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Hoofprints - Thursday, December 11, 2008

December 12, 2008
By Chris Hmielewski

It has been a fast and furious fall schedule of events and new projects for the Athletics Department working together with our SMSU Foundation . It really hit me yesterday when Kristi Mukomela, SMSU Alum and Foundation Board Member, ended the Dec. Foundation Board meeting acknowledging the positive change in environment the different fall events, football games, and Foundation and University programming has brought to the campus. As Kristi was talking about her experiences this fall, I began to reflect on the events, programming, and projects we implemented and executed this season.

It all started when we introduced the Regional Event Center to the SMSU, Marshall and surrounding communities. The Regional Event Center is the talk of the State of Minnesota and the NSIC when it comes to hosting football and soccer games as well as conferencing events.

Within this project, the SMSU Foundation and Athletics Department partnered to enhance three athletic facilities on-campus by installing new scoreboards and marketing inventory throughout the Regional Event Center, R/A Facility and PE Gym. The scoreboards and marketing inventory have enabled us to provide our corporate partners with a much improved list of marketing opportunities. I would like to send a special thank you out to our SMSU Foundation Board for their support in helping to make this project come to life.

We had a multitude of events this fall beginning with the Grand Opening of the Regional Events Center and Ag Bowl the last week of August. Homecoming and the Smokefest combined for a huge success in September. The Mustang Football team had great crowds averaging right at 3,000 fans per game. And the Regional Event Center suites provided our visitors a festive social environment for all Mustang and Tiger athletic events. Throughout the fall, I heard two comments constantly being made in reference to the Regional Event Center. They were, "This is a great collegiate football environment" and "what a great facility". I too have found myself saying the very same things as I observed the game, the crowds, our alums, our students, and the community all come together to support Mustang and Tiger Athletics.

To end the fall season, the Regional Event Center brought Minnesota State High School sectional and quarter final football games to Marshall. SMSU and Marshall High School teamed up to host six playoff games that saw over 7,000 high school football fans come to Marshall on back to back Fridays. It was an electrifying football environment with one absolutely beautiful day the first Friday. The next Friday did not treat us so well with a mix of snow and wind during the two quarter final games. In spite of the weather, some 2,000 fans came from Springfield, New Ulm, Clinton, Graceville, Beardsley, Alden, and Conger to support their respective teams.

It has been an extremely exciting and successful fall sports season. The Regional Event Center has provided SMSU, the Marshall community, and all of southwestern Minnesota with a great venue for college and high school events. Thank you to all the SMSU and Marshall High School staff and the Marshall Community members who have worked so very hard to make these events a success.

Gold Rush Raffle Tickets Now Available

The 6th Annual Gold Rush Raffle will be held on Friday, Feb. 20. If you are interested in purchasing a ticket call the athletic department at 507-537-7204.

If you have not been to the Gold Rush Raffle, you should buy a raffle ticket and join us for a night of fun, friendship and laughter. Every year the raffle gets great reviews from the people who attend. It is a mid-winter social event that you will not want to miss with cash prizes, give-always, games, and silent and live raffle items. The Gold Rush is sponsored by the Mustang Booster Club and has sold out all six years.

Congratulations to Josh VanKlompenburg for providing the correct answer to last week's Mustang Hoofprint's Trivia Question: The SMSU Athletic Department has seven coaches or staff members who were former NCAA Division I student-athletes. Can you name four out of the seven providing their name, college attended, and sport each played at their respective university? Josh emailed in the top four answers below with the last three completing our list of former Division I student-athletes:

Chris Hmielewski/Kansas State University/Baseball

Paul Blanchard/University of Minnesota/Football & Baseball

Cory Sauter/University of Minnesota/Football

Amy Olson/Howard University/Soccer

Jina Johanson/University of Nebraska/Women's Basketball

Jake Avre/University of Minnesota/Wrestling

Jeremy Darveau/University of Louisville/Football


Head baseball coach Paul Blanchard originally went to what university out of high school (before transferring to the U of M) and what sport did he participate in at that college?

The first person to e-mail me at with the correct answer to this question will receive a SMSU T-shirt. Please include your first and last name and phone number with the correct answer. The winner will be announced on The Saturday Morning Mustang Show between 9-10 a.m. on 1400AM each week.



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