May 082008
 
Authors: Nick Hubel

You’ve got to hand it to new football coach Steve Fairchild — he’s mixing things up. Coming into a program that suffered the lowest average home attendance in more than 10 years last fall, Fairchild has been making strides this spring to connect with the community.

Particularly important to the team’s success, Fairchild has said, are the students. Last week, Fairchild hosted a luncheon with the student body, giving him an opportunity to work the room and connect with a major part of the program’s economic base.

Continuing on that path, this Friday the football team will host a skill competition and fanfare event in Moby Arena. Officially titled the “Ram Superstars Competition,” the event will feature several different events in an “American Gladiators” mold.

The event is free to the public and starts at 6 p.m.

“The more interaction that our football program can have with the student body, I think the better it is,” Fairchild said in a phone interview from Arizona.

The competition will feature five events for three different weight classes.

Skill weight (wide receivers and defensive backs), middle weight (tight ends, offensive backs and linebackers) and heavy weight (linemen) will compete, offense against defense, for final bragging rights before a long summer.

The events are divided into an obstacle course, a tug-o-war, weightlifting and other strongman competitions, and two separate dunk contests — one at regular height and one with a lowered rim.

After the event, fans will be allowed onto the court for an autograph session.

The event was born from the team’s grueling weight lifting regimen last winter, during which the offense and defense would compete each week.

Fairchild and his staff decided to expand the competitions to generate interest in the team heading into the new season.

“It brought out the fun side of our training,” Farichild said of the weight lifting competitions. “Our guys like to compete . it should be a good time.”

Sports writer Nick Hubel can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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