July 1, 2014
CARBONDALE, Ill. - This is the latest installment of our monthly feature called, "Ask the AD." If you have questions for Saluki Director of Athletics Mario Moccia, feel free to submit them by e-mail.
I like night games early in the season, but why are there so many night football games later in the season, particularly Homecoming, which has traditionally been an afternoon game?
First, we looked at 10 years of data which showed that our best-attended games occurred at night during the months of September and October. Next, we had four focus-group meetings with Saluki Football constituencies (fans, business leaders, students and staff). The majority of the individuals in the focus groups supported more night games. We've never had a night Homecoming game in school history and believe this will be a special event that draws a large crowd on Oct. 25. Improving football attendance is a point of emphasis for the administration and we want to give ourselves the opportunity to attract the biggest crowds possible.
I was on the Valley website and it is very embarrassing that our Saluki logo is the smallest one shown, and it is because we do not use the Saluki Dog Head. I think that is the best logo. Can you ask the Valley to use the Dog Head instead?
I looked at the MVC site and asked the league to make our logo bigger, which they should be able to do. Many of the coaches past and present are not big fans of the Saluki dog head as our primary athletic logo. Merchandisers do use the dog head on shirts and other items, but we have found that the dog head on a uniform or helmet doesn't project the look we are seeking. We have reviewed all our "dog" logos throughout the history of Athletics and aren't sold on any of them. We have taken a preliminary look at commissioning a new logo and we will delve into this issue in more depth during the 2014-15 season.
President Poshard and Chancellor Cheng have been proponents of Saluki athletics via attendance and participation in all things athletics. With their departure, do you feel Saluki Athletics will still receive the same support from incoming University leadership? What have your initial interactions with President Dunn been like?
That is a question that is difficult for me to answer at the beginning of a transition. There is no doubt that President Poshard was a supporter of Athletics with his work on the Saluki Way concept as well as attending games. Likewise, Chancellor Cheng was tremendous in her support and a national figure within the NCAA! She will be missed by me more than I could ever illustrate. I would hope that all Saluki fans would realize what her efforts have meant to our program over the last few years. Moving forward, an acting/interim Chancellor will be named, and it is my hope that person will continue to view Athletics as the "front porch" of a thriving University and a vital component of the educational mission on campus. Regarding President Dunn, his previous two stops were at Murray State and Youngstown State, and both AD's at those schools (Allan Ward and Ron Strollo) told me he is a very big supporter and fan of Intercollegiate Athletics, which is a positive sign for Saluki fans.