With a little more than a year in the books as athletic director, Torre Chisholm has witnessed interest in Portland State athletics pick up steam after winning three Big Sky Conference Championships in men’s basketball, volleyball and women’s golf. Chisholm realizes his first year on the job could have gone a lot worse.
With a little more than a year in the books as athletic director, Torre Chisholm has witnessed interest in Portland State athletics pick up steam after winning three Big Sky Conference Championships in men’s basketball, volleyball and women’s golf.
Chisholm realizes his first year on the job could have gone a lot worse.
“Competitively, no complaints,” Chisholm said. “We had a great year in a number of sports–generated more excitement and interest amongst the community and the campus. It was a exciting year, all around.”
Chisholm began his term as athletic director last May 1, and feels that the year could not have gone much better. However, there are still areas in which Chisholm would like to see improvement.
Chief among those desires is his goal to put more people in the seats and continue growth in the spectator sports–football, basketball and volleyball.
Chisholm was not as forthcoming on the exact numbers he desires in regards to attendance, but he anticipates that with more outreach to the community and greater student involvement, higher attendance goals are attainable.
Despite a disappointing season, Vikings football saw a rise in game attendance last year, averaging 10,082 fans per home game. That number was considerably larger than the 7,296 average fans that attended per game in 2006.
Chisholm believes that one of the best strategies for increasing the attendance is to redirect some of the focus back to campus and get the student body excited about their fellow student athletes.
“We built a student group, and they will be more aggressive, and learn from this year,” Chisholm said of the student group referred to as The Horde.
Chisholm said that The Horde plans on targeting students in residence halls, as well as partnering with other student groups on campus to increase attendance.
With the success of multiple varsity sports this past year, increased notoriety and exposure are sure to follow. Chisholm explained how competitive teams and conference championships could help build a foundation for the future.
“We’re looking at our core team sports. Our teams should win the conference championships or participate in the NCAA tournament every three or four years at a minimum,” Chisholm said of his expectations.”Success breeds interest for recruits. People care a lot about what we are doing,” Chisholm said of the programs’ recent successes.
“One of the most excited people on campus when we won the basketball championship was coach Glanville. The interest and excitement their success generated helps him recruit better football players.”
Another improvement that Chisholm outlined was providing more services for the student athletes to insure that all their needs are being met.
“With a focus on academics, advising and sports medicine–revamp some internal structures to provide for better support for out student athletes,” Chisholm said.
To do this, Chisholm and the athletic program must focus on marketing the program and enhance community partnerships.
“We have to continue to build our revenue stream with sponsorships and fundraising and special events,” he said. “People want to go to our games and people know when our games are,” Chisholm said of the Portland State program gaining popularity.
“We have to continue to build the perceptions that this is big-time athletics. Its big-time Division I athletics,” Chisholm said.
Plans for The HordeChisholm will have help inspiring student involvement on campus from the student organizations The V-Team and The Horde. Dave Doornink, who served as president of The Horde, will pass the torch next fall because he is set to graduate next week. The best way to get to the students, Doornink said, is to go to them.
“We’ll go out and do some dorm storming. We’ll take some of the V-Teamers into the dorms with the fliers. We contact as many people as we can to let them know about the games,” Doornik said. Doornink also plans for the athletes to get involved with the recruitment effort.
“This coming year we are going try and work with some of the athletes. For football season, we’ll try and get some of the football players to go dorm storming with us and interact with the students,” he said.
Passing out football tickets and making presentations at new student orientation are other items on the docket to increase attendance at sporting events. But The Horde itself may experience a bout of expansion before next year is over.
“Right now we are about 26 members. We are looking to double, if not triple, that (membership),” Doornink said. “We want to show the students how they can get involved in sports marketing and help promote Viking athletics.”