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Story Last modified at 2:49 p.m. on Wednesday, July 6, 2011

There's an app for 'Shack'
Mustang football gallops into information age

BY MATT TUNSETH
Alaska Star

Chugiak High head football coach Duncan Shackelford isn't real big on computers, but he knew right away that the team's recent foray into cyberspace was something worth paying attention to.

"It looks pretty darn cool," Shackelford said after getting a look at Chugiak.mobi, a Web site and mobile application for smart phones that booster club president Drema Fitzhugh said has the potential to revolutionize how people follow the 'Stangs this season.

"We'll be updating scores throughout the games, and there's a coach's show were we interview coach Shack," Fitzhugh said.

Anyone with a web browser can access the app, which includes links to schedules, rosters, highlights and more. The site will be used as a way to get information about the team out as quickly as possible.

"Most all of the players have family and friends in the Lower 48 or even other parts of the world," she said. "We can get their family and friends plugged in."

Fitzhugh said the team partnered with MGP Solutions, a company that creates specialized mobile apps for high school teams. Originally from the football hotbed of Texas, Fitzhugh said she wanted to find a way to make the Mustangs stand apart from other Alaska teams.

"We wanted to put Chugiak football on the map," she said.

Fitzhugh fans have been talking about the Coach Shack show. She's not yet sure how that will work – Shackelford may sit down for an interview right after games or maybe the next day – but she does know the show will be entertaining.

"He's never at a loss for words," she said.

Shackelford said he's onboard with whatever the booster club has in store for him as long as it helps build excitement about the program.

"I guess it's going to be kinda wild," he said.

Kinda wild is exactly what Fitzhugh wants. With this year's state playoffs scheduled for Chugiak's Tom Huffer Stadium, she said the level of anticipation over the upcoming season – which begins Aug. 13 with a home game against South – is already building.

"This is kind of a state-of-the-art and something that will build more excitement," she said. "We want to step up the enthusiasm in the stands this year. As a booster club, we feel that's our duty."



This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, July 6, 2011.