Written By: Steve Macy, NMSU Associate Athletic Director
Editorial Note: This article originally appeared in the Las Cruces Sun-News on Saturday, July 26.
I moved to Las Cruces a little over a year ago after 13 years in the WAC office in Denver. During those 13 years, the WAC had severe membership turnover and I worked with over 20 schools. I had never seen the level of commitment to improving a program like I saw at New Mexico State. When I was asked to join the Aggie team, I knew that I had found the next exciting adventure in my professional life.
I believe the 2008 New Mexico State football season will be its own great adventure, culminating with the first Aggie bowl berth since Charlie Johnson donned the Crimson and White. The reasons for optimism are real, both on the field and off.
- Defense: It only takes a few minutes to see that the defense will be much improved over last year. The passion and energy that was too often missing from last year’s squad is here in a big way under Joe Lee Dunn’s leadership. Players in spring practice were learning to run to the ball and make tackles. There is great talent on the defensive side of the ball and the 3-3-5 alignment will allow that talent to shine. But, the biggest difference and one that all Aggie fans will notice will be in the passion and energy. These kids will be getting after the ball on every play.
- Offense: The offense brings back its biggest weapons in quarterback Chase Holbrook and receives Chris Williams and AJ Harris. But, it also brings in talent that can flat out run. The offense is designed to create space for players to make big plays. With increased speed, the Aggie offense is poised to have a very special season.
- Kicking Game: Kicking field goals is now a real weapon in the Aggie arsenal. Fourth and six on the 20 does not automatically mean going for it. The Aggies can now realistically turn those situations into three points.
- Operation Crimson Ribbon: There are many people in this community that are squarely behind the Aggies. Unfortunately, some of them cannot afford to buy tickets, even though the Aggies have the lowest tickets prices in the WAC. We have put into place a process to allow fans to buy season tickets and donate the tickets to any game back to NMSU athletic marketing for distribution to charitable organizations and military personnel. We have had a healthy response to this community outreach plan and will continue to elicit donations.
- Entertainment Value: Perhaps nowhere else in town can you get over three hours of entertainment for just $6. Come out and tailgate before the game and you can stretch that same three hours to five or more hours. Compare that to a 1.5-hour movie and the value of family entertainment at Aggie home football games is staggering. Not only will you get the games themselves, but we will feature firework shows, the largest video display in the state of New Mexico, a salute to America’s heroes, fund-raising in connection with the Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign, great give-aways and, a few surprises to keep you on your toes. A season ticket starts at just $36 for the six home games. So, for the price of just a half a tank of gas, you can get a minimum of 18 hours of entertainment.
By looking at the program enhancements that have been put into place in terms of facility upgrades, academic reform, as well as talent and coaching upgrades, I believe that the 2008 season will be a very special one. The changes we have made to your game-day experience will also be very evident this year, as we work to continually maximize your entertainment dollar.
It is a great time to be an Aggie and I hope you join us in making every day game day.