This is a reposting of the Wildcat Wednesday weekly email sent by Athletic Director Greg Byrne to all the wildcat fans around the country. If you would like to sign up to receive the email directly please sign up here.
LOOKING BACK AT THE LAST TWO WEEKS
I continue to hear from many people who have thanked us for our involvement in the healing process during this challenging and tragic time. Although Athletics was a minor participant, I would like to thank President Shelton and our University for its outstanding leadership. It has been inspiring to watch our community rally together and the outpouring of support Tucson and Arizona have received.
These past two weeks have given us another sobering reminder of what’s important in our lives. I’m sure many of us have taken a step back and looked at our priorities and maybe given our loved ones an extra hug and our friends and co-workers an extra smile. This has been the case for Regina and me. Our boys, Nicholas and Davis, always tease me about waving at every neighbor as we pass by them in the car… a lot more of them have been waving back and smiling in the last two weeks, and that feels good.
My point in all of this is that I believe this tragedy will bring us together and in the end make us stronger as a community. We know that as the athletics department at the University of Arizona we will be given the opportunity to bring many people together on a regular basis where we can spend time getting to know one another better, rooting for the Wildcats together and doing our small part in helping our community heal.
WELCOME TO THE FOOTBALL FAMILY
I'd like to extend a welcome to new football assistants Robert Anae and Duane Akina, who both joined Mike Stoops' staff in recent weeks. They're outstanding veteran coaches from winning programs with championship experience, plus Duane brings more than a decade of previous service to UA in the 1980s and 1990s. Getting coaches of this caliber is a definite plus for the program as it heads into the final weeks of recruiting. THE STATE FARM TERRITORIAL CUP
We split the first round of games in basketball for the State Farm Territorial Cup Series, with the men beating ASU at home and the women dropping a decision in Tempe last week. Next up in the Series is a gymnastics meet this Friday (7 p.m.) in McKale Center between the teams, where a Series point will be on the line. Currently, the school up north holds a 3 to 2 edge in points. Each sport is worth one point and all head-to-head games, matches or meets between the programs count.. If there are no head-to-head competitions for a sport (swimming & diving, tennis, golf, cross country and track & field), then the higher finish in the Pac-10 Championship counts. Stay tuned...
NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL IN McKALE
As you know, we play host to the Second-Third Rounds of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championships March 17 and 19 in McKale Center. McKale Center has been an NCAA venue 10 previous times, most recently in 2005. It's a great time to get out and support college basketball and help us present the University of Arizona in its finest light. The UA squad would be playing elsewhere if it qualifies for the tournament, but eight other teams will combine for six riveting games in McKale on the two days. You can buy tickets here. Needless to say, we want a sellout crowd. Notes... The NCAA will ship an entire playing surface for the event, to cover our current floor. That's done to make all 14 arenas in the championships appear the same. The NCAA has inked a new television pact that includes Turner Sports along with CBS this year, which will expand coverage on four different channels -- CBS, TBS, TNT and TrueTV... In addition to the games, there will be an open-practice day on Wednesday, March 16 in McKale. This practice-day event is free to the public and features the eight teams’ practices in succession.
Tom Keating - the son of loyal Wildcat Club members, Reenie and Tom Keating - was prepared to serve as President Obama’s helicopter pilot last week if called into action. He, his parents, friends Carol Conniff and Cecie Davenport, and Senior Associate Athletics Director Scott Shake proudly displayed the colors in front ofMarine One while it was in Tucson.
The ranking I mentioned for men's basketball is No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll. It's the first time Arizona has been ranked in the regular season since 2008 (Russ Pennell's Sweet 16 team in 2009 was No. 23 in the final poll). It's not our objective (to be ranked) but it's certainly a byproduct of the success we work toward. The men head to the Washington schools this week... The women's basketball team (13-5) plays host to Washington at 7 p.m. Thursday and WSU at 2 p.m. Saturday in McKale. Our tennis teams andswimming & diving teams have matches/meets this weekend at the Robson Center and Hillenbrand Aquatic Center, while our track teams will compete in a meet at New Mexico...Congratulations to Fred Harvey and themen’s and women’s indoor track teams for an impressive performance in their season opening competition in Idaho… Baseball opens in a month with new bat standards that are expected to dramatically change the game. The sharp "ping" of aluminum bats will be replaced by softer, duller sounds of bats that are engineered to react like a wooden bat when contacting the baseball... University of Arizona junior backstroker Cory Chitwoodwas named the Pac-10 Conference's December Swimmer of the Month after impressive performances at the Texas Hall of Fame Invitational held last month in Austin, Texas... Freshman Andre Vidaller reached the semi-finals of his first collegiate competition in the National Collegiate Tennis Classic, often referred to as the “Wimbledon of College Tennis.” Men’s tennis opens on January 22 at home.
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