By CHRIS ZADOROZNY, Sports Editor
Coming this September, the Wolverines nickname will be implemented on the campus of the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Finally, students won’t need to differentiate between the Wolves and the Wolverines, we are now, just Wolverines.
Students should be very excited for this welcoming change. Yes, the Wolves name will be a thing of the past, and we won’t soon forget it, but this change will usher in a new era that will help the athletics department thrive heading into the future.
Both basketball squads hope that the name change will help not only with recruiting, but improved records too. “Any affiliation between our team and the team in Ann Arbor can only be a positive for us. It’s a positive as far as recruiting goes. For a lot of recruits, that’s a lot of the appeal of our university, is that there is such a close affiliation with Ann Arbor,” said Men’s Basketball Head Coach, John Mackson.
Both Mackson, and Women’s Head Coach Sheri Washington, hope that the athletics department can grow from this as well.
“In short, our athletic department needs to build a more cohesive and competitive environment to help attract and retain a higher level student-athlete,” said Washington.
Despite controlling three teams, the men’s varsity and club, along with the women’s club, soccer coach Mike Hatfield hopes that the connection with Ann Arbor will better the programs on campus, especially with recruiting.
“I am hoping it will help with recruiting, which will impact the level of play the team can play,” said Hatfield.” “Anytime you can talk to players about being even more associated with the Michigan (Ann Arbor) Wolverines, it’s a positive point.”
The varsity sports aren’t just the ones that are excited though. The club sports are just as happy too.
Both cheer captains, Allyssa Kerby and Franchesca Caston are excited for the change, especially when they cheer for the men’s basketball team next season.
“If we say Wolves, we get screamed at and get told we’re the Wolverines,” said Kerby. “If we say Dearborn we get screamed at and get told we’re Michigan, so saying we’re the Wolverines now and having Wolverines in the cheer, will be better.”
“I think it will get more girls to come out,” said Caston. “They’ll actually feel like they’re a part of something bigger than just Dearborn.”
The lacrosse program is growing under head coach Jason Watts and being in first place this season in the CCLA, that can only be good adding to the name change and student housing. the lacrosse program around.
“Our hope is [that] the name-change will strengthen the appeal to play for Michigan-Dearborn,” Watts said.
Even the three-year old wrestling club will have the name change affect them in a positive way. Head Coach Grant MacKenzie already coached a national qualifier this year in Hassen Berry, and the recruiting will only get better for him and his squad.
“One of the popular questions I get from recruits on the phone is, “where will I live?” Now, I can advertise; The Union.”
Heck, even the trainer is excited for the name change, but more so for the athletes themselves who she treats day in and day out.
“Whether we are the Wolves or the Wolverines, I still treat every athlete as they’re injured or not injured,” said Kim Weindel, head athletic trainer. “The thing that I’m interested to find out is if the name change changes the mindset of the athletes in the athletic training room.”
Head Athletic Director, Steve Rotta, couldn’t be more excited for the change and is ready for the implementation to begin in September. He mentioned there is no plan set in place yet, but there will be over the summer as he discusses with his colleagues on how to implement the change.
As the campus gets ready for the name change, the students should be really excited to see how this will affect the athletics on campus for years to come.
Contributing to this report: Ricky Lindsay, Jordan Konior, Dan Jenkins, and Ryan Petras.