New USF Series Shown on CSN California

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Hayden Gehr
Staff Writer

USF’s athletics program has expanded to a bigger stage and a wider audience.

Last Tuesday, Sept. 16, the first episode of “Behind the Mask” aired on CSN California, putting the Dons’ teams on TV screens throughout the Bay Area.

“Behind the Mask” is an in-depth documentation of USF sports, offering content that ranges from team highlights, features on specific players, and footage showing athletes’ involvement in the community. The show will consist of a total of 10 episodes that are shown each month until June 2015.

Dons fans who missed the opening episode of the series need not panic. The first episode will be replayed on Sept. 24 at 10:30 p.m., and again on Sept. 30 at 10:00 p.m. Also, for those who do not have a cable package that includes Comcast Sportsnet, individual segments of each episode can be seen on Youtube, as well as on the Dons’ Facebook and Twitter pages.

Each episode of “Behind the Mask” contains seven different segments, including a “Rookie of the Month” segment that focuses on a standout freshman athlete. There will also be a “Call of the Month” portion that features a memorable broadcasting moment, and an “APM Music Playmakers” highlight reel that showcases impressive plays from a variety of USF teams.

A central aspect of “Behind the Mass” is the effort to reveal the character and personalities of athletes, which are on display in the “Community Corner” segment, among others.

“Anytime you get the opportunity to see someone in multiple dimensions, I think it’s positive,” said senior Laticia Lonon, the president of USF’s student spirit club, Los Locos. “Just realizing how multi-faceted everyone really is, even if they might [be categorized as] just an athlete.”

Through on-field and on-court highlights, the new series can also serve to help put USF in the same conversation as top local college programs.

“Sometimes, people overshadow us,” said junior Brittany Silveira, also a member of Los Locos. “When you think Bay Area [college] sports, you think Cal or Stanford, so to show people how good our athletics program has gotten in the last few years, I think it will be momentous.”

The woman behind the series is Katie Morgan, the director of creative video for USF Athletics. Morgan has another treat for Dons followers coming next month, when another series called “Hilltop Hoops – The Season” will become the second USF show to air on Comcast Sportsnet this semester. “Hilltop Hoops” is a behind-the-scenes look at the men’s basketball team that Morgan says resembles ESPN’s popular “30 for 30” documentaries. After its October debut, one episode from the series will be released each month until next March.

If you see a large crowd of students huddling around a TV on the UC first floor anytime during the school year, these two series might be the reason why. But, more importantly, the shows make it possible for more San Francisco residents to discover USF sports and increase the university’s fan presence.

“Our exposure has traditionally been limited to game broadcasts,” said Jim Young, the associate athletic director of communications and community relations for USF Athletics. “These two shows are terrific platforms to elevate USF’s stature as one of the preeminent mid-major athletic programs in the country.”

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