I’m just happy to be part of that’

Chris Mangan

Chris Mangan

Sports Editor Chris Mangan sits down with Athletic Director Justin Sell to talk about his time at SDSU, the Dakota Marker game and the Hobo Day football game against Sell’s former employer, Northern Iowa.

CM: What has been your favorite part about your time here?

JS: I think the opportunity to get to know what SDSU is about and then working with the people, like I said all those different groups. I love our student athletes. I think they are good people first. They do a great job in the classroom. We had a 3.15 overall GPA last year, which is high for athletics across the country … You know, the people I work with here on campus, we have great leadership. I think President (David) Chicoine has a great vision for what SDSU is and is going to be. I’m just happy to be part of that.

CM: You had an architect do a feasibility study on a new football stadium. What is the status on that?

JS: Actually, I’m trying to coach people to understand that we are doing a master plan for all of our athletic facilities first and within that master plan we are looking at the financial feasibility of a football stadium. It’s really gathering all the information, really putting a vision together of what it would look like and then, based on needs, what do we really need … You know, Coughlin, based on our crowds, there is certainly a demand there for more seats than what we can provide. That will really lay out what it would look like and then, hopefully, what the costs are. Then we need to define a funding plan of how we can go about doing that, then we need to go out and do that. Hopefully, people want to jump on board and support.

CM: You experienced your first Dakota Marker game last week. How was that for you?

JS: I’m still coming down off the high and here we are Tuesday morning. I had a blast. I had a blast leading up into it. I was ready to play the game Thursday night; I didn’t want to wait until Saturday. You hear all the stories, and certainly it’s a tradition and rivalry, and we have had great success against North Dakota State in the last couple years.

CM: Hobo Day is this weekend against your former employer. What are you looking forward to the most?

JS: Beating the Panthers. I would love to have an opportunity to beat the Panthers. I think, for me, to experience Hobo Day first and it’s a whole week, my schedule is packed this week, so I’m really excited to go through that the first time. Throw in UNI on the schedule, obviously, makes it a more special week … I have a lot of respect for what UNI has accomplished, obviously, that is one of the things we are trying to do with this program to gain some of the successes UNI has had but we want to do it in our own way. We know who we are and we are proud of who we are, the only thing missing right now is the opportunity to get to the postseason with all of our sports programs. We got a great taste for it last fall with soccer and then in the spring with women’s basketball. I would like all our student athletes, at least one time in their careers here, to be able to taste postseason play.

CM: What needs to be done to take SDSU to the next step?

JS: Truthfully, people have the belief we can do it, and we are not that far away. It also takes every person. Anyone that cares about what we are at SDSU, we need their support. … Whether it’s just going out and telling someone how great it is on campus, or that you can feel the momentum or that you are really excited about the building progress, buying a ticket to a game, joining the Jackrabbit Club, doing something to financially support us, helping out with the facility side. Those are the things over the next couple of years that are going to be critical for us to be able to maintain our success long term. I come into a place that has already had a great base of success so the beauty is that we don’t have to turn it all around or turn it over. We have to refine a few things; we have to redefine our thinking. Then lastly, when it happens, not if, but when it happens to be able to capitalize and take advantage of growth opportunities through success.