It's such a neat feeling to see the Wolf Pack represented all over the world.
To A.J., Jared and Nels, and to all of our men and women in uniform at home and abroad, we simply and humbly say Thank You for all that you do to serve our great country.
Wolf Pack Athletics is back in the black for the first time since 2008-09 as this Reno Gazette-Journal blog entry by beat writer Chris Murray details. Today is the official close of the 2011-12 fiscal year, and Nevada Athletics has ended with a $50,000 surplus.
As Nevada's chief financial told Murray:
"When you get to a point like this where your numbers cross over and you're in the black it's a culmination of a whole bunch of different things. Cost containment has been a big priority the past few years and we always try to make sure we have the welfare of the student-athletes first."
As many of you know, ESPN college basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb was the speaker at the 44th annual Governor's Dinner last Friday. The evening was a great success, and Gottlieb entertained the audience with a great message about taking advantage of the opportunities in your life when they present themselves.
But Gottlieb's day began much earlier and he had the chance to experience what "One Community, One Pack" is in northern Nevada. Gottlieb had a busy day, arriving on campus at 10:30 a.m., answering questions from the media at a press conference at 11 a.m., heading to the ESPN Radio 94.5 FM studios to do the Doug Gottlieb Show live from Reno from 1-4 p.m. and finally driving to Carson City for the dinner at the Governor's Mansion.
Needless to say, the day's schedule left Gottlieb feeling a bit run down, so as his car pulled into Carson City, he asked Nevada's Senior Associate AD Rory Hickok if they could stop at Starbucks for a little caffeine.
The barista behind the counter saw Gottlieb and said "You're Doug Gottlieb! I was just listening to your show and was thinking 'wouldn't it be great if Doug Gottlieb stopped in on his way to the Governor's Dinner?' I can't believe it!" His manager also heard and recognized Gottlieb's voice and came out to meet him.
Gottlieb ordered his usual coffee, which he calls the "Douger," and signed a Starbucks cup for the staff, kindly checking off all of the ingredients in the "Douger" for them. He even took a picture of the Starbucks staff and tweeted it.
Definitely a great day for a couple of Wolf Pack and Doug Gottlieb fans and an example of how lucky we are to be able to put on a great event and bring speakers like Gottlieb to our community every year!
As the Wolf Pack gets ready to officially enter the Mountain West Conference on Sunday, it is worth a moment to look back on our 12 great years in the Western Athletic Conference from 2000-01 to 2011-12.
Here are 12 of our biggest accomplishments while in the WAC, one for each year we spent in the league:
12. Wolf Pack student-athletes earned WAC All-Academic honors 1,055 times in Nevada's 12 years in the conference.
11. Nevada teams won a total of 22 WAC regular-season and conference championships.
10. In 2003, Abigail McAllister set the school record for the 5,000 meters to win the Western Athletic Conference cross country individual championship and secure Nevada's first WAC team title in any sport. Four Wolf Pack runners finished inside the top 10 to lead the Wolf Pack to the WAC championship that day.
9. In 2007, Taylor Coffman chipped out of the bunker and made a four-foot putt for par to clinch Nevada's first WAC men's golf championship. Coffman swept the conference awards that year, winning both WAC Player and Freshman of the Year honors.
8. In 2006, just six years after its first season, Nevada won the Western Athletic Conference soccer tournament and earned the program's first visit to the NCAA Championship. The Wolf Pack won the WAC Tournament in dramatic fashion that year, knocking off Fresno State in double overtime (4-2 penalty kicks) at Mackay Stadium.
7. The Wolf Pack women's swimming and diving program captured three consecutive WAC championships from 2007-09. During the time period, In those three years, Nevada had the WAC Swimmer of the Year in Margaret Doolittle in 2008, two Coaches of the Year (Mike Shrader in 2007 and Mike Richmond in 2008) and three straight Freshmen of the Year (Doolittle in 2007, Jeannette Tour in 2007 and Kim Kabesh in 2008).
6. Nick Fazekas was named the WAC Basketball Player of the Year in 2005, 2006 and 2007, joining Utah's Keith Van Horn as just the second player in the history of the conference to earn that distinction three times. The most decorated player in school history, he became the first Nevada player and just the fifth in the history of the WAC to turn in 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in his career. He also finished ranked second in the WAC in career rebounding and third in career scoring.
5. Just three years after the program was reinstated, the Wolf Pack women's softball team won its first Western Athletic Conference championship in March of 2006, capturing the tournament title and earning the first NCAA Regional invitation in school history. The Wolf Pack would go on to win two more WAC titles, capturing regular-season crowns and earning NCAA Regional appearances in 2008 and 2009.
4. The Wolf Pack men's basketball team vaulted to the top of the WAC in 2003-04, tying for first in the WAC regular season and knocking off UTEP in the championship game of the 2004 WAC Tournament to earn Nevada's first NCAA Tournament appearance in 19 years. That would mark the five of five consecutive WAC regular-season titles and four straight NCAA appearances for the Wolf Pack. The magic didn't stop there as the Wolf Pack made a Cinderella run to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen that year.
3. The Wolf Pack captured the Commissioner's Cup as the top athletic program in the conference in 2006-07. Nevada took home four conference titles this year, including a regular-season championship by men's basketball and WAC Championships crowns by women's soccer, women's swimming and diving and men's golf. The Wolf Pack also advanced to the championship games at both the WAC softball and baseball championships, turned in second-place finishes at the cross country and outdoor track championships and made semifinals appearances in women's basketball, men's tennis and women's tennis.
2. Nevada captured one of the biggest victories in school history when the Wolf Pack knocked off then third-ranked Boise State 34-31 in overtime on Nov. 26, 2010. That game clinched Nevada's second WAC football crown and its first since 2005.
1. The Wolf Pack men's basketball team was a dominant force in the WAC, winning five straight regular-season championships from 2004-08. Nevada won a total of eight WAC titles in the Wolf Pack's time in the league, including tournament victories in 2004 and 2008, and wrapped up Nevada's 12 years in the league with a regular-season title in 2012.
Over these twelve years, we have had a chance to work with some great colleagues at the conference office and at the member institutions and compete against some outstanding student-athletes and coaches. We wish all of them the best of luck as we move into a new conference and new era for Wolf Pack Athletics!
The Wolf Pack had a friendly, furry visitor today when Thunder, a wolf owned by Wolf Pack fan Steve Trudell, stopped by Legacy Hall.
Thunder is a two and a half year old male. His mother was pure timber wolf and his father was half Alaskan wolf and half Alaskan Malamute. Trudell (pictured below with Thunder and Wolf Pack director of athletics Cary Groth) has raised five wolves in the last 32 years.
As Wolf Pack fans may remember, former skier Katie Lyons racked up a list of impressive accolades while she was at Nevada: All-American, academic all-district selection and finalist for NCAA Woman of the Year to just name a few.
But what people may not know about Lyons is that her skiing career was nearly ended when she was diagnosed with scoliosis when she was 15. After having major back surgery, she returned to the slopes and had a great career at Nevada while continuing to work with her surgeon to help others overcome what can be a debilitating disease.
Lyons is now in her second year at the University of Nevada's School of Medicine where she plans to pursue a career in orthopedics. She also continues to help others who have been diagnosed with scoliosis and has recently shared her story as part of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons' A Nation in Motion campaign that allows Americans to share their personal stories.
Here is a story on Katie Lyons and the great work she continues to do, recently aired by Dina Kupfer and KRNV in Reno.
Dr. Marc Johnson was recently named the 16th president of the University of Nevada after serving as the interim president for the past year.
Dr. Johnson has been a loyal fan of the Wolf Pack (two words) during his time at Nevada, but most fans may not realize that he has ties to the other Wolfpack (one word) from North Carolina State University.
As this clever story by the NC State Alumni Association points out, Dr. Johnson was a student and professor at NC State earlier in his career.
It is definitely worth a read to get to know the leader of the Wolf Pack a little better.
Congratulations to Dr. Johnson on his appointment as university president. We look forward to seeing him at many Wolf Pack events this year.
Today I had the privilege of participating in a press conference with Nevada First Lady Kathleen Sandoval about Denim Day, which is Wednesday, April 25. Denim Day is a national and statewide movement to raise awareness about sexual assault.
The Nevada Athletics staff will be wearing our denim (and Wolf Pack shirts) tomorrow as part of the Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Campaign, and I hope all of our Wolf Pack fans will join us to support this important cause.
More information about this effort is available here.
Here is the photo from today's press conference (from left: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Reno CEO Ann Silver, Nevada Director of Athletics Cary Groth, Old Navy Store Manager Leslie Crossley, First Lady Kathleen Sandoval and AlertID Founder Keli Wilson):
As Nevada prepares to move into the Mountain West Conference on July 1, a great source of news and information for Wolf Pack fans is Mountain West senior writer Mick McGrane.
McGrane writes a blog called McGrane's Take: Your Look Inside the Mountain West that highlights all of the member institutions as well as feature stories on student-athletes. He has covered the Mountain West since its inception in 1999 and spent 12 years as the beat writer for San Diego State football and basketball at the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Most recently, McGrane just completed a series of previews on all of the Mountain West football teams that is definitely worth a look. His last preview was on the Wolf Pack.