Athletics Director Greg Byrne's weekly email discussing Wildcat Athletics
Jan. 9, 2013
American Heart Awareness Month is a month away, but the hearts of Wildcat fans have already been tested thanks to the Cardiac Cats! The “Bear Down and never say quit” perseverance shown on that memorable 12.15.12 day has been on display by our men’s basketball team in these past three victories. Special things happen to special teams. Arizona men’s basketball is 14-0, and off to our best start since 1932. Obviously there is a lot of basketball to be played before final judgment can be made on how special this season is, but don’t forget to enjoy the journey while on the ride. Our program is deeply rich in tradition and past success, but as history has shown, it’s not too often a 14-0 start comes around.
There’s no doubt we didn’t pull out the close victories against Colorado and Utah without our fans in McKale. Thank you for not only selling out the building for each of our first two Pac-12 games, but for staying the entire game and providing a crazy environment.
It’s exciting to see the community sell out the McKale Center, as has been the case in three of our last four games. The next home game vs. UCLA on Jan. 24 is a sellout and we just announced the March 9 finale vs. our rivals is sold out. Tickets for the other five home games are available, but moving fast. Click here to order tickets online or call 520-621-CATS (2287).
One last note about sellouts…even though some games are listed as sellouts now, it doesn’t mean tickets won’t become available later. There are occasions where the ZonaZoo will return tickets unclaimed by students, and/or when a visiting team returns tickets. If this happens, the ticket office will make these returns available the Tuesday prior to a home game. Make sure to check with the ticket office for availability the week of the game.
Since the last Wildcat Wednesday I’ve had the privilege to travel to two national award banquets in support of our people. The first was a late December trip to Orlando for The Bowerman award, think of it as the Heisman Trophy for the world of track and field and cross country. LSU’s Kimberlyn Duncan won the award, but for Brigetta Barrett to be one of three finalists was a monumental achievement of its own. She was the first student-athlete in Arizona history to be a finalist for this prestigious award. Last week, I was in Chicago asAndy Lopez accepted the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) National Coach of the Year award. In addition, Assistant Baseball Coach Shaun Cole was recognized as the Collegiate Baseball National Pitching Coach of the Year. As an athletics director, it’s always a thrill to see a student-athlete, coach or staff member receive national recognition for their hard work. Congratulations Brigetta, Coach Lopez and Coach Cole!
MGM MCKALE ARENA
We have asked our fans to take over Las Vegas for the 2013 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament and the response has been incredible. We’ve currently received over 1,000 all-session ticket requests. We will continue to take requests up until Tuesday, Jan. 15. After that day, requests will be fulfilled using the Wildcat Club priority point system. We’re going to do our best to work with the conference and try to get every request fulfilled to create a huge section of Wildcat fans inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena. You can request tickets by calling the McKale Ticket Office at 520-621-CATS (2287) or download and complete and order form offArizonaWildcats.com’s Pac-12 Tournament page. Fans will be notified a week after the deadline on whether they received tickets.
The next home men’s basketball game is Thursday, Jan. 24 vs. UCLA, and it’s the third annual “WHITEOUT” game. We decided on this game shortly after the schedule was released and were able to tag it on this year’s posters, schedule cards and the game ticket, so hopefully you are already aware of this visual promotion. The UA Bookstore is selling the official “WHITEOUT” t-shirt at their main location, the A-Stores around town (including McKale Center) and on their website. As we mentioned above, the game is already sold out. If you have a ticket, make sure to wear white!
CATS GIVE BACK WEEK
As the student-athletes are returning from a restful break, they are all gearing up for another busy semester full of classes, workouts, practices and games. But these student-athletes do not forget to give back to the community that supports them year round. For the past four years, student-athletes have coordinated a community service initiative called “Cats Give Back Week.” This project, spearheaded by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), has allowed Wildcat student-athletes to spend their first week back on the UA campus with a charge of giving back to the surrounding community. This week, student-athletes will be making trips to various organizations around the community. Lend a Hand, Diamond Children’s Hospital, the Miller School, Boys and Girls Club, Tucson Community Food Bank and Ben’s Bells are a just a few organizations where student-athletes will be lending a helping hand!
WINNING WAYS TO START 2013
The women’s swimming and diving team returned to competition in a dominating performance to start the New Year. The Wildcats earned a first-place finish in every event in sweeping past Oregon State, Northern Arizona and New Mexico State on Jan. 4. Gymnastics opened their season with a third-place finish against Cal, Kentucky, and Auburn last weekend. Women’s basketball split their games on a road trip to the Washington schools, beating Washington State, 71-65.
TEMPE ROAD TRIP
Bon Voyage Travel has a few spots left on their bus trip from Tucson to Tempe for the Saturday, Jan. 19 men’s basketball game. Historically, we’ve had a lot of fans in our rival’s gym for this game. It would be great to see another strong showing of Wildcat fans to once again prove #PhoenixIsWildcatCountry. Click here for more information on the bus trip to Tempe.
PILLARS OF EXCELLENCE
University of Arizona junior Megan Meyer, a member of the women's cross country and track and field teams, and senior John Bonano, the Wildcats' recently graduated placekicker, earned 2013 Pillars of Excellence Awards, sponsored by the UA Bookstore. Meyer and Bonano will be recognized at a ceremony in February. The Honors College sought out nominations of Honors students, particularly juniors and seniors, who won national and international honors, excelled in the arts and creativity, became leaders in community service, successfully combined athletic and intellectual endeavors or made significant contributions to research and scholarly activity. Congratulations Megan and John for this great honor.
FRYE GIVING BACK TO ARIZONA ATHLETICS
Channing Frye, Arizona alumnus and basketball great, has made a generous donation in support of Arizona Athletics. The current NBA Phoenix Sun and All-Pac-10 player for the Wildcats (2001-2005) has had the unique opportunity to play collegiately and professionally in his home state of Arizona. As an Arizonan, Channing thought it was important to pay it forward to his University as a way to not only say thank you but also to help provide similar opportunities and experiences he experienced at the UA to current and future student-athletes . His gift will make a big impact for the department as he has designated it to the capital campaign that funds the Richard Jefferson Gymnasium, the basketball and volleyball practice facility.
Channing has stayed involved with the athletics department in numerous ways. Not only has he financially supported Arizona Athletics as a Wildcat Club member, he is also a member of the A-Club Letterwinners Association. We want to thank Channing for his support and wish him a speedy recovery. Bear Down
Congratulations are in order for Erik Oja. The junior from the men’s golf team was recently selected to the Swedish National team and will compete this summer…The City of Tucson is working hard to get Hi Corbett Field ready for the 2013 season. A new infield turf was recently installed, including a section of field turf located behind home plate. Baseball Opening Day is Feb. 15… Look for the Pac-12 Conference to officially release the 2013 football schedule within the next couple of days… National Signing Day, including football, is less than a month away (Feb. 6). Due to the men’s basketball home game vs. Stanford, scheduled for that evening, we won’t be hosting an event that evening. We’re looking at some other methods to introduce the class to our fans that day. Stay tuned…
WEEKLY SCHEDULE Check out our weekly schedule graphic at the bottom of this email. Right click, save and share!
We’ve received a lot of great pictures over the holiday break, especially from those who wore the colors while trekking overseas to celebrate the holidays. Below are Paul Volpe and his wife bringing in the New Year in Northern Sweden. At bottom Kim Rife (’98), Fran Rife, Alyssa Samuelson (’00) and Edie Samuelson show off their Wildcat pride down under in Sydney, Australia. Although their trek was only over domestic waters, below is a picture of cheerleaders TJ Mitchell, Emma Garner, Forrest Gmitro, Megan Garner and Courtney Broome presenting flowers at the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial while they were cheering on the Wildcats over the holidays in Hawaii.
Continue to do what you can to help Arizona Athletics and: