If you think you’ll be having a crazy Picnic Day, just ask Jim Sochor and Mark Champagne what they will be doing. Sochor and Champagne have been selected as this year’s Picnic Day marshals.
As the highest honor on Picnic Day, the marshals say a few words to begin the parade and ride in the stagecoach leading the parade throughout campus.
The 18 members on the Picnic Day board chose the marshals and couldn’t be more thrilled with their selections. Jim Sochor was head coach of the football team 1970-1988 and coined the phrase, “Aggie Pride,” while Champagne has worked as the ASUCD business manager for 30 years.
Trying to bring Picnic Day back to its roots, the board didn’t have much trouble picking a theme.
“Before anyone said a word, we wanted to go back to our tradition,” said Missy Marone, vice chair of Picnic Day. “We looked at a bunch of archives and past pictures and came up with the idea of Rewind.”
Picnic Day chair Charlie Colato believes the two marshals are perfect, especially given this year’s themes of tradition and pride for UC Davis.
“I think Aggie Pride is really imperative to the success of Picnic Day,” Colato said. “Jim [Sochor] is really the embodiment of that idea.”
As a coach, Sochor was known for his unconventional coaching methods and rules, including never allowing his players to place their helmet on the ground. Sochor also stressed the importance of putting academics first. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
“Jim was very happy when he found out,” Colato said. “He came to our welcome reception and gave a speech. By the end he was in tears.”
Champagne is just as excited and honored. Besides leading the parade, he plans on entering the cow-milking contest.
“It’s really a great honor.” Champagne said. “It’s a recognition of the time I’ve worked here at ASUCD and all we have accomplished over the last 30 years.”
The Picnic Day board believes Champagne’s devotion to UC Davis and his continuing excellence as the business manager for the ASUCD make him the perfect marshal for this year’s Picnic Day.
“Mark has worked so hard over the years,” Marone said. “Last year, he spent Picnic Day making pizzas in the CoHo. He’s definitely part of the UC Davis roots.”
As ASUCD business manager, Champagne is working with Unitrans to help with safety at this year’s Picnic Day. The buses will be charging a $1 fare and will also be putting uniformed police officers on board.
“This is a make it or break it year for Picnic Day,” said Colato. “We have a pretty good picture of what the event is going to look like, now we just need the students’ support. Are you going to help save it or bury it?”
ANDY VERDEROSA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction – Feb. 23, 2011: The
Picnic Day Board of Directors actually has 16