Eastern New Mexico University is recognizing its championship sports teams in a new way.
The Greyhound Arena has a new “Wall of Champions” displaying the district, conference, regional, playoff and national championships plus football bowl game wins. The wall has 103 championship teams listed, said Athletic Director Jeff Geiser.
Final touches were completed Monday.
“The Wall of Champions concept really has two purposes: No. 1, to recognize our athletic tradition here at Eastern, and No. 2, to give our current student athletes a goal to strive for,” Geiser said.
In working on a strategic plan for athletics, he said, it seemed that ENMU had tradition, but the Athletics Department could do a better job of promoting it. He went through all of the university’s accumulated trophies last year and had team records researched.
The Bench Club provided about $6,600 for the wall, and Signman Signs did about $2,000 worth of work in trade as a corporate sponsor.
“We think it’s important because this is champions… (who) have proven themselves and worked and exemplified everything at Eastern as far as sports,” said Bench Club board president Terry Cone.
Cone said he looked forward to seeing new champions on the wall every year.
Athletics Department Marketing and Events Coordinator Sara Hill said she and Geiser had been at ENMU a little over a year and were looking for ways to improve the Greyhound Arena.
“What we wanted to do was start to build some tradition,” she said of the Wall of Champions.
Hill said the wall aimed to show the community, parents and visitors the pride in ENMU and its athletics program. She also hopes teams will want to get their plaques on the wall.
In addition to the wall, Hill said the arena has been repainted in ENMU’s green and silver over the past year, a change from the Southwest colors that had decorated the building. In the main arena, the concrete bleachers are painted silver and green, and stenciled ENMU Athletics logos adorn the area.
Also, the adobe-pink floor tiles are being replaced with green, and workers are to install display cases for each team.
“You just come in and you feel like you’re in a collegiate gym,” Hill said.
Students are taking pride in the new look, too, she said.
Greyhounds football defensive back coach John Hair said the Greyhound Arena had come a long way in the last year.
“I think they’re doing a phenomenal job,” Hair said. “I think when you walk in here, it makes you proud to be a Greyhound or a Zia.”