PARK FALLS, Wis. (Sept. 13, 2023) – St. Croix of Park Falls, LTD, the 75-year-old parent company to St. Croix Rod, SEVIIN Reels, St. Croix Fly, Rod Geeks, and the St. Croix Factory Store, is pleased to announce a new partnership agreement with three-time Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship School of the Year, the University of Montevallo. The partnership includes a two-year sponsorship of the university’s renowned Falcons Fishing Team and a six-month marketing internship at St. Croix for one of the team’s student athletes.
Jesse Simpkins, St. Croix Vice President of Marketing, says the agreement represents great opportunities for both organizations. “The University of Montevallo gets a lot of well-deserved attention for the accomplishment of its bass-fishing team,” says Simpkins, referencing the program led by President’s Outdoor Scholars Program Director and Head Fishing Coach, William Crawford. “But behind all the titles and honors the Falcons have earned on the water, there’s a wonderful university supporting the personal and professional growth of these young people, many of whom aspire to work in the fishing industry after graduation. We’re providing one of them with an immersive six-month internship within our marketing department for which they’ll receive both real-world experience and college credit for their work. But, beyond that, we have a variety of additional marketing projects and opportunities planned that will allow participation and growth for as many Falcons team members who want to get involved in the day-to-day marketing activities that help fuel the growth of our brands."
Simpkins says the partnership also includes direct support to the 2021/2022 MLF National School of the Year, 2022/2023 Bassmaster Team of the Year, and 2022/2023 MLF National Champions in the form of product sponsorship. “St. Croix Rod and SEVIIN Reels will be sponsors of the Montevallo Falcons Fishing Team in name, meaning that we’re providing rods and reels to the team to use as they see fit,” Simpkins says. “We’re not dictating their use by any individual team member; we want and expect to earn the right to be in their hands and on their decks.”
In addition to serving as the Falcons Fishing Team’s Head Coach, William Crawford also serves as Director of the University of Montevallo’s President’s Outdoor Scholars Program, which provides scholarships and other special opportunities for students with a special passion for wildlife and conservation.
“The program gives outdoor-minded students a pathway to stay actively involved in their passions… taking an active role in preserving Alabama’s significant natural resources while earning their degrees,” says Crawford. “We also strive to provide insights into future employment opportunities within the fields of conservation and game management, as well as within the greater outdoors industry.”
Crawford says the current partnership with St. Croix is a primary example. “Anytime we can align with top brands and companies like St. Croix Rod and SEVIIN Reels is a huge plus,” Crawford says. “It brings credibility to our program, but more importantly, great opportunities for our student anglers. I want to help each of our kids get where they want to go, and for many that’s a career in the fishing or outdoors industries. Creating these kinds of creative partnerships goes a long way towards leading our students down that path."
Crawford says he expects his program’s involvement to benefit St. Croix and SEVIIN’s social media presence. “When people see Montevallo University, we want them to see and think of St. Croix rods and SEVIIN reels. We want them to see and understand that the best team in collegiate angling is using the Best Rods on Earth.”
The University of Montevallo’s current competitive fishing season began June 1 and runs through the end of May, 2024.
“We’ve had three tournaments so far and our fall schedule fires up with two big events next month – the MLF event on Lake Hartwell and the Collegiate BASS event on Lake Dardanelle,” comments Crawford, who says the primary goal for this season is to remain the top team in college fishing. “We’re the only school to win the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year three times, and we’ve done it back-to-back-to-back the past three seasons. We want to keep that momentum going. We’ve got a core group of key anglers back from last season, plus a great bunch of talented new freshmen anglers.”