August 22, 2013
Robert Nygaard | Communication Director | University of Minnesota Duluth Athletics | 218-726-8191 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Lori Melton | Communication Associate | External Affairs | 218 726-8830 | email@example.com
Berlo Nears Completion of Four Months at UMD Athletic Helm: Has Plenty to Show For It
It has been a little under four months since Josh Berlo officially began his duties as the University of Minnesota Duluth's Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. In addition to projects already in the works upon his arrival on May 1, 2013, Berlo has added a few new ones with increased emphasis on fan experience and engagement, all while working to grow the national profile of UMD Athletics.
"UMD is a special place with an impressive tradition of multi-disciplinary excellence," said Berlo "I am honored to lead UMD Athletics in support of our student-athletes as they chase championships, excel academically and support the community. Moreover, I have thoroughly enjoyed my first few months in the Northland as our department has worked tirelessly to build on the great programs and to further engage the UMD faithful. I can't say enough about how welcoming and supportive this community has been to my wife and me as we get settled in Duluth.
The following list details how the UMD athletic staff and coaches are working harder than ever to build on the great Bulldog traditions of championships, academic excellence and community involvement.
Apparel and Uniform Partner – The Bulldogs have entered into a five-year partnership with Under Armour as the official uniform, apparel and footwear of UMD Athletics. The agreement calls for Under Armour to provide product, game uniforms, rebates, discounts and incentives to UMD Athletics as well as discounts to the UMD Recreational Sports Outdoor Programs and its 25 club sport teams amongst others. UMD Stores (www.umdstores.com) currently features a wide variety of custom UMD Bulldog Under Armour gear.
"This new partnership will help give our student-athletes the best opportunity to achieve on the national level," said Berlo. "The Bulldogs will be competing in cuttingedge innovator in sport and we are proud to represent them while excelling athletically, academically and in the community."
Web Site – On Sept. 3, UMD will launch its new athletic website, www.umdbulldogs.com. The functionality of the site will allow students, fans and alumni to have a superior user-experience. Prominent features and new innovations include integrated social media, dynamic schedule views, team specific video channels, and personalized team graphics. It will remain THE source for all things Bulldogs -- breaking news, information, scores, schedules, bios, rosters, and much more on each of the 16 UMD sports and its 400-plus student-athletes, coaches and staff. The Bulldogs partnered with SIDEARM Sports, one of the leading providers of college athletic websites in the country, in this endeavor. Fan Experience and Engagement – More than ever, the Bulldogs want to hear from you! UMD Athletics recently conducted its most comprehensive fan survey and will be instituting much of the valuable feedback received relative to your gameday experience. Expect to receive more surveys and tell us what you think! A few examples of fan feedback related changes and improvements:
• Beginning in 2013, the annual Spring Fling Dinner and Auction will move to the fall. The inaugural Fall Fling Dinner and Auction is set for the evening of Sept. 26 at the Greysolon Ballroom in downtown Duluth.
• With more feedback from UMD students and fans, the Bulldogs will be adjusting some in game-night features for Bulldog men's and women's hockey at AMSOIL Arena.
• Full-time UMD faculty and staff are now admitted FREE with valid UCard for all regular season home volleyball and soccer matches.
• Comments and suggestions on how UMD can improve its product and services are always welcome -- and encouraged – by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
• The Bulldog Club booster group is more active than ever before. More than a dozen events were held this summer to rally and thank Bulldog alumni, season ticket holders, faculty, staff and many others who support UMD athletics. Visit www.umdbulldogs.com for more information on how to get involved and enjoy the exclusive member benefits.
Enhanced offerings for fans at Malosky Stadium – The football game-day experience at James S. Malosky Stadium will be transformed this fall. Bulldog fans will now have an official tailgating lot directly in front of Malosky Stadium, allowing them to grill, play games, gather with other UMD boosters, and get ready in a true tailgate atmosphere before kickoff (alcohol permitted). Visit www.umdbulldogs.com/tickets and click on Football for more information. The lot will open three hours prior to kickoff each home game Saturday and a $10 per car ($40 for an RV) fee will be charged. Discounted season passes are available. In addition, Bulldog Athletics has joined forces with the UMD Alumni Association and created a Hospitality Zone inside the stadium on the north end. Admission to the Hospitality Zone is free for all ticketholders.
The Bulldogs have also created a new premium seating area on the third floor of Malosky Stadium and limited number of tickets are still available. The expansive lounge features couches, tables, and two lookout balconies and includes a high-end catered buffet and soft drinks for your $40 ticket ($200 for the season). A full cash bar is also available. Call (218) 726-8595 to purchase before they sellout!
Malosky Stadium Videoboard – James S. Malosky Stadium, which has undergone numerous upgrades over the past several years, is now equipped with a state-ofthe-art 12' x 22' videoscreen. The screen will allow fans a more interactive and entertaining game-day atmosphere. Spectators will be able to see live replays, participate in in-game promotions, and new innovative activities.
New Season Ticket Holder Benefits – The Bulldogs added new benefits for all Bulldog men's hockey, football and women's hockey season ticketholders. These benefits include huge savings, special event invites, exclusive discounts from local partners, convenient payment plans, and a new commemorative season ticket. A few season tickets remain and are available at: www.umdbulldogs.com/tickets
Expanded Social Media – You now have more way to connect and follow with the Bulldogs on twitter and facebook. The new website will include a comprehensive social media directory for the entire department and its staff.
Inaugural year of the NCHC and state of North Star College Hockey Cup – The UMD men's hockey program celebrates its 70th season of existence in 2013-14 as well as its first year of play in the new and ultra-competitive National Collegiate Hockey Conference. Since 2000, this eight-team circuit, which includes national heavyweights such as North Dakota, Miami, and Denver, has produced four NCAA champions. This January will also mark the debut of a highly-anticipated state of Minnesota college hockey tournament at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center featuring Minnesota's NCAA I hockey schools. UMD and Minnesota State will do battle in one semifinal with Minnesota and St. Cloud State locking horns in the other. Visit www.umdbulldogs.com/tickets to get yours for this special event. Cost is only $80 per ticket for all four games!
"While we will dearly miss our WCHA rivals, the NCHC will provide the Bulldogs the opportunity to establish new ones and rekindle others," said Berlo. "In addition, the NCHC contract with CBS Sports will guarantee UMD national television exposure annually in arguably the best collegiate hockey conference in the nation."
Community Service – Bulldog student athletes, coaches and staff are taking their legacy of supporting Duluth and the Northland to new heights. Partnerships with many local charitable and youth sports organizations are being furthered and fostered. UMD Athletics appreciates all the support it receives in the community and is putting an even greater priority on giving back. Please email any ideas to get involved with UMD Athletics to Karen Stromme at email@example.com
Unprecedented academic success – During the past school year, UMD's 409 student-athletes, posted an average GPA of 3.11 (an all-time high) and of that group, 102 achieved GPAs of 3.50 or above and eight turned in perfect 4.00 figures. Our commitment to classroom excellence is evident in the fact that UMD now employs, for the first time ever, a full-time academic advisor.