Perhaps the strongest aspect of Ski-U-Mah and the one that hopefully makes our readers pick up an issue multiple times is the incredible photography. For this issue, we decided to depart from our usual format of several in-depth feature stories and important news items to put a different twist on telling the story of Gopher Athletics. We published a similar issue in the Fall of 2014 and received tremendous positive feedback. It was time to bring it back.

In this issue, we photographed at least one student-athlete from each of our teams, nine head or assistant coaches and our famous mascot to allow you a chance to get to know a little bit more about each of them. Some of the individuals we chose are easily identifiable, while others may be new to the Gopher community or not as well-known. One of the primary goals of this publication has been to tell the hidden and sometimes behind-the-scenes stories of our Athletics Department. We hope you enjoy the stories we share in this issue.

The task of assembling this issue of Ski-U-Mah was a labor of love. We are blessed to have wonderfully talented staff photographers in Eric Miller and Courtney Anderson. We completed 35 different photo shoots, in locations all over campus and beyond, in the span of about six weeks. We shot more than 10,000 frames. These photo shoots kicked off with volleyball All-American Samantha Seliger-Swenson at picturesque Walter Library on July 6. The list of photo shoots culminated with All-American track star Emerald Egwim on August 23 after she returned from the World Track and Field Championships. One of the truly awesome and unique aspects of collegiate athletics is the constant variety.

Sports change with the seasons. Watching a gymnastics or swimming meet is a very different experience than taking in a football game. We have student-athletes who traveled thousands of miles to attend the U of M, while many are from just a few minutes away. In collegiate athletics, there is always something new and different on which to focus. Putting together this issue of Ski-U-Mah has captured that.

It was so much fun meeting each of the student-athletes and watch- ing them react to having a professional portrait session done, many for the first time. The same went for the shoots with our coaches, many of whom are not just co-workers, but good friends.

We hope you enjoy “The Faces of Gopher Athletics.” Thank you for your continued support of our student-athletes and coaches!

- Jeff Keiser, Assistant Athletic Director for Creative Services