Being a member of the Viking faithful is no longer a drag. With head football coach Jerry Glanville in the fold and new athletic director Torre Chisholm reconstructing the Viking image, now is the best time in recent memory to wear the Portland State name in the stands or playing field.
Being a member of the Viking faithful is no longer a drag. With head football coach Jerry Glanville in the fold and new athletic director Torre Chisholm reconstructing the Viking image, now is the best time in recent memory to wear the Portland State name in the stands or playing field. Excitement has been restored to the athletic department.
Here’s everything a true Viking fan should know.
Hiring Glanville has placed PSU athletics on the map. Media outlets like the almighty ESPN and local daily The Oregonian are intrigued, and the Vikings are suddenly relevant among sponsoring businesses.
Glanville arrived in late February, bringing hype, buzz and his patented entirely black wardrobe with him. So far, his greatest contribution has been away from the gridiron, as Glanville has molded Portland into his personal selling ground, marketing the program as well as the university.
Viking fans should keep their eyes glued to the football team’s success, because this season could either make or break Portland State athletics.
A new chief:
After longtime Viking coach Teri Mariani held the interim athletic director position for nearly 15 months, Chisholm landed in the South Park Blocks in May.
Chisholm’s greatest quality is his ambition. He gets giddy discussing his ideas to renovate PSU athletics, and is willing to enact change. Ideas flow through his mind as frequently as toxic debris floating down the Willamette River. Already, he has doubled the marketing budget, implemented a student tailgate party and reinstated the Horde, a student group of passionate fans.
Expect lots of activity from the director’s office this year, which is great news for PSU.
A Reinvested Fan Base:
Last season, Viking football drew an average of 7,296 fans to home tilts at PGE Park. Already selling 3,623 season tickets this season, it appears the optimism ramped throughout the athletic department has spread to the fans.
With Chisholm’s promises of a “blackout” game (where he plans to have all the fans dress in black), fan giveaways and revamping of the Horde, the enormous wave of Viking aficionados arrived just in time to enjoy the perks.
Like every school across the nation, football is king at Portland State. The gridiron sport garners the most money, attracts the most fans and draws the most publicity, which makes it the program that determines the ceiling for the entire athletic department.
Unlike past campaigns, the Vikings must perform hype control this season. With newspapers and radio stations appointing Glanville as the savior of PSU sports, players must remained focused on the field and not get caught in the whirlwind created by extra press and attention.
Sure, there’s a new coach at the helm. But there is also a new offense in the run-and-shoot and defense in Glanville’s custom 3-4 defense. If they stay within the X’s and O’s, seven wins could be on the horizon.
While the football team was making headlines, Viking basketball remained discreet, making little more than a peep in the off-season. The only newsworthy happening was point guard Ryan Sommer quitting the team. But let’s face it: he already mentally threw in the towel well before season’s end.
A season after advancing to the Big Sky Tournament semifinals, the Vikings should have lots of optimism. Although their tough schedule, loaded with match-ups against the likes of UCLA, Washington and Washington State, should really test the Vikings’ might.
Center Scott Morrison is coming off a successful stint with the Canadian National Development Team, and will lead in the post and on defense. Wingmen Deonte Huff and Dupree Lucas will add scoring and pizzazz. And youngster Kyle Coston should solidify the attack with much-improved games.
The word that best describes this year’s version of the Vikings is change. With new head coach Sherri Murrell in the fold and as many as five players jumping ship, PSU will have a very different squad.
But rest assured Viking fans: the team’s appearance may be altered, but its heart is still intact. Junior forward Kelsey Kahle and sophomore point guard Claire Faucher will be donning the Portland State green come winter. The duo represents the Vikings’ heart, and their play will surely determine the team’s aptitude this year.
Pound for pound, volleyball might be the most exhilarating sport on campus. Players are flying around, diving and absolutely annihilating the ball. It might not have the physical contact of football or high-flying acrobatics of basketball, but PSU volleyball is tons of fun.
This season, coaches Michael Seemann and Jeff Mozzochi will switch roles, as Seemann becomes head coach and Mozzochi associate head coach. The swap will change the Vikings’ approach only slightly, because the two coaches have worked together for the past two seasons.
Look for the same exciting and successful brand of volleyball, as the team looks to get over the hump after two consecutive second place Big Sky finishes.
Since capturing the Big Sky championship in 2005, the Vikings have been retooling and rebuilding. This season may prove to be the culmination of such reshuffling. Third-year head coach Tim Bennett appears primed to contend for a Big Sky title this season.
His recruiting class was deemed the best in the conference last season. After a year of experience and learning the ropes in the Big Sky, Bennett’s team should vie for a championship, meaning a pulse has finally returned to the soccer pitch at Portland State.
This season will mark two years removed from Portland State’s first ever Pacific Coast Softball title. Head coach Amy Hayes enjoyed success in her first season in the South Park Blocks, but was taken for a tumultuous ride last year.
The Vikings stumbled early and regained their old form late. Though, the one constant was a lack of good arms. Senior Mandy Hill led the Big Sky with 283.2 innings pitched and compiled a 20-19 record. Lacking a second option, right-handed pitcher Meghan Gendron, a transfer from Mount Hood Community College, could fill the void.
Steven Ascher has inherited the challenging task of completely reconstructing a Division I program. When the athletic department discovered it would need to reinstate its tennis program in 2006, Ascher was hired to assemble an entire team before the 2007-08 season.
Using ambition as his fuel and belief as stabilization, Ascher pieced together a 15-player team over the past year. Now all that’s left is hitting the courts and showing the rest of the Big Sky the new product.