A new school year means plenty of changes for Cal State Bakersfield's athletic department, though above all the Roadrunners hope to continue on the path of growth they've paved in the past several years.
That was the message relayed by CSUB athletic director Kenneth "Ziggy" Siegfried on Tuesday's season premiere of Roadrunner Rundown, the weekly webcast that airs on Bakersfield.com at 11 a.m. each Tuesday.
Siegfried, who became the permanent athletic director two years ago last month after serving a stint as interim AD, also detailed some changes the department has undertaken, starting with what CSUB calls its athletic facilities master plan.
"This has been in the works for 12-plus months," Siegfried said. "... Basically, it covers our facilities for all our student-athletes, strength and conditioning, locker rooms, renovations to all the different sports, and quite frankly it's going to transform what we do as a department and the student-athlete experience."
Also new: A redesigned version of CSUB's athletic website, GoRunners.com, which debuted last week.
"GoRunners.com has taken a huge step forward," Siegfried said. "Whether you're on your mobile device or the computer, it's going to look top notch and you're going to find everything you need, and it's going to fit everything we need as a department."
All of the updates are designed, Siegfried said, to enforce the four "pillars" that comprise the athletic department's overall vision: academic excellence, student-athlete experience, competitive success and community engagement.
Men's basketball as "fuel"
It's no secret that CSUB's success in men's basketball the past two seasons – a WAC Tournament championship and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2015 and a regular-season WAC title and deep run in the National Invitation Tournament last year – has been good for CSUB as a whole.
How good? Siegfried considers the high-profile sport an engine for all the others.
"Men's basketball has fueled a lot of our success, and we're getting higher caliber recruits in all of our sports," he said. "We're getting higher caliber staff members who want to come and work for CSUB. And it's going to continue. UCLA, Arizona, Arkansas (all on this year's schedule), we're gonna be on national TV, we're going to be on the ESPN ticker. It's a blast where we've come from, and we have so much more room to grow."
Siegfried said season-ticket sales are up 300 even over last year's robust number and that chair-back seats are already sold out, with new inquiries put on a waiting list.
"We're just exploding when it comes to attendance," he said.
The season begins Oct. 26 with the Blue-Gold Game, Nov. 4 with an exhibition against Biola University and Nov. 10 with the regular-season opener vs. Whittier College.
CSUB's volleyball team enjoyed a sweep of three matches at the Jackrabbit Invitational in Brookings, S.D., this past weekend. The Runners beat Valparaiso, host South Dakota State and Northern Arizona to improve to 4-2.
Haylee Roberts, a Liberty graduate, was the tournament MVP. CSUB's Sydney Haynes and Emily Lopes also were named to the all-tournament team.