community through a variety of charitable organizations.  Our Give Back Like Jack Awards, recognizing student athletes and staff members who go above and beyond the call of duty in their community service efforts, were earned by Nikki Longland (Swimming), Ariel Craig (Softball) and Kim Anastassatos (cheer coach and fundraising staff).

Lastly, we are celebrating graduation this week on campus.  The Quad looks beautiful for Commencement exercises on Friday and Saturday.  Please join me in congratulating our 57 student-athletes who will participate in Commencement this week.  These are amazing young men and women who are entering the workforce with a strong degree from the University and amazing leadership skills honed through participation in Division I Athletics. I will be in touch soon with more detail on the great work of these graduating seniors.

As always, thank you for your continuing support of Wolf Pack Athletics.

Go Pack!

Doug Knuth
University of Nevada
Athletics Director

Gimenez promoted to major leagues

Former University of Nevada catcher/outfielder Chris Gimenez got the call from the Texas Rangers on Tuesday and was promoted to the major leagues from triple-A Round Rock where he was batting .259 with four home runs and 16 RBI in 31 games.  Gimenez played three seasons for the Wolf Pack from 2002-04 primarily in left field before being drafted by the Cleveland in 2004 after his junior year and signed with the Indians. 

Gimenez has played for four teams Cleveland, Seattle, Tampa and now Texas in five seasons at the major league level.  In the five seasons the versatile player has appeared in 143 games and played first base, third base, catcher and in the outfield.  He has a career batting average of .199 with 13 doubles, six home runs and 30 RBI as a major league hitter.

Klein graduating magna cum laude

Former University of Nevada outfielder Brooks Klein is graduating with Latin Distinction - magna cum laude this week with a degree in Health Sciences.  Klein is the Senior Scholar for the division of Health Sciences for the May 2014 graduating class.  The honor indicates that he had the highest gpa of all graduates in DHS this semester.  He has been invited to carry the gonfalon for DHS.

Klein played two seasons for the Wolf Pack after transferring from Western Nevada College.  His junior year he earned first-team All-Western Athletic Conference honors and was a second-team All-Mountain West selection as a senior.  He earned second-team Capitol One Academic All-America honors as a senior. 

In two seasons he played in 114 games and earned 112 starts for the Pack primarily in right field.  He batted .340 with 84 RBI and 15 home runs.

Fazekas NBL MVP leads Toshiba to finals

Playing in Japan, former University of Nevada All-America center Nick Fazekas scored 29 points to lead the Toshiba Brave Thunders into the finals of the National Basketball League.  The Brave Thunder will play either the Aisin SeaHorses or Wakayama Trians in the finals.

Fazekas was named the 2013-14 MVP of the NBL after averaging 26.4 points and 13.5 points for the Brave Thunder that posted the best regular season record in the the NBL at 46-8.  He scored a season-high 47 points on Jan. 25 against the Wakayama Trians.  The Arvada, Colo. native was also named to the all-NBL team.

Fazekas is the first Toshiba player to earn MVP honors since Tom Kleinschmidt in 2004-05.

Wideman finishes her run in China

Senior Arielle Wideman concluded her international run with the NetScouts Basketball USA All-Star team in China with three wins, securing a perfect 9-0 record for the Americans during their stay overseas.

Team USA began its final three-game stretch at the Jiujiang tournament and opened with an 88-45 win over Slovenia in front of a crowd of 2,000 people. As had been the case for much of the team's run in China, the Americans jumped out to a huge lead, taking a 25-8 advantage over Slovenia. Wideman finished the game with one point, one rebound and two assists.

During game two of the tournament, Team USA scored its lowest point-total of its nine games played, but still managed to defeat Australia 60-38. The team forced 15 turnovers in the first half and outscored the Australians 33-8 by halftime. Wideman posted eight points, three rebounds and two steals in the contest.

The Americans captured the Jiujiang tournament title and completed a perfect 9-0 run in China, by defeating the Chinese 66-54, the closest margin of victory of the nine game stretch. Wideman collected five points and seven rebounds during her final game.

"I'm thrilled for these young women, they played extremely well as a TEAM all nine games," USA head coach Chris Denker said. "They were a cohesive unit in everything they did for the entire duration of the tour and I'm very proud to have been associated with all of them in representing our country. I can't say enough about each and every one of them, they are a great group of people, cheers to them!"

For the nine games, Wideman totaled 51 points, 31 rebounds, 16 assists and seven steals.
Photo credit: NetScouts Basketball

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