Northridge, Calif. – Mark Cooley, who was a star basketball player during the 1960’s at then San Fernando Valley State College (now CSUN), returned to his college basketball roots on Friday afternoon where he gained fame.
“It is such a thrill to return to the Matador campus,” said Cooley (1964-67), a Matador Hall of Famer whose name is etched into several important categories in the CSUN record book. “Almost everything good in my life can somehow be connected to my experiences playing basketball at the University. My freshman year is the first year we played at what is now called the Matadome. I can remember looking at the building and being in awe. To see how it has grown, and to see all the wonderful improvements in recent years is impressive.”
Cooley often attends basketball games at Cal State Northridge, and he, like many other fans, can’t wait for the start of the basketball campaign in 2013-14.
“Having Reggie Theus (CSUN’s new head coach) will bring in new recruits, and the new environment at the Matadome will be a major step up. I am really looking to the future.”
Under the direction of Dr. Brandon Martin, CSUN’s new Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, the Matadome has undergone a major renovation amongst other sports projects that will increase the visibility and dynamics of the CSUN athletics program.
Dr. Martin provided a detailed report on the vast array of projects that have been completed or are now in progress to a group of former Matador alums who toured the CSUN campus during the University’s annual Founders’ Day celebration on Friday. Alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the University attended the day long event which included a visit to the Valley Performing Arts Center, the Student Recreation Center, the newly opened Oviatt Library Learning Commons, and various college and department receptions.
“I want to thank all of you for your support of CSUN athletics,” Dr. Martin told the gathering of former Matador alums.
Dr. Martin relayed that $1.9 million dollars has been invested into new facility upgrades and enhancements “to improve the athletic experience for our student-athletes and also improve the game experiences for our fans and supporters of CSUN Athletics.”
The project improvements include a new $1.2 million dollar concourse and entrance plaza along with fence graphics at the soccer field. Upcoming plans include adding new seating options, pre-game hospitality, and new concessions for all Matador fans. At the Matadome, new wall graphics, banners and video displays will enhance the fans experience in what promises to be an exciting season for both men’s and women’s basketball in 2013-14.
Renovations have been completed for all spectator seating in the Matadome, including VIP seats for all men’s and women’s basketball games this year. Major improvements have been made to the men’s basketball room that includes new spacious lockers and a new film area for teaching and instruction. The women’s basketball team locker room will also undergo a major renovation project in the months ahead.
“Over the past few months, our athletics program has received more than $500,000 in pledges toward our new Comprehensive Excellence Fund which has been earmarked for athletic scholarships, facilities improvements, coach and staff compensation, and for marketing and branding CSUN’s 18 Division I programs.”
Dr. Martin also praised the hard work, the integrity and the character of the Matador coaching staff that includes the recently hired Greg Moore (who will direct the CSUN baseball program), Reggie Theus (CSUN’s new basketball head coach) and Gina Umeck (women’s golf head coach).
“To see the pride in this school and to see that something is genuinely happening here is exciting,” beamed Moore.