Recently in General Category
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!
A message from athletics director Doug Knuth:
approach the end of my first year as a member of the Pack, I wanted to take a
moment to reflect on the year and share some observations. Many of these
observations will not be surprising to you because you are invested in Wolf
Pack Athletics and you have known for many years what I am experiencing for the
first time. For some fans reading this note you may be surprised at the clarity
of our mission, the scope of our relationships in the community, or the size of
the challenges to build the program we all want.
organizations the ability to achieve success is determined by the quality of
the people who make up the organization - internally and externally. We have
great people who are focused on the mission of Wolf Pack Athletics - to serve
and support the educational mission of the University of Nevada, Reno. Our coaches and staff are educators, advisors,
mentors and guidance counselors to the talented students who are preparing for
life through the many lessons learned in sport and higher education. Our coaches are committed to serving our
students by providing opportunities for achievement - in academics and
athletics - while engaging our campus and our community in a meaningful way. We
are thankful for the opportunity to serve our student athletes as they pursue
their academic and athletic dreams.
We enjoy great
support from the Governor's Office, the Washoe County Commissioner's Office,
the Mayor's offices of Reno and Sparks and surrounding communities, city/town
councils and school districts throughout Northern Nevada. Wolf Pack Athletics
is partnering with civic leaders and public service organizations to promote
and grow our shared interests in serving the people of Nevada.
grateful for the active support of the NSHE Board of Regents, the Chancellor's
Office, President Marc Johnson, our campus-wide senior administration, the
Deans/Directors and the faculty/staff at the University. There is wide support for intercollegiate
athletics across campus and a shared understanding of the important community
engagement opportunities that successful athletics can provide. This extends to
our student body as represented by leaders in the Blue Crew, ASUN, Greek System,
Residence Halls, recreation/club sports and others who proudly support the
Pack. On this campus we are a team
focused on growing the University and supporting our students. We are a united campus focused on student
grateful for the generous support of our business community and the efforts of EDAWN,
RSCVA, Chamber of Reno-Sparks-Northern Nevada, and countless business leaders
who are focused on reviving and rebuilding our economy together. Wolf Pack Athletics is engaged on many levels
with the local business community to support this effort and create synergies
among our mutual interests. We are
making progress every day and I'm thrilled to play a role in supporting our
Lastly, I am
grateful to our community for their enduring support. The many community-based Foundations and
donors to Wolf Pack Athletics and the individuals who buy tickets to attend
games are the life-blood of our program.
I love meeting people who share stories of 10, 20, 30 or more years of
supporting the Pack through the Pack Educational Fund or buying season
tickets. I hear stories of great teams
and sometimes forgotten seasons and through it all these fans remain faithful
to the Pack. I hope to share these
stories in the future and honor the many people who make this One Community,
of Wolf Pack Athletics is bright and full of both hope and opportunity, yet we
have enormous challenges to regain our competitiveness amid a tough Mountain
West Conference. We must invest in our future if we expect to win and enjoy the
positive glow of athletics success for our University and community. You
undoubtedly remember the feeling of the 2010 football season. Why can't we do that again, what is stopping
us? Our student athletes are faced with
decisions of commitment every day - how bad do you want it, what are you
willing to do to get better, what is the sacrifice you are willing to make to
win? Even the most naturally gifted
people in all walks of life talk about the commitment to be the best - the
investment of time, money, practice and sacrifices they made to achieve. The
same commitment applies to our desire to be among the best Athletic programs in
the Mountain West.
challenges are embedded in four primary areas - facilities,
performance/training, recruiting and retention. We have a list of facility
needs that begins with updating Mackay Stadium, as well as building a University
Fieldhouse indoor facility and tennis courts.
Our facility plan includes improvements, updates and construction in
other areas too. In terms of
performance, we need to invest in proper nutrition by providing high
performance foods which will lead immediately to improved athletic performance
(I also believe academic performance can improve with proper nutrition). Most
coaches will tell you the most important thing they do is recruiting - better
athletes give you a better chance to win in all sports. We need to commit additional dollars to
recruiting so our coaches can do more in-person player evaluations, home
visits, and scour the country to bring the best student athletes to our
campus. Lastly, retaining our best
coaches will lead to long-term continuity, recruiting, player development and
future we will be asking all Wolf Pack fans to make a commitment - just as our
best athletes make a commitment to excellence, we need your commitment too. We
will ask you to invest time, money and make sacrifices (you don't have to
attend practice!) for the goal we all share. Your investment through ticket
purchases, donations or sponsorship will provide our coaches the tools
necessary to recruit the best and brightest students. Your investment will
provide our students with the training resources they need to compete at the
highest level in their sport. Your investment will create the program we all
want. Simply stated, we want to win - in
the classroom and in competition.
a great friend of mine recently told me the secret to getting things done is
inspiration more than motivation. I am
inspired by our students, our faculty, staff and coaches, and our community
every day. You inspire me to get things
done that will change our world - to make a huge difference for our great
University and our wonderful community.
My family and I love it here and we look forward to another great year of Wolf
for inspiring us and supporting Wolf Pack Athletics. I will be in touch again
The following is from Tara Hawkins in our development office.
True Blue Volunteers are a group of passionate volunteers and current Pack Educational Fund members who are dedicated to raising money to support Nevada student-athletes. Volunteers do not have to be professional fundraisers to engage friends, family, and colleagues to support the Pack and help take us to the next level!
The purpose of the True Blue Volunteer Campaign is to seek new donors for scholarships and program support using volunteer relationships. The connections volunteers have in the community are invaluable and volunteers can make a difference in the fundraising efforts for the Pack. This year's campaign will run from May 5 to June 13.
Volunteers will be rewarded with 20 Wolf Pack Loyalty Points for their participation in this year's program. The volunteers who raise the most funds and who bring in the most donors will be rewarded.
Although being a volunteer will take time and effort (approx. 10 hours of your time), this program allows volunteers the opportunity to bring in new donors to our program and continue to strengthen the Pack!
If you are interested in lending your paws and becoming a True Blue Volunteer, please contact me at 775-682-6973 or at email@example.com
Saturday, March 22 marks an important day for Alphie as the furry, lovable Wolf Pack mascot turns 13.
Nevada Athletics will throw Alphie a 13th birthday party at Saturday's baseball game when the Wolf Pack takes on Mountain West Conference foe Air Force. The party starts when the Peccole Park gates open at 1 p.m. There will be cake and cupcakes for the first 300 fans, and some of Alphie's mascot friends from around Reno will be in attendance. Alphie will throw out the first pitch prior to the game, and fans can join in singing to the Wolf Pack mascot.
Baseball tickets start as low as $6 for adults and $4 for youth/seniors and can be purchased at the gates or in advance at NevadaWolfPack.com.
With Alphie celebrating such a big milestone, we wanted to take a couple of minutes to look back on the highlights of Alphie's life so far:
March 22, 2001 - Checking in a whopping 347 pounds and 6 feet 1 inches tall, the bouncing baby wolf was born at 2:46 p.m. in Reno. Wolf Pack fans were very excited about his arrival and had a vote to pick his name. They decided on Alphie because he is the Alpha Wolf in the Nevada Wolf Pack.
Sept. 22, 2001 - Alphie saw his first football game at Mackay Stadium, cheering the Wolf Pack football team onto a 28-20 victory over Hawaii.
March 18, 2004 - Alphie made his first trip to the NCAA Tournament, traveling to Seattle with the Wolf Pack men's basketball team. It ended up being a long trip since he cheered the Wolf Pack all the way to the first Sweet Sixteen appearance in school history.
April 5, 2005 - One of the things on Alphie's bucket list came true when he was featured on CBS' "One Shining Moment" video after the 2005 national championship game. Alphie can be seen comforting his friend and former Wolf Pack standout Jermaine Washington at the 1:39 mark in the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7tr7aZbyI4
December 24, 2005 - 2005 ended with a bang for Alphie when he got to spend the holidays in paradise, joining the Wolf Pack football team at the Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu. He got the best Christmas present a mascot could ask for when the Wolf Pack edged out Central Florida in the thrilling 49-48 win.
April 14, 2007 - Alphie was on hand at Christina M. Hixson Park when Jordan McPherson threw the first no-hitter in Wolf Pack softball history, just 16 days after Nevada opened its gorgeous new softball field. McPherson walked the first batter she faced and then retired 15 straight in a 10-0 win over San Jose State. Luckily Alphie can't speak so he couldn't accidentally jinx the Wolf Pack by telling someone that they had a no-hitter going!
Summer 2007 -Alphie's life changed dramatically when his younger brother, Wolfie Jr., was born that summer, giving him a playmate to join him on the sidelines at all Wolf Pack games.
January 2010 - Alphie made a memorable trip to San Francisco when he joined the Wolf Pack football team at the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. He got to join the team in his first trip to Alcatraz and starred at a pep rally in Union Square. He then joined the 20,000+ Wolf Pack fans at AT&T Park in cheering the team to a victory over Boston College to cap off one of the best seasons in school history.
March 20, 2011 - Alphie got to cheer for the Wolf Pack women's basketball team as it hosted USC in the second round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament, the first postseason home game in school history. Alphie had a lot to cheer for that season as the Wolf Pack, led by all-conference selection Tahnee Robinson, won a school-record 22 games.
January 2, 2012 - Alphie had one of the proudest moments of his life when his little brother, Wolfie Jr., won the Capital One Mascot Challenge. It was announced that Wolfie had beaten out Buzz from Georgia Tech at the Capital One Bowl in Orlando. Fans cast more than 45 million votes in the Capital One Mascot Challenge that year and Alphie hoped that his parents would understand the overage charges on his cell phone since he had texted so many times to help his brother score the victory and $20,000 for the Nevada spirit program.
Fall of 2013 - Alphie's wolf pack grew by one more when his little sister, Luna, was born in this fall. Now Alphie has two sidekicks to share in his antics on the sidelines and help him cheer on all of the Wolf Pack's teams.
Stay tuned because after he has had so many great adventures in his first 13 years, you know the rest of Alphie's teenage years are going to be a blast!
It's turning out to be a pretty special year for Wolf Pack alum Michael Allen. In March, Allen notched the fifth win of his Champions Tour career, taking the title of the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.
Last month, Allen was inducted into the Nevada Athletics Hall of Fame.
On Sunday, Allen brought home his fifth career Champions Tour win, beating Olin Browne in a playoff at the Greater Hickory Classic. Here's the story
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 http://hungerbowl.org/virtual-food-drive
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.
A Nevada graduate and former intern in the Media Services office in athletics, Katie Cavender received a promotion at the Mountain West this week.
Craig Thompson announced the promotion of Cavender to Assistant
Commissioner for Strategic Communications on Friday.
Now entering her seventh year
with the Mountain West, Cavender will have sole managerial oversight of all
aspects of the Conference website and social media outlets. She will play an
integral role in the Mountain West Digital Network and continue to serve as a
secondary media contact for MW football, as well as manage the league's
Cavender, who was promoted to
Director of New Media and Technology in July 2010, began her duties as Mountain
West multimedia coordinator on August 16, 2007. She earned a bachelor's
degree in journalism from the University of Nevada in 2005. While pursuing her
degree, the Elko, Nev., native worked as a student assistant in the Wolf
Pack athletics department, primarily in the areas of sports information,
publicity and promotions. Following graduation, Cavender spent a year as a
public relations intern with the Pacific-10 Conference, where she served as the
primary media contact for baseball, men's and women's swimming and diving, and
men's and women's tennis.
Cavender came to
the Mountain West from the Boise State athletics department, where she was the
assistant media coordinator for the 2006 MPC Computers Bowl and provided
day-to-day support in facilities, game operations and planning. In June 2008,
Cavender received her Master's of Education degree in intercollegiate athletic
leadership from the University of Washington.
Today, the 10 members of the Nevada Athletics Hall of Fame committee plan to meet to start selecting the next class of talented former student-athletes and coaches who will join that prestigious group this fall.
But as we prepare for that meeting, we learned this morning that a member of that prestigious Nevada Athletics Hall of Fame, John Polish, passed away on Monday at the age of 95.
John Polish was truly a legendary athlete in the state of Nevada, not just for his accomplishments as a football and track athlete at the University of Nevada from 1938-42. His exploits in high school were well-known and his lasting impact is still felt today as the top athlete at Yerington High School receives the John Polish Award. Below is a photo of Polish in action, carrying the ball in a 1940 game against BYU.
Polish was a member of the second class inducted into the Nevada
Athletics Hall of Fame in 1974. The press release at the time said this
"Considered one of Nevada's top all-time high school athletes, John Polish entered the University of Nevada in the late 30s to star in football and track. Raised in Yerington, Nevada, Polish was a sensation at his high school. He was a super-gridder, good basketball player and did everything in track -- sprints, hurdles, weights, jumps. Although hampered at Nevada by injuries, Polish led the Wolf Pack in competition in the late 1930s. He was a hard-running halfback in football and a superb punter. In track, Polish won Far Western Conference titles in weights, jumps and hurdles."
After his college career was over, Polish went on to a career of public service, spending over 30 years as a teacher, principal and superintendent. He also served in the Nevada State Legislature. He continued to attend the yearly Nevada Athletics Hall of Fame Dinner when he could.
Dan Hinxman of the Reno Gazette-Journal wrote a great story on Polish
in today's paper. Our condolences go out to Polish's friends and family.
Nevada Athletics held its annual graduation reception at Legacy Hall today, and Wolf Pack Director of Athletics Doug Knuth, a former student-athlete himself, took some time to congratulate the 34 student-athletes who are finishing their collegiate careers
Knuth - who played tennis at the University of Connecticut - explained to the student-athletes that being a football player or softball player at the University of Nevada will be something that defines them for the rest of their lives. He also told them that while the job market is tough, their experiences as student-athletes have given them skills that set them apart from their peers, including an understanding of hard work and teamwork, time management skills and a goal-driven focus.
He also took a moment to recognize the wide variety of majors that our graduates have, including swimmer Misha Fotoohi who is earning her degree in biochemistry and molecular biology. Others include biology, chemistry, civil engineering, communications, community health science, economics, English, environmental science, finance, general studies, human development and family studies, journalism, management, marketing, mathematics, mechanical engineering, nutrition, psychology and secondary education.
Congratulations again to all of the student-athletes who are heading out into the world - we hope you enjoyed watching them compete and grow as much as we did!
Here are just a few of our graduates from the reception today (L to R): Christina Gough & Kayla Williams (women's basketball), Keith Fuetsch (men's basketball), Stephen Jeffers (football), Gabby Guieb, Kaitlin Sartini & Chelsey Larsen (women's swimming & diving):
On March 23, Nevada's own Wolfie Jr. went where few of his furry colleagues dare to go... into Lake Tahoe.
Wolfie Jr. joined about 300 of his closest friends, including several members of the Pride of the Sierra Marching Band, in the Polar Plunge Nevada, an event that raised awareness about Special Olympics Nevada.
More great photos of this event can be found on the Special Olympics Nevada Flickr page
And Wolfie and the band even found time to take part in a Tahoe version of the Harlem Shake
Special Olympics Nevada provides free year-round sports training and competition to over 3,000 athletes in the state. More information about the organization can be found by clicking here