FOOTBALL SEASON AND PROGRAM
This football season was an emotional roller coaster that certainly did not finish in a manner that pleased anyone including Coach Stoops and myself. We had many highlights and some disappointing times as well.
Coach Stoops and I spoke several times over the New Year’s weekend and also spent part of Monday morning together. We discussed his staff, new hires, recruiting, academics, offensive and defensive direction and representation of the program.
I was impressed with Coach Stoops’ thoughts on the re-working of his staff after the turnover that has taken place, strategy in recruiting for the rest of this year and going into the next recruiting cycle, commitment to academics and discipline, the north end-zone facility, and the direction necessary to continue
to raising our program to new levels from an offensive and defensive approach. We also spoke about how our team and staff represents the University of Arizona. They were very good and productive conversations.
After the emotion from the bowl game subsided, I spent some time looking back at where our program has come since Coach Stoops’ arrival in Tucson seven seasons ago.
· We went to our third straight bowl game for only the second time in our program’s history.
· We set a school record for total offense this season with 4,000 yards of passing and 1,712 of rushing. The 5,712 total yards breaks our 1999 record.
· We expect to finish in the Top 25 nationally and top three or four in the conference in total offense.
· We have been on national and regional television 19 times in two seasons including 10 times this season. That does not count local broadcasts, a positive sign of growth in our program.
· We replaced eight starters on defense and ended up in the top half of the conference in total and scoring defense.
· We averaged more than 55,000 fans a game. Thank you to all of you who have been there!
· Coach Stoops has been very diligent in our academic approach and our team’s academic numbers are trending the right way from the past including 13 December 2010 graduates.
Those are all good things and show that tremendous improvement has been made with Coach Stoops and his staff. Let me make this clear though: we will compete for championships at the University of Arizona. Coach Stoops and I both believe in that.
We also have to make sure that we have the resources and tools in place to allow that to happen. The end-zone building will happen and it is a critical component to our success. We have fallen behind our peers from a facility standpoint and it will be addressed. We will have to make sure we stay competitive with our coaching salaries and not have coaches leave here because of money.
There are obstacles that every program faces and it is important that we are proactive in our approach. I will be communicating directly with you over the next several months about our program, its strengths, and the challenges we face.
Coach Stoops will conduct an end-of-year press conference next Tuesday morning and will be talking more about his staff and our football program.
You, the fans, have been very supportive. For that, I thank you.
The University of Arizona is a critical factor and driver in the Tucson Region. As members of the Tucson Region, Arizona Athletics wishes to make our community a vibrant and healthy place to live, work, learn and play for future generations of all ages. Our department’s continued success and ability to grow our program is based on the success of a dynamic community and university that can attract student-athletes, fans and businesses/jobs to the region. To assist with community-wide strategies and action plans for the betterment of the Tucson Region, and in partnership with Imagine Greater Tucson, we request your participation in this short online survey.
THIS IS WILDCAT COUNTRY
Congratulations to Melina Graham (Yuma) who was the first fan to send in their photo with one of our new state billboards in the background. Melina has won two Pac-10 Plan men’s basketball tickets (the Pac-10 Plan includes all nine conference home games). Thank you to all our fans who participated by sending in their photos.
WILDCATS WEARING RED AND BLUE
Members of the Hughes Federal Credit Union staff join President/CEO Robert Swick for a photo in their Wildcat red and blue. Thanks to Hughes Federal Credit Union for showing their spirit in the workplace, and for working with us to establish the Joe Cavaleri "Ooh Ahh Man" Fund. Those interested in donating can visit a Hughes branch or mail a donation to: Joe Cavaleri "Ooh Ahh Man" Fund, c/o Hughes Federal Credit Union, P.O. Box 11900, Tucson, AZ 85734.
Competitively, the first teams to see action in the spring will be the #19 gymnastics squad at the Pac-10 Preview in Los Angeles this Sunday and next week at Utah State, with indoor track under way on Jan. 15 at a Boise State invitational...One of the many polls out there to consider, College Baseball Lineup ranks Arizona baseball No. 13 in its preseason rankings. Collegiate Baseball named Jett Bandy and Kurt Heyer to its Preseason Louisville Slugger TPX 2011 All-American teams. Season starts on Feb. 18 vs. North Dakota State in Tucson… I thought you might appreciate 'meeting' some of our staffers who work behind the scenes. In the compliance area, we have director Bill Morgan, who joined the UA in 1989 as a volunteer football coach, then recruiting and program coordinator. Lisa Watson and Gretchen Bouton assist in eligibility and financial aid matters, with long-time athletics aide Stella Montante serving as administrative coordinator. Everyone on the ICA staff is involved in compliance issues, but these are the people who direct our efforts in that area -- a primary point of emphasis, as we've noted before... You might not need to be prodded to tune in to the football BCS Championship game in Glendale this Monday, but with Pac-10 brethren Oregon in the tilt against No. 1 Auburn it surely has more meaning. It's different to cheer for the folks you have to compete against for championships, but it makes sense to get behind the Ducks a bit in this one; they're carrying the Pac-10 (and soon to be Pac-12) banner... And how about the Stanford Cardinal taking care of Virginia Tech 40-12 on Monday in the Orange Bowl? Nice! One down, one to go...
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