Plenty of changes, improvement,
energy fueling PUC athletics program
By DAVE FANNO
Dave Fanno is the Sports Information Coordinator at Purdue University Calumet
“Fear the Bird!” That’s the new slogan for the 2008-09 Purdue University Calumet Peregrines basketball campaign. It is featured on the back of T-shirts available at all PUC home games this season. On the front is the newly designed Peregrine logo.
The slogan and logo also are printed on a 4′ x 10′ banner hanging at the north end of the gymnasium next to a new scoreboard. The new logo and slogan are part of new marketing and promotional plans for Peregrine basketball and prospective future athletic teams at Purdue Calumet.
The new logo, designed by graphic artists John McNulty and Kristin Kassela, has a collegiate look similar in shape and size to the Big Ten Conference’s Iowa Hawkeye. McNulty designed the original renditions of the Peregrine logo, which was adopted in 2004 in an effort to help energize interest in Purdue Calumet athletics. Its athletic teams previously known as the Lakers since 1980, Purdue Calumet is believed to be the only college or university in the country that has adopted the swift flying, peregrine falcon as its athletic mascot.
But a new logo look is not the only advancement in the Purdue Calumet athletics program. Several changes have taken place, with other plans in the offing in an effort to boost attendance and build a fan base for the basketball teams, as well as respond to a university strategic plan goal to develop a vibrant campus community with respect to an expanded intercollegiate athletic program.
More sports teams under study
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health, Recreation and Sports/Athletics Director Bob Bunnell has spent the last several months developing a 10-year growth plan to add as many as 10 varsity athletic teams to the current program. The plan is being reviewed by Purdue Calumet’s senior administration.
To help generate campus interest in PUC’s women’s and men’s basketball teams this season, Midday Madness was held in October. The outdoor event, sponsored by the athletic department and corporate partner UPS, featured introductions of players and coaches, shooting contests, refreshments and giveaways of Peregrine plastic cups and T-shirts in Founders Plaza, as well as the unveiling of the new Peregrine logo.
More than 300 students and staff attended the event, modeled loosely after Midnight Madness events, hosted by NCAA basketball teams to celebrate the official start of preseason practice.
Experiential learning & radio broadcasts
To further generate interest in and exposure for PUC basketball teams, the university and radio station WJOB (1230-am) have agreed to a partnership in which 12 men’s and women’s games are being broadcast this season on the Hammond station. Teaming on the broadcasts with Purdue Calumet alumnus and veteran local sports broadcaster Brian Jennings are two Purdue Calumet radio/TV student majors, Kaitlin Craig of Highland and Joe Wielosinski of Burnham, Ill.
The students will alternate game assignments as color commentator and courtside reporter, as well as assist Jennings with play-by-play broadcasting and writing on-air promotional copy. The opportunities for Craig and Wielosinski are expected to grow into a formal experiential learning academic component for future radio/TV students with interests in sports broadcasting.
The remaining schedule of PUC basketball radio broadcasts on WJOB is as follows:
- Sat., Dec. 20 – PUC women host Illinois Tech, air time 1 pm
- Sat., Dec. 20 – PUC men host Indiana Univ. Northwest, air time 5 pm
- Wed., Jan. 14 – PUC women host Calumet College, air time 5 pm
- Wed., Jan. 14 – PUC men host Calumet College, air time 7 pm
- Wed., Jan. 21 – PUC women host Robert Morris, air time 7 pm
- Wed., Jan. 28 – PUC men host Purdue North Central, air time 7:30 pm
- Sat., Jan 31 – PUC women host Trinity Christian, air time 1 pm
- Sat., Feb. 7 – PUC women at Calumet College, air time 1pm
- Sat., Feb. 7 – PUC men at Calumet College, air time 3pm
- Sat., Feb. 14 – PUC women host Olivet Nazarene, air time 1 pm
- Wed., Feb. 18 – PUC men host Cardinal Stritch, air time 7:30 pm
Another new addition has been the creation of the P-Club, short for Peregrine Club. P-Club members, who include athlete alumni, family members of present athletes and PUC staff, will assist fundraising for athletic department programs, equipment and improvements to the Fitness and Recreation Center. The P-Club also will promote athletic events and activities, including the annual Powers-PUC Golf Outing and the Purdue Calumet Athletic Hall of Fame, which will host its first induction ceremony Feb. 14.
The P-Club meets monthly and will plan events to complement basketball games and other activities. Those interested in becoming a member are invited to contact the athletics department office at (219) 989-2540.
Last summer, the Fitness & Recreation Center received a facelift including a remodeled concession area and construction of a new women’s locker room. The new women’s facility provides a private team area for the women’s basketball team for daily use during the basketball season.
Construction of the locker room also satisfies guidelines under Title IX, a 1972 federal ruling that requires equality of opportunities in men’s and women’s intercollegiate sports. Both PUC men’s and women’s basketball squads now have private locker rooms separating them from the gymnasium locker facilities used by other campus members and the public.
When the locker room was built, the concession area was reduced and remodeled, resulting in more efficient use of space. Overhead and wall-attached fluorescent lighting was added. Walls were painted using traditional university colors of black and Vegas gold. Colored tiles were placed over the grey cement floor. The previous table seating was replaced with circular, stainless steel bar-high tables. A stainless steel serving table and storage cabinet also replaced the painted wooden serving stand. New food items, including, appropriately enough, “Peregrine Wings” were added to the menu.
Inside the gymnasium, McNulty painted the Peregrine mascot inside the center circle of the wooden floor, and extended the 3-point stripe one foot further out to 20 feet nine inches to accommodate a new intercollegiate men’s basketball rule this season. The NCAA rules committee changed the 3-point stripe distance last May, and the NAIA followed suit. The women’s 3-point stripe remains at 19-feet-9-inches.
Late last season, two new scoreboards were erected; a main and secondary board on the north and south ends of the gymnasium. In addition to displaying scores, running time and fouls, the main board displays player jersey numbers, per player point and foul totals, and the number of timeouts remaining for each team. The boards are also equipped to time and score wrestling matches.
Basketball teams are transitioning
Dan Voudrie, previously a veteran assistant coach at Olivet Nazarene University, was appointed PUC’s men’s head basketball coach last summer. One of his early acts in restoring a program that compiled a 6-23 record last season has been to move practice from traditional late afternoon starting times to early morning.
Sessions begin promptly at 6:30 a.m. to better accommodate his student-athletes’ class schedules and encourage better overall focus. Voudrie’s pre- and early-season practices have focused significantly on conditioning and fundamental teaching, incorporating drills commonly used by football squads.
The women’s squad under Tom Megyesi, long-time successful high school coach now in his second season at PUC, has concentrated on improvements in shot selection and shooting technique. Megyesi saw a need to add offensive punch to the 67.5 points per game his injury-plagued, 7-24 squad averaged last season.
To that end, the PUC women scored at a 77.8 clip in five of their first seven games this season. Leading the offensive potency have been a pair of underclassmen, freshman Stephaine Beck (15.9 ppg) and sophomore Jenny Britton (11.7). Britton was averaging nearly 13 points a game last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
All in all, the pieces are being positioned and plans in the works for an exciting, energized Purdue Calumet Peregrines athletics program.
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