by Eric Uribe
Few sports are as tradition-rich as college football. From Auburn’s War Eagle flying in pregame to the thud of cow bells from Mississippi State fans to Texas A&M’s midnight yell, these traditions have decades, sometimes even centuries, of history behind them.
However, such tradition has been absent for much of the Wolf Pack’s storied past. Although Nevada has a strong football pedigree, the program’s fan engagement has been trailing for a long time.
Sure, firing a giant cannon after each touchdown with Packfetti raining is cool and all, but does it even compare to Ohio State’s band dotting the ‘i’ before games? Even the howl played on the loud speaker wears thin after a while. Let’s not get started on the “Jump Around” song.
Nonetheless, one of the biggest takeaways from Wolf Pack head coach Brian Polian’s short two years on campus is the infusion of tradition he’s tried to establish — most notably, the Wolf Pack Walk before games where Nevada players stroll through the tailgate area. Moreover, the team and student section singing the school’s alma mater, win or lose, is a nice touch.
As a former Notre Dame and Texas A&M coach, Polian knows firsthand what school tradition is and it is obvious that he is trying to rub that off on Nevada.
Polian and the rest of the Wolf Pack athletic department took their efforts one step further by rolling out an inaugural National Signing Day party tomorrow.
The first Wednesday of February, which coincides with signing day, is one of the most exciting days of the year for college football diehards. Nonetheless, the Wolf Pack hasn’t capitalized on the buzz.
Press conferences, video highlights of each signee and Twitter posts — which is what the athletic department has done in the past — are fine, but a party is the perfect calling card to fire the fans up.
The party will be hosted by Polian and his coaching staff in the Joe Crowley Student Union ballrooms, with doors opening at 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 and includes appetizers. Unfortunately, the student discount Nevada fans have grown accustomed to won’t be offered.
While an Andrew Jackson bill is enough to leave a dent in most students’ pocket, this event might be worth it.
Polian is synonymous with recruiting, which has long been billed as his strength. Here’s his chance to flex his muscles and for fans to get a glimpse of the Wolf Pack’s not-too-distant future.
Early reports indicate Nevada’s class will be strong. The 20-plus player class is expected to stretch across the country, with Polian locking up commitments from Virginia, Illinois, Texas and even Canada — which aren’t exactly Wolf Pack recruiting hot spots.
Along with an in-depth look at all the signees, Nevada athletic director Doug Knuth is slated to give a presentation on the upcoming $11.5 million facelift of Mackay Stadium.
A signing day party certainly isn’t a new concept. Such events are a staple in football-crazed towns in the south, but it’s a breath of fresh air with the Wolf Pack.
Not to sound like a homer, but the department is doing their part, now it’s up to the Wolf Pack fans to do theirs. Ultimately, it’s a two-way street to cementing traditions at this university.
Like Polian says, boom goes the dynamite.
Eric Uribe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @Uribe_Eric.