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Fighting Words

New NCAA member holds contest to find fight song

The Cougars are looking for a new song to sing. CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SAN MARCOS, PHOTO

How to Make It Sing

Contest parameters were loose, but Cal State San Marcos did offer up a few tips for songwriters:

  • Consider a first verse that can stand alone or act as a chorus.
  • Be inclusive of all students; do not reference a particular sport or organization.
  • Try to incorporate school colors, the mascot or other campus traditions. 
  • Make it timeless – avoid pop culture references and slang.
  • Avoid mentioning any one rival.

They have a fierce cougar mascot, classic blue and white uniforms, and special rally towels.

Now, in their quest toward maximum school spirit, all California State University, San Marcos, needs is a fight song.

The young school celebrated its 25th anniversary last year and will become a full-fledged member of NCAA Division II in fall 2017. Building on that momentum, school administrators embarked on an initiative to enhance Cal State San Marcos pride and tradition – a unique challenge at a largely “commuter” campus. And they decided to start with song.

The university ran a contest in the spring seeking lyrics for its first fight song, promising a $1,000 prize and a place in school history. A local high school band director wrote two melodies for the contest, and 18 students, faculty, alumni and community members submitted lyrics.

A committee of students and administrators then narrowed the entries to four. And those were performed at a spring pep rally and put out for a student vote. The winning fight song will be unveiled at the opening of a new sports center Sept. 1.

So far, the project and its reception have been music to the ears of Athletics Director Jennifer Milo.

“The thing I’ve always known, but that became apparent through this, is: Students want to be involved,” she says. “It’s not just about going to class and going home. They want to take part in history.”

About Champion

Champion magazine goes behind the headlines and beyond the scoreboards to celebrate the unique connection between Americans and college sports. Champion is published by the NCAA.