BY CHRIS MACKOWIAK
There is much history behind Salisbury University Athletics. As SU has greatly grown since the 1980’s, so has the athletics here in Salisbury, Md.
Since the inception of the NCAA Division III, Salisbury has been a prominent name in conference and national title discussions each year. It’s something that transcends one sport, as success has permeated across different seasons and different disciplines.
Among their 12 national championships, Salisbury men’s lacrosse has won the last two DIII national titles, while their historic head coach Jim Berkman is the winningest NCAA men’s lacrosse coach all-time.
SU field hockey has won five national championships, while SU women’s lacrosse has won three national titles under Jim Nestor since 2010. On the track, Luke Campbell won 11 total national titles in events over his historic career.
In Maggs Physical Activities Center, SU women’s basketball is three years removed from an NCAA run, while Salisbury men’s basketball Head Coach Andy Sachs has led the Sea Gulls back to regional prominence with two-straight NCAA appearances.
When talking about NCAA Tournament appearances, it’s hard to keep SU baseball out of the discussion, currently on a run of 18 straight NCAA appearances including five World Series appearances.
Salisbury softball had their eight-straight NCAA appearance streak snapped just last season, but the program also has nine NCAA Championship appearances. The Salisbury soccer programs have combined for 15 NCAA Tournament appearances, while football has put together 10 overall.
All of these national accomplishments mean that nationally, at least regionally, people working at the NCAA Division III level should aware of Salisbury Athletics. They may know the name and the mascot, but do they actually know the name and the mascot.
It has been far too often that an opposing school’s broadcast team or live-stream will pronounce Salisbury the wrong way. It is common for the word to have two different pronunciations depending on the region one is from.
I am from Pennsylvania and the Northeast where ‘Sals-bury’ is the common one, but down South the pronunciation is ‘Sawls-bury’ as it is here in Salisbury, Md.
While I was quickly corrected after my first broadcast for the Sea Gull Sports Network, most people are not put in the position to have to pronounce it for two hours as part of a sports broadcast.
At times it is the media’s job to help educate and enlighten the public. This is one of those moments.
Numerous times during National Championship broadcasts, Sea Gull fans will hear the NCAA broadcaster pronounce the school as ‘Sals-bury,’ which says one of two things: the broadcaster either did not do their homework or did not bother to get in touch with the Salisbury Sports Information Department.
It is quite unfortunate when the respective broadcaster’s or the NCAA’s twitter lights up with angry Sea Gull fans during the game telling the broadcast that they are pronouncing players’ names wrong or just the school’s.
Usually this is corrected well into the broadcast, but it is something that should not occur at all. It never hurts to get in touch with sports information ahead of a broadcast to discover the nuances of the school in many respects, but especially with pronunciations.
Also, there may be some leeway given if Salisbury University Athletics were not a regular to the NCAA Tournament scene. However, as evidenced by the above numbers, that is far from the case each year.
For anyone involved in NCAA Division III, they know that this respective division is massive. There is always something new to learn within the nuances of the small-colleges of the nation.
Another specialty to Salisbury in the pronunciation or language department is the use of the phrase ‘Sea Gull.’ Well known to those in the Mid-Atlantic region is the use of Sammy the Sea Gull as Salisbury’s mascot.
However, it is not so much Sammy that is the problem, but instead the use of the word seagull. I have learned over my three years at Salisbury University that once someone steps on this campus, the known spelling becomes ‘Sea Gull,’ which has been the case for many, many years.
If anyone glances over to East Campus, it is evident: Sea Gull Stadium, Sea Gull Softball Stadium or Sea Gull Soccer Stadium.
However, on Main Campus, signs for Seagull Square grace the street. It is a massive inconsistency for a university that is greatly increasing on the radar of the East Coast.
The central use of a mascot is for athletics purposes. Therefore, Salisbury University should be deferring to the athletics department which uses the two-word phrase.
Something about the two-word phrase is just more imposing at the end of the day. Sammy is a buff, strong Sea Gull ready for battle on the hardwood, gridiron, diamond or pitch.
Not to mention, Salisbury is the only school to have the ‘Sea Gull’ as its mascot, while the Endicott College Gulls north of Boston also claim a similar title.
I encourage Salisbury University students to call out family members, family friends and future colleagues when they essentially misspell the SU mascot. It is part of Salisbury University’s identity and helps the branding of the university.
There are small things that make each NCAA school special. These are two of Salisbury’s own.
Oh, and when your future colleage replies with, ‘you went to Sals-bury,’ correct that too for many Salisbury steak jokes as they can conjure up.