Posted on August 2, 2013

A great kick off to the 13-14 season!

The annual Lobster Bake, which signals the beginning of a new year in Pack Athletics, was a huge success Thursday evening.  This event which was held at the Pueblo Convention Center this year was attended by over 400 Pack boosters and fans was an enjoyable evening for all. 

The night included talks by CSU-Pueblo president, Lesley Di Mare, CSU-Pueblo student-athletes, including women’s soccer senior, Abby Chris, and football senior, Roger Pfannenschmid, along with a strong message from former Pack (Indian) student-athlete and local successful banker, Andrew Trainor, to highlight the evening.  It was also nice to see members of the Colorado State University System Board of Governors in attendance.

But my favorite part is always the staff introduction to our signature song, AC/DC’s “Thunder Struck,” allowing us to present new coaching hires such as track coach Matt Morris, women’s soccer coach Paul Regrutto, and women’s tennis coach Mark Schleif, (not to mention the newly-permanent head softball coach, Christie Zinanti), as well as new Associate Athletic Director Danielle Valerio, to the Pack faithful.  With these new hires, along with our already solid group of returning coaches, 2013-14 should be an exciting year!

Of course the lobster feast was enjoyed by all and the silent auction items received many bids which will help make this annual fundraiser a success.

I wanted to extend a special thanks to Jeremy Capo, Associate Athletic Director for Development, for putting the event together.  Due to his efforts, along with the rest of the athletics administrative staff and CSU-Pueblo Foundation staff this year’s Lobster Bake proved to be one of the very best.  Thanks!

The Lobster Bake also serves as the kick off for the “Pack Club”, the official fund & fan raising group for the athletics department.  Dollars raised through fundraising efforts are vital for any athletics program to reach the level of success that all like to see and be a part of.  This year’s Pack Club goals are to raise $300,000 plus and to obtain 500 members to become a part of the “Pack Nation”. 

CSU-Pueblo Athletics is Pueblo’s intercollegiate team and they carry the banner of the University and the community of Pueblo throughout the state, region and nation.  I guarantee all of our fans that our kids compete extremely hard and represent us in a first-class manner, as well as give a big lift to the overall academic profile of the University.  Our student-athletes are also at the center of student life at CSU-Pueblo and give back to their community to the tune of over 3,000 hours of community service per year.  We in athletics are very appreciative and proud of our kids for all that they do.    

Now, for the program to continue to improve and achieve success at the highest levels in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and in NCAA Division II, we need to provide additional funds for our coaches to use to attract the best talent possible.  I invite you to become  a member of the Pack Club or perhaps get your business involved in a corporate sponsorship in athletics.  If you are already a member, please recruit a friend or send us names of folks that you feel may be interested in becoming a part of the excitement of Pack Athletics.

We have the best fans and boosters in the RMAC and I can’t thank you enough for your support of our program and our student athletes through the years! 

Posted on May 29, 2013

Thank You to the Pueblo and CSU-Pueblo community

CSU-Pueblo Department of Athletics would like to give a special thank you to the large number of community members that volunteered at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships that were hosted at the Neta & Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl May 23-25.  The event was a huge success, which without the help from many community members of Pueblo, this huge undertaking would not have been possible. 

I need to give a huge thank you to the athletics staff, coaches and student athletes that gave of their time and effort to the championship.  Many University staff members also pitched in to do whatever they could do to help.  Lastly, Jeremy Capo, Associate Athletic Director and Meet Director, did another fantastic job coordinating the event for all of us for the second straight year.

The championship was a huge success and was a tremendous experience for all the student athletes that competed during the three days.  The community was blessed to have over 750 outstanding athletes competing in their events at the Thunderbowl. These kids were the best of the best in NCAA Division II Track and Field.  We were proud to watch our own Lacy Harris compete in the pole vault.  Lacy placed 10th in her event and, being only a sophomore, she will get two more shots to become our first women’s track national champion since bringing back the track program.

The event again proved to be an outstanding showcase for the University and the Community of Pueblo.  Many fans from out of town made positive comments about both the University and Pueblo.  The ThunderBowl, food, weather and the downtown Riverwalk were mentioned the most. 

Thanks so much again for your help this year! 

Posted on May 2, 2013

Congratulations to Pack Student-Athletes

Another year is winding down with finals this week and the University graduation ceremonies being held this upcoming Saturday.  With all the excitement that goes on in Pack Athletics, the years just seem to pass so quickly.  We in athletics are so thankful for the outstanding student athletes that make up our teams each year.

The fall started off with a bang this year again with Pack Football going undefeated in the regular season and they again achieved the #1 ranking in all of Division II.  Both men’s and women’s soccer along with volleyball competed very well throughout the fall and as always, represented the University in a first class manner.  Our very young cross country team got their feet wet in RMAC cross country competition.

Our winter sports brought much excitement to Massari Arena.  Men’s and women’s basketball both made the RMAC tournament and had the arena rocking on many nights.  Both teams look to make the NCAA tournament next year.  Wrestling made great strides this season.  The kids competed super well during the dual season and we ended up with two All-Americans, a 12th place finish in the nation and Jesse Hillhouse won the national championship at 125 lbs.  Great job!  Indoor track performed well and many of the kids improved greatly throughout the season.

The spring season is not completed yet, but has been good.  Softball and baseball both will enter RMAC tournament play in hopes of earning a berth in the NCAA regional.  Men’s and women’s tennis teams both made improvements over the recent past.  The men competed much harder under first year coach Mark Schleif and earned a 5th place finish at the RMACs.  The women’s team of predominately freshman showed great promise for the future and earned 4th place at the RMAC tournament. The men’s and women’s golf squads had strong performances again this spring.  The men again earned a spot in the NCAA regional.  This was the 12th year in a row for the team.  The women were nosed out for the RMAC championship by a tough Western New Mexico team.  Leina Kim, the player of the year in the conference, will compete in the NCAA regional this weekend.  The best of luck to men’s golf and Leina as they carry the CSU-Pueblo banner at the NCAA's.

And finally, our outdoor women’s track team has one more regular season meet.  They have competed well and really shown steady improvement.  The team is still striving to get some members to qualify for the NCAA national championship track & field meet which will be held on campus May 23-25.

Pack student athletes have competed and represented all of us in a great way and it is much appreciated.  Many of the Pack athletes earned all-conference, all-region and some even achieved All-American status.  Academically the kids again performed above the average for the student body and came so close to achieving the goal of a 3.0 departmental grade-point-average.

We would like to give a special congratulations to all our graduating seniors.  There will be more than sixty student athletes receiving their degrees from CSU-Pueblo on Saturday, May 4.  This is the top goal for our kids as they enter the University.  It is awesome to watch the kids work so hard on and off the field as they strive to do the right things to ultimately earn that college degree.  CONGRATULATIONS!

Posted on April 11, 2013

Thanks to our boosters and fans!

As another year in CSU-Pueblo ThunderWolves Athletics is winding down, I want to take the time to thank all of our Pack Club boosters, corporate partners and fans for your outstanding support.  In today’s world of athletics, support from the community is vital to not only the overall success of an athletic program, but to allow a program to even exist at a minimal level.  A strong and successful athletics program does play an important role in a university and community.  Along with many other factors which are not the nature of this message, athletics provides a “front window” for a university and is a vehicle for tying a university to a community.  The more successful a program is, the brighter the window is and the stronger the ties become.

We in athletics have set high goals in booster, corporate, special events and gate revenue areas.  Our goal is to achieve the one million dollar plateau in revenue for the first time in program history.  Here is how you can help us reach our goal:

1.  Become a Pack Club member: For as little as $50 you can become a member of the largest booster club in the RMAC. We currently have eight "Board of Director Club" members who give a minimum of $10,000 each to Pack Athletics annually. Wow!  Also, we have 25 "Akela Club" members who give a minimum of $3,000 per year. Difference Makers! And finally we have 270 total Pack Club and ThunderGal Members. Awesome!  Our goal for the Pack Club in 2013-14 is 350 members raising $300,000.  We can do this with your help.

2.  Your Business becoming a Corporate Partner: CSU-Pueblo Athletics has enjoyed great partnerships with our local businesses for many years.  Currently athletics has seven corporate partners at the $15,000 level of giving in cash or trade and a total 72 partners.  This is great, and again, I want to give many thanks to our partners.  Our goal for our Corporate Partnership Program in 2013-14 is 100 partners raising $250,000.  Check it out - there are many levels to be a part of and new signage and promotional opportunities available.

3. Attend a Special Event: Athletics sponsors several exciting and fun special events each year.  The annual Lobster Bake, ThunderWolf Golf Classic, and the Spank Blasing Run/Walk are three of the most popular.  The ThunderGals Golf Classic is a newer event that is gaining in popularity and we are also planning a special Pack Raffle in 2013-14.   Pertinent information on dates and how to register will be given on all events throughout the year.  Come out and take part for a good time and to help play a role toward achieving the Pack's overall fundraising goals.  Our financial goal for special events is to raise $90,000. What a deal - having fun and raising funds!  For more information on the Pack Club, the Corporate Partner Program, or Special Events, contact Athletic Development Director, Jeremy Capo, at (719) 549-2013 or visit one of the links below for more information:

4. Purchase Season Tickets or attend single games: Attending “your” collegiate team athletic events is the best value you can get for entertainment and excitement of high level athletic competition.  All games are great family entertainment.  We are fortunate to have some great fans in the community of Pueblo, special thanks goes out to all.  Athletics' goal in 2013-14 is to have 4,000 total season tickets holders to football and basketball while reaching our overall gate revenue total of $190,000.  The best part is that ThunderWolves athletics is a very low-cost entertainment option.  Season tickets for football are just $50 (a savings of $25 from the game-by-game price) and a Combined Season Ticket, which includes a reserved seat for football, basketball, and a Pack Pass for all other home athletic events, is just $110!  That just a couple bucks per game!  For more information on tickets, contact Ben LoCascio at 549-2050 or visit to place your order!

We still have our spring sports competing and both the baseball and softball teams are in the thick of seeking RMAC championships and making post season play.  The golf, tennis and women’s track teams are working toward the RMAC Championship tournaments at the end of the month.  A reminder that once again, Pueblo will be the host city for the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships, to be held at the Neta & Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl May 23-25. 

These are exciting times at CSU-Pueblo and in ThunderWolves Athletics.  Thanks again for your past support and feel free to recruit a friend to join in on the excitement and fun.

Posted on December 3, 2012

Congratulations and thanks to the football team!

CONGRATULATIONS to the football team, coaches and staff along with all the support staff for giving us another outstanding football season.  11-0 regular season record, Back to Back RMAC Championships, Player of the Year in the RMAC, Coach of the Year in the RMAC, #1 regular season NCAA Division II ranking and achieving our first NCAA Football Playoff win!  What a list of accomplishments!  You made everybody at the University, the Community of Pueblo as well as our Alumni proud to be ThunderWolves!  The achievements were great, however the coaching staff's approach and the kids' first class performance on and off the field were even greater.  Thanks so much! 

THANK YOU to the University and the Community of Pueblo for the outstanding support you gave the football team during this fall.  The support given by the administration, faculty and staff, and our great students was just outstanding.

We may be blessed with the most passionate university president in the country.  In just one short year, President Dr. Lesley Di Mare has shown an unbelievable passion for her job and I believe that she bleeds blue and red already.  Thank you Lesley!

CSU-Pueblo students are great and are among the best in the RMAC.  Athletics appreciates all their support and the student crowds at football this fall were great.  Thanks! 

The Community of Pueblo has been behind the team since the beginning five years ago and this year was no exception.  We have the best fans in all of Division II.  This was on display during the playoffs as both of the playoff games in Pueblo were the top-attended playoff games across the country.  We couldn’t have do this without your support.  Thanks so very much to you all!

As we put an end to another successful football season, please remember the coaches and players have started working toward next season.  They will enjoy the fruits of this successful season knowing full well what it takes to do it all again next year.  Thanks for all the support given to Pack Football as well as all of our programs!  

Posted on November 20, 2012

Congratulations to PACK Football!

Congratulations and the best of luck to Pack Football as they enter another run in the NCAA Division II Football Playoffs.  The opponent for next Saturday's game will be the University of Indianapolis, as the Greyhounds beat Midwestern State in the first round Saturday.

The University and the community of Pueblo are very proud of the team’s accomplishments and will be out in force on the 24th to support the team in their quest for a national championship!

The success of the team over the past two years has been close to unbelievable.  22-0 during the last two seasons and if you go back to the 2010 season, the regular season streak is at 26 in a row.  What a run this has been. 

My thought is that I hope that we all aren’t taking this moment in Pack Athletics for granted and that we understand how hard it is to achieve at this level in a very competitive environment.  The coaches and players have shown great dedication, perseverance and effort since the football program was reinstated to get to this point.  Many have contributed to the building of such an outstanding program.  The current Pack players are carrying the banner for all that have come before them.

The #1 national ranking, RMAC Championship and the regular season streak is great, however I would like to emphasize another side of this football program.  When Coach John Wristen agreed to be the head coach back in 2007, he instilled the vision, plan and all- important program discipline.  The coaches and student athletes have gone about their business the right way.  The kids go to class, know how to act on and off the field and compete as one on game day.  This is what makes it all worthwhile to me.  What great ambassadors they are for our University and the community of Pueblo!

Thanks so much Pack Football for what you have given to all of us and we will be backing you throughout this exciting playoff run.  GO PACK!

PS:  Looks like things are going to be very exciting in Massari this winter as men’s basketball, women’s basketball and Wrestling all look like they are primed to have outstanding RMAC seasons.  For the first time in school history, both teams beat ranked opponents on the same night, and such performances should set the stage for future successes by both programs!

Lastly, I would like to acknowledge Pueblo East and Pueblo West High Schools for their playoff success thus far and wish them the best of luck as they strive for state football championships during the next couple of weeks.  Go get 'em, Eagles and Cyclones!

Posted on August 20, 2012

Welcome back!

As we begin another chapter in PACK Athletics, the athletic staff would like to welcome all student athletes back to campus.  While the 2011-12 year proved to be one of the most exciting years in school history, we believe you all can top that performance in 2012-13.  We have high goals set for the program and are confident that you are prepared and excited to excel both on and off the fields of competition. We hope you all had a great summer as you recharged your batteries in preparation for another outstanding year.  As was mentioned above we have high goals in athletics and you, the student athletes, are the driving force in any success that our program will enjoy.  Preparation+ Opportunity= Success!


Special emphasis will be placed on the following areas during the upcoming year.

  • Life in the Balance:  A balance between athletics and academics must be maintained.  A primary goal for all student athletes must be earning their college degree in their chosen fields of interest. Balance is a Key!
  • Personal Growth:  Through the medium of athletics and your experiences you will have at the University, it is the goal of our department that you all will leave with a skillset to be successful in your lives after college. Preparing for your Future!
  • Achievement at the Highest Level Possible:  This is the time to fully understand the opportunity that is before you and to “seize the moment.”  Take advantage of what lies ahead you and give yourself a chance to succeed at your highest level both on and off the playing surface. Seize the Moment!
  • Elevate the “Pack”:  Do everything you can to help your team be successful in the RMAC. Our goal is to dominate this league and it will take all of us working together to get it done. Team Players!
  • Great Experiences:  Your coaches and athletic administrators will do all they can to ensure that the student athlete experience is meaningful and enjoyable.  This is “your time”!

I know that you have worked hard in the “off” season to prepare for the upcoming year.  Competing in college athletics is a tremendous opportunity however as you know it takes much hard work and discipline to be successful.  The challenges for you are great to achieve at your highest level academically and athletically, however, the rewards are “priceless”.

Again, welcome to ThunderWolves Athletics and we wish you the very best during this exciting year.  You are all very special to us and “Pack” student athletes are a positive force in the success of the University.  We all are excited about the tremendous opportunities of the New Year and are anticipating great things from you on and off the fields of competition.

“Make 2012-13 a Great Year!”

Posted on August 3, 2012

Lobster Bake 2012: What a Night!

CSU-Pueblo Athletics hosted the 8th annual Lobster Bake event on Wednesday in the Ochiatto University Center.  The purpose of this event is three fold:

  1. Allow athletic boosters and athletic staff members to interact and also enjoy a lobster dinner.
  2. Serve as the first event of the new year.
  3. Event is the kick off of the annual “Pack Club” drive.  The “Pack Club”

The Lobster Bake has grown from 80 attendees to over 400 in those eight short years. We believe that people like the relaxed atmosphere and the upbeat presentations that are a part of the program.

The evening was great!  A large crowd enjoyed conversation with friends as well as meeting new ones and the sounds of balloon pops from our "Balloon Pop" fundraiser added a little spice to the evening.  The silent auction was a success as 30 out of the 33 items were sold.  Two of the unsold items were Rockies tickets (go figure).

I have to give a special shout out to our student athletes for the talks they gave.  Kacy Griffin (Women’s Volleyball), Stephan Dickens (Football) and Koby Wittek (Former Football Player and recent graduate of the University) all hit home runs with their comments.  Those in attendance all have a feel for why our coaches and staff love our jobs. 

President Lesley Di Mare spoke and her tremendous passion for our program, the University and the Community of Pueblo was evident throughout.  President Di Mare is a winner and we are fortunate to have her here in Pueblo.

I would also like to give a special thanks to Jim Brooks our emcee, Joe Cervi and Michael Salardino.  Jim and Joe did an outstanding job in introducing our staff to the group and Michael was awesome with his comments regarding the "Pack Club."  Michael has been a strong supporter of the University as well as athletics for a long time.  He is one of many great boosters that we have associated with “The Pack.”

A special group of attendees were our Board of Directors of the “Pack Club”.  Dan DeRose, Eddie DeRose, Art Gonzales, Mike Roumph and Mike DeRose.

We have the best boosters and fans in the RMAC and are very proud of that fact.  At this time, we are sending an invitation to all to become a member of the “Pack Club” and join in on the excitement of collegiate athletics and support your home town team.  Fans can join for as little as $50 per year and enjoy larger benefits for bigger donations.  To find out more, click here.

The scholarship dollars raised assists our outstanding student athletes to be able to compete in the sport they love while earning a college degree.  We do have very high goals for CSU-Pueblo Athletics and with your help our kids will achieve at the highest level possible, which is competing for and winning RMAC and NCAA Championships.

Thanks again to our outstanding boosters for the great support you give to “Pack Athletics!”


Posted on April 18, 2012

Thank you seniors!

As another school year is winding down and we would like to give a special thanks to our senior student athletes. 

The value in any organization lies in the quality of its members.  The 2011-12 “Pack” senior student athletes were an outstanding group both on and off the fields of competition.  "Leadership" is a word that comes to mind when thinking of these outstanding individuals.  This year’s seniors provided great leadership for their teams and it played a huge part in the success of all our teams.  The athletics staff thanks you so much for your dedication, hard work, perseverance and leadership you have given.  You have made us look good!

Awards of Distinction were given to a group of special senior student athletes at the annual Senior Banquet which was recently held in the OUC.  The awards and winners are listed below.

Male Athlete of the Year: Robert Kinsey, Men’s Soccer
Female Athlete of the Year: Danita Wyatt, Track & Field
James "Spank" Blasing Award: Lee Meisner, Football
Jessie Banks Award: Ashley Wilkinson, Volleyball
Fellowship of Christian Athletes Integrity Award: Lindsay Tapia, Volleyball; Ty Trahern, Men’s Basketball 

Congratulations to all of these special student athletes!

Finally, here are a few final thoughts for our seniors as their collegiate careers are winding down.

-Close the deal academically: Earning your degree makes it all worthwhile.  Take what you have learned through your experiences at the University and through your participation in athletics to pursue your dreams and build your success stories.

-You will always be a part of the ThunderWolves family: Keep in contact. Let us know how you are doing and return often to share in the successes of future “Pack” teams.

-Success is achieved when preparation meets opportunity: You have a great foundation. Continue to learn and grow to ensure you are ready for "your time."

Again, thanks so much for what you have done for us and the best of luck in your future endeavors!

Posted on February 13, 2012

Massari is alive again!!

What a weekend in Massari Arena!  The excitement is back! 

Six years ago, Massari Arena was renovated and became the finest indoor facility in the RMAC.  Something was missing and that was an exciting brand of basketball by the Pack Men.   The women have done their part with four trips to the NCAA, but more importantly, playing with enthusiasm and outstanding team play.  We all know that winning creates excitement by all concerned, however how a staff and team go about their business is all important.  Coach Drown and our Pack Women’s Basketball Student Athletes have done an outstanding job during this time.  Many thanks go out to the Women’s Basketball Coaches and Teams for what you have given us!  The best of luck to you as you head into post season play.

The Pack men’s basketball team has displayed great enthusiasm and team play under the very interesting and outstanding tutelage of first-year coach, Ralph Turner.  In short, the kids believe, the coach can coach, and they have been fun to watch.  Many of our longtime fans have come to me and said they were excited about the men’s team again!  In my opinion, the squad validated the fact that the Pack Men are back with two masterpieces over the weekend.  With the help of two really good promotions for the weekend games, the team displayed great mental toughness and team cohesion to pick up two huge wins over Fort Lewis and Adams State.

I have seen a lot of basketball games firsthand through the years, however to see Bryse Velasquez hit the really tough three at the end of the first overtime on Saturday and then witness Ty Trahern's unbelievable combination jumper-hook shot with three guys on him to win the game in double overtime was new to me.  The fans went crazy and I thought to myself - Massari is back!

Special thanks go out to our students.  One of our department’s goals is to create a really strong student section where the students can have a great time while lending their support to Pack teams.  Great strides were made this weekend in Massari which was a combination of support from fans and the teams giving them a lot to cheer about!

The future of the University and Pack Athletics is certainly very bright and I for one am so happy that Massari is Back!  Thanks coaches, teams and fans!

Posted on December 21, 2011

Many thanks to boosters and corporate partners!

Pack Athletics is showing signs of reaching the high competitive goals that have been set.  Three years ago, the goals were set to have the Pack become a dominant athletic program in the RMAC and to have our teams achieve NCAA playoffs with NCAA Championships as the ultimate goal.  The football program's awesome rise to the top of Division II during the fall has been an inspiration to all in and out of the athletic program.  We can do this! 

The winter sports are off to a really good start with the women’s basketball program looking like they will have a great shot at the NCAA Tournament at the end of the season.  They have a long tough road still ahead during the rest of the season however it will be exciting to watch this team compete for much success.  These girls can play!

Coach Turner has brought renewed excitement to the men’s basketball program and the future looks bright.    Massari Arena will be rocking on game nights as the program rises to the top of the RMAC.  The team will make the RMAC Tournament this year and will have a shot at the NCAA Tournament in 2012-13.  It’s great to have this program back! 

Dax Charles has quietly been building our Wrestling program into the power that it was prior to the program being dropped.  He is doing things the right way and it appears the team will take another step toward ultimate goal of RMAC and National Championships.  There is much work still to be done but with great kids and an outstanding leader we are on our way! 

Massari will be the site of many exciting contests this winter and we hope to see you all at the games.

Both the Baseball and Softball programs are loaded with outstanding talent and will make strong runs for the RMAC Championship and berths in the NCAA Tournament.  Also, the men’s and women’s golf teams and the men’s tennis teams look like they will be at the top of the league.  The spring looks very promising!

With new president Leslie Di Mare coming on board this month, we are excited that she will get the University back on track to our growth and development goals.  President Leon did a great job as the interim president; however it is always comforting to have a permanent leader.   As we continue to improve in all areas of the University - academically, athletically, student assistance and student life - the school will eventually will be known as “The Jewel of the South”.  These are challenging times for all concerned, however, continued growth and development of this University is so important to the overall success and quality of life in our community.  In my opinion, the community of Pueblo is the best kept secret in the west and it is only going to get better.

From all of our athletic staff, coaches and student athletes we want to give a huge thank you to our boosters, corporate partners and fans.  We can’t do this without you and we can’t thank all of you enough.  To allow Pack Athletics to “take it to the next level” we will need your help.  Your assistance is the life blood of the program!

Again, thank you so much and we wish you a Merry Christmas and we are all looking forward to making it a great year in 2012!

Posted on November 28, 2011

A fall season to remember

With the football season officially ending on Saturday, the fall sports have completed their seasons for 2011.  What a fall it was for the Pack!

The volleyball team, under the direction of first-year head coach Jen Gomez, got things turned around.  The team made the RMAC playoffs and finished the season with 15 wins.  This was the best season for the volleyball team in years and certainly makes one dream of the possibilities the future will bring in this program.  Congratulations to the coaches and players for their hard work and accomplishment in 2011.

Men’s Soccer again returned to the RMAC playoffs and lost by a narrow one goal deficit to Metro State.  The team again competed very well and represented the program and University in a first-class manner.  Nice job to coaches Stanley and Creager along with all team members.

Both Men’s and Women’s golf programs had outstanding fall seasons and will look to be at the top of the RMAC during the spring championship season.  Coaches Josh Koschke and Greg Dillon are doing superb jobs heading up our golf programs.

64 of our student athletes made either all-conference or all-RMAC academic teams - three made players of the year and five achieved NCAA All-Regional honors.  Additionally, football coach John Wristen was voted the RMAC Coach of the Year. 

And then there was the Pack Football season.  What can I say?  The coaches and team accomplished so much in 2011.  Among the accomplishments were an undefeated regular season of 11-0, appearance in the national televised game vs Colorado Mines, an outright RMAC Championship, a #1 Regional and National Ranking at the end of the season and the right to host the first round NCAA Playoff game.  Although the season ended with a tough 24-21 loss to the defending DII Champions, we couldn’t be prouder of the football program for their achievements in only the fourth year of existence since the University reinstated the program.  This program has done so much for the University and they are to be congratulated! The community is ever so close to adopting the University and the Athletics Program as Pueblo’s University and Pueblo’s Team.  That was an awesome setting for a college football game on Saturday.  What community support! Thanks Pueblo!

The increased support from the community and students this fall has certainly not gone unnoticed by our staff.  Led by our football attendance all programs showed an increase in attendance and excitement.  It was great to see so many CSU-P students at the games cheering on their teams and enjoying the excitement.  We can’t give enough thanks to the outstanding students of CSU-P.   The University is rapidly developing into the residential campus we all had hoped for when the football program was brought back.  We are not where we want to be yet, however great strides have been made.  Our University is moving toward becoming what we have mentioned before, “The Jewel of the South” in Colorado and the region.

Lastly, I need to give thanks for the outstanding support from so many at the University to the athletics program and our 425 student athletes.    We have a great thing going on with the community of Pueblo and Colorado State University-Pueblo, as they say, “The Sky is the Limit”.  We in athletics would like to give a special thanks to outgoing interim President Julio Leon and give a PACK welcome to incoming, President Dr. Lesley Di Mare.  Thanks Dr. Leon and welcome to the CSU-Pueblo family, Dr. Di Mare.

Posted on November 2, 2011

How about Pueblo's Team!?

What a season it has been thus far!  The Pack Football team is 9-0 so far and ranked #4 in the country.  The team is also ranked #1 in the NCAA Super Region 3 Rankings, which could mean HOME playoff games in a few weeks.  Who would have seen this coming so soon to this program? 

If you had been watching the staff and kids go about their business of just putting their heads down and working to get better and get in position to win the next game, you might be among the ones that suspected that they would have a great deal of success.  Eddie DeRose, are you reading this?  A true visionary!

We are all proud of the accomplishments thus far during the season while realizing that we aren’t where we want to be yet nor have all goals been achieved. The Pack has two big home games left versus Western State this coming Saturday at 2 P.M. and next Saturday again at 2 P.M. versus Western New Mexico. 

My appeal to the communities of CSU-Pueblo and Pueblo is to take advantage of the last two home games to catch the excitement of “your team” and attend the games.  If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, there is still room for you and no one will be turned away!

The excitement on campus and in the community is as high as it’s been during my 25 years in Pueblo, and rightly so -- the kids have represented us all in a first class way and are carrying the banner of Pueblo and the University wherever they go.  The student support has been awesome, which is great to see.  We are moving to the goal of increasing the student life experience on campus.  This is priceless stuff!

We want to give a huge shout out to our outstanding marching band, under the direction of Dr Alan Mills, as well as the Cheer and Dance teams under the direction of Vonnie Taibi.  Also, what about “Tundra” and her parents, Ron and Carol Rickman?  They all have added to the overall gameday atmosphere -- by far the best in the RMAC!

Not lost in all this excitement is Coach Gomez and how she has turned around the volleyball team. They are headed to the RMAC playoffs along with Coach Stanley and the men’s soccer team.  Congratulations to both teams and coaches.

And congratulations to some of our standout student-athletes, including men's soccer student-athlete, Robert Kinsey, who broke our school goal records this season, and women's soccer student-athlete, Savannah Thompson, who will be named the RMAC Goalkeeper of the Year this week.

A final big thanks to all who have played an important part in this fall’s successes and we invite you to pack the Neta and Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl the last two weekends of the regular season.  GO PACK!

Posted on August 26, 2011

Welcome Back ThunderWolves Student-Athletes!

Welcome back to all returning “Pack” student athletes and also welcome to all new student athletes to CSU-Pueblo and the athletics department.  The 2011-12 year can be defined in the word “Excitement”.   We are anticipating great things from all of you during the upcoming year both on the fields of competition and in the classroom.  We have very high goals in the athletics department and it will take a collaborative effort from all involved to move us to where we want to go; student athletes, coaches, support staff personnel and administrative staff.

The community of Pueblo and CSU-Pueblo will be the center of attention in NCAA DII as we will be hosting three national events.  We will host the DII football game of the week on Oct. 6, which will be national televised on the CBS College Sports Network.  This network is in 95 million households across the country.  On that night, the “Pack” will host and defeat Colorado School of Mines as they move toward the RMAC Championship. 

CSU-Pueblo Athletics will also host the National DII Wrestling and Outdoor Track and Field Championships during the winter and spring.  These two events will bring in over 1,000 student athletes to our facilities while bringing the national spotlight to Pueblo!  Athletics is also hosting the RMAC Baseball Championships in the spring. 

There is much work to do by all to host these events, but these are great events for our program and we are anticipating great things from the Football, Wrestling and Women’s Track programs as they represent us all on the national stage.

“Life in the Balance” is what Division II Athletics is all about and CSU-Pueblo fully endorses this mission.  All student athletes need to work to maintain a balance between academic pursuits, athletic goals and commitments.  Social activities will be a part of your total experiences and as you all know the social part of your experiences can be super positive or be the reason you fail to reach all of your goals.  You all have a tremendous opportunity before you to be able to compete in a sport that you love while competing for a college degree.  “Seize the Moment” as you use the time here at Colorado State University-Pueblo wisely and build a solid foundation for your future.

Again, welcome to ThunderWolves Athletics and we wish you all the very best during the upcoming year.  CSU-Pueblo Athletics is on the move and you all will play an important part in the overall growth and development of the program.


Posted on May 16, 2011

Follow your dreams

On Saturday, May 7th, 54 ThunderWolves student athletes received their college degrees.  This was a major milestone in their lives and the CSU-Pueblo Department of Athletics gives them a well deserved congratulations!

NCAA Division II has “Life in the Balance” as its key initiative.  Our graduating seniors have done a great job balancing the rigors of their athletic participation and their chosen academic majors.

They also made a commitment to many community service projects and spent many hours giving sports clinics to younger athletes in the community.  The life of a student athlete, while being very demanding, is a once in a lifetime opportunity which, if approached the right way, can assist a person in being prepared to achieve much bigger goals later in life.  We believe the “Pack” graduates are ready to become a success in whatever profession or challenge they chose to pursue.

During this past year, 13 of our student athletes were named first team Academic All-RMAC and Morgan Forsyth was named the MVP on the women’s tennis RMAC All Academic team.  Bo Nuanez, former softball student athlete, was named as the top graduating student at the University.  She received the prestigious Threlkeld Prize, which was the 2nd time in three years that a student athlete has earned this award.  Jenna Garcia, a former volleyball student athlete, received the award in 2009.  As we have mentioned before, we have outstanding kids in the athletic program and we are proud to call them ThunderWolves!

We are expecting great things in the future from our student athletes both on and off the fields of competition and you should know that you have built a strong foundation and set marks for your successors to shoot for.  As you venture out to build your dreams, we will do our best to make you proud that you attended Colorado State University-Pueblo and competed for the “Pack”.

I do have one final request for our graduates.  Please keep in contact with your coaches and athletic staff members.  We are all interested in hearing about your accomplishments, where your dreams have taken you or to just learn how you are doing.  You all have made your mark in the athletic program and will always be a “THUNDERWOLF”.

Thank you so much to all of our graduates, student athletes, coaches and athletic staff members for all of your efforts during the year.  You all represented Colorado State University-Pueblo in a first class manner and accomplished much.   

Posted on March 30, 2011


ThunderWolves Athletics would like to thank all of our boosters and fans that have supported the program through the fall and winter seasons.  Without your support, CSU-Pueblo Athletics would not be able to continue as a viable NCAA Division II member.  You all are the life blood of our program and we want to remind you that your financial help and attendance at our games and events is very much appreciated.

Our winter sports, including men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling and indoor women’s track, had some ups and downs during their seasons, however many exciting games and achievements occurred.

The Women’s Basketball team again made the RMAC tournament, however their run of three consecutive RMAC Tournament Championships ended in the semifinals this year.  Rachel Espinosa, whose awesome career came to an end this year, had another great year and again gained first team All-RMAC for her efforts.  Her outstanding play at the point guard position as well as her competitiveness and leadership will be greatly missed next season.

The men’s basketball team competed well throughout the season and earned upsets of Fort Lewis and New Mexico Highlands in Massari before the home fans.  Daniel Pierce completed his four-year career for the ThunderWolves and his competitiveness and three-point shooting will be hard to replace next year.

Coach Dax Charles’ wrestling squad competed hard and we saw several exciting duals at home against some outstanding teams.  Patrick Carey concluded his wrestling career at CSU-Pueblo by becoming the first All-American in wrestling since the sport was reinstated three years ago.

Our Women’s Indoor Track team did a nice job throughout the season.  In only the third year of the program, Coach Perry has assembled some outstanding athletes and the future is bright.  Danita Wyatt in the triple jump and Blair Gilkes in the sprints narrowly missed reaching the NCAA National Championships.

As always, many of the Pack student athletes earned both All-RMAC Team and RMAC All-Academic honors.  We have some outstanding kid in the athletics program and you all play a huge part in their successes.

As you may know by now we have made recent hires in the Volleyball and Men’s Basketball programs.  Jen Gomez, a former student athlete for the ThunderWolves, took over the volleyball program in January and Ralph Turner, a former NABC/NAIA Coach of the Year, joined us just this week as our men’s basketball coach.  We believe that both coaches will build programs that we will all be proud of and are excited to see what the future will bring!

Again, Thank You so much for your support of our student athletes, coaches and our programs!  We have the best support in the RMAC and we don’t mind telling everyone about it!

Posted on January 27, 2011

Intercollegiate Athletics 103

In Athletics 101, I discussed the value of collegiate athletics regarding athletics serving as the “Front Porch” for a university as well as providing an enhancement of student and campus life along with the developing a strong connection with a community.  I also discussed the fact that student athletes improve the retention and graduation rates for universities across the country and this is most certainly the case at CSU-Pueblo. 

Athletics 102 discussed the value of a Division II athletics program to a university, both financially and from an enrollment standpoint.  The partial scholarship model used in Division II programs create a positive situation for a university relating to the overall enrollment of a university and the tuition dollars generated for the university by the student athletes attending.  For this reason, Division II athletics budgets are included as a part of overall university budgets across the country.

Smaller universities, such as CSU-Pueblo, are looking to athletics programs to be a major player in growing enrollment.  Many schools in the RMAC have added sports to increase enrollment as well as enhance many other components of their schools, which has been discussed in previous letters.

A third component regarding the value of a collegiate athletics program is possibly the most important.  It has been said that the primary reason sports exist on university campuses is that it is intended to add value to the educational experience of the student athletes.  The number one goal for the NCAA is ensuring that athletics program focus on the overall educational experience of the participants through the medium of collegiate athletics.

The NCAA Division II positioning statement approach provides growth opportunities through academic achievement, learning in high-level athletic competition and development of positive societal attitudes in service to community.  The balance and integration of these different areas of learning opportunities provide DII athletes a path to graduation while cultivating a variety of skills and knowledge for life ahead.  To learn more about DII Athletics you can visit their website at

Many values are derived from participation in athletics and they go well beyond the final score of the various games and matches.  A few of them include:

  • Learning the value of setting and achieving goals
  • Discipline learned through the balancing of athletics, academics, and what it takes to be a success in both
  • Learning the value of teamwork as it relates to team success
  • Gaining the understanding that success takes a lot of hard work and it doesn’t come easy
  • Learning that perseverance is a key to eventually achieving high goals
  • Learning to handle both success and failure and learning from both situations
  • Learning to compete for what a person wants and gaining an understanding that nothing worthwhile comes easy
  • Learning that one needs to do whatever it takes (within the rules) to get the job done on and off the fields of competition
  • Gaining an understanding of the value of service and helping out others while appreciating all the help that was afforded each of them along the way. 

The values mentioned above are but a few of the many lessons that can be learned through participation in athletics.

Academics and the learning of various programs of study are, without a doubt, the primary reason students attend a university. A college degree must remain the number one goal. 

However, I do strongly believe that learning outside the classroom is vital to the development of a well-rounded person.  Examples of these situations are students being involved in such activities as school bands, theater groups, student newspaper organizations, student research groups, student government, student clubs and many others.  Athletics is one of these activities which are a prime medium for the overall personal development of our youth.

I, along with our coaches and staff, receive numerous phone calls from prospective employers each spring who are seeking student athletes to become a part of their group.  A common theme of the conversations is always that these employers believe that student athletes, through their participation in a quality athletics program, will come equipped with a strong skill set which will enable them to be a success in their company.

CSU-Pueblo Athletics is committed to the “Life in Balance” concept of Division II Athletics and strive to help insure all student athletes at the University leave us with great experiences and are equipped for success as they pursue their dreams after graduation.  We have over 400 student athletes in our program and they are all going pro in something.  Our coaches and staff hope that we can play a small part in their future successes.

Posted on December 6, 2010

College Athletics 102

Part two in this three-part series on the value of an NCAA Division II Athletics Program to a University focuses on the financial side of conducting a program.  Both the cost and revenue to a university will be considered.  Admittedly, there are a considerable amount of financial resources needed to conduct a successful DII program.  Athletic budgets at Division II Universities range from $2.2 million to $9.1 million for institutions that have a football program.

The current athletics budget at CSU-Pueblo is $4.2 million.  A highly successful DII athletic program is the goal of this department.  As was mentioned in the first part of the series, a highly successful athletics program can bring many benefits to a University.  Failure is not an option for us as we all in athletics strive to reach our goals.

  1. Do things the Right Way.
  2. Retain and Graduate our Student Athletes
  3. Dominate the RMAC
  4. Gain National Prominence
  5. Ensure Student Athletes leave the University “Equipped for Success”

As mentioned above, the cost of conducting a DII athletic program is considerable, however it’s the revenue that comes into a university as a result of the sponsorship of an athletic program which surprises many folks and is a side of the program that is not given much consideration on many campuses.  Not only do student athletes benefit institutions’ overall academic profiles, but the DII partial scholarship model generates revenue for the school.

As an example, 120-140 student athletes will be members of the Pack Football team each year and the reason that these students have come to the university is because they were recruited to play football.  They would not be students at CSU-Pueblo except for the fact they were recruited to play football by our football coaches.  Also many studies have been done on the number of classmates, friends and relatives that attend a university with a student athlete that has been recruited to join an athletic program.  These studies have stated results of up to 2.5 students coming with a student athlete to attend a particular school.  For our purposes, we use a 1-1 ratio, one friend, etc accompanying one student athlete to a school.  Again, using the university’s football program as an example, if in a given year there are 130 members on the football team and they brought an average of one friend, this would account for 260 students attending CSU-Pueblo as a result of the University sponsoring a football program. The maximum number of scholarships that the football program could award, if fully-funded, would equal 28 full rides (the cost of tuition-fees, room-board and books for a student athlete).  This would mean that 232 students (260 students-28 full ride scholarships) students would be paying the full cost to attend the University.  Using in state cost of tuition only for these students results in $1.6 million in revenue coming into the University!  Considering out of state tuition along with student fees, on-campus room and board costs and the cost of books would result in a substantial higher amount of revenue coming into the University’s coffers.

 As was mentioned above, ThunderWolves Athletics currently has an overall budget of $4.2 million to conduct a program which has 16 sports and 415 student athletes.  The University currently provides the athletics program with $1.95 million dollars in E&G funds.  The E&G funding provided by the University goes to pay staff salaries and provide student athlete scholarships.  The balance of the athletics budget ($2.25 million) is funded with athletics fundraising, gate and concession revenue, special events conducted by athletics, scholarship endowments and student fees. 

Using our 1-1 ratio of a student athlete bringing in an average of one student with them, the athletic program is responsible for bringing 830 students to the University.  The tuition revenue generated by this number of students to the university (again using in state tuition only) is $5.6 million.  Adding room and board costs for 25% of these students living in the on campus residence halls would result in an additional $1.7 million to the university revenue stream.

In addition to the above, the athletics department is the biggest user of Chartwell's Catering over any department on campus due to the many special events held on campus as well as the catering that takes place on Saturdays at the football games.  Our coaches also conduct numerous summer camps which bring over 2,000 prospective students to campus each year in which these kids pay room and board costs to the University.  Finally, adding the 50-60 members of the university marching band which was created to go along with the football program to the mix would add substantially to the incoming revenue to the University.

I would like to add that many smaller universities are adding or looking into adding more sports programs and in particular a football program to increase enrollment at their respective schools.  We all know of the tremendous growth and excitement that was a result of expanding the sports programs at CSU-Pueblo three years ago.  We have come a long ways from the sleepy little school that few knew about, and more importantly, few considered CSU-Pueblo as a destination university prior to the expansion.

I would like to close with the fact that I am one that believes the athletic program is a bargain for the University. $5.6 million in tuition revenue generated compared to $1.95 million E & G funding budgeted to athletics certainly seems like a smart business deal for the school.

We have a great university developing in the community of Pueblo and athletics will continue to do as much as we possibly can to keep things going in a positive direction. 

The sky is the limit!

Posted on November 5, 2010

Collegiate Athletics 101

Through the years there have been many who have questioned the value of athletics on a college campus.  Is the cost worth the return?  Couldn’t the money that goes into athletics be put to a better use elsewhere?  What does an athletics program bring to the table anyway?  The jocks can’t stay out of trouble and don’t go to class anyway.  Why do they get all the press coverage? Etc.

As a person that obviously believes in the overall value of athletics to kids and to a university, I am going to give my viewpoint regarding this issue in a three-part series as part of the monthly letters from the Athletic Director.

An athletic program, if conducted properly, has an impact in many areas of a university and the community in which they are located. This includes university image, public awareness, community engagement, student and campus life, esprit de corps, student body grade-point-averages, as well as retention and graduation rates.

Many say that an athletic program serves as the “front porch” for a university.  Often the first impression or interaction with a university is through the media or by attending an intercollegiate athletic contest.  Athletic programs, particularly the successful ones, receive a tremendous amount of media coverage which in turn is a huge value to the University.  This kind of advertising, as the marketing gurus would say, “is priceless”. 

At CSU-Pueblo we are fortunate to receive tremendous media coverage in the community for our sports programs.  With the addition of the football program, the coverage has spread to Colorado Springs, Denver and throughout the rest of the State of Colorado.  Our teams travel throughout the country to compete and at the same time carry the CSU-Pueblo banner to thousands of people each year.  Public awareness of CSU-Pueblo has increased exponentially since our sports expansion, and as we become more successful the familiarity of the University, will increase to even greater heights.

The increased media coverage and public awareness is vital to the growth of the University.  A small, regional university, such as ours, does not have the financial resources to market our programs so we rely heavily on the success of our athletic programs.

Student life would be pretty dull on a college campus, in particular a smaller school such as ours, without a high quality athletic offering.  Athletics gives students, staff and the community another entertainment option and at the same time creates school and community spirit.  ThunderWolves athletic contests are free to the students and very affordable for the faculty, staff and community members.  The games are highly competitive and held in a family atmosphere so that everyone attending can enjoy the experience.

Pack Athletics also holds many special events on and off campus for folks to get involved with, including: the Lobster Bake,  the annual ThunderWolves Golf Classic, booster luncheons, the Spank Blasing 5K Run/Walk, "Take a Kid to the Game" nights, MMA events, conference tournaments and state high school championships, to name a few.  Factoring the games, special events, and summer camps hosted by our coaching staff, more than 70,000 people visit our campus each year.  Many prospective students and their parents are included in those numbers.   Another great thing that happens when folks visit the campus is that they become more aware of the great academic programs as well as other opportunities to take part in on campus.

An athletic program attracts so many outstanding young people to a university each year.  At CSU-Pueblo we have over 400 student-athletes in the athletic program as well as another 100 students involved in cheer, dance, student interns, student help and athletic training programs.  Even our new marching band, which has close to 70 student members, is a by-product of the athletic program and in particular the football program. 

Did you know?

  • CSU-Pueblo student athletes enter the university with higher high school grade point averages and higher test scores on average than the student body at large.
  • CSU-Pueblo student athletes stay at the university.  The retention rate for student athletes averages about 18 % higher than the student body at large.  
  • CSU-Pueblo student athlete grade point averages raise the grade point averages for the overall grade point average for the student body at large.
  • CSU-Pueblo student athletes graduate at a higher rate than the student body at large.       
  • Our kids actually achieved a 6% higher graduation rate than the NCAA II graduation rates for all student athletes at the more than 300 colleges and universities across the country.
  • CSU-Pueblo student athletes perform over 3500 hours of community service in the community of Pueblo each year.
  • CSU-Pueblo student athletes are highly involved in working with the youth in the community.  We have joined forces with the YMCA and conduct clinics for the Boys and Girls Club of Pueblo and the LaGente Youth Sports Organization.                                     

What an investment in the future of our community!

ThunderWolves Athletics staff, coaches and student athletes are committed to providing a first class program to represent CSU-Pueblo and the community of Pueblo. We all are very proud of the growth and development that the University has experienced the past four years and are optimistically looking forward to an even brighter future.

Posted on November 4, 2010

Another great night!

We had the honor of hosting the second annual Colorado State University-Pueblo Athletics Hall of Fame banquet/inductions on Friday, October 29.  The event was special and it was awesome to see some of our great ones back in Pueblo.

Nine individuals and the 1996 World Series Baseball Team were inducted into the athletics Hall of Fame.  These individuals and team represent the “best of the best” of the student-athletes and teams that attended PJC, SCSC, USC and CSU-P and competed for the Indians and ThunderWolves.  We have had many great teams and outstanding student athletes come through our doors and these folks represented all of us in a first-class manner on Friday.

As I did last year, I enjoyed the evening very much.  It was great to be able to host the inductees on their evening.  They did so much for us when they were here.  Each speaker did an outstanding job was very appreciative and humbled by the honor.  They all spoke so very highly of their teammates, coaches and their experience at the school.  The one thing that stood out to me was how each inductee stated how important their opportunity to participate in athletics had played a part in their success after their graduation.  They also mentioned so many of their professors that had helped them along the way.

As I listened to the inductees talk, I was reminded of how important our jobs are in the athletics program.  If conducted right, an athletic program can do so much to help student athletes mature and grow into successful citizens beyond their college days.  Athletics is important to the mission of the University and as coaches and staff members in the program, we must strive to do the very best job that we are able to.  

Congratulations again to our 2010 Hall of Fame class!  You all will be remembered for your outstanding achievements and more importantly as outstanding individuals. 

To relive this evening, including induction speeches and photos from the event, click here.


Posted on September 29, 2010

Welcome Back Alumni

This is an exciting week at CSU-Pueblo as many former students and former student athletes will make a visit to campus for the homecoming festivities.  The return of the football program has allowed the University to have a real homecoming week.  Homecoming week has grown in activities and excitement during the first two years of football and this year the excitement across the campus has increased even more.  In the years to come the homecoming week will grow into a major celebration on campus and in the community of Pueblo.

As we all know, when our valued alumni make their way back to the campus, they will be greeted by a new and revitalized University.  Increased enrollment, new facilities, new academic programs, new athletic programs, increase of on campus students and a big increase in the positive experiences for students at the University. 

Yes, we have come a long way in a short period of time.  I believe that we have only just begun.  Even though there are uncertain times ahead, higher education budget issues and the most likely need to select a new leader, the University will get through these temporary speed bumps and continue to develop and grow into an even stronger and more vibrant institution in the future.  We can do this!

The department of athletics would like to welcome back the alumni and hope that you like what you see going on at your alma mater and that you will enjoy your stay.  Home athletics events during the week are Men’s Soccer on Friday evening vs Regis, Friday night volleyball vs. Colorado College, Men’s and Women’s Soccer on Sunday afternoon vs Adams State and New Mexico Highlands and the all-important football game on Saturday afternoon when our undefeated ThunderWolves take on perennial RMAC power Chadron State in a crucial conference match up.

Again, welcome back and enjoy your visit.  Hopefully you will be able to get reacquainted with former classmates, professors and staff members along with a former coach.


Posted on August 27, 2010

Welcome back, Pack student-athletes!

Welcome back for another exciting year at CSU-Pueblo!  In athletics we believe that we are moving from the excitement and growth period, although things will still be exciting and we will still grow, into the period of achievement.  In order for ThunderWolves Athletics to achieve high goals and also reach national prominence, it will take a great effort by all involved: student athletes, coaches, support staff personnel and administrative staff.  We are very excited for the new year and are looking forward to the Pack doing awesome things in 2010-11.

Life in the Balance is the emphasis in NCAA Division II and CSU-Pueblo Athletics fully endorses this mission.  We believe that there must be a balance between your academic pursuits, athletic goals and commitments and personal growth for all student athletes who are a part of ThunderWolves Athletics.  Our vision would be for all student athletes to graduate in their chosen major, reach their potential as athletes along with picking up a few championships and leave the University equipped for success in the future.  Personal and team growth are the name of the game in Pack Athletics and our coaches and staff pledge our best efforts to assist you in reaching your goals.

As a reminder to you all, participation in college athletics is a great opportunity.  You have the chance to keep participating in a sport that you love while earning a college degree.  Your collegiate years should be and will be some of your most memorable and you will meet lifelong friends during your time at the University.  I want to remind you to take full advantage of the opportunities afforded you.  Please give your best efforts both on and off the field and make wise decisions.  As a student athlete you do have great opportunities, however great responsibilities also accompany those opportunities. This is your time to “seize the moment”!     

Again, welcome to ThunderWolves Athletics and we wish you all the very best during the upcoming year.  You all are special to us and the athletics coaches and staff are all looking forward to the New Year and are anticipating great things from all student athletes and teams.

Posted on August 9, 2010

Achievement Phase: 'The Recipe'

In my last letter I had written that CSU-Pueblo Athletics had gone through an “Excitement and Growth” phase during the past three years.  I had also mentioned that along with keeping the excitement and growth going, we were now ready to move into the “Achievement” period in our program.  It isn’t that our teams and student athletes haven’t had many successes in the past; they have, winning conference championships, treating us all with many great moments through the years, achieving high graduation rates and eventually seeing the student athletes becoming a success after their college days.  We just want to raise the bar and achieve at a higher level.  Our goals have been well-documented and in this letter I wanted to outline “The Recipe” for achieving higher goals.

It takes several ingredients to afford the opportunity for succeeding at the highest level in intercollegiate athletics.  We believe now more than ever that the key components are in place for the ThunderWolves to get it done:

Great Leadership:  We have had a great leader in President Joe Garcia during these exciting times at CSU-Pueblo.  He led the charge for athletics expansion along with community leader, Dan DeRose.  President Garcia has been able to bring the community of Pueblo and the University together like no one before him.  Both the University and the athletics program have flourished under his vision and leadership.

High Quality and Highly Respected Institution CSU-Pueblo has always been a high-quality institution with many outstanding degree programs and a dedicated faculty and staff.  The major differences from the past as compared to recent times at the University is the increased awareness of CSU-Pueblo up and down the Front Range (they are taking a look at us as a viable option in higher education) and all of the new facilities that have recently been added.  Now when prospective students come for a visit, they are very impressed with our University, which is a great benefit to our coaching staff as they attempt to attract the very best student athletes to become a part of ThunderWolves Athletics.

Outstanding Staff We have an outstanding administrative, coaching and support staff in place.  The administrative staff is dedicated to assisting our coaches being successful through student athlete support, developing a high quality game environment atmosphere, raising much needed funds and in the promoting of “Pack” Athletics.  The athletic training staff does an outstanding job with our athletes in the prevention and the care of injuries in the program.  The cheer and dance teams as well as our new marching band are great and add much to the overall experience for student athletes and fans at the games.  We were able to hire a strength and conditioning coach last year and this is already paying huge dividends for all student athletes.

Finally, our coaching staff is a group of outstanding people who are dedicated to their profession and the student athletes they lead and mentor.  Pack coaches care about our student athletes and are committed to building the strongest programs possible both on and off the field.

Awesome Student Athletes: We have been blessed to have outstanding student athletes in the athletics program for years.  ThunderWolves student athletes are very dedicated and work extremely hard to be successful.  With the recent changes at the University, our coaches are beginning to attract even better students and kids that have a higher level of athletics ability.  As always the focus of our coaches is bringing in high quality kids.

The student athletes in the athletics program have been great representatives of the athletics program, the University and the community of Pueblo for years and this will continue.  As Pack Athletics achieve at a higher level, this will allow athletics to continue being a driving force in the growth and development of CSU-Pueblo.

Support:  CSU-Pueblo Athletics cannot be successful at the levels we are striving for without tremendous support from the university administration and staff, students and the community of Pueblo.  The administration's support of athletics is stronger than it had ever been before.  I believe they understand what value an outstanding athletics program brings to the University and are committed to assisting Pack Athletics in its goals to achieve at the highest level possible.

We have always received great support from our students and during the sports expansion they have helped even more.  Our students will be a major force behind our rise to the top.

CSU-P Athletics has always had strong community support.  Our corporate partners, individual boosters and fans have been great through the years.  However, in order for the program to achieve the high goals that have been set, we need to raise the bar and attempt to gain even more support.  Our fundraising efforts have been focused on individual boosters during the summer and the response has been terrific.  The goal of the Pack Club for 2010-11 of $250,000 has not been reached yet, however we are optimistic that if we keep working at it, the goal will be achieved

As always support is directly related to the quality of an athletic program and the competitive results realized on the field.  Our staff and student athletes are ready to meet the challenges of competing at a higher level and believe the sky is the limit for ThunderWolves Athletics and Colorado State University-Pueblo.

I do need to make certain that all concerned know and understand that CSU-Pueblo Athletics is not a win at all costs program.  We are going to continue to do things the right way and certainly not cut corners or make concessions to achieve at the highest levels.  We are committed to the “Life in Balance” initiative in NCAA DII and are striving to achieve our motto of “Developing Champions through Athletics” (both on and off the fields of play).  A solid plan, hard work, determination, perseverance and enthusiasm will pay off as we move forward.

We are very excited about the future of CSU-Pueblo as an institution of higher learning and of ThunderWolves Athletics.  We in athletics believe that as our teams and kids reach the high goals that have been set for them, that the program will be able to contribute to the University and the community of Pueblo in a way that we have never done before.

Time for us to get to work!

Posted on June 7, 2010

'Excitement & Growth' gives way to period of 'Achievement'

We are entering a new segment of the “Excitement and Growth” period that the University and the Department of Athletics have had the good fortune to experience since that spring day in 2007 as the CSU System Board of Governors gave permission to President Joe Garcia to proceed with athletics expansion. 

From that day, the University pretty much changed forever.  I must say that this was a situation of the University having the right leader, Joe Garcia, at the right time for all things to come together and create this change.  President Garcia was afforded a great opportunity from community leader and former student-athlete for the University, Dan DeRose, and the Friends of Football members.  He seized the moment and the rest, as they say, is history.  Thanks so much Joe and Dan!

I personally have been at the University for 23 years and I can attest that the fact that through the years, this has always been an outstanding institution with very dedicated administration, faculty, staff members, and an outstanding group of students.  Of course, there have been many ups and downs during the years. However, the school has been a learning and development vehicle for so many of our fine students that have attended and graduated.  We all know of so many success stories on and off the fields of competition in the school’s history. 

However, the school just couldn’t get over the hump in regards to perception issues within the community of Pueblo, stagnant enrollment, and the inability to gain any real interest in the University up and down the front range of Colorado.  The situation has drastically changed since spring 2007 with the announcement of sports expansion and in particular the return of the football program. 

The excitement throughout the community during this time, regarding the University as well as the athletics program, has been amazing.  The community of Pueblo is now once again proud of its University and will contribute so much to the future success of the school as a strong partnership has been created.  The media coverage afforded to the University during this time has been priceless.  So many more folks in the region are now aware of CSU-Pueblo, and more importantly, so many more future students are now looking into the University as a school of interest. 

Our new facilities across campus have been a huge part of the resurgence of the school.  New residence halls, the student recreation center, and the new and renovated athletics facilities have all contributed to the University's rebirth.  New undergraduate and graduate programs have been developed during this time and more outstanding programs will follow.  All of us now have a campus to show off to prospective students as they take a look at us.  The opening of the renovated library during the upcoming year will be another boost to the development and growth of CSU-Pueblo. 

Enrollment “growth”, from 3,900 in 2007 to over 5,000 students today, and increased “excitement” during the past three years, has been a great experience for all involved.  The fruits of labor from so many past and current faculty and staff members at CSU-Pueblo are taking place before our very eyes.

In athletics, we believe that we must now turn to the “Achievement” phase.  We may not grow in the total number student athletes involved in the athletics program, however there are still possibilities of two or three new programs being added in the future.  We will only maintain and increase the excitement around the program if we do in fact achieve at a very high level.  The “Achievement” phase has begun!

Here is a question for you to ponder: What if the University’s enrollment increases to 8,000-10,000 students? Imagine if that enrollment growth, along with all the new academic programs and enhanced student life options, were to be combined with a national championship in the sport of football.  What would life at CSU-Pueblo be like if all that were to occur?  Exciting to think about, isn’t it? 

In my next installment of the letters from the AD, we will outline our department road map and goals to assist us in being successful during the period of “Achievement” in athletics.  

Posted on May 5, 2010

Thanks for the Memories

We would like to give special thanks to all of our senior student-athletes.  On Saturday, May 1, our seniors took part in the graduation ceremonies for the University and received their college degrees.

This was a tremendous milestone in their lives and the CSU-Pueblo Department of Athletics gives them a hearty congratulations!

Our seniors endured many ups and downs both on the fields of play and in the classroom during the time they spent with us.  It took a great deal of dedication, commitment, hard work, time and perseverance to ultimately succeed both in the classroom and on their team.  Student-athletes must be able to balance their time between academics, sport commitments, social lives and quite possibly holding down a part-time job.  This group of ThunderWolves came through with flying colors.

Primary goals of athletic program are to assist student athletes in succeeding both on and off the fields of play and also contributing to the personal growth of the kids we are blessed to work with.  We are confident that through the outstanding education received at the University and through their participation in ThunderWolves Athletics that our seniors will be equipped with a skillset to be a success in whatever they choose to do.

We have had many success stories by our former student-athletes and at the end of the day, their successes after leaving the University are the true bench mark for an athletic program.  Through the years, our graduates have made us all proud.

As this outstanding group of seniors leave the University and begin to make their mark in life, I would have a final request.  Please keep in contact with your coaches and athletic staff members.    We all are interested in hearing about your accomplishments, where your dreams have taken you or just to learn how you are doing.  All of you have made your mark in the athletic program and will always be a part of the ThunderWolves' family.

I personally would like to thank all of our student-athletes, coaches and athletics staff members for all of your efforts given during the year.  You all represented the University in a first-class manner and accomplished a great deal.  Thanks for a job well done! 

Posted on March 9, 2010

Did You Know?

DID YOU KNOW that athletic programs are considered the “Front Porch” to a university or college?  Many times, the first time that a person or prospective student hears about a university is through media outlets that cover athletic programs, seeing a team from a university perform in their area of the state or country, or through a friend that is being recruited by a member of a coaching staff to attend a school.

DID YOU KNOW that a student athlete attending a university will bring from one to three friends or relatives to also enroll at the university?

DID YOU KNOW that student-athletes enrolling at CSU-Pueblo will be admitted on average with a higher high school GPA and higher test scores than the average of the student body?

DID YOU KNOW that student-athletes at CSU-Pueblo produce a higher retention rate, average GPA and graduation rates than the average of the student body? 

We in athletics are proud to be a part of Colorado State University-Pueblo and certainly hope that the athletic program and our student athletes contribute to the overall success of the University.  It is a part of our mission in athletics to illuminate a bright light at the “Front Porch” for the school, enhance the campus life through the many exciting games that folks can attend - To cheer on the ThunderWolves and be entertained by the cheer and dance team as well as our new and awesome band - and afford a strong link to the community of Pueblo through the athletics contests and special community engagement events that are held on campus each year.

As we all know, CSU-Pueblo is on the move and we are excited about the future of our University under the strong leadership of President, Joe Garcia.

I also wanted to congratulate our winter sports programs for their outstanding seasons.  The wrestling team, in only its second year of existence, improved drastically, winning a dual over rival Adams State and sending three wrestlers, Louie Desantis, Justin Grant and Patrick Carey, to the NCAA wrestling tournament this week end in Omaha, Neb. 

The women’s indoor track program, also in only its second year of existence, made great strides this past season.  The team improved from last in the RMAC a year ago to a sixth place finish.  Danita Wyatt and Krista Wiltberger each qualified provisionally for the NCAA national meet. 

The men’s and women’s basketball teams both had successful seasons and the women are not finished yet.  The women’s team, under the direction of Coach Kip Drown, recently won another RMAC Tournament Championship with an exciting 61-60 win over rival Fort Lewis.  This was the fourth tournament title if the past five years and the team earned another berth in the NCAA regionals.  The ThunderWolves will take on Wayne State (Neb.) in the opening round of the tournament this Friday. 

The men’s team rode a strong finish to the season and advanced to the RMAC Shootout in Pueblo last week with a big win over nationally-ranked Mesa State on the road.  This was the second year in a row that the men advanced to the Shootout.

Our student athletes had a very successful winter season and aren’t finished yet.  I wish the best of luck to the women’s basketball team in Durango and the wrestlers in Omaha this weekend.

As we look forward to an exciting spring season with the baseball, softball, women’s track, and men’s and women’s tennis and golf teams, I want to wish all the student athletes the best of luck.  KEEP THE “FRONT PORCH” LIGHT BURNING BRIGHT!

Posted on December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays from CSU-Pueblo Athletics!

As we all enter another holiday season, we in athletics wish you all (student athletes and families, athletic program fans and boosters, fellow university staff members and Pueblo community members) a happy holiday season and a very prosperous new year. 

I would like to especially thank our student athletes and the members of the athletic staff and coaches for their great efforts and accomplishments during this past fall semester.

Our student athletes are a great representation of the university and this fall was no exception.  I personally see as many games and contests as I can each season and enjoy watching our kids perform.  Two of the primary things I always look for is how hard our teams and student athletes compete and how well they represent the university.  I am very seldom disappointed and this past fall was no exception as the CSU-Pueblo ThunderWolves were awesome ambassadors for the school and community as they traveled throughout the region competing against tough NCAA Division II schools.

The highlight of the fall for me had to be when I traveled to Chadron, Neb. to watch the football team beat up on Chadron.  As you know, Chadron had been the premier football program in the RMAC for the past ten years and hadn't lost a home game for twenty eight straight games.  Our kids won the game which was great, however the way they accomplished the victory was even better.  What a show of class exhibited by the players and coaches!  I was very proud to be on the sideline that day and it was especially gratifying to me as I shook hands with the Chadron athletic director and have him compliment our kids and program on a job well done.

Just recently, I was afforded the opportunity to accompany the women's basketball team as they traveled to Las Vegas, Nev. for a two day tournament.  What a class group of kids and coaches.  I can assure you all that they represented Pueblo and the university in a first class manner.  I was a little disappointed when on the morning after the trip that I went back to an apple and a cup of coffee for breakfast instead of the awesome breakfast buffet that the Paris Hotel offered us.

Our student athletes got the job done in the classroom as well this fall.  We have close to 425 student athletes and supporting students in the athletic program and they collectively achieved a 2.92 GPA during the fall semester.  This took us a step closer to achieving our current goal of 3.0.  It is gratifying to see that our student athletes and coaches take education seriously and I am confident that a high percentage of our current athletics will earn their college degrees along with completing their athletic eligibility at the university.

The winter sports have started strong with wrestling, women's indoor track and men's and women's basketball all showing promise for outstanding seasons.  The wrestling and women's track team are much improved over their inaugural year last year and both the men's and women's basketball teams are currently in first place in the Western Division of the RMAC.

I would like to end this edition of "From the Desk of the A.D." by thanking the athletic staff and coaches for the great work they all do in the program with our student athletes.  We believe that it is a great honor to be able to be a part of the great profession of working and coaching in athletics and we also know that we all have a huge responsibility in working with the kids in the various programs.  "Developing Champions Through Athletics" is our motto and I am confident that our staff is totally on board with the motto and are doing a great job.  Thanks!  

It is always nice to take a little breather at this time of the year and for all to be able to spend time with families and loved ones. However I am, anxiously awaiting the new year so I can get back out there and watch more ThunderWolves action!

Posted on November 12, 2009

What a night!

Friday, October 30 will be a night to be remembered.  On that evening the inaugural Colorado State University-Pueblo Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet was held at the Union Depot in downtown Pueblo.  We had a great turnout of over 200 people in attendance.

Eleven individuals and the 1961 National Championship Men's Basketball Team were entered into the hall of fame.  They were preceded by Charter Members Harry "The Chief" Simmons, the legendary basketball coach and athletic director of Pueblo Junior College, as well as Southern Colorado State College and the University of Southern Colorado, and Jessie Banks, longtime coach for the women's basketball team among other sports and the founder of women's athletics at the University.

Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.  It was great to see and visit with the inductees that I had met before or that had been student athletes during my time at the University.  I was also able to meet some of our great ones for the first time including Frank Grant, a former football and track great as well as a former NFL player, and John Martinez, a former track star and a national champion in the mile race.

Please go to our Hall of Fame link on the athletics website to learn more about this outstanding group of people.

As I listened to each speaker about their experiences in athletics, school and the community of Pueblo,  it once again reaffirmed just how important athletics is to the mission of a university and how important it is for our staff to do as good as job as possible with the student athletes that come through our programs.  Each speaker had their unique story to tell, however the common theme was how appreciative they were of the opportunities afforded them through the medium of athletics, how fond their memories were of the coaches and teammates that they received mentoring from and competed side-by-side with and how humbled each inductee was during the evening.  The quality of the 2009 Hall of Fame class was a great representation of the quality of the student athletes that have come before us and also of our current student athletes. 

CSU-Pueblo is a great place that affords opportunities for young student athletes to achieve a college education, compete in the sport that they love, meet what will become lifelong friends, and grow as an individual to assist them to create their own success stories as they leave the University.  Who knows - perhaps some of our current student athletes will be inductees of the future - the opportunity is out there for the ones that want to work hard enough to achieve.

Posted on October 2, 2009

The 'Big 5' in CSU-Pueblo Athletics

The Colorado State University-Pueblo Department is committed to providing the very best atmosphere and program for our student athletes to achieve their goals both in the classroom and on the playing fields.  We have developed the "Big 5," which we emphasize in the athletic program.  We hope our student athletes achieve and excel in all five of the areas.

The "Big 5" in CSU-Pueblo Athletics are: 

1.  GRADUATE: The ultimate goal for our student-athletes is to obtain their degree in their chosen field of study. Athletics is very important to all of the student athletes in our program, however if they do not leave the University with a degree in hand, what's the point of it all?  The achievement of a four-year college degree is an outstanding accomplishment for a person and will undoubtedly open some doors for them in their future years. "Now is the time-get it done"

2.  CLASS ACT: We want our kids to act in a first-class manner on and off the field.  It is of the utmost importantance how one interacts with and treats others. This is something we emphasize a great deal in the athletics program, which we want to a positive for the University.  As members of the athletic program, all of us, staff and athletes, are representing the University, the athletics program and ourselves in most everything we do.  "What do we want to be known for?"

3.  GIVE THE GAME THE BEST YOU HAVE: It is amazing how fast an athlete's college career goes.  It seems that one day they are freshman and before you know it, they are seniors.  We in athletics don't want our student-athletes to look back with a lot of regrets regarding their athletic experience.  Our staff emphasizes that this is their time to compete and be the best possible player that they can be in the sport of their choice.  The collegiate athletic experience is awesome and we certainly want our kids to take advantage of the opportunities afforded them.  "Seize the Moment"

 4. GIVE SOMETHING BACK: Giving back is very important and this is stressed in all of our programs.  Community service is important to us and our student athletes log over 3,000 hours of service each year.  A primary emphasis is helping the youth in the community through clinics and presentations to youth teams, elementary and middle school classes and to various youth groups in the community.  "We all have received help, now is a time to give back"

5.  TAKE SOMETHING WITH YOU: A major part of a student-athlete's experience at a University is what they take with them as they complete their eligibility and earn their degree.  Our coaches and staff believe that it is important to stress things "beyond the games" to our kids and to help them grow as individuals, not just athletes.  We want them leaving with the confidence and tools to be able to create their own success stories as productive citizens.  "Equipped with a skill set for Success"

Our coaches and staff believe in the "Big 5" and know that if our student-athletes excel in these principles, we are right on the mark for conducting a high-quality and worthwhile athletics program.

Posted on August 21, 2009

Bringing the Thunder in 2009-10!

Welcome to the 2009-10 school year at CSU-Pueblo. We are looking forward to another exciting year. Excitement and Growth are the words that best describe ThunderWolves athletics. During the 08-09 year we were able to add three new programs (football, wrestling and women's track and field). These programs resulted in creating a tremendous amount of excitement on campus and the community of Pueblo as evidenced by an average of 7,800 fans showing up during the inaugural football season. The new programs also brought 194 additional student athletes into the program and they were a major reason for the increase in student enrollment at the University. Five programs (women's basketball, softball, baseball, men's golf and men's tennis) made the NCAA playoffs and 75 of our athletes made either all academic or all conference in the RMAC. It was truly an exciting year!

As we look forward to the upcoming year I would like to emphasize that we have high expectations for our student athletes and individual sports programs. We want all of the student athletes to reach their potential both on the playing fields and in the classroom. Personal and team growth are the name of the game in CSU-Pueblo Athletics and our coaches and staff pledge their best efforts to help you succeed.

Taking part in Division II athletics is a great opportunity. The D2 approach provides growth opportunities through academic achievement, learning in high-level athletic competition and development of positive societal attitudes in service to community. The balance and integration of these different areas of learning opportunities provide Division II student-athletes a path to graduation while cultivating a variety of skills and knowledge for life ahead.

Again, welcome to ThunderWolves Athletics and we wish you all the very best during the upcoming year. We are looking forward to another year of great accomplishments and our outstanding group of student athletes and premier coaching staff will be the driving force behind the program's success.



Joe Folda

Posted on June 24, 2009

Athletics boosters - Our lifeline to success

CSU-Pueblo athletics has enjoyed a great relationship with friends and boosters through the years.  We have received several large donations that have come in the form of endowments which have resulted in many scholarships for our student athletes.  One of our athletic department endowments which was provided by Art and Lorraine Gonzales has funded all baseball scholarships for several years.  Years ago Bob Rawlings provided the funding for the Rawlings Sports Complex which houses our baseball, softball and soccer programs.   This past year the University was able to bring back football, wrestling and women's track and field due to the unbelievable generosity of Dan DeRose and family and the Friends of Football.

Each year the athletic department also receives assistance from boosters, corporations and fans to allow the program to meet its yearly budget.  CSU-Pueblo Athletics has over 150 boosters contribute each year along with over 100 corporate partners as well as the many fans that attend departmental special events and our scheduled intercollegiate games.  Last year, the athletics department's total revenue through fundraising and gate revenue was just over $450,000.  Without this help each year, athletics would not be able to meet budget commitments and goals.

Many championships have been won and more importantly, so many student athletes have grown and developed through their experiences at the University and in athletics which has enabled them to be successful after earning their college degree.  We are very proud of the accomplishments of our student athletes not only during their days at CSU-Pueblo but in the years after as well.  A great deal of any success that we have had in athletics and the success of our student athletes can be traced right back to the generosity of our athletics donors, boosters and fans.

This letter is meant to be a special thanks to you all and want you to know that we couldn't do this without your help.

On a sad note, as many of you know Kay Becher recently passed away.  Kay and Madge were two of the first people that I met upon my family's arrival in Pueblo in 1987.  Kay and Madge have been unbelievable loyal fans of our student athletes and the athletic program forever and I want to say that Kay will certainly be missed.  We truly have lost a great fan, however I know he will be cheering from above for our teams in the future.  It is the many loyal fans such as Kay and Madge Becher that we are so fortunate to have that we can always count on to assist us in any way that makes working and competing at CSU-Pueblo such a great experience.

The department of athletics has created a booster brochure for your information.   As members of the NCAA, our program has many rules that need to be strictly adhered to in order for us to remain in good standing with the national organization.  It is important for us to give you the opportunity to be informed so that you do not unknowingly commit an NCAA violation with one of our student athletes.  With all the exciting things going on in athletics, we certainly don't want anything to happen which could jeopardize the opportunity for student athletes and our sports programs to continue to bring positive publicity to the University.  Please take time to review our booster brochure by clicking here. If you have any questions after reading through the brochure, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Again, we in athletics cannot thank our boosters, corporate partners and fans enough for your outstanding support of ThunderWolves Athletics through the years.

Posted on May 28, 2009

Congratulations to Graduates

May 2nd was graduation day for CSU-Pueblo students and many of our student athletes.  We are very proud of the accomplishments of the student athletes both on and off the fields of competition.  NCAA Division II stresses balance between athletics and academics and we believe that our student athletes understand the concept and do a great job in meeting the demands of being a student athlete, completing all academic requirements and maintaining their grades, spending time with community service projects within the athletics program and having a responsible social life.

This spring nearly fifty student athletes received their college degrees from CSU-Pueblo.  It was great to see the kids walking across the stage to shake hands, receive their degrees and the showing of enthusiasm in accomplishing a major milestone in their lives.  A highlight for athletics this spring came when Jenna Garcia, a former volleyball student athlete, received the University's most prestigious honor when she was named the recipient of the Threlkeld Prize for Excellence. 

Also, CSU-Pueblo athletics had two academic all conference players of the year in Trevor Martinet in men's soccer and Jason Fobes in baseball, both of which were named CoSIDA Academic All-Americans.   I also need to mention that two of our student athletes served as the president (David Fresquez) and vice president (Allan Chacon) for the associated student government.  Both of these outstanding young men received their degrees from the University this spring.

A primary goal of the athletics program is to assistant student athletes to leave the University equipped with a skill set for success after graduation.  Judged by the visits, emails, and phone calls that the coaching staff receive from former players each year to say hello and let the coaches know of the success that they have had, we believe that our program has recruited quality kids through the years and that we are emphasizing the right things in the athletics program.  The coaching staff should be commended for their efforts along these lines and I know that the student athletes that come through our programs appreciate the efforts of their coaches. 

I would also like to congratulate the achievements of the spring sports.  The baseball, softball, men's tennis and men's golf teams all made the NCAA playoffs.  Spring sports at CSU-Pueblo have always been some of the most successful from a competitive stand point and this past spring was outstanding.

In closing this edition, on behalf of the athletic department, I would like to congratulate all of the student athletes in the program for a job well done during the year.  We had so many exciting things happen at the University this past year and athletics played a major part in it all.  New programs, new facilities and the many outstanding accomplishments by our kids both on and off the court have helped raise CSU-Pueblo Athletics to another level and we are already getting excited about the upcoming year. 

Posted on April 14, 2009

We chose Division II

In the fall of 1990 the University of Southern Colorado (our name in those days) chose to join the NCAA at the Division II level.  The reasons for becoming members of the NCAA back then were:

                1.  The NCAA was a more prestigious organization than the NAIA of which the school was currently affiliated with.

                2.  The NCAA paid all or part of the cost for teams that made the NCAA Tournaments.  As a member of the NAIA, only the men's basketball teams received any assistance to attend national tournaments.  There were cases where some of our past teams were not able to attend because of budgetary concerns.

                3.  A total of seven Colorado small colleges; USC, Metro State, Colorado Christian, Regis, Colorado Mines, UCCS and Fort Lewis College agreed to make the move to the NCAA and formed the Colorado Athletic Conference .  The schools left the RMAC and the one thing that brought the schools together other than all being located in Colorado, was the fact that none of the schools had a football program except Fort Lewis.

The CAC served its purpose and was a strong league in the sports that the schools sponsored.  However, during the fall of 1995, the CAC members and the RMAC joined forces to form the expanded RMAC of which the ThunderWolves are current members.  This move was great for the schools involved from a stability and scheduling standpoint.

Being a member of NCAA Division II has been a great fit for our University through the years both philosophically and financially.  A key word in Division II is "Life in the Balance".  Division II athletics programs put the emphasis on the student-athlete experience and stress a comprehensive program of learning and development in a personal setting.  The Division II approach provides growth opportunities through academic achievement, learning in high-level athletics competition and development of positive societal attitudes in service to community.  A fact in Division II athletic programs is that the student-athletes retention rates, GPA's and graduation rates are above the rate for the general student population.   Three major initiatives in Division II that add to the total experience for student-athletes and fans are community service, community engagement and a positive game environment.

CSU-Pueblo athletics key words are "Developing Champions Through Athletics".  We believe in the Division II concept and are proud members of the RMAC and NCAA Division II.  Our coaches and staff members get our excitement and are so appreciative of our student-athletes as they represent our program and the University on the fields and courts as they compete as tough teams and competitors, as they walk across the stage on graduation day and as we see them go on to so many success stories as they pursue their dreams after their time at the University.

NCAA Division II has be great for us and we can truly say the "WE CHOSE DIVISION II"

Don't look now, but we have several teams in contention for advancing to NCAA tournament play later this spring.  Baseball and Softball are both leading their divisions and are ranked regionally.  Men's Golf and Men's Tennis both have great opportunities to advance to NCAA play also.  Our new women's track team is competing well and is in hopes of qualifying an athlete or two for the big show.  The best of luck to those teams as well as the women's golf and tennis teams as they compete the rest of the season.

In closing for now, I want to say how much we appreciate our outstanding student-athletes.  They are great and are the foundation of all that takes place in athletics.

Over 425 Student Athletes and Staff/16 Sports/1 TEAM

Posted on March 1, 2009

From the Desk of the AD

From the Desk of the AD

This is an exciting time to be part of CSU-Pueblo!  The University boasts an increased enrollment, new athletic programs and facilities and a renewed enthusiasm on campus and within the Pueblo community.  The addition of football, wrestling and women's track, along with the completed renovation of Massari and the construction of the Neta and Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl have played a significant part in the progress of the University during the past year.

Here's a quick recap of the fall sports: 

  • Coach Wristen and his staff did a wonderful job of recruiting and building a team out of 125 new football student athletes. The team played before large and enthusiastic crowds and represented the University and community of Pueblo in a first class manner. The 4-6 record was an outstanding achievement for a first year program.
  • Both the men's and women's soccer teams made the RMAC playoffs with the men just missing out on an NCAA tournament berth.
  • The women's cross country and volleyball teams both went through rebuilding years, however the young student athletes in both programs along with strong recruiting classes have both programs excited about the future.

Currently the men's and women's basketball teams are competing to make the RMAC playoffs.  The women's team is ranked in the Central Region and with a strong finish could make the NCAA Regional Tournament for the third time in four years under Coach Drown.  The new wrestling and indoor track teams are competing and representing us very well under coaches Dax Charles and Chad Perry, respectively.  Both programs look to be outstanding programs in the near future.

The spring programs are off and running with baseball, softball, men's and women's tennis having already competed, while men's and women's golf and outdoor track preparing to begin competition in March.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of athletic corporate sponsors that support our teams and student-athletes.  CSU-Pueblo athletics has received tremendous cash and in kind donations throughout the years from the business community, without which we would not have a chance of competing in Division II and the RMAC.  Your business has provided many opportunities for our student athletes to be able to compete in the sport that they love, earn a college degree in their chosen field of study and give them a jump start to creating their own success stories in the future.  CSU-Pueblo athletics can't thank the Pueblo business community enough for your generosity and continued support.

Thanks Pueblo and GO THUNDERWOLVES!