September 7, 2012

CSUN Student-Athletes Welcome Freshman Class At 2012 Convocation

By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director, Media Relations

Northridge, Calif. – One thing is certain. Cal State Northridge student-athletes know how to say "Hello and Welcome to CSUN."

Despite a hot day that reached the low 90's, more than 400 Matador student-athletes, head coaches and their coaching staffs, braved the hot outdoor temperatures to actively participate in the 2012 Freshman Convocation at CSUN's Oviatt Library.

"I hope you are as excited to be joining the Matador family as I am as you begin this important chapter in your lives and prepare to realize your educational goals," said Dr. Dianne F. Harrison, who is entering her first year as President at Cal State Northridge. "… My hope for each of you is that the beginning of your university experience will be one of excitement, discovery and growth, and that you will find your time at CSUN to be challenging and rewarding."

Only 60 minutes earlier, the CSUN student-athletes gathered at the nearby Northridge Center to warmly welcome the new student-athletes to their new academic home for the next four academic years.

Allan Guei, a sophomore member of the Cal State Northridge men's basketball team, said he wanted the freshmen student-athletes to feel at home and to be comfortable in their new surroundings.

"Time management is so important, and that is what I want to stress to the freshmen," said Guei, who played in 27 games as a freshman for Cal State Northridge last year. "As a freshman, there are a lot of distractions. You need to stay on track and stay focused. Take it day-by-day. As I enter my sophomore year, I will stay focused and be a leader with my young teammates. Doing it the right way is so important."

Greg Cooksey is one of more than 100 freshman student-athletes who have enrolled at Cal State Northridge. Cooksey says he has already received support from his basketball teammates and other classmates in making the transition from high school to college.

"I am an outgoing person so it has been great to meet new people at the University," said Cooksey, who graduated from Palmdale High School (Palmdale, Ca) in 2012. "My classes thus far have been great."

Matador Athletics Director Rick Mazzuto also welcomed the more than 400 CSUN student-athletes and wished them success in the 2012-13 academic year, and in their future years.

"We have a great tradition here at Cal State Northridge, and this year's outstanding group of freshmen will only add to the rich environment," stated Mazzuto. "We are off to a great start with the recent success in men's and women's soccer, and also with the women's volleyball team. Join me in cheering for the Matadors in 2012-13. Go Matadors !!!"

Cal State Northridge men's basketball head coach Bobby Braswell, a 1985 CSUN graduate, addressed the large group of student-athletes and talked about facing 'the obstacles" and making those obstacles into "opportunities."

"I see that all of you are wearing red Matador shirts tonight," said Braswell, who will be entering his 17th season as head coach of the Matadors men's basketball team in 2012-13. "All of you should be proud and blessed to be a part of a Cal State Northridge team. Seize the opportunity."

Braswell was among a large group of head coaches and assistant coaches who were in attendance at the welcoming of the Matador student-athletes. The list of head coaches included Jim Bracken (men's golf), Gary Victor (men's tennis), Tairia Flowers (women's softball) and Matt Curtis (baseball).

"Everybody is excited with the start of the new school year," said Curtis, who will be entering his third season as head coach of the Matadors baseball team in 2013. "It's a trial and error process for the freshmen. They are out of the house and now have a little more freedom in the choices they make. We talk with the players on how to manage their time. Some of them respond well and some need a little help along the way. I can tell you that our freshmen are excited and eager to get the process started. The (baseball) program is continuing to grow, and the support we are receiving from the student-athletes and the school is strong."

Numerous senior Matador athletic department administrators also attended the event including Janet Pinneau (Associate Athletic Director/SWA, who annually plans the student-athlete reception at Northridge Center), Dr. Tina Kiesler (Faculty Athletic Representative) and Tom Ford (Associate Athletic Director/External Relations).

"It was great to see everybody from all 18 Matador teams and to wish everybody great success in the 2012-13 academic year," said Ford.

All the student-athletes and coaches then marched to the Freshman Convocation at Oviatt Library to join more than 3,000 other people who listened to several speakers including Dr. Harrison, who welcomed the new freshman class to Cal State Northridge along with other senior academic administrators.

"I encourage you to stay focused on doing well in your studies, making good decisions, and ultimately graduating in four years," said Dr. Harrison. "CSUN shines, and because you are the University's future, its future is bright, indeed!"

Go Matadors !!!

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