LAS CRUCES – New Mexico State and its multimedia rights partner, Learfield, announced a pair of football and basketball games against in-state rival New Mexico will be broadcast in the Navajo language.
Saturday’s football game will be the first broadcast, followed by the New Mexico versus NM State men’s basketball game on December 3 in Las Cruces. Both the football and men’s basketball games will be broadcast in the Navajo language on 107.3 KCYZ-FM, based out of Crownpoint. The Navajo language broadcast will also be streaming on The Varsity Network App. Fans can download the app for instant access to free gameday audio streams and receive push notifications to remind them of games starting or upcoming audio broadcasts. Both the English and Navajo language broadcasts will be available on those two dates.
“When Mario [Moccia] reached out to us with the prospect of broadcasting both the football and basketball games against our biggest rival in the Navajo language, we were excited and humbled for the opportunity,” said Mike Pirolo, general manager for NM State Sports Properties team. “We have the privilege of bringing the two largest college sporting events in the state to the Navajo nation through KCZY, as well as to the entire country via our Varsity streaming platform.”
KCZY Radio Station Manager Cuyler Frank will handle the play-by-play. Frank is a native of Black House Valley, New Mexico, and is a graduate of New Mexico State with a degree in Communications. On September 23, 2005, Frank was the first to announce an NCAA D1 Football game in the Navajo language when he called the NM State Football game against nationally ranked California at Aggie Memorial Stadium. He previously announced Aggie Football and basketball games for parts of nine seasons.
“The in-state rivalry has always been one of my favorite broadcasts. It showcases the top athletes from our communities including those representing the tribal nations of New Mexico,” Frank stated. “Most of all it is the listenership that it brings, there are many alumni from both institutions back home on the Navajo nation that would appreciate the broadcasts, especially if one of our own is on the field.”
NM State Athletics has several current Native American student-athletes, including Shiyazh Pete, Thomaz Whitford, JJ Jones, and Louie Canepa from the football team and Aidan Thomas and Lance Christensen Jr. from the men’s golf team. Pete grew up on the Navajo reservation and remains an active member of the Navajo nation.
“I was pleased to hear from Cuyler and his interest in broadcasting our I-25 rivalry game in Navajo. These games are one of, if not, the largest sporting event in our state and it is tremendous that all people from the state of New Mexico can enjoy this game and broadcast,” NM State Director of Athletics Mario Moccia said. “Aggie Athletics has a long history of Native American athletes having success on many different teams, including several prominent members of the football and men’s golf programs.”
The Navajo Nation is the largest US Indian tribe, consisting of nearly 200,000 members. The reservation includes approximately 27,000 square miles. Its boundaries extend from northwestern New Mexico into northeastern Arizona and southeastern Utah, a combined area larger than many US states. Three smaller bands of Navajos are also located away from the main reservation boundaries at Alamo, To’hajiilee and Ramah. Key communities include Crownpoint, Shiprock, Alamo, To’hajiilee and Ramah. The capital of the Navajo Nation is Window Rock, AZ, located about 25 miles northwest of Gallup.