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A Wolf Pack Fan in Afghanistan

Here in Nevada Athletics, our department motto is "One Community, One Pack." It is not just a slogan, but the mantra we try to live by every day as we serve our student-athletes, coaches, teams, university partners, sponsors, donors and fans.

Today is another great reminder of just what "One Community, One Pack" means and of the impact Wolf Pack Athletics can have, even thousands of miles from northern Nevada.

We received the following letter from First Lieutenant Jacob Ingebritson of Midvale, Utah. He sent it to us from Shindand Air Base in Afghanistan. Rather than try to paraphrase his amazing letter, we thought we would share it in its entirety below.

We truly appreciate everything that our brave servicemen and women are doing around the world to protect us and hope you enjoy this letter as much as we did.

One Community, One Pack!

"Dear Cary Groth,

My name is Jacob Ingebritson; I am a platoon leader with Bravo Company, 1-211th Aviation Regiment, Task Force Storm, Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan. I am writing on behalf of some of the soldiers of my platoon. I am truly honored to be their platoon leader; they perform marvelously while being subjected to the unforgiving conditions of combat. It is a privilege to be a part of such an honorable group of soldiers.

Watching games on American Forces Network (AFN), streaming the games on the internet (if the bandwidth here allows) or watching taped games by family members is one of the few reprieves we get from the harsh conditions of being deployed. Many of my fellow soldiers, me included, are big Wolf Pack fans. We make every effort to watch or listen to as many Wolf Pack games as possible, which is as close as we can get to feeling like we are not in a combat zone. The games are the highlight of our time here for many of us due to the camaraderie amongst soldiers and the pure enjoyment of sports. It is the closest feeling we have to being back home with friends and family watching a game. Also, during these games is one of the few times we are allowed to wear something other than our issued uniform, albeit for only a few hours.

When I first joined my unit, I was the only Wolf Pack fan to be found. I have been a Wolf Pack fan for as long as I can remember. Some of my most beloved memories are the time I spent with my father watching, listening or talking about Wolf Pack games or players. Over time, I slowly started to convert as many as possible, with determination and perseverance I won over a devoted group of soldiers.

Below you will find a picture of the Buccaneers; there are a total of 50 of us here in Shindand. Out of the 50 of us, there are a total of 15 Wolf Pack fans that watch as many games as possible, myself included.

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I am standing just to the left of the flag, with my arms crossed. We are standing with one of our AH-64D Apache Longbow Attack Helicopters. I am humbled to be a member of this group of soldiers.

There is nothing quite like the atmosphere of a Wolf Pack football game, from the fans, to the boisterous student section, to the passion the players bring to each and every play. I am proud to be a Nevada Wolf Pack fan! Please know there are a group of devoted, passionate Wolf Pack fans here in Afghanistan.

As our deployment comes to an end, please know that the time we spent together enjoying Wolf Pack games are some of the most cherished and valued memories we will have from Afghanistan. By the time this letter reaches you, we will be back in the United States after a full year of being deployed. Thank you for making our deployment endurable.

On behalf of the Bravo Company "Buccaneers," thank you for your time and all the very best to the Nevada Wolf Pack!

Sincerely,
1LT Jacob Ingebritson"

Want a Tattoo Like Colin Kaepernick?

For the first time in the four-year history of the Blue Tie Ball, Nevada's scholarship gala, event attendees and even those who can't make the dinner can bid on a host of great silent auction items using their cell phones.

Nevada's special events director Heather Dixon has spent the last few months gathering over 100 great items for the silent auction, many of which have been donated by individuals and local businesses

One of the most unique items up for bid is a four-hour session with former Wolf Pack quarterback Colin Kaepernick's tattoo artist, Nes Androin, owner of Endless Ink. Other items include artwork, jewelry, dining and entertainment packages, restaurant  autographed jerseys and balls and travel experiences with the Wolf Pack teams, just to name a few. A complete list of items up for bid is available here.

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New this year is the ability to bid using a mobile bidding system run by GiveSmart. Wolf Pack fans can start bidding on the items now by registering their cell phones here. Fans can bid even if they aren't going to be able to make this year's event and can register to receive text messages when they have been outbid on an item.

Less than 75 tickets are still available for purchase for the Blue Tie Ball, which is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 30 at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino. Tickets cost $175 each and tables of 10 are available for $1750. The Peppermill is also offering room packages for guests attending the Blue Tie Ball.

More information is available by calling (775) 682-6965 or clicking here.

Wolf Pack Shout-out

The Wolf Pack and the University of Nevada got a shout-out on the popular NBC sitcom, 1600 Penn, last week.

The First Son, Skip, proudly shared his diploma and his numerous minors from his seven years of study with his family in this clip, and proclaimed his Wolf Pack pride in a job interview with NASA in this clip.

Great to see the Wolf Pack mentioned in primetime!

Wolf Pack Shares Valentine Wishes


photo.JPGOne student-athlete wrote in French, his native language, and others shared personal stories or inspirational sayings, but regardless of the sentiments, all 16 of Nevada's teams have joined together to make sure that a group of local elementary school students enjoy Valentine's Day this week.

Each team adopted a classroom at Mt. Rose Elementary School in Reno and wrote out Valentines that will be given out at the school this week. The student-athletes wanted to make sure that every student at the school received one of the cards, which are decorated with hearts and a Wolf Pack logo.

We hope that every Wolf Pack fan out there has a Happy Valentine's Day too!

Changes Brewing at Hixson Park

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A recent donation by University of Nevada supporter Dixie May has made changes possible at Hixson Park. Field renovations, beginning with a new 60% sand, 40% clay mixture in the infield, commenced on Tuesday. The first step in the process is to remove the old infield and use that material to resurface the warning track. Later in the week, the new mixture was laid.

With the new infield material in, a settling agent will be put down, allowing the new surface to solidify into a playable infield.

The infield is not the only area of the park getting a re-boot. The outfield will see a new 110-foot padded batter's eye, with the Nevada logo (pictured below) on either end. In addition, matching navy padding will be inserted on each vertical support pole in the outfield fence.

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Check www.NevadaWolfPack.com for further updates on the field renovations and come check out the Wolf Pack softball team when it opens home play on March 15 at 3 p.m. vs. UTSA. More photos will be available as things come together at Hixson.


A Hall of Fame Blast from the Past

This weekend is Hall of Fame weekend at the University of Nevada and the Wolf Pack will induct its latest group of former stars into the Athletics Hall of Fame at Friday night's dinner and Saturday's football game.

As we prepare to welcome Jennifer Ashcroft (track and field), Nate Burleson (football), Tracey King (women's tennis), Mike Maxwell (football), Don Price (baseball) and Angie Yoon (women's golf), here's a great photo from the archives of the legendary Nevada basketball coach Jake Lawlor from the first Hall of Fame Weekend in 1973:

Jake Lawlor HOF Game.jpgFor a complete list of all of Nevada Hall of Fame inductees, click here.

Tickets are still available for Friday night's Hall of Fame Dinner, which starts at 6 p.m. at the Reno Ballroom. Tickets can be purchased for $50 each by calling (775) 682-6965.

Tickets are also still available for the Hall of Fame Game vs. San Diego State, which kicks off 7:30 p.m. at Mackay Stadium. This year's Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at halftime of the football game. To buy tickets, call (775) 348-PACK or go online at www.NevadaWolfPack.com.

Nevada Holds Battle Born Team Dinner at Mackay Stadium

Wolf Pack senior associate athletics director Rory Hickok recently wrote a blog entry on the evolution of Nevada's Battle Born marketing and fundraising campaign, and as part of the fundraising campaign, the Wolf Pack held a special dinner on the 50-yard line of Mackay Stadium on Thursday night to honor the 45-plus companies and individuals who have joined the new fundraising group committed to helping Wolf Pack Athletics make its transition to the Mountain West Conference.

2012 Battle Born Dinner-119.jpg Former Wolf Pack skier Eric Andersen and Reno native Whitney Myer (who recently appeared on NBC's The Voice) entertained the crowd for over an hour and a half on the field at Mackay Stadium. Both Andersen and Myer are University of Nevada graduates.

Battle Born dinner.jpgFor more information about the Battle Born Campaign or to join the Battle Born Team, call (775) 682-6975.

Powers To Throw Out First Pitch

University of Nevada head baseball coach Gary Powers will throw out the first pitch at the Reno Aces game on Saturday night.  Powers, the longest tenured coach in Wolf Pack history, recorded his 900th victory last season, his 30th at Nevada.  The Pack went on to claim its first Western Athletic Conference title.

Powers will throw out the first pitch on a night when the Aces honor former Pack star Konrad Schmidt with a bobblehead give away.  Schmidt hit .349 with a team leading eight home runs his senior season at Nevada in 2007.

Season Tickets & Pup Club Memberships on the Way

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With Nevada's home opener Sept. 8 vs. South Florida less than two weeks away, we want to make sure that our fans have everything they need to be at Mackay Stadium.

Wolf Pack football season tickets as well as Pup Club t-shirts, credentials and lanyards have all been mailed out and should be arriving in your mailboxes this week if you haven't received them already.

If you haven't received your tickets or Pup Club materials by the end of this week, please call the ticket office at (775) 348-PACK (7225).

And there is still time to buy tickets if you haven't yet to make sure you don't miss a minute of football this year. Season ticket prices start as low as $85 for general admission and Pup Club memberships are just $35. Both can be purchased by calling (775) 348-PACK (7225) or going online at www.NevadaWolfPack.com.

If you haven't received your Pup Club t-shirt yet, here's a preview of what they look like:


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! 

-Rory

For 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.