Lobo Club History
The Lobo Club is one of the first intercollegiate athletics fundraising organizations established in the United States. It began in 1932 by a group of roughly 30 businessmen whose budget was $10,000 and S.Y. Jackson, Sr. was president (Jackson continued to serve as president for the next 13 years).
The first meetings were on Tuesdays at the Albuquerque Country Club where coaches would inform members about their programs. It was during this period in the Club’s history that a group of highway contractors would save money in order to fund away trips for teams because the State of New Mexico prohibited fronting the money.
In 1974, a group of women established “The Boosterette Club.” They sold mums at football games and made cookies for teams to take with them on road trips. This marked the end of the booster club era known as “Boys Night Out Club” and “Good Old Boys Club.” By 2000, the Lobo Club had elected its first female president (Lynn Mosher) and hired a female executive director (Jada Lucey-Martinez).
In the 70’s, Johnny Jones (president in 1973) would host the annual membership drive at his ranch where ambassadors would play games that included target shooting with a bow and arrows, chipping contests, basketball, and more. The winner of the games was awarded $1,000 from Johnny. Volunteers always looked forward to this annual day of fun. The top 15 fundraisers received jackets, a tradition that was likely the beginnings of the Red Blazer Club.
Ed Black and Hickum Galles were the first to establish the Courtesy Car Program. This was the first gift-in-kind contribution to the Lobo Club. During this time, a “Lobo1” license plate was issued annually to the Lobo Club President.
In 1983, the Lobo Club provided the money to allow Director of Athletics La Vonne McDonald the opportunity to meet with representatives from the NCAA in an effort to bring the NCAA Final Four to Albuquerque. He was successful and that Final Four in The Pit remains one of the most visible finals in NCAA history with Jimmy Valvano and his North Carolina State Wolfpack earning the victory.Since then, the Lobo Club has grown significantly in the effort to support student-athlete success at UNM. In 2011, a formalized major gift program was established to enhance the efforts to raise funds for capital projects, planned gifts, and endowments to Lobo Athletics. Furthermore, the renovations of the Pit and Branch Field at University Stadium added opportunities to raise funds through premium seating areas in those facilities. The Lobo Club currently raises between $7 million to $11 million annually through all these initiatives combined.
Membership by the Numbers:
1970 – 300 members raised $60,000
1976 – 1,700 members raised $250,000
1990 – 2,000 members raised $750,000
1995 – 2,150 members raised $1 million cash; $1million gift-in-kind.
2000 – 3,500 members raised $2 million; $1.5 million gift-in-kind.
2010 – 4,000 members raised $2.8 million; $2 million gift-in-kind.