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Athletics Overview

University of Nevada Athletics Overview

With new leadership in place at three key positions, the University of Nevada’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics steams into the 2013-14 with strong energy and clear vision. Led by first-year athletics director Doug Knuth, the Wolf Pack is in its second season as a member of the Mountain West Conference and sponsors 16 intercollegiate sports featuring more than 420 student-athletes.

Knuth began his tenure in April of 2013 and oversees an athletic department that features a new football coach (Brian Polian) and baseball coach (Jay Johnson). The additions to the Wolf Pack athletics department have spurred a renewal in energy and enthusiasm on campus and in the community.

Nevada saw its successes in its first year of the Mountain West, namely and eighth-straight bowl game by the football team, numerous athletics and academic all-conference accolades highlighted by Olivia Pennell earning the prestigious Elite 89 award at the NCAA Championships for rifle. The award is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average (3.97) participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA's championships. Pennell is also an NCAA Woman of the Year nominee from the Mountain West. Stephanie Hansen won Diver of the Year honors at the Mountain West Championships, the first such award for a Wolf Pack student-athlete in the MW. And diving coach Jian Li You took home the school’s first MW Coach of the Year award.

The Wolf Pack captured 22 WAC championships in its 12 years as a member of the Western Athletic Conference from 2000-12, including eight men's basketball crowns (seven from 2004-08 and most recently the 2012 regular-season title), three women's swimming and diving titles from 2007-09, three softball championships (2006, 2008-09), a pair of football titles (2005 and 2010), two indoor track and field titles (2003-04) and championships by cross country in 2004, women's soccer in 2006 and men's golf in 2007. In 2006-07, the Wolf Pack won the WAC’s Commissioner’s Cup as the best overall athletics department in the conference, while the program has finished second two other times, including in 2008-09 when the Wolf Pack missed winning the title by less than one point.

Nevada has also enjoyed postseason success, including eight consecutive bowl appearances by the Wolf Pack football team, nine postseason invitations for the men’s basketball squad in the last 10 years, including NCAA Tournament appearances from 2004-07 and a run to the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament in 2012. Nevada’s women’s basketball team has made three Women’s National Invitation Tournament appearances, including back-to-back invitations in 2010 and 2011, while the Wolf Pack volleyball team has been to the NCAA Championships five times, baseball has made four NCAA Regional appearances, and softball has been invited to three NCAA Regionals. Nevada’s men’s golf has advanced to the NCAA Championship three times and the soccer team earned its first NCAA appearance in 2006.

The Wolf Pack’s Graduation Success Rate for student-athletes is at its all-time high of 80 percent and has improved in each of the last eight years, while all of Nevada’s teams have been penalty free in the Academic Progress Rate reports for eight consecutive years. Nevada has seen 533 of its student-athletes graduate in the past eight years, including 169 over the past two academic years (2011-12 and 2012-13).

The university also has been recognized for its accomplishments off the playing field. Nevada was listed as one of the top athletics departments in the nation in providing opportunities for women in sports in the last four years of the national Gender Equity Scorecard study, including two years as the country’s best in 2006 and 2007. Nevada has also been recognized by the Laboratory for Diversity in Sport at Texas A&M University for its accomplishments in the areas of diversity and was one of only 10 universities in the country to win the group’s Diversity in Athletics Award in 2005-06.

The University of Nevada hosts more than 125 athletics events in northern Nevada each year, and Nevada Athletics contributed at least $18.5 million in economic impact to the community in the 2009-10 fiscal year. That supports 172 incremental jobs in the local community annually in addition to the 89 people that the athletics department employs. Wolf Pack student-athletes, coaches and staff also complete over 2,500 hours of community service annually, which is valued at almost $50,000, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics.

Nevada Athletics also provides invaluable national media exposure for northern Nevada. The Wolf Pack has made more than 100 national television appearances in the last eight years, including nine football games in its record-setting 2010 season and nine in 2012, and has received coverage from ESPN, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, the Sporting News, ESPN the Magazine, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Examiner.com, ESPN.com, SI.com, CBS Sportline.com and FoxSports.com in addition to daily local and regional media coverage.

Nevada Athletics also averages almost half a million hits per month on its official website, www.nevadawolfpack.com, and has more than 60,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information about Wolf Pack Athletics, visit www.nevadawolfpack.com.

2012-13 Year In Review Get Acrobat Reader

(Updated Aug. 12, 2013)