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Lobo fans raise money for Aggie fan/war vet who lost out on $2K


While rivalries in college football are among the most heated in all of sports on the field — and before and after the games — the hatred tends to subside off the field, especially when real life interrupts.

Case in point?  New Mexico-New Mexico State.

First, though, the back story.

In an attempt to drum up interest in what’s a really bad football team, New Mexico State announced a couple of weeks ago that they would select a random student as the winner of a $2,000 cash prize if he/she were in the stands after the third quarter of the late-September game against San Diego State.  The student whose name happened to be called that day, Matthew Zajac, wasn’t in attendance and therefore forfeited the money.  His reason for not being at the game?  He has been caring for his 87-year-old grandmother since his father died and his “priorities were elsewhere.”

One more thing you should know about Zajac: he is a double amputee, having lost both of his legs in a 2007 IED explosion while serving our country in Iraq.

The fact that NMSU did not honor the $2K prize in spite of Zajac’s circumstances did not sit well with a large segment of the population, including a certain slice of their hated rivals’ fan base.

Upon hearing Zajac’s story, Lobo Lair, a New Mexico fan message board, took up the cause.  Specifically, the curator of that board, Mark Chavez, took up the cause by posting that would be personally pledging the first $100 in an attempt to help Zajac “recoup” the $2000 on which he missed out.  Other fans responded and, by late afternoon Wednesday, the site had raised more than  $2,200 for Zajac.

“There’s definitely no love between Lobo fans and Aggie fans, other than the whole New Mexico connection,” Chavez told Deadspin by phone. “While we love to kick each other’s teeth in on the field, we still respect each other as New Mexicans. This wasn’t about cherry and silver vs. whatever colors they are. It’s more about New Mexicans helping New Mexicans.”

While the money was raised for Zajac, Deadspin writes that the war veteran “told Chavez he’d split the proceeds with the Fisher House Foundation, a charity that supports military families.”

Kudos to all involved for the heartfelt gestures on both sides.

And, to NMSU: you see what’s happening here, right?  It’s time for you, like the Lobo fan base, to step up and do the right thing.

Appalachian State announces five-year extension for head coach Scott Satterfield

Scott Satterfield
Associated Press
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One day after it was revealed its head coach was the second-lowest paid in college football, Appalachian State announced a five-year contract extension for head coach Scott Satterfield.

“We have the right coach leading our football program in Scott Satterfield,” Appalachian State AD Doug Gillin said in a statement. “In nearly three years as head coach, he has stayed true to his convictions, built the program the right way and set Appalachian State football up for sustainable success both in the Sun Belt Conference and at the national level.”

Satterfield had earned $375,000 annually, ahead of only Louisiana-Monroe’s Todd Berry at $360,000 a year.

Satterfield, 42, is 14-14 in his third season at the Boone, N.C., school. He led the Mountaineers to a 7-5 mark in their debut Sun Belt season, and has the club at 3-1 to start the 2015 campaign.

“It’s exciting for my family and me to know that we’re going to be at Appalachian for the foreseeable future,” Satterfield added. “I’m living a dream by being the head coach at my alma mater and can’t wait to continue to work hard to help this program reach heights that it has never reached before.”

Wisconsin announces 10-year agreement with Under Armour

Joel Stave
Associated Press

What has long been rumored became fact Friday, as Wisconsin announced a 10-year agreement with Under Armour.

“I am absolutely thrilled about our new partnership with Under Armour,” AD Barry Alvarez said in a statement. “Kevin Plank and his team have established a brand that fits perfectly with the Wisconsin athletics story and culture. Our primary focus at Wisconsin is, of course, our student-athletes, and Under Armour’s passion and commitment to high quality and innovation will benefit our student-athletes for years to come. Our entire department is looking forward to a long and mutually productive relationship with the Under Armour team.”

The new deal will pay the Badgers a total of $7 million in cash and product in 2015-16 and is valued at $96 million over the life of the contract, good for second in the Big Ten, trailing only Nike’s new contract with Michigan.

Hidden within the contract are two nuggets that UA offered to sway the Badgers away from Adidas, from the Portland Business Journal:

Wisconsin will get as much as $500,000 from Under Armour to “rebrand” athletic facilities. It’ll get $150,000 to build out an Under Armour retail space in a campus gift shop called Bucky’s Locker Room. It also gets two summer internships for students at Under Armour’s Baltimore headquarters.

“The University of Wisconsin is an institution built on the highest values of academic excellence, and we are extremely proud to be teaming up with one of the most vibrant, distinctive and successful athletic programs in the country to help elevate the performance of all Badgers with innovative footwear and apparel,” added Plank.

Wisconsin’s departure continues to weaken the stronghold Adidas had built in the Midwest after losing Michigan to Nike and Notre Dame to Under Armour in recent years (the company still owns apparel rights for Indiana and Nebraska). The Badgers are now the 41st Division I athletics department and 17th FBS program to join UA.