Today@Sam Article

SHSU, Rockets Match Up For Second Annual Event

March 2, 2015
SHSU Media Contact: Aubrie Walker

The Sam Houston State University sport management program will host “SHSU Night with the Houston Rockets” at Houston’s Toyota Center on March 27.

Students, faculty, staff and alumni are invited to join in on the fun as the Rockets take on the Minnesota Timberwolves at 7 p.m. that Saturday.

University VIPs receiving Rockets jerseys on the court
SHSU students sporting their Bearkat orange in the stands
students on the court after the game doing free-throws
This year's SHSU Night with the Houston Rockets will provide Bearkat fans many of the same opportunities as last year's event, which included a halftime presentation of Rockets jerseys to SHSU VIPs (top), special giveaways for SHSU students (center), and a post-game free throw shot from the court. The second annual event will be on March 27. —Photos by Brian Blalock

“We are very excited about this year’s event,” said Ryan Zapalac, associate professor in the department of kinesiology. “This will be our second year partnering with the Rockets and they have once again provided us with some great benefits for our students, faculty, staff, and alumni.”

This is the fifth year for the program’s signature event and the second year with the Rockets. The first three years, the event was held in partnership with the Houston Aeros who relocated to Des Moines, Iowa, after the 2013 season.

Students attending the game will receive a pregame meal, sponsored by Student Activities, at the Lake House Restaurant, located at Discovery Green, near Toyota Center. There are a limited number of spaces available, so students should reserve tickets early.

In addition, event sponsors and alumni who purchase designated blocks of tickets will be invited to take part in a VIP event from 5:30-7 p.m. in the 94-95 Room at Toyota Center.

SHSU President Dana Hoyt, Athletic Director Bobby Williams, Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jason Hooten, and Women’s Basketball Coach Brenda Nichols will be featured SHSU guests at the VIP event, which is being sponsored by the College of Health Sciences and Student Services.

The VIP Event will also feature the presentation of the 2015 Industry Impact Award to Janis Schmees Burke, CEO of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority. Burke has been instrumental in helping Houston obtain major events such as the 2017 Super Bowl, NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament regionals and finals, and the World Weightlifting Championships, according to Zapalac.

“Mrs. Burke has also been very active in the community, has provided great opportunities for our students to get exposure to the industry, and is a great friend to SHSU,” said Zapalac. “We are honored to have her as the recipient of our program’s highest award.”

Other special guests for this year’s event include Sammy Bearkat and SHSU’s ROTC, who will be presenting the colors for the National Anthem before the game.

Everyone is encouraged to show off his or her Bearkat pride at the event by wearing SHSU attire. There will be a limited number of giveaways for SHSU attendees.

After the final buzzer of the game, all SHSU attendees will have the opportunity to get on the home court of the Rockets and shoot free throws.

Discount tickets will be available at three price levels for Bearkats: $25 tickets in the upper end zone, which are almost sold out; and at $33 and $59, with seats still available.

Tickets can be purchased online at with one of the following codes: SAM, SHSU, KATS or DUNK. The code will only be active for a limited time; students, faculty, staff and alumni interested should purchase tickets timely.

“This should be another great event for SHSU faithful,” said associate professor of sport management Brent Estes. “Faculty, staff, students and alumni will have a great night, and there is something for everyone at this event. We know this will be another great night for SHSU as the Rockets make the push for the playoffs.”

Registration for the student pre-game meal and for the VIP event is available at More information can also be found at

Student organizations that want to bring letters or signs to the game must make a group ticket purchase and should contact Derek Billingsley at, Kaelum Messer at, or Dennis Reiner at

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