Athletic department builds excitement for Matadors new brand

Pete D. Camarillo



Anticipation for a new era of athletics filled the Northridge Center as the CSUN athletic department unveiled new logos, uniforms, and a revamped Go Matadors website for members of the campus community on Monday.

The new logo is steps away from the traditional logo which showed school mascot Matty the Matador. Instead, the Matador statue is displayed with a new cape.

Student athletes from men’s and women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, and softball modeled the new uniforms for the campus community.

Women’s volleyball senior middle blocker Sam Kaul said she heard rumors of a redesigned court last season, but was disappointed when it did not happen. However, she said the new uniforms and Matadome have her anxious to play this season.

“I feel more professional and I am probably gonna improve my game a lot,” Kaul said.

Cinnamon Lister, senior guard on the women’s basketball team, said she doesn’t think the changes will affect the on-court product too much. Yet, she was excited that the changes are happening as she enters her senior season.

“They’re really comfortable and fit very well,” Lister said.

The rebranding of the logo, website, and uniforms are part of the athletic department’s pride campaign. The campaign is to commend the Matador’s recent athletic success and to create more excitement about athletics for students, alumni, staff, and the community.

Coaches from CSUN’s 19 sports showed their support for the athletic department’s rebranding and were in attendance.

Women’s basketball head coach Jason Flowers said it is an exciting time to be a part of the athletic department and the university as a whole.

“Any time you can get positive energy or support on campus, I think it is only a matter of time until it translates to the court,” Flowers said.

Men’s basketball head coach Reggie Theus said the rebranding creates a sense of pride for Matadors and the community.

“This is exactly why I took the job,” he said.

Theus said the pride campaign creates a sense of urgency among the athletic department which can translate to better recruiting.

Besides rebranding, the athletic department introduced a new focus on engaging the Latino community in the San Fernando Valley. News material will now be produced in Spanish, so media outlets can easily distribute Spanish-language content to Spanish speakers in the campus community.

Beginning this fall, the website will feature social media and press releases in Spanish.

“We want to show them (Latino families) this can be their teams, but more importantly this is their university,” Jorge Martin, CSUN director of communications said.

CSUN President Dianne Harrison said athletics was one of her initial priorities when she came to CSUN.

“I wanted to use athletics as a tool for an engagement,” she said.

Harrison said the rise of the Matadors’ pride campaign is the an exciting new step to establishing a new identity for CSUN Athletics.  She cited many athletic achievements including 29 students named to the all-athletic team in 2013-14, women’s volleyball and basketball winning the Big West Conference championships, and men’s soccer ranking as high as no. 3 in the nation during the 2013 season.

However, Harrison was most proud of the academic success of the student athletes.

“When I say win, I want to win in the classroom and in competition,” she said.

The athletic department also moves away from the previous names used for the program such as Cal State Northridge, CS Northridge, or Northridge. The department standardizes references to the team as CSUN Matadors in an effort to communicate more effectively to fans, Martin said.

Billboards and banners throughout the community will also be instituted as the second phase of the campaign.

“If our goal is to be a national power, we need to first build pride in our own backyard,”  Brandon Martin said.