Compare UNO athletics in 2011 and UNO athletics now.
The two are almost unrecognizable. Since making the decision to jump to Division I athletics at the begging of the decade, the Mavericks have hardly ever looked back.
Of course, there was little wrong about UNO’s time in DII. The Maverick football team helped produce several NFL caliber players. A number of teams, including wrestling, softball, women’s soccer and volleyball all brought home national championship wins. But no university wants to see their athletics programs stagnate.
So in a bid to constantly improve the university and help put UNO on the map, it was decided that it was best to transition to a higher level.
But in what ways has UNO improved since moving to DI?
If you base improvement off of trophies and titles, it’s easy to see the improvement.
Of course, UNO isn’t winning national titles again just yet. There still remains a ways to go until that level is reached. But since joining DI, the Mavericks have established themselves as an athletic program that takes itself seriously and is here to compete.
In the competitive Summit League conference, UNO has brought home two conference titles, one in 2017 for men’s soccer and the other in 2019 for baseball. With these conference wins came berths in NCAA tournaments and national recognition. The trend seems to suggest that even more wins will continue to follow, as in the last few years, other programs such as men’s basketball and women’s soccer have also appeared in conference finals. Unfortunately, they came just coming short of taking home the championship.
One important contributing factor into this on-field success has been the commitment of the university to developing it off the field.
In terms of facilities, UNO’s have become second to none since joining DI. Al F. Caniglia Field where the men’s and women’s soccer team play possesses the highest rating that FIFA can give to a turf soccer field. The hockey and basketball teams now play in Baxter Arena where a capacity of 8,000 fans can watch the teams play. And coming up on the horizon, the softball and baseball teams will be playing in Tal Anderson Field, a new facility that will offer state-of-the-art accommodations to 1,500 fans.
The question remains as to what improvements remain on the horizon for UNO athletics. If there’s one thing that the Mavericks have shown since joining DI, it’s that they won’t be slowing down anytime soon.