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Wilder's Message to ODU Students: 'Aim High'

August 29, 2007
By ODU Athletics

Aug. 29, 2007

In what might rank as one of the earliest pep rallies known to man, Old Dominion football coach Bobby Wilder spent part of his Friday pumping up the incoming freshmen and breaking out a catch phrase for his upstart program.

Holding his arm high in the air and bending his wrist like a little kid showing how tall he wants to be some day , Wilder shouted: "Aim high!" to his audience and encouraged them to do the same whenever they see Wilder, his coaches and his soon-to-be players around campus.

"I'm the same as you," Wilder said. "I'm a freshman, too, and we're all in this together."

With fans high-fiving the coach as he walked among them and screaming "Aim high!" every time Wilder held up his hand, the 2,000 or so in attendance at the Constant Center bought into Wilder's boundless enthusiasm.

On stage with two dozen ODU cheerleaders and dance team members behind him, Wilder told ODU's largest incoming class that "this is your team, and we're going to grow together."

He said he's serious about wanting the students to greet him with that "aim high" salute.

"I figure if we aim high and hit the target, then that's fantastic," he said afterward. "And if we aim high and miss, then hopefully we miss high."

The Monarchs don't begin playing football until fall 2009, but Wilder informed those on hand that he will hold open tryouts at 3 p.m. Feb. 7 at Foreman Field.

The tryout will fall on the day following the NCAA's national signing day for football players. It will be the first recruiting class for ODU's program; that entire first class will be red-shirted.

As for his team's catch phrase, Wilder said, "I know it sounds corny, but it's the truth. Programs that don't aim high don't ever get there."

Rich Radford, (757) 446-2463