University of Central Missouri Athletic Director Jerry Hughes and Sgt. 1st Class Damon Gates, Missouri National Guard Warrensburg recruiter and UCM National Guard liaison, pose in front of the Walton Stadium/Kennedy Field's scored board that was placed there in 1985. With the sponsorship of the Missouri National Guard, UCM will be getting a new score board. (Photo by Rachel Knight/Missouri National Guard)
By Rachel Knight
WARRENSBURG, Mo. - The Missouri Army National Guard is partnering with the University of Central Missouri in the most comprehensive sponsorship UCM Athletics has ever entered into with one organization.
The sponsorship will allow the athletics department to get new score boards and video boards installed at Walton Stadium/Kennedy Field, the Multipurpose Building and Crane Stadium/Tompkins Field.
"It gives us the opportunity to market our name and reach our audience at a local level," said Sgt. 1st Class Damon Gates, Missouri Army National Guard's Warrensburg recruiter and UCM Guard liaison.
The new score board at Walton Stadium/Kennedy Field will replace the 1985-dated score board.
"I think it's a great opportunity and a great partnership to showcase the quality of the Guard with the quality of our school," said Jerry Hughes, UCM athletic director and previous member of the Missouri National Guard. "This partnership is truly beneficial to both parties.
"The National Guard is athletic in nature," said Gates, a UCM alum. "What better of a vehicle than the athletic department?"
The Guard will have visibility throughout athletic games at UCM with signage placed in all three event locations. They will also have patches that will be worn on UCM practice gear.
With this partnership, each year, the UCM Mules football team will wear ACU jerseys during the game closest to 9/11.
This year's football Military Appreciation Day is UCM's home opener on Saturday, Sept. 8, against Northwest Missouri State. A select few new members to the Missouri National Guard will be sworn in during a special ceremony at halftime. The basketball's Military Appreciation Day has not yet been set.
"We are hoping for a long time relationship between UCM and the Guard," said Hughes.
Additionally, military members can go to many of the home Mules and Jennies games with the newly implemented UCM command pass. This pass makes it possible for all active duty military service members, Guard, Reservists, and their dependents to gain free access to all Mules and Jennies home sporting events. Individuals who are eligible under this program will be provided general admission for themselves and their immediate family members upon showing their military ID at the ticket window prior to each game. The pass will be good for all regular season, home athletic events, only.
In the past nine months, Gates has been able to enlist 27 current and future UCM students into the Missouri Army National Guard who will be taking advantage of the Guard's 100 percent tuition assistance program and GI Bill.
For more information about joining the Missouri National Guard or participating in the UCM ROTC program, contact Sgt. 1st Class Gates at 660-238-3552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Missouri National Guard, please visit www.moguard.com and our social media sites: www.facebook.com/Missouri.National.Guard; www.twitter.com/Missouri_NG; www.youtube.com/MoNationalGuard; www.myspace.com/missouri_ng; www.flickr.com/photos/missouriguard; www.moguard.com/blog; www.pinterest.com/monationalguard/