As the arrival of new head coach Deion Sanders brings the University of Colorado Boulder’s football team national attention and a brand new reputation following last year’s 1-11 season, related athletics and activities throughout the university are feeling the impacts he has brought to campus.
“Coach Prime coming to Boulder’s campus has brought a new level of competitiveness and energy to not only our football program but to us [the CU dance team] as well,” said Abbey Nugent, the head coach of CU Boulder’s dance team.
With Sanders, a new era of CU Boulder football has arrived. The team has sold out tickets to Folsom Field for every home game this season for the first time in program history.
The football team and, in turn, related programs are also gaining unprecedented media coverage on networks such as Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff, 60 Minutes and ESPN’s College Gameday.
“I think the students really feel that the expectation has elevated,” said Matthew Dockendorf, the director of the Golden Buffalo Marching Band. “We’ve been on national TV now… that’s motivation for wanting to do our best and wanting to support the team.”
The increased national attention on CU Boulder also has an impact on the backgrounds of the students attending the university to participate in such programs.
“Before [Sanders’ arrival] I was really recruiting heavily from just the state of Colorado because a lot of people do know that CU is such a great university within our own state, but across the nation, it’s not as well known,” Nugent said. “I’ve definitely seen a big increase of students from all around that are more interested in Colorado and what we have to offer.”
With Sanders’ impact comes something that has been a long time coming for many students: a greater acknowledgment of the effort that it takes to participate in spirit activities.
“Along with the spirit squad, we are at every game, win or lose from the beginning to the end,” Dockendorf said. “A lot of times it’s more than what we can say for the… patrons that maybe leave after halftime.”
Nugent said there has been a lack of acknowledgment of this commitment in past seasons for some members of the spirit squad.
“I think in the past years, our team has continuously showed up and done their job and we’ve always put a quality product out,” Nugent said. “I think that in prior years, just no one has recognized that the way they do now.”
As the football season proceeds and the appreciation for Sanders’ team continues, with Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff program returning to Boulder Saturday for the CU Boulder vs. University of Southern California matchup, the spirit squad continues to share in the acknowledgment, as well.
“I think with that [excitement], people understand that our students are putting in, over the course of the season, hundreds of hours to create a good product,” Dockendorf said. “I really do think that they’re gaining appreciation for that.”
Contact CU Independent News Editor Jessi Sachs at email@example.com.