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Dear Wolf Pack Fans:

It's been a busy start to 2015 with so many of our Nevada teams in action. We're thrilled with the performance of our swimming and diving team at the Mountain West Championships (link) and it's been a great start to the season by our baseball team, which is ranked No. 28 in the nation and sits in first place in the Mountain West after taking two of the three from UNLV over the weekend (link). And our softball program is hosting the Wolf Pack Classic at Hixson Park this weekend with conference play around the corner.

As many of you know, we saw the final dates of our 2015 football schedule come together as the Mountain West announced the dates of the conference games last week. That announcement has led to some questions from a number of you and I wanted to take this opportunity to answer some of the most frequent questions here.

1.     Why isn't the UNLV game being played on Nevada Day weekend or as the last game of the season?

The last two seasons, it was nice that our in-state rivalry game was able to be played at a special time - on Nevada Day weekend in 2013 and as the final regular season game last year when we reclaimed the cannon in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way this year. We don't have control over when our conference games are played as the Mountain West creates the conference schedule. Though we can and do ask, the Mountain West is unable to protect certain games being played at certain times as its focus is on creating the best schedule for all 12 schools. So this year, the Nevada-UNLV game is on Oct. 3, which should make for good weather and a great atmosphere at Mackay Stadium as we take on our friends from the southern part of the state.

2.     Why aren't we playing Boise State this year?

Boise State isn't on our schedule this year and we won't play the Broncos next year either. With 12 teams, the Mountain West is split into two six-team divisions - the Mountain Division and the West Division. Each school in the conference plays eight conference games each season. Each year, each school plays the five other teams in its division and three teams from the other division. The following year, each school plays those same eight teams, but alternates home and way. Following that two-year cycle, the three opponents from the other division change for the next two-year cycle.

In 2013 and 2014, we played all five teams from our West Division and we played Boise State, Colorado State and Air Force from the Mountain Division. Now we enter a new two-year cycle in which our Mountain Division opponents will be Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah State (in addition to playing our five West Division opponents). Nevada and Boise State will resume its rivalry again in 2017.

However, there's always a chance we could play Boise State before then. The winner of each division plays in the Mountain West Championship Game at the end of the season, so the possibility is there for us meet the Broncos before 2017.

3.     Why is the season opener against UC Davis on Thursday, Sept. 3?

The first week of the season falls over Labor Day weekend each year. Because we are playing an opponent from the FCS level, we have control what day and time we can play that game. Feedback from our fans and our students over the years has told us that most of you would rather come out on Thursday or Friday night and watch our opener at Mackay Stadium and then be able to enjoy a three-day weekend. If you were here in 2010, we opened that special season on a Thursday night against an FCS team as well. While this is not a new concept, it has become a popular trend recently and I suspect you'll see a dozen or more games being played on that Thursday night this year. We picked Thursday so as to not conflict with local high school football on Friday. And with nationally ranked Arizona coming to Mackay Stadium the following week, I'm sure Coach Polian doesn't mind having the extra days of rest for the team!

4.     When will we know what times the games will start?

Great question, but there's not a clear answer just yet. In the coming weeks, we'll learn how many of our games have been selected for national television broadcasts from the Mountain West's television partners, CBS Sports, ESPN and ROOT Sports. At that point, some of the game times will be decided based on the television networks decisions and others may be subject to a later decision by TV networks.

If any of our home games are not selected for a national television broadcast, we'll be able to decide the best time to play those games and we'll get the word out as soon as we can. We hope to have a clearer picture of this at some point in April, if not before. Generally speaking, if it's our decision, we prefer to play games later in the day or evening during the early, warmer part of the season and play earlier in the day towards the end of the season.

5.     When is Homecoming?

We went up and down the schedule and in looking at all of the great events our community has to offer in the spring and fall and in working with key folks in our campus community, the Oct. 23-24 weekend has been selected for Homecoming. So get ready for the annual March From the Arch on Friday, Oct. 23rd and we'll see you in Mackay on the 24th as we take on Hawai`i that day!

So why not this weekend or that weekend? We're looking at the Arizona game on Sept. 12 as our annual Hall of Fame weekend. With so much at stake against UNLV on Oct. 3 with the Battle for the Fremont Cannon, there was a concern that Homecoming festivities might not get proper attention, or vice versa. A community scheduling conflict on the Oct. 10th weekend (vs. New Mexico) would not have allowed for the March From the Arch, which is a great new tradition here. And we felt the game against San Jose State on Nov. 14 was too late in the year. So the Oct. 24th game against Hawai`i made the most sense.

6.     What do the future schedules look like?

We get this one a lot. While future schedules are always subject to change we keep a listing of all of our scheduled non-conference games and known conference opponents on our website (link).

I hope that answers some questions about the football schedule. I'm excited to see so much interest already building for the football season six months away! And, in case you missed the news -- we're adding a new restroom facility in time for this season.

In the meantime, we'll cheer on our basketball teams at the Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas this week and get ready for an exciting spring season. We hope to see you out at Peccole Park and Hixson Park with our baseball and softball teams in the coming months while our golf, tennis and track and field teams gear up for the finals stretches of their seasons. And spring football starts later this month with the Silver and Blue Spring Game on April 25 at Mackay. See you there! 

Go Wolf Pack!

Doug Knuth

Director of Athletics

Dear Wolf Pack Fans,

I have some exciting news to share with you as earlier today, our Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents gave approval to our plan to make some necessary upgrades and additions to Mackay Stadium.

We are grateful to President Marc Johnson, the senior leadership of the University and the NSHE Board for their support throughout the planning and approval process.

These changes are long overdue and the heart of the project centers around you, our fans. We want to improve the condition and safety of our stadium. We want to raise the level of the fan experience in our stadium. We want to make Mackay Stadium a destination on Saturdays in the fall for our community here in Northern Nevada.

For nearly three years, our team here has developed this project, working directly with fan focus groups and analyzing data collected in fan surveys. Ever since my arrival, I've listened to your feedback about the gameday environment at Mackay Stadium and heard a familiar message - the stadium needs improvement. We have a great stadium but we were not meeting the expectations of fans.

The result was the proposal that was approved today to enhance the safety, comfort and enjoyment for Wolf Pack fans. We will widen the aisles and add handrails for safety. We will move our ADA seating to a more prominent and accessible location while increasing the number of spaces for wheelchairs.  In seven sections of our stadium, we will remove the metal bleacher seating and add more comfortable chairback seating. We will add more seating and hospitality options with an indoor stadium club, club seats and loge boxes. And lastly, we will expand the eastside suites to include a patio area for indoor and outdoor seating.

For season ticket holders in the lower east and west sides of the stadium, the new seating areas and amenities will result in some changes to your particular seating area at the stadium. Our goal and the bulk of our work leading up to the 2016 season will be to keep fans in similar seats and sitting with the people they want to sit with at games.

We know you are eager to hear more about the changes coming to Mackay and we know you may have questions about the project. Over the next two months, our team will be fine-tuning the project and ironing out the final details. In February, we want to be able to share with you the final plans, answer your questions and begin implementing the renovation process.

As we go through the renovation process we will be communicating with season ticketholders via mail, email and phone.  You can ensure we have your correct contact information by calling (775) 348-PACK.  If you are not a season ticketholder, you can register to receive more information by clicking here or by calling (775) 348-PACK.

Exciting times are ahead and I hope you share in our enthusiasm for the future of Mackay Stadium and Wolf Pack Athletics.

Go Pack!

Doug Knuth

Wolf Pack Fans, Reward Yourself and the Team

A letter from Nevada athletics director Doug Knuth ...

Wolf Pack Fans - Reward Yourself and the Team

What if we could watch the great Colin Kaepernick, or the legendary Frank Hawkins, don a Wolf Pack jersey and play one more game in Mackay Stadium?  Would you be there to see one of the all-time greats play again?  Most of us would do almost anything for that opportunity. You wouldn't miss that opportunity - weather forecast or game time be damned.

Well here we are with that opportunity, but instead of Kaepernick or Hawkins, we have one of the all-time greats in Cody Fajardo and his teammates Brock Hekking, Kendall Brock, Matt Galas, Jonathan McNeal, Charles Garrett and many other memorable Wolf Pack players (the full list follows below). This team is on the doorstep of winning the Mountain West Conference West Division and can take an important step in that direction Saturday night.  

So I say reward yourself and your family - come to Mackay Stadium on Saturday to see some great players and help the team take a step toward a championship.  This is a lasting memory you don't want to miss.  We have one more chance to say thank you, to recognize their efforts this season, to reward the team with a big ovation.  One more time to celebrate a big victory at Mackay.  

Speaking of saying thank you - I'll close this short message with this thought.  We have 15 senior football players, 5 senior cheerleaders and 20 senior members of the band - these young men and women work their tails off to represent our University and our community.  On Saturday night at Mackay Stadium we get ONE LAST CHANCE to say thank you to these wonderful students.

As I said before, weather forecast and game time be damned, I hope you will join us on Saturday night to recognize one of the great quarterbacks in school history, celebrate the accomplishments of our senior student athletes, cheer and band members, and celebrate an important victory for the Pack over a tough Mountain West Conference Divisional rival.

You can buy your tickets by calling (775) 348-PACK or online anytime at

Thank you and Go Pack!

2015 Senior Football Players
Kendall Brock
Devin Combs
Cody Fajardo
Evan Favors
Matt Galas
Charles Garrett
Nigel Haikins
Jordan Hanson
Brock Hekking
Gabe Lee
Nate McLaurin
Jonathan McNeal
Kyle Roberts
Dupree Roberts-Jordan
Richy Turner

Outside the Huddle with Nigel Haikins

Nigel Haikins.jpg

Hello Wolf Pack Fans!

My name is Nigel Haikins. I am a soon-to-be graduate of the University of Nevada and a senior on its football team. I was born in Berkeley, California and was raised in the Bay Area. Despite playing football at the Division-I level, I am rather new to it. This is due to the fact that I started playing the sport my senior year of high school. After high school, I attended Diablo Valley College where I played for two seasons before transferring to Nevada. Being relatively new to football, I have learned a lot about the sport and its culture in a relatively short amount of time.

The thing that has jumped out to me the most during my acclimation to the sport were the perceptions that came with it. For some reason, still unknown to me, football players are perceived as entitled, selfish, self-centered people. This generalization of such a broad spectrum of people, including myself, bothers me. I believe this warped perception of football players comes from a misunderstanding. A misunderstanding of what being a football player truly entails. Since most people are oblivious to what it means to be a football player, I will try to explain by mapping out what we do during the week.

Sundays: Because our games are usually on Saturdays, this day is used for evaluation and recovery. As a team, we come together in the late afternoon and go through various exercises and stretches that help get the soreness out of our bodies. We then have a quick team meeting then split up for meetings with our position groups. These position group meetings give our coaches the opportunity to critique individual performances and show us where we can improve. Sundays also feature a quick practice in the evening.

Mondays: For most students, Monday is the most dreaded day of the week. It marks the end of the weekend and the start of another class and work-filled week. However, for football players, it is the single best day of the week. This is because it is our day off. We have no football obligations for the day. Despite it being our lone day off, most players use it as an opportunity to start watching film on our next opponent and familiarizing ourselves with them. Many also use this day to knock out as many of their required study hall hours as they can.

Tuesdays & Wednesdays: I group these two days together because they are equally tough. Unlike Mondays, when we get to sleep in, we start these days off nice and early with 7 a.m. meetings. These meetings usually last about an hour and consist of coaches explaining the opponent. In addition to these morning meetings, we also have weights to attend. These days also feature the toughest practices of the week. Practices are long, grueling, and physical. Coaches and players refer to these couple of days as "work days."

Thursdays: This year, Coach Polian decided to place a bigger emphasis on the mental preparation for games. This led to "No Sweat Thursdays." This day is dedicated to the perfection of the mental aspect of our game plan. Instead of pads, we practice in shorts and t-shirts. Despite being a practice day, the atmosphere is much more laid back than the other days of the week.

Fridays: Friday practices are short and crisp. Although not as physically intense as Tuesday and Wednesday practice, the serious tones of those days are present. This is also the day that we depart for games.

Hopefully, this insight into the life of a football player helps you understand what we do on a daily basis. Although I have explained the obligations players have during the week, there is no way to truly convey the mental, emotional, and physical stress that players undergo on a routine basis. I don't write this to make you feel sorry for players; it is a life that we choose and enjoy. I write this just to give understanding to those that may hold those negative views towards football players. Instead of assuming that the player in your class didn't do his homework because he thought he could skate by due to the fact he plays football, you realize that maybe it slipped his mind because he is learning a new position. That player that neglected to hold the door open for you at the Joe? He wasn't being rude, his mind was simply on the game plan for that week. People aren't always what they seem, with football players being no exception.

Homecoming Week

Boise State week. Since I first arrived at Nevada, there has been a quiet reverence towards the Boise State football team. The practice week leading up to the Boise game have always been more intense. Coaches and players were more solemn and less likely to joke around. Despite being the perpetual underdog, Nevada football has traditionally placed special emphasis on beating Boise State.

However, the 2014 season marks the end of this placement of Boise on a pedestal. Coach Polian has changed the harmful habit of the team looking into the future and circling games on the schedule. This season, we make the effort to look at each game as a one game season. This has led to us putting our full effort and concentration into each game and an optimism surrounding the team that is not usually there. Time will tell if this new method of thinking will help the Nevada football finally defeat Boise State.

Marion Motley Featured in New Documentary

Former Wolf Pack star Marion Motley will be featured in a documentary, "Forgotten Four," premiering on EPIX tomorrow, Sept. 23.

"Forgotten Four" tells the story of the four men - Motley, Woody Strode, Kenny Washington and Bill Willis - who broke the color barrier in professional football in 1946, one year before Jackie Robinson made his historic debut in Major League Baseball.

Motley, Marion-1.jpgA native of Canton, Ohio, Motley came to the University of Nevada in 1940 where he quickly established himself as a star. He broke into the starting lineup at fullback and linebacker and played for the Wolf Pack for three seasons from 1940-42. A powerful blocker and tackler at 6-1 and 240 pounds, Motley also returned several kickoffs for touchdown, including a 105-yarder in a 1941 game that is still tied for the school record. While Motley was at Nevada, a Reno reporter wrote that "in Marion Motley, the ball club has one of the best backs in the entire nation."

Motley left Nevada in 1942 when he was inducted into the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was sent to the Great Lakes Naval Station just outside of Chicago where he played on the station football team, which was coached by future Pro Hall of Famer Paul Brown. In 1945, Brown signed on to coach the Cleveland Browns of the new All-American Football Conference, and gave Motley, then 26 years old, married with four children and working in a mill in his hometown, a chance to try out for his team.

Motley made the Cleveland squad, and in 1946, he, Browns teammate Willis and Washington and Strode, who were signed by the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League, broke the color line in modern professional football.

Motley played nine seasons of professional football, including eight with the Browns (1946-53) and one with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1955). He was the all-time rushing champion of the AAFC and led the National Football League in rushing in 1950. Called "the greatest fullback ever" by his coach Brown after a 1946 game, Motley amassed 4,720 rushing yards in his career and averaged a staggering 5.7 yards per carry, and played in the 1951 Pro Bowl. Motley was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his hometown of Canton, Ohio, in 1968, becoming the second African-American to earn the sport's highest honor.

Even 40 years after he played the game, Motley's legacy is still recognized. In 1994, he was named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, while Sports Illustrated's Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmerman called Motley, who died in 1999 at the age of 79, the best player in the history of football in his book, A Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football.

EPIX is available by subscription on most cable networks, and the trailer for the documentary can be viewed here:

From Doug Knuth: Football Fan Experience Improvements - We Listened

Previous messages
-    My First Year with the Pack (April 19, 2014)
-    Here to Serve our Community (May 22, 2014)
-    Academic Update (May 28, 2014)
-    One Community, One Pack (July 2014)

Football Fan Experience Improvements - We Listened

During my short time with the Pack I've heard a number of suggestions from fans about improving our gameday experience at Mackay Stadium.  Items such as - traffic nightmares leaving the stadium, the food choices are too limited, obnoxious fans sit near me, and much more.  I am pleased to let you know - we listened and we are responding.  Our staff worked really hard this year to address some of the common complaints while also adding new initiatives to make tailgating more fun and the total game experience better for all fans.  Here are some highlights that you will notice:

Better Traffic Flow
Our post-game traffic flow will be changed this year to create a faster exit for fans on the Virginia St. side of campus.  With the great support of the Reno Mayor's Office, Reno City Manager's Office, Reno police, campus police and the University administration, we will close Virginia St immediately after the game ends - all four lanes of Virginia St will be utilized to allow a smooth and fast exit from games.  Fans parked in the West Stadium Garage, the Brian Whalen Garage and other areas south of the Stadium - will be directed South on Virginia St using all four lanes until 9th Street.  Additional RPD officers will be assigned to keep traffic flowing from 9th Street to the highway.  You might even see the RPD helicopter flying above campus watching for bottlenecks and dispatching officers to immediately address the situation. Please click on this link for a post-game traffic map.

First Class Fans
For the many Wolf Pack fans who travel to away games to support the Pack, you know how well we are treated on the road.  The tradition in collegiate sports is to welcome the fans who made the trip to support their team at the opposition's stadium.  For Wolf Pack fans, we welcome visiting team fans by saying - "Welcome to the University of Nevada".  We want our team to beat their team, but we also want people from other parts of the country to think positively of Wolf Pack fans and our Northern Nevada community.  Please be First Class Fans at all times - and welcome visiting team fans to the University.

Second Rate Fans
Unfortunately all stadiums have a few rotten apples that ruin the bunch.  Our reputation as a great athletic program, a top-notch University and a wonderful community can be tarnished by Second Rate Fans.  These people are not welcome at Mackay Stadium. IMPORTANT -- When you are in Mackay Stadium, and you witness a Second Rate Fan, please use our new 'Fan Phone' to quietly text a report to our security command center.  The command center will send security staff to your location to address the situation - you will not be identified. The Fan Phone text line is: (775) 229-5564. Please enter this in your phone contacts and use it to let us know when you see a problem.

Credit Cards
Beginning this year we will provide new credit card access points at the South endzone concession stands. You can now pay with plastic or cash.

Need more cash?  We are adding more ATM machines around the stadium.

More Food Options
We want your taste buds to enjoy Wolf Pack football too. We continue to explore food options to delight your taste buds. This year we are adding Wholly Habanero (custom Mexican food) and Bodacious Burgers (does this really need an explanation - yummy burgers!) to our concessions lineup.  

New Student Tailgate
Our student body will have an official tailgate location on the North side of the stadium in the central receiving parking lot.  Student groups, Greek organizations and many other students will set up tents and tailgate in this location before each home game.  The students will certainly add some energy to the North end of campus.

We are excited to provide live music prior to the home opener.  Popular country band Old Dominion will take the stage in the student tailgate area at approximately 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning and will play until 30 minutes prior to kick.  All fans are invited to enjoy the music!
Wolf Pack Walk
We altered the Wolf Pack Walk route so fans can better engage with the players.  The team will now walk directly through the middle of our most popular tailgate sections. The team arrives for the Wolf Pack Walk approximately two hours before kickoff - get there in time to high-five the players and coaches. See map here.

Born to be ONE/Alpha Wolf
In keeping with our concept that we are all ONE, the team will carry a special ONE flag when it takes the field this season.  Each game a walk-on player will be nominated to represent the community as the Alpha Wolf and will get to participate on special teams.  This player will wear jersey number "1" and will also wear a special patch on his jersey.

These are a few of the changes you will see at Wolf Pack football games this year. Please share your experience with your friends and family - invite them to a game to check out all the fun around home games this Fall. We have a great home schedule and need to fill Mackay Stadium to provide a great home field advantage for the Pack.

We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at Wolf Pack games and matches this Fall.

Thank you and Go Pack!


Wolf Pack Park turf is for sale

The University of Nevada is replacing the FieldTurf at Wolf Pack Park, the practice facility for the Wolf Pack football team and other sports programs at Nevada.

With the installation of the new surface, the previous surface is available for purchase by the general public.

To claim a portion of the turf, click here. The turf is available until July 9.



Pack has five alums in NFL playoffs

The NFL playoffs get underway this weekend and the University of Nevada football program has five alums who will be part of the postseason this year.

Former Wolf Pack standout quarterback Colin Kaepernick has the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs as a starter for the second straight season after leading the Niners to the Super Bowl last season. San Francisco is at Green Bay on Sunday afternoon.

Linebacker James-Michael Johnson will not suit up for Kansas City on Saturday when the Chiefs travel to Indianapolis to play the Colts as the second-year pro was put on IR this week with a sprained ankle.

Former Pack tight end Virgil Green and linebacker Brandon Marshall are part of a Denver Broncos team that has a first-round bye and will play next weekend. The same case goes for offensive lineman Chris Barker of the New England Patriots.

Nevada also has three former coaches involved in the playoffs. Former head coach Chris Ault is an offensive consultant with the Chiefs. Former co-defensive coordinator Dave Fipp (2004) is the special teams coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles, who play host to the New Orleans Saints on Saturday. Former Pack defensive line coach Don Johnson is in the same capacity with the San Diego Chargers, who play at Cincinnati this weekend.

Also with the Eagles is Shaun Huls, a former staff in the Nevada strength and conditioning program. He is the "sports-science coordinator" for the Eagles.

Boise State fans issue challenge to Nevada...

From our friends at the Food Bank of Northern Nevada...

The Hunger Bowl strikes again for the Nevada- Boise State football game on Saturday, Oct. 19, at Bronco Stadium.  In addition to the food drive for the Idaho Food Bank that will take place at the game, Boise State has issued a challenge to Wolf Pack fans to compete in an online virtual food drive, to raise funds for hunger relief in both areas.   

Wolf Pack and Bronco fans anywhere can visit and click on their team's logo to make a cash donation. All Wolf Pack donations will go to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. All Boise State donations will be used for hunger relief in Idaho.  The Hunger Bowl challenge has started and is continuing through the end of  Saturday's game on October 19. 

Hunger is a very serious issue across the country and right here in Nevada.  One in four children in Nevada live in a home where there is not enough food for three meals per day, and one in five people in Nevada needs to seek food assistance to make ends meet.  Each dollar raised for the Food Bank of Northern Nevada can provide 3 meals to those who need them. 

Time set (and broadcast switch) for Nevada-Colorado State game.

The gametime and television broadcast has been set for the Nevada football team's game at Colorado State on Nov. 9.

The Wolf Pack and Rams will kick-off at 12:30 p.m. Pacific time (1:30 p.m. in Fort Collins) and the game will be an exclusive digital broadcast of the Mountain West Network. For Nevada fans, the easiest way to watch the game will be via NevadaWolfPack.TV (or clicking on the NevadaWolfPack.TV button on the homepage of

The Nevada-Colorado State game was originally set for broadcast on one of the ESPN networks but the ESPN and the MWN switched with the Fresno State-Wyoming game for that date.

Nevada still has three games remaining with a TBA for the game time. All three of those are scheduled for broadcast within the ESPN family of networks and ESPN has until 12 days before the game to set the broadcast schedule and gametime.

For the Nevada-UNLV Homecoming game coming up at the end of October, we will know the game time/broadcast info by Oct. 14 and will announce it as soon as we know. The same 12-day window exists for Nevada's games at Fresno State (Nov. 2) and at home vs. San Jose State (Nov. 16).

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