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New AD Garrett Klassy Aims to Brand the Bulldogs as the 'Work & Grit' Teams
STEVEN HEADSHOT 1
By Steven Sanchez
Published 3 weeks ago on
June 28, 2024

Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval welcomes new Athletic Director Garrett Klassy, Friday, June 28, 2024. (GV Wire/Steven Sanchez)

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“We’re going to connect deeply with the Valley by embodying its DNA of hard work and grit,” said incoming Fresno State Athletic Director Garrett Klassy at a news conference Friday.

The marching band, cheerleaders, mascot Victor E. Bulldog, football coach Jeff Tedford, and alumni were among many welcoming Klassy with open arms at the Duncan Athletic Building.

Klassy comes from the University of Houston, where he was deputy AD and chief revenue officer and was involved in the Cougars’ move to the Big 12 Conference. Before that, he had a four-year stint at Nebraska.

University President Welcomes New AD

“Today is a great day to be a Bulldog. I’m so pleased that we have Garrett Klassy as our new AD,” said Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval. “He comes with great qualifications. His pedigree is truly impressive.”

Jiménez-Sandoval said that not only was he impressed by Klassy’s résumé, but his personality helped convince him he was right for the job.

Fresno State Athletic Director Garrett Klassy showing his excitement at his press conference, Friday, June 28, 2024(GV Wire/Steven Sanchez)

“I see two main pillars that hold up of what he is. He has this gifted intellect with his leadership skills. He’s humble, hardworking, and he represents the notion of being present and wanting to contribute with the best of what he’s got. And to me that equals Fresno State.”

Klassy’s Vision for Fresno State Athletics

“This is the greatest day of my professional career,” said Klassy, who offered a preview of what he expects to come with the Bulldogs.

“My vision for Fresno State athletics is pretty clear … we’re going to win championships. You’re not going to see anybody more competitive than me out there,” he said. “I love winning but hate losing even more. Our student athletes are going to become leaders in the Valley and contribute to it even when they graduate. We’re going to improve our facilities. We’re going to make the Central Valley proud.”

Fresno State sits at No. 5 in the Mountain West conference in total revenue at $54,124,579. Atop the conference is Air Force at $76,587,462. Klassy said the Bulldogs will now shoot to be No. 1.

“We have to do the right things with tickets, seat donations, suites, corporate sponsorships, third party rights holders, and apparel companies. Once that foundation is set that allows us to go out and bring in new resources to explore other opportunities to generate revenue,” said Klassy.

Expanding Visibility and Revenue

As NIL grows — especially with multimedia opportunities expanding — there are additional avenues to bring more visibility to the Valley — a fact not lost on Klassy.

“College athletic departments can become their own digital media companies to generate great media content,” he said. “We’re going to partner with local media, but we have a unique opportunity to tell our story and we’ll use any platform possible. We’re going to explore every avenue.”

Football is the main athletic revenue generator for the school. Fresno State led all G5 programs in attendance with an average of 39,939 fans per game. Klassy says one of his goals is to raise awareness and attendance for all of the sports programs.

“When you look at the attendance reports in the Mountain West, we lead the conference in attendance for a lot of our sports,” Klassy said. “We need to build off that and give fans a reason to come to the games. Winning is the biggest portion of that but putting an emphasis on the fan experience is important.”

“I always think if you look at an event through the eyes of children, that’s how we can make people come back. That’s how we’re going to approach our marketing efforts.”

Boosting Fresno State’s Brand

Klassy said also he wants the rest of the country to know what Fresno stands for — especially the Green V.

“The hard work and determination, the brand has already been developed by the people who live in the Valley which is great. Fresno State is coming, and we’ve been here a long time. The brand is only going to get boosted and I expect to do special things here. The money and the value are in the execution and we’re going to execute and do it a high level,” he said.

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Steven Sanchez,
Content Manager/Entertainment Editor
Steven Sanchez, a resident of Clovis, graduated from Buchanan High School in the class of 2007 and obtained his film degree from University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Steven is a multifaceted artist, working as a filmmaker, writer, photographer, videographer, and published author. He has a profound passion for movies, comic books, and rock ‘n’ roll. A dedicated football enthusiast, he cheers for the Las Vegas Raiders. In his leisure time, he indulges in reading and collecting vinyl records. Steven is often found attending rock shows in town, a keen enthusiast of live music. He holds a special fondness for his grandma's homemade meals and spending time with his twin sister.

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