Thursday, February 4, 2010

Aztec for Life!

By Luke Epp (SMBA '11)

After a quick break for lunch, the SMBA class reconvened at the Aztec Athletic Center. The beautiful facility is home to the SDSU Hall of Fame, has a state-of-the-art weight room, houses the Aztec coaching staffs, and also has an academic center for student-athletes. Our SMBA class was privileged enough to be invited over by the SDSU Athletic Department. In the weeks prior they had tasked us with evaluating the experience of the mens' and women's basketball games.

Lucky for us, the Athletic Department has provided us with season tickets to the Aztec basketball games this year! Our class has come out in full force to show our support. The highlight for me was the BYU game. Although SDSU lost a close one to BYU (currently ranked #12), the capacity crowd was absolutely rocking. The Athletic Department ran a "Black Out" promotion in which each student received a black towel with the SDSU fight song printed on it. The class thought this was a tremendous idea and as you can see from the picture, it was executed very well. Joe Shemanski (SMBA '11) stepped up and presented the class' feedback directly to the Athletic Department panel. Great job, Joe!

After presenting our feedback, we heard directly from the Athletic Department. Don Oberhelman - Interim Athletic Director/COO, Sean Briner - Associate Athletic Director/Marketing & Sales, Bob Moosbrugger - Associate Athletic Director Development/Major Gifts, Nick Pettit - Associate Athletic Director, Steve Schnall - Associate Athletic Director, Jay Larson - Assistant Athletic Director of Compliance, Chris Carlson - Director of Marketing and Ticket Sales, and Diane Penny - General Manager of Aztec Sports Properties for Learfield Sports all gave a quick overview of their experience in college athletics and their main responsibilities. It was great for the class to get exposed to the inner workings of a Division-1 collegiate athletic department. Each presenter's passion and enthusiasm for their job was clearly evident. They definitely take great pride in Aztec athletics, their student-athletes, and the entire SDSU community. A BIG THANKS goes out to Aztec athletics. SMBA '11 is excited to get involved and help in any way possible!

Our day ended by getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the facilities. Wow...if I was being recruited by SDSU, I know I would be signing! The tour started out at the weight room, where the football team was finishing up with a workout. It kind of reminded me of the days when I used to pump iron as a member of the Purdue University golf team (yes, the golf team actually did work out). We then strolled into the Tony Gwynn Stadium, which is widely considered one of the best college baseball facilities in the country. Check out the's pretty easy to see why. I think I even caught a glimpse of the man the field was named after.

After working up a sweat on the baseball diamond, the class decided to a quick dip in the new Aztec Aquaplex. I will surely be going over there later in the semester as the temperatures rise! The last stop on the tour was the Aztec Tennis Center where we got a chance to speak with men's head coach, Gene Carswell. He gave us some background on both the men's and women's tennis programs, their upcoming schedule, and how the Aztec Tennis Center has been a great tool to help recruiting. I even saw and heard the next Maria Sharapova practicing. Another big thanks goes out to Chris Carlson for being such a great tour guide. SMBA '11 really appreciates Chris and Sean Briner being the liaison between SDSU Athletics and our program.

Go Aztecs!


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