Rooting for the Redhawks basketball team

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

We have long been fans of the Southeast Missouri State University athletics program. We have personally supported a number of Redhawk teams over the years and witnessed many peaks and valleys. Seldom have I been as proud of a Redhawk team as I was recently while watching the basketball team battle the then-undefeated Murray State Racers at Murray, Ky., on a national ESPN telecast.

Redhawk basketball under coach Dickey Nutt is becoming a force in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Redhawks are an exciting team to watch, and the fans are starting to return to the Show Me Center. I would be as bold to predict that winning seasons -- and even championship seasons -- are going to return to Southeast and the Show Me Center.

I have always maintained that our athletic program is a very important element to the success of Southeast Missouri State University. It's an important marketing tool not only for the university but for our city of Cape Girardeau as well.

I thought many times that evening, in addition to really enjoying an exciting game, of the tremendous national exposure we were receiving for our university and city. The value of the exposure is subtle and difficult to calculate, but it's important as we continue to market our city and university to the region and the nation.

Southeast Missouri State University is a major economic engine for our city. It is estimated that each additional 100 students add $1 million to our local economy.

All our citizens need to support Southeast in all of its athletic and academic programs. Community support is needed to ensure the university's continued growth and success.

Spring sports are ready to kick off with baseball, softball and track and field all beginning a new season. There are also many great activities at the River Campus for our citizens to attend and enjoy this spring.

Now, getting back to basketball. Southeast is hosting nationally ranked Murray State on Wednesday night at the Show Me Center. Let's support Redhawk basketball, fill the Show Me Center for the contest, and witness a great college basketball game. The fans always make a difference.

Good luck to the Redhawks and coach Dickey Nutt. Go Redhawks!

Harry E. Rediger is the mayor of Cape Girardeau.

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