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AD Dough Knuth believes Pack's 'Elevate' program a 'vehicle for positive change'

Doug Knuth
Nevada athletic director Doug Knuth. (Byrne Photo/Nevada athletics)




In recent months, we were developing comprehensive programming to provide leadership training for all our student athletes. Internally, we coined the term ‘ELEVATE’ for the program. One of the keys to the program was connecting our student athletes to community, professional and Wolf Pack alumni leaders. Our intent was to help bridge gaps and build meaningful relationships. I cannot think of a better vehicle for positive change. Listening for understanding. Learning from each other. Constructive dialogue. Meaningful actions.

I now see that one of the primary objectives to our programming is to elevate our awareness and understanding of the very issues we are facing today. As we create dialogue between our students and our community members, a premium will be placed on both teaching and tolerance as we strive for understanding. The fruits of this program are intended to produce positive change. Our intent is to elevate our thinking, our understanding, and our appreciation for each other.



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Dear Wolf Pack Nation:

On behalf of our Department of Athletics, I am presenting this statement on behalf of our student athletes, coaches and professional staff. As I processed the events of recent weeks, I understand the importance of this statement. Rather than reacting, I wanted to respond thoughtfully. The process of preparing this statement has been one of the most humbling and transformative learning experiences of my life.

Over the past two weeks, I have been in communication with leaders across our country. This has included military leaders, law enforcement professionals, colleagues and coaches across intercollegiate athletics, and corporate executives. This has included members of the clergy, friends and neighbors and, of course, our coaches and staff at Nevada. Quite simply, I sought to learn more. In the process, I have spoken with men and women who have been wrongfully arrested, deeply harassed, and others whose lives have been unjustly threatened.

I heard and learned firsthand of the deep pain, the passion, the immense frustration. I learned of the uncertainty, the questions, the fears, confusion, anger, shock and grief.

In turn, I have learned that young people are looking at the leaders within our country, our state and our communities, and asking why we allow injustice like this to occur. Why haven’t the leaders done more? Why haven’t the leaders acted sooner? Why does this cycle continue?

My heartfelt empathy and compassion goes out to our student athletes, coaches and staff who have experienced these issues in their own lives. This is not acceptable. This is wrong. I cannot know what they have experienced, but I promise that I am listening, and I am learning. I stand with you and will fight with you for what is right and just and true. I know that we have much to do. We have much to do – now! We must proceed smartly, yet with a sense of urgency to show our young people that the we are listening.

In the coming days and weeks, I will be connecting more directly and fully with our student athletes. We will listen for understanding. We will listen to learn of their frustrations, their unanswered questions, their ideas, and their suggestions for improvement.

We will listen and we will learn, yet these mean little without positive actions. Words of support are of little use compared to meaningful and productive change. We will be known by our actions.

In recent months, we were developing comprehensive programming to provide leadership training for all our student athletes. Internally, we coined the term ‘ELEVATE’ for the program. One of the keys to the program was connecting our student athletes to community, professional and Wolf Pack alumni leaders. Our intent was to help bridge gaps and build meaningful relationships. I cannot think of a better vehicle for positive change. Listening for understanding. Learning from each other. Constructive dialogue. Meaningful actions.

I now see that one of the primary objectives to our programming is to elevate our awareness and understanding of the very issues we are facing today. As we create dialogue between our students and our community members, a premium will be placed on both teaching and tolerance as we strive for understanding. The fruits of this program are intended to produce positive change. Our intent is to elevate our thinking, our understanding, and our appreciation for each other.

I am proud of our coaches and student athletes who are sharing their experiences, thoughts and questions on social media in a constructive way. It takes courage to share their intimate thoughts, and I encourage others to share their thoughts in a manner that is as dignified and respectful as possible. We are seeking to learn and to understand each other.

It is an honor to serve our student athletes and coaches during this critical time in our nation’s history, and in our own personal and family histories. Honored to serve!

Doug Knuth

Director of Athletics

University of Nevada

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