TUCSON, Ariz. – At various points throughout the season, Arizona football alumni letterwinners have the opportunity to reconnect with their alma mater through a variety of events. This year, Arizona Athletics will host the inaugural Super Wildcat Weekend with the premier event being the Arizona Football Spring Game on Saturday, April 12, at 1 p.m. MST.
Super Wildcat Weekend will provide Arizona football alumni an opportunity to reconnect with the program through participating in a golf tournament, a letterwinner reception hosted by head coach Rich and Rita Rodriguez, a celebrity flag football game and a tailgate coupled with the spring game.
“Part of the reason that guys come back is the gravitation towards Coach Rodriguez and the program,” Arizona Alumni Letterwinner Coordinator Raymond Wells said. “I think he has been very open for alumni and letterwinners to be a part of the program. He has a great understanding and awareness for what the alumni can do for the program.”
Rodriguez is not only excited for the opportunity for his players -- especially freshman and incoming players -- to perform in front of a crowd, but also looks forward to connecting with former letterwinners.
“It’s a great weekend for everyone associated with the University of Arizona,” Rodriguez said. “There are a lot of activities going on and alumni events. For a lot of the guys, it’s the only time of the year that they can connect because they get so busy in the fall. I want them to enjoy it. It gives the staff and I a chance to meet the guys that we haven’t met yet. We also want them to get to know us as well.”
Arizona football will begin the alumni festivities by partaking in the golf tournament, which is set for Friday morning. Members of the Arizona coaching staff alongside approx. 100 former players will participate in the event at Westin La Paloma Resort.
That evening, there will be a dinner reception for all football letterwinners to attend. For the first time, Rodriguez will host the event at his home. There, players will have a chance to network and reminisce on their own football experiences.
“What alumni do for the program is through word of mouth - being a positive reinforcement in the community,” Wells said. “A lot of former players are now coaches and having a good relationship with our program here ultimately gives us a stronger network as far as kids knowing about Arizona when it comes to recruiting. They come back to Tucson and connect to the program but when they go back it really gives us a strong network.”
Rodriguez also understands the importance of alumni networking and what they are able to contribute back to the program.
“Obviously, they put a lot into this program, so they feel a sense of ownership which is good,” Rodriguez said. “They can also help us in recruiting wherever they live whether that’s in Arizona or not. People know who they are as a former Arizona football player. They can talk about the good things. It’s going to help us in recruiting.”
On Saturday, the first A-Club Letterwinners flag football game will take place at 11:15 a.m., followed by a tailgate lunch prior to the game. The teams will be coached by Ricky Hunley and John Fina. Players will include letterwinners from football, baseball, women’s basketball, tennis, swimming and diving and volleyball. Full team rosters will be announced in this week’s Wildcat Wednesday.
Simultaneously, Lance Briggs will be at his annual football camp at Tucson High School where he will spend his time with the Tucson community alongside former players. From there, he will bring the group to watch the spring game.
With the spring game starting at 1 p.m. MST, former athletes will have the chance to bring together their experiences and enjoy the annual game that brought them back together.
“What this weekend is about is getting our former athletes back on campus,,” Wells said. “(We want to them to get) reconnected with the athletic department, coaches and programs, and go back and be a sound board for us in their communities.”