Monday, July 25, 2011

The Stretch Run

Sorry, Aggie fans, but former UC Davis and current St. Louis Cardinals infielder Daniel Descalso will not earn the National League Rookie of the Year award.

That is certainly not meant as a knock against Descalso and his fine season. Last fall, he made school history by becoming the first Aggie alum to bat in the major leagues. Then this spring, he made the Birds' Opening Day roster. Descalso had done the UC Davis faithful proud in that moment, and anything achieved in the 2011 season would be gravy.

No, that statement is based more on the reality of the situation: the senior circuit's prized ROY honor will almost certainly go to Braves stopper Craig Kimbrel, who has saved 31 games, posted a 2.16 ERA and fanned 79 batters in 50 innings as of this post. With six more saves, he will break Todd Worrell's National League for a rookie. Unfortunately for the other rookies, Kimbrel almost does not qualify under baseball's definition of a rookie (50 innings pitched, 130 at-bats or 45 days on the active roster prior to the September 1 roster expansions). Although he only appeared in 20.2 frames in 2010, Kimbrel spent 38 days on Atlanta's big club last year, mostly in May and June.

But enough about Kimbrel. Maybe some blogger at Wallace State Community College will go 30 inches on the Dixie's fireballer. This is about Descalso.

Given that he nabbed the last locker in the St. Louis clubhouse, Descalso has by most accounts exceeded expectations. He has appeared in 93 of his team's 101 games, batting .264 with 17 doubles, 28 runs and 26 RBI through July 24. Respectable numbers, even if they don't match up with offensive rookies like Washington's Danny Espinosa (17 homers, 55 RBI, 12 steals), Atlanta's Freddie Freeman (23 doubles, 15 homers, .823 OPS) and Chicago's Darwin Barney (.299 average, 43 runs scored).

However, it's worth noting Descalso's improvement during the season. After a .226 start, Descalso batted .293 (17-for-58) in June and has touched opposing pitchers at a .351 clip (13-for-37) in his July appearances. He has performed equally well at home (.263) as on the road (.265). He has hit .323 (20-for-62) with runners in scoring position, and .341 (14-for-41) in late-inning and "close" situations.

Additionally, consider Descalso's value to the Cardinals. St. Louis suffered from an injury bug early in the season. Fellow Big West Conference alum Skip Schumaker went on the DL in mid-April. Infielders David Freese and Nick Punto followed in early May. Four-time All-Star Matt Holliday was sidelined by appendicitis and a quad strain early on, forcing a form of musical chairs both defensively and in the Cards' lineup. Sure, all of these misfortunes served as Descalso's windfall, as it allowed him more opportunities for playing time than perhaps even he anticipated. But credit the versatile Aggie for creating his own opportunities: he plays three infield positions equally well, providing manager Tony LaRussa with numerous options during a trying spring. Now, weeks past the All-Star break, St. Louis remains in the thick of a surprisingly tight NL Central race.

Again, Daniel Descalso will not win the National Rookie of the Year award. He probably won't even rate high in the balloting, since a) he's not an everyday starter and b) he doesn't post high numbers in the Triple Crown categories usually coveted by the voters. (My guess is the top three spots will go to Kimbrel, Barney and maybe Mets starter Dillon Gee.) But given what he has accomplished, and the contributions he has made to his ballclub, I hope someone among the baseball writers gives him a look when casting a ballot in November.

Regardless of how the rest of the season goes, Danny, keep up the good work -- you've done us Aggie faithful proud.

-Mark Honbo, assistant director of athletics communications, keeps trading cards of several former Aggies on his office wall. Ken O'Brien, Rolf Benirschke, Kevin Daft, Mike Wise, Onome Ojo, J.T. O'Sullivan, Trisha Reinhardt and Greg Bruso are already on there. Descalso and Mark Grieb are on their way.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Social Media 101

It's no secret that social media has been infused into pop culture, athletics and our everyday lives as a whole. For those of you not born into the millennial generation, the abbreviations and twitterspeak can be a little overwhelming. If you are used to reading 140 characters at a time, then you are up-to-date with the tweets, retweets and all the tweeps in the twitosphere. (Check out the twictionary if that last sentence confused you.) If not, then you are considered illtwitterate and this blog will help you. 

The integration of Twitter and Facebook as a news source has directly impacted the way we (Athletics Communications) promote the athletics teams and student-athletes at UC Davis. This movement has flowed over into nearly every news outlet, whether its the addition of a newspaper Twitter account or a change in writing style for magazines. Take a recent football release for example:

One of the best preseason football publications you can read is Phil Steele's College Football Preview. Phil Steele and his team of writers have fully embraced a writing style that mirrors Twitter; more information in less space. Here is an excerpt of the recent UC Davis preview page, looking at the quarterback position.

"Into ‘08 it was a 2-man battle for the starting spot but in game 2, after not starting the opener, Greg Denham took over and started the next 2 yrs throwing for a comb 6,410 (64%, 46-24). He was All-GWC both yrs and was set to ret LY but in the spg decided to forgo his senior ssn. RFr Randy Wright stepped in and earned 2nd tm GWC and ROY throwing for 2,432 (58.9%,17-8). UC Davis now has an exp’d All-Conf player returning and is far ahead of last year."

If you need a decipher to make it through that paragraph, here is some help:

yrs - years
comb - combined
GWC - Great West Conference
ret - return
LY - last year
spy - spring
ssn - season
RFr - Redshirt freshman
tm - team
ROY - Rookie of the Year
exp'd - experience
All-Conf - All-Conference

Most football-minded readers can make it through Phil Steele's magazine without pause, but you can see my point. Many news outlets have adopted this type of reporting; present a lot of information in short bursts. Phil Steele goes on to breakdown every position, the coaches and the upcoming schedule to provide a great forecast for the 2011 season. There's no question that this form of reporting is effective for the given audience.

If you have watched ESPN at all in the last year, you have likely seen multiple stories that have "broke" through a post on Twitter. Depending on the person tweeting, Twitter has become a reliable news source. Shaq single handedly put Tout, a new social media outlet, on the map by announcing his retirement via a Tout video.

All of these factors have influenced how we approach coverage for athletics teams at UC Davis. While we still write our news releases in AP style (Associated Press), there is a conscious and consistent effort to drive more traffic to our website and more attention to our teams with social media strategies. This blog in itself is a new way to present information to fans. In another blog post, What's In A Name?, Mark Honbo explains further the growing need to think of creative ways to distribute information to our fans.

Our official athletics Facebook page currently has 5,407 likes and our Twitter handle has 1,344 followers. That's a lot of fans that are cheering at football games or checking up on their favorite teams at The folks at Athletics Marketing and Promotions have done a great job promoting these sites and increasing our fan support.

But if you are an Aggie fan and you aren't involved in social media, what does it mean to "like" us or "follow" us and why would you want to do that?

First, lets tackle Facebook. If you aren't one of the 750 million active users on Facebook already, I encourage you to sign up for one simple reason: If you are reading this blog, then you will probably be interested in the Facebook content we provide on our official athletics page. If you are signed up but don't "like" us, then it's time to jump on board. Simply search for "UC Davis Athletics" and then click "like" at the top of the page. Now you will see recent stories, comments by other fans, the latest photos from Gunrock and much much more.

Now what about Twitter? After reading this blog, you should be well versed enough in twitterspeak to feel comfortable signing up. Upon signing up for a personal account, search for "UCDavisAggies" and click "follow." You can even opt to have our twitter messages sent straight to your mobile phone. If you are confused by what you see on our Twitter page, here is a quick breakdown on some common practices.

@ - The @ symbol prefaces every username on Twitter. If you see the @ symbol before another name in a UC Davis post, @BigWestSports for example, then that will provide a link to the Big West Conference official Twitter page.

# - The # symbol prefaces any word or phrase that is "trending" on Twitter. If you search for #UCDavis on Twitter, you will see a list of tweets referencing UC Davis. At the time of this blog post, a heat wave is sweeping the US and one of the top Trends is "#its2hot4that".

mini urls - At the end of several of our posts, you will see a link to an external website. Often this sends you back to to give you a more complete story on the information that you originally read.

There are more aspects of Facebook and Twitter that you will inevitably come across, but the information in this blog should give you everything you need to keep up with UC Davis Athletics. The Athletics Communications and Marketing staffs will be updating social media content daily throughout the year, so make sure to "follow" us or "like" us.

Whether you are following your favorite team or reconnecting with friends, social media outlets can be a great tool. Make sure to follow #UCDavis this year in the hunt for @BigWestSports, #GWC, #WWPA, #NorPac, #MSPF and @NCAA #championships.

- Ryan Burns, Assistant Director, Athletics Communications 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Gold in Davis

And Thomas Phillips thought winning All-America honors last month was cool. I wonder what he's thinking now after capturing a gold medal with Great Britain on Sunday at the European Under-23 Championships held in the Czech Republic? Dual citizenship has its perks and Phillips earned a big one with his fellow countrymen in the 4x400 relay.

I've always been fascinated at the term "gold medal." I mean, I don't care if someone gives you a gold medal for pulling weeds - and I wish they would try - you'd feel pretty special about clearing your garden. Take it up a notch and mention "Olympic gold medal" and, well, you're in a different stratosphere of thinking. 

I remember very clearly the feeling I got when Olympic fever came to UC Davis back in 2000 when, as Billy Joel said, "I wore a younger man's clothes." It came in the form of two remarkable athletes in sprinters Michael Johnson and Marion Jones. Johnson was one of the greatest sprinters of our generation as was the multi-talented Jones until scandal disgraced her and eventually sent her to prison.

But in 2000, they were "it." Johnson already had three gold medals under his belt from Atlanta in 1996 in the 200, 400 and 4x400, and Jones was promising to win five that summer in Sydney, Australia. They were America's brightest track and field hopes for "down under" and they were in our own backyard competing at the U.S. Trials at Sacramento State.

I was working in media relations at the trials, primarily handing out results and other information to the hundreds of journalists from across the world who descended upon Sacramento to cover an event that arguably had more firepower than the Olympics itself.

UC Davis also had a pretty good presence at the meet. Besides countless Aggie volunteers in media relations, sports medicine, drug testing and meet organization, we were also represented by former track coaches Jon and Dee Vochatzer who were not only instrumental in bringing the trials to the region but also in staging them. Dee, in fact, was the head coach for the U.S. women's team in 1996 which is noteworthy by itself.

Heck, I can still recall my former boss, Doug Dull, researching average July temperatures for Jon and Dee to help with the bid process. Let's just say it promised to be warm and Sacramento delivered that blistering summer, and then some. 

Jon and Dee are also very well plugged into everything and everyone involved in track and field in the United States which is no small reason I got a request to sneak away from my work at the event in order to meet up with a Nike representative. I don't recall the rep's name but I do remember him saying Dee referred him to me to help quietly make arrangements so one of his athletes - turns out it was Johnson - could do some training at Woody Wilson Track on campus.

With all the media that was enveloping Sac State, there was no way Johnson would get quality time on the practice track there without being hounded. Davis was close enough to the action but far enough from anyone that cared to allow Johnson to work out without much interruption. 

So, a few phone calls here, a couple of "need to knows" there and voilĂ , Johnson and his entourage were able to slide in with their SUV's into the adjacent parking garage and use the track. Really, outside of campus security and a few folks in the athletics department, no one knew what was happening.

I was lucky enough to be able to stay inside the track and watch. It was like having the only seat at a Super Bowl practice. I'm not sure who else was there but unless you knew who it was on the track - and if world-class strides didn't catch your gaze - there was no reason to stop and look. A few people trickled by and looked in but by the time word started spreading, Johnson was warming down and ready to leave without the media so much as sniffing where he was.

I was able to chat with him for a bit, he signed a couple of programs and then I graciously allowed him to take a photo with me. OK, so maybe I asked HIM. He was very nice, down to earth and appreciative of UC Davis helping him out. And just like that he was whisked away to later win gold medals in the 400 and 4x400 in Australia - the latter which was later stripped by the IAAF because of teammate's malfeasance.

Jones, meanwhile, was garnering similar attention prior to Sydney even though she had yet to claim Olympic gold in her career. She was confident, she was talented and she was making promises she intended to keep. I don't recall when the request came to help arrange some practice time at UC Davis for her but it was after Johnson and maybe because things went so smoothly for him that the same representative decided to press his luck. It's not like I was doing anything special except quietly opening a gate.

Jones came with her then-husband - and Olympic hopeful - C.J. Hunter, a shot-putter who had to move the logs in the throwing area at Woody Wilson Track back a little bit in order to accommodate his practice. I guess they throw a little farther at that level than we're used to seeing at our usual meets.

Jones and her folks were very cordial and not demanding in the least bit. In fact, she didn't even ask for us to close the gates to the track and if other people came in to use it, so be it. She was chatty while getting her post-workout massage from her trainer and they even asked me to recommend any Jamaican restaurants nearby. That one stumped me. 

Again, the secret practice location worked well and the media had no idea where to find her. It only came to light in the paper a few days later that if anyone was looking for Johnson and Jones during the trials, they should've looked in Davis.

Jones went on to win gold medals that summer in the 100, 200, 4x100, 4x400 and long jump and I'll admit to a sense of pride in her accomplishments. She grew up just south of me in Southern California and I followed her track career beginning when she was a high school phenom. It was disheartening to see lose those medals in her fall from the pedestal a few years ago but I won't forget how nice she was while on campus.

I still have a meet program that both Johnson and Jones signed for me. I'm not sure how many other of the same items they both signed that year but I've always felt privileged to have one. The autographs have faded some and while both athletes will be remembered by the track world in different ways, I'll still recall fond memories of them on our campus back in 2000.

- Mike Robles, Assistant Athletics Director

Monday, July 11, 2011

"The Show"

The launch of the new Aggie Legacy Award, the first of which went to Boise State head football coach and former UC Davis quarterback Chris Petersen, has prompted me to keep a watchful eye on what kind of athletics-related pursuits our student-athletes enter after turning in their blue and gold uniforms.

Right now, that's easy to do.

All things considered, current fans live in a relatively thrilling time when it comes to seeing recent Aggies heading into the professional ranks. Daniel Descalso, who roamed the Dobbins Stadium infield from 2005 to 2007, became the first UC Davis alum to bat in a major league game last September. Two-time All-American Scott Gordon emerged from last December's Q-school with his PGA Tour card, becoming the first Aggie to achieve that goal. MMA fan favorite Urijah Faber, who held the WEC featherweight title for two years, looks to square off for a third time with UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz after falling just shy of the title earlier this month.

Extend this list to include one Mark Grieb, who at 37 years old continues to rank among Arena Football leaders in most passing categories. (High on the same lists is former Sacramento State QB Aaron Garcia, which means the Causeway Classic rivalry extends to the 50-yard turf). On the full-sized grid, Daniel Fells posted career highs of 41 receptions and 391 yards last fall, appearing in all 16 games (with six starts). Add 10 yards and subtract a down, and you'll find Bakari Grant looking to make a splash with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL. And this is American football: when discussing the sport of football as it is known to the rest of the world, Quincy Amarikwa has appeared in 15 contests for Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids. Last year, he helped his team capture the MLS Cup.

Who else?

Recent grads and well-known BFFs Mark Payne and Joe Harden had our entire department following the NBA draft a few weeks ago. ("Time theft? No, this falls under 'other duties as assigned.'") Golfer Austin Graham crushed the rest of the field at the Gateway Tour's CA Series 2 tournament last week. That's right, crushed. He shot 63-65-62 for three rounds, beating his nearest competitor by 14 strokes. The only time I've heard of such domination on the links was on a PlayStation.

Stay posted on those three individuals, as I suspect we have only begun to hear of their professional sports exploits.

At risk of stretching the premise a tad, I hereby submit two honorable mentions. First, being a huge poker fan, I scanned the chip counts at this year's World Series of Poker for Will Haydon, a member of the Aggie golf team in 2005-06. He scored a mid-sized cash in the $2,500 six-max no-limit hold 'em event -- the very tournament in which he won a WSOP bracelet a summer ago. Secondly, in a more sports-related venue, former UC Davis golfer Brittany Smith and hurdler Natalie (Russell) Smith form two thirds of the "California Girls" team on ABC's hit reality show "Expedition Impossible: Morocco."

For those furrowing their eyebrows at these last two inclusions as not truly being sports-related, well, you're mostly right. But the WSOP is slated for 32 prime-time hours on ESPN during this summer and fall. As for Expedition Impossible, in the episode I saw, the competitors rode wild Arabian horses across the North African terrain. Which would cause more soreness, a seven-mile trek atop an animal once bred for war, or the business end of a Urijah Faber guillotine choke? I couldn't survive either ordeal, and feel the need to pop an Advil just thinking about it.

So why this verbose exercise in Where-Are-They-Now column curiosity?

For starters, 'tis the season for class reunions, and I enjoy imagining the conversations these experiences must elicit at such events:

"Long time, no see. How's work treating you?"
"Not bad. Finally earned my promotion, moved to the big city, got an office with a window. How 'bout yourself?"
"Same idea. Earned my promotion, moved to the big city, got a triple off Tim Lincecum."
"Yeah, can't complain. I got an upgraded dental plan, too."

More importantly, as I did my usual June/July project of updating the various record books, I caught myself looking at the Aggies In The Pros section of our football media guide. The first words on that page read, "Drafted in 1983, the Year of the Quarterback..." Until now, it never clicked with me that 1983 brought three notable firsts regarding UC Davis athletes in the professional ranks.

Of course, the above passage refers to Ken O'Brien, who on April 26 became the first Aggie ever selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Four other Aggies played in the league during the previous year: Mike Moroski (Atlanta), Rolf Benirschke (San Diego), Casey Merrill (Green Bay) and Jeff Allen (San Diego). Of that group, the highest pick had been Merrill, a fifth-round grab in 1979.

Almost exactly two months later, the Kansas City Kings picked UC Davis' own Preston Neumayr in the eighth round. (Yes, kids... in those days, the NBA Draft went 10 rounds.) To date, he remains the only Aggie player to be drafted by an NBA team. Other late-round choices that year: Manute Bol went in the fifth, and Sedale Threatt heard his name in the sixth. And for you real trivia buffs, the 68th overall pick in 1983 was Craig Robinson, head coach at Oregon State and the brother-in-law of some guy currently residing in a large white house in Washington, D.C.

Then on August 1 of that year, California Angels right-hander Steve Brown started on the mound against Minnesota. He surrendered 11 hits and gave way to reliever Rick Steirer in the fifth, but it was a significant moment in UC Davis athletics history: Brown became the first Aggie to reach the major leagues. He would be the last until Descalso earned the call to the big club last September.

I must reiterate: this was 1983. Back then, UC Davis athletics was a Division II non-scholarship program. The women's teams had wrapped up just their second year in Division II, with half of their athletes having competed in the AIAW Division III. One sport, women's soccer, was brand-new. So while the Aggies had enjoyed a substantial amount of success, we were in many respects still budding as a program. Thus, to hit those three milestones in such a short amount of time stood -- and still stands -- as a singular achievement.

As for me? I was 11 years old in 1983. Is there any age at which a child is more impressionable when it comes to following sports? Think about it -- whatever team you now consider your favorite, when did you truly become a fan? (Note: Actually, I'd love to hear these memories -- please fill out the comment box below.)

My father took me to my first Aggie basketball game in early 1978, the year Recreation Hall (now Pavilion) opened its doors. I attended my first UC Davis football game in 1981, and sat with my Dad for several games during the magical 1982 season. By the following fall, O'Brien/Neumayr/Brown had achieved their feats and -- perhaps not coincidentally -- I became enamored with the Aggies. Enamored? Hooked. My father had to double his season ticket purchase to four, just to satisfy his son's new fix. My brother and I sat one row up, learning the various songs of the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh (for which he later played the trumpet). I used to eagerly await the mimeographed "Quickie" stat sheets that passed from hand to hand through the west bleachers.

Much of the excitement stirring in that 11-year-old kid stemmed from three UC Davis student-athletes making the show in their respective sports. Today, with so many former Aggies making headlines in their respective arenas, I like to think that somewhere in the stands, a youngster has become stricken with the same fever that caught me oh so many years ago. And I hope that he or she is instilled with the same desire to eat, sleep and breathe Aggie athletics -- so much so that a lifelong devotion is born. Oh, I'm not saying this child will pursue a career in athletics communications, but...

Kid, if you're reading this, I'll leave the key to the press box in the top drawer.

- Mark Honbo, now the assistant director for UC Davis athletics communications, sat in the end zone when Ken O'Brien hit Allen Fleming for that 91-yard touchdown against Northern Michigan in the 1982 playoffs. He just got his voice back yesterday.

Friday, July 8, 2011

What's In A Name?

What's In A Name?

Mentioned without reference in Mike Robles' welcome blog entry is the name of our office: UC Davis Athletics Communications. This represents the third different billing by which my unit has run during my time with the Aggies, and at least the fourth in its history. We previously called ourselves "Athletics Media Relations," which in turn was a reboot from "Sports Information." Go back far enough, I've been told, and the common name for offices like ours was "Sports Publicity."

Sports Information stood as the industry standard for decades, so much so that you still occasionally hear the term "SID" (for Sports Information Director) in the college athletics business. For that matter, the national organizing body is CoSIDA, pronounced "co-SIGH-dah" and short for College Sports Information Directors of America.

Of course, "SID" generally remained a college sports insider's term, so whenever I described what I did to someone outside the business – the Thanksgiving dinner table comes to mind -- I first had to decipher the abbreviation, then attempt to explain my actual job. On my best days, I found myself talking to a member of the Department of Transportation, for which those letters stand for Side Impact Dummy.

At UC Davis, our directory listing further compounded the mystery. We appeared separately from the rest of the athletics department, which meant we received calls from people who assumed Sports Information literally meant "information about sports."

Oh, the questions I used to field.

"Where can I rent skis on campus?"
"I strained my neck this morning… what should I do for treatment?"
"How can I get a hold of a member of the International Olympic Committee?"
"What instance in the last few years has a Major League Baseball team gone 81-81?"

Yes, these are all real. That fourth one came from Dr. Sherman Stein, the brilliant and popular mathematics professor, who needed a practical example for illustrating short-term variance in a 50-50 proposition. A quick aside: Dr. Stein called again later, seeking a photo of a high jumper clearing the bar to use as a visual aid in showing center of mass. At the time, I had no such shot of an Aggie student-athlete, and this request long predated Google Images. So the only thing I could find was a wire photo of Amy Acuff competing at the 1999 Millrose Games.

Thus, we changed our name to Media Relations, which mirrored what was found at Division I athletics programs and professional sports teams.

So why Athletics Communications? For starters, we are keeping up with current trends. Many of our Division I brethren have made already the switch from Media Relations or Media Services to Athletics Communications. (An exception is Stanford, which refers to its office as Athletics Communications And Media Relations. Then again, a program with three dozen teams knows how to keep its bases covered.)

Furthermore, the new name more accurately encompasses what we do. The rise of the Web-based new media, coupled with the economy-induced shrinkage of newspaper and television sports departments, means our office no longer serves as a mere liaison for print and broadcast outlets. Instead, we have become yet another of those outlets. With all due respect to my friends on Third and G Streets in town, when most fans want news about the Aggie student-athletes, not only do they check the pages of the Davis Enterprise but they will also visit the official website.

As such, expect to see a continued shift in the way we present UC Davis athletics on the official site. The relaunch brought a greater emphasis on multimedia (e.g. All-AGcess video) and non-event content (e.g. the "Getting to Know" features). You'll see even more of that in the upcoming year, along with our usual statistics, schedules, rosters, etc.

And, of course, expect to read more from me on this new blog. I can nerd out about Aggie athletics like almost no one else, and this medium provides an opportunity to discuss subjects and viewpoints that simply don't fit on the main site. I look forward to this new form of communication.

- Mark Honbo, Assistant Director

Thursday, July 7, 2011


They say that numbers don't always tell the whole story. If that's the case, then we hope you enjoy "Thinking Outside the Boxscore", a collaborative blogging effort from the UC Davis Athletics Communications staff to take you away from some of the numbers and bring different perspectives to Aggie Athletics.

Over the course of the year, we'll bring you musings that don't always make it into the boxscores but are hopefully just as interesting.

Maybe it's a note about the baseball team pulling every superstition out of its bag of tricks to try and change their mojo during a 16-inning marathon game, or perhaps it's running into legendary track coaches Jon and Deanne Vochatzer at a home meet and remembering their great careers. 

Or maybe it's a behind-the-scenes view from a pressbox, roadtrip or interview that we are privileged to be a part of. And it could also just be some news that maybe won't make a news release for the website but that we still want you to know about.

That's the great thing, there really are no parameters other than trying to bring you more and interesting stories about the student-athletes, teams and other folks that represent UC Davis throughout the country.

I'll join my very talented staff in bringing you those stories. Assistant directors Mark Honbo, Amanda Piechowski and Ryan Burns will each bring a unique and fun approach to college athletics. 

Mark knows more about the history of our athletics program than just about anyone and promises to have some great memories from his more than 30 years as a fan, student and staff member at UC Davis.

Amanda and Ryan are the newest members of our unit but cover a wide variety of Aggie teams and are privy to some great moments within our program. 

Heck, we've talked about these types of stories so much in the office that we want to share them beyond our walls. 

And, who knows, there's probably going to be some guest bloggers along the way.

We hope to update the blog as much as possible and invite you to visit us often. We hope you find us through and hope you make that a regular stop on your internet tour as well since we have some new features planned for there also.

Thanks for reading!

- Mike Robles, Assistant Athletics Director