BAKERSFIELD, Calif.- The Roadrunner Scholarship Fund is in the closing weeks of their 2016 Fund Drive with an all-time high goal of $800,000 for student-athlete scholarships at CSUB. With the fiscal deadline of July 1 quickly approaching, volunteers and staff members are working to reach this new plateau.
“We continue to raise expectations within all our areas and the Roadrunner Scholarship Fund is an important part of that,” said director of athletics Kenneth “Ziggy” Siegfried. “We have built a culture of success both academically and competitively and we need to continually seek out ways to create more scholarship opportunities for our teams and student-athletes.”
Since Siegfried arrived on campus in 2012 as then Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Relations, the Roadrunner Scholarship Fund set and exceeded higher goals on an annual basis. Last year the fund raised $703,000 for student-athlete scholarships, an all-time high for CSUB Athletics and received gifts exceeding over $2.1 million for the athletics department.
This year the scholarship fund goal was elevated to $800,000 with the hopes of attracting new members and capitalizing on the success of the department over the last two years including the 2015-16 championships won by men’s basketball and softball. Men’s basketball also brought the university unprecedented exposure and support when it not only won the Western Athletic Conference basketball tournament, but appeared for the first time in the NCAA Tournament against eventual Final Four participant Oklahoma. The Roadrunners support at home and across the nation was overwhelming giving the community a glimpse at the impact of big-time college athletics in Kern County.
“The community support has been tremendous, especially after our men’s basketball appearance in the NCAA Tournament and I believe the community has seen the return on their investment,” Siegfried said. “It’s no coincidence that as our fundraising has increased our teams and student-athletes have improved; as competitors we want to continue to strive for excellence and community support through the Roadrunner Scholarship Fund is at the forefront of those efforts.”
As a result, membership numbers in the Roadrunner Scholarship Fund have reached an all-time high with the hopes of turning that support into the goal of $800,000. That money will be used to help fund the scholarships of over 300 student-athletes at CSUB and increase the funding levels in some sports that are not offering scholarships at the maximum level allowed by the NCAA.
If the increase in fundraising over the last two years is any indicator, Roadrunner Scholarship Fund donors have been a major part of the competitive success. CSUB has won four WAC championships in the last two seasons while appearing in seven WAC championship games. Teams like men’s basketball posted their best-ever record at the NCAA Division I level going 24-9 in 2015-16, including a 14-1 record at home and of course their NCAA Tournament appearance. Other successes include postseason baseball wins over Ole Miss in the 2015 Baseball Regionals and WAC ‘Coach of the Year’ honors for men’s basketball head coach Rod Barnes.
As the funding levels have increased, so have the championships and accolades with the hopes being that additional funding for scholarships will raise even more teams up to the championship level in the WAC and in NCAA competition.
Memberships are available at a variety of levels. Fans can log on to www.gorunners.com/donate for more information or contact assistant athletics director for the Roadrunner Scholarship Fund Josiah Castro at 661-654-3209.