April 30, 2015

Alumni game scheduled for Saturday in effort to save Titan soccer

By Christan Shirk

It won’t be just another alumni match this Saturday, May 2 when past Titans return to campus to challenge the current UW-Oshkosh men’s soccer squad.  No, the decision made by administration officials to eliminate the program (along with men’s tennis) following the 2015-16 school year has ensured that this year’s match is anything but ordinary.  The annual game has been turned into an event in the effort to save the Titan men’s soccer program.

Following the stunning decision to eliminate UW-Oshkosh men's soccer, announced four weeks ago, former and current players have sought to rally support for the program and convince the school’s athletic director and chancellor to reconsider their decision.  Beyond the obvious disappointment with the decision, they feel aggrieved to have not been brought into the decision-making process and to continue to be denied the chance for a meeting with Chancellor Andrew Leavitt and Athletic Director Darryl Sims.

A core group of alumni that includes former standouts Darren Gallagher (2001-2004) and Mark Pawlyshyn (1988-1991) is leading the charge to save the program.  In the few weeks since learning of the decision, the group has been active building public awareness of what is happening, seeking financial solutions including the establishment of a fundraising campaign, and demonstrating that support for the program goes beyond a few “squeaky wheels” and even beyond the men’s soccer family.

The annual alumni game is a great opportunity to demonstrate that broad support and for supporters to unite in-person to discuss and plan the next steps in the efforts.  Hopes and expectations do not merely include increased alumni participation in the game, but for a big show of support through the attendance of supporters, both those already connected to the Titan soccer family as well as from the general student body and the broader community.

The Save UW Oshkosh Men’s Soccer Event and Alumni Game is being held on Saturday, May 2 on J.J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium.  A pre-game social for alumni and parents starts at 5:00 p.m. with kick-off scheduled for 6:30 p.m.  The evening will conclude with a post-game social with the players. Those who wish to support the efforts to save the program but are unable to make it to the game are being urged to register their support by signing the online petition at www.saveuwosoccer.com. Additional information about fight to save UW-Oshosh men's soccer can also be found on this website and on the Facebook page “Save Our Titans.

Comments or feedback for the author?  Email Christan Shirk.

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