Athletics Director Greg Byrne's weekly email discussing Wildcat Athletics
Jan. 23, 2013
ASIA NIKE TRIP
I am writing this on my flight from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Guangzhou, China on Monday morning. I have been fortunate to join a group of five Athletics Directors from across the country on a trip with Nike throughout Vietnam and China. We are touring a number of factories where various Nike products are manufactured, including shoes, headwear and golf equipment. In our free time in Vietnam, we have taken in some of the local sights, including the War Remnants Museum and the Cu Chi tunnels. Located outside of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), the Cu Chi tunnels have become a popular tourist attraction. It’s been an incredible experience that has helped me to better understand the culture and history of this spectacular country.
The Vietnamese people have been very friendly and inviting. Transportation is like nothing I have seen before. There are thousands upon thousands of motor scooters on the roads in the cities and countryside. A car is a luxury that few have (even though we saw a Rolls Royce dealership in Ho Chi Minh City). You would see a family of four and sometimes five all on one motor scooter. The following picture was the best I could do with a camera phone taken in the back of a van on a bumpy road, but you get the idea.
The factories that we have visited are owned by South Korean corporations that contract with Nike and other companies. The working environments are very good; and even stopped into one factory during their nap time break from their eight hour work day (and no, we will not be introducing naps into the work day at Arizona Athletics!). It was impressive to see the factories impact not only on their employees, but also the local communities in the areas of education, medical services, social, and community programs and training.
The level of detail that goes into shoe manufacturing is amazing. The factory in Chang Shin, Vietnam employs 23,000 people and produces 65,000 pairs of shoes a day on a six day work week. Most pairs of shoes will have approximately 100 pairs of hands touch a pair of shoes from its creation to the shipping truck.
We saw hats being made for many universities and the level of detail and craftsmanship went well beyond anything I would have imagined.
We had the opportunity to meet with the Vietnam Representative from the Harvard Kennedy School Fulbright Program for Democratic Governance and Innovation as well as a United States Representative for the General Consulate. Their insight into relations with Vietnam as well as current and future business relationships was very informative.
I will write next week about our time in China. By the way, I set my alarm for 2:30 a.m. on Sunday so I could listen online to Brian Jeffries and Matt Muehlebach call the wonderful victory over our friends up north.
I AM REMINDED ONCE AGAIN
Perhaps we need to start saying “The World is Wildcat Country?” Each day I wore an Arizona shirt in Vietnam I received a “Bear Down” or “Go Cats” from someone during the course of the day. Then, as we were leaving Vietnam for Guangzhou, China, I met Arizona alum and Intel employee Craig Scheinerman. We were at the airport and he saw my Arizona backpack and came up to talk with me. He told me he reads Wildcat Wednesday and follows the Cats no matter where he is in the world.
Those events gave me another great reminder why we ask everyone to wear the colors and the impact each of us can make by doing so.
2013 FOOTBALL SEASON TICKETS ON SALE SATURDAY
Our football season ticket holders and Wildcat Club members will receive their invoices for the 2013-14 season via e-mail on Saturday, Jan. 26. Once again renewals will be conducted online, which benefits the environment and lessens the burden on our financial resources. The e-mail will provide a link to renew online with just a few clicks of the mouse. We will have a payment plan option available, giving fans the opportunity to renew their season tickets in four equal installments. The renewal deadline isn’t until May1, but fans can get the $10 service fee waived and receive a promo code good for $10 off at BearDownShop.com if they renew by Feb. 28. We are also bringing back the 30 Prizes in 30 Days renewal contest. Starting Feb. 1 and continuing through March 2, we will give away one prize a day to fans that have renewed online.
Fans that didn’t have season tickets last year but are ready to jump on board for 2013 will have their first opportunity to buy on Saturday. New season tickets will be available online, starting at 10 a.m. On Monday they will be available for purchase over the phone (520-621-CATS) or in-person at the McKale Ticket Office starting at 9 a.m.
I hope this past football season’s success has led you to believe what I’ve felt from day one … there is no reason why the University of Arizona cannot have one of the most successful football programs in the country. With Rich Rodriguez, we have the right man to lead this program. With the completion of the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility, our facilities will be second to none. Last year’s marketing slogan was “Think Arizona,” and we’re thinking big! Not just Pac-12 Championships. Not just trips to the Rose Bowl. We have our eyes set on one day being a program that is a national championship contender. As Coach Rodriguez says, “Why Not Arizona?” But we can’t do it without our Wildcat Club members and football season ticket holders. We need Arizona Stadium packed for every home game. A sold out stadium helps us in three ways:
1) It enhances the home field advantage for our players.
2) It makes Arizona football more attractive in the eyes of recruits.
3) The revenue generated helps us invest in the program.
Join us for this journey by renewing your football season tickets (or purchasing new season tickets) for the 2013 season. Bear Down!
Saturday was a great day to be a Wildcat with the 71-54 men’s basketball victory over our rivals in Tempe. Unfortunately, I had to miss the game due to this trip but I could hear the Wildcat fans in Wells Fargo Arena all the way from Asia! Thank you to all the fans who attended the game and provided a great atmosphere for our team. The victory helped us narrow the gap in the Territorial Cup Series by earning a half point. I think a men’s basketball victory is a great time to remind everyone we have now held the Territorial Cup Series trophy for over 1,000 days!
WILDCAT CLUB: PHOENIX TAKEOVER
This past weekend confirmed that Phoenix is Wildcat Country. In addition to the strong support UA fans showed at the game, Wildcat fans also rallied for the Phoenix Alumni Club’s Tip-Off Taste event with Coach Miller and the men’s basketball team. We were happy to have a group of Wildcat Club members at the event to show their support! Pictured below are Tyler Hansen, Tom Theodorakis, Branch McNeal, Channing Frye, Darrell Brooks, Alexa Thorell, Mike Thorell and Liz Thorell.
WHITEOUT ON THURSDAY
One last reminder to wear white to Thursday’s men’s basketball game for the third annual WHITEOUT. Fans have been anticipating this game since the schedule was released. General public tickets sold out over a month ago and on Sunday, students sold out the ZonaZoo in record time (it’s going to be great to have them back in the McKale!). If you’re still looking for tickets, keep in mind visiting teams sometimes return tickets. Check periodically with the McKale Ticket Office to see if any are available for this (or other) sold out home games.
BIG WEEK FOR THE GYMCATS
No. 13 Arizona gymnastics is back at McKale Center this week. Fans attending Thursday’s men’s basketball game will get to enjoy a special halftime exhibition from the team. On Friday night, the GymCats will host eighth-ranked Utah in a Pac-12 showdown. Tickets are $8 when purchased in advance or if you attend Thursday’s men’s basketball game vs. UCLA, you can take advantage of a special ticket promotion – ticket are only $4 when you show a ticket stub from the Arizona/UCLA men’s basketball game. We had a record crowd for the first meet of the season. Let’s try to top that on Friday night!
NO FOOTBALL SIGNING DAY EVENT
Traditionally, we like to host a special event to introduce the football signing class. Unfortunately, signing day falls on Feb. 6 this year, the same day as the men’s basketball home game vs. Stanford. Due to this scheduling conflict, we will not be hosting an event in Tucson (or Phoenix) this year. There will be a special presentation of the football signing class at halftime of the basketball game on the video board. There are some plans for football signing day that we’re excited about but can’t share right now. Stay tuned…
CATS IN THE COMMUNITY
As many of you are aware, the Arizona student-athletes made it their resolution to give back to the Tucson community by lending their time to help others. We capped off a great Cats Give Back Week with the gymnastics team as they made their visit to the Southern Arizona VA Hospital. The girls were able to visit with the veterans, and were able to bring smiles to the faces of many lifetime heroes that day. Thank you to the gymnastics team for continuing to make community service a top priority for the 2013 year.
I am equally as impressed with the dedication of the men’s and women’s tennis teams as they, along with Coach Rodriguez, will be playing in the Annual Gootter Grand Slam Tennis Tournament. Be sure not to miss out on this amazing event as all proceeds will go to benefit the Sarver Heart Center. The tournaments will take place on Mar. 16th and 17th. For more information on this event, visit www.stevenmgooterfoundation.org.
As you can clearly see the Arizona student-athletes are making it a mission to give back to the community and you can too! Presented by the Beat Cancer Boot Camp and Ginny L. Clements Breast Cancer Research is the Beat Cancer Boot Camp Workout on Saturday, Feb. 9th. This boot camp provides a fun and educational way for you to learn about this Tucson based cancer fitness and support program. For more information on this event, visit www.beatcancerbootcamp.com.
The softball season opens in just over two weeks! The Wildcats open with a tournament in Tempe, Feb. 8-10. A complete schedule of contests, opponents and field locations can be found by clicking here…Baseball single-game tickets and seven-game mini-plans are now on sale. This new mini-plan allows fans to choose any seven home games of their choice for one low price. Click here to purchase… Men’s and women’s tennisReunion Weekend was a great success with more than 30 former players returning for festivities. Both teams opened with wins over Northern Arizona on Friday (M: 7-0; W: 6-1). The women’s team beat UC Davis, 6-1, on Saturday and the men beat Nevada, 5-2, on Sunday... Congratulations to student-athletes James Eichberger (men’s track and field), Inge Hendriks (women’s tennis), Solomon Hill (men’s basketball) and Layana White (women’s basketball) for being honored by Arizona’s academic services staff for their success in the classroom.
Here's a look at other Arizona Athletics events taking place this week: **Men's and women's swimming will host Pac-12 rivals this week at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center. The Wildcats will face California Friday at 2 p.m. and Stanford on Saturday at noon. **Men's tennis has a home match on Saturday vs. New Mexico State. The match will be held on campus at the LaNelle Robson Center and starts at noon. There is no charge for admission to home swimming and tennis events. **Women's tennis travels to College Station, TX for the ITA Kick-Off Weekend on Saturday, Jan. 26.
**Men's golf will be hosting the Arizona Intercollegiate at The Golf Club at Vistoso Jan. 28-29. Teams competing (and their rankings) include Arizona State (72), California (1), Cal State Fullerton, Central Arkansas, Kennesaw State (53), Liberty (18), New Mexico (4), New Mexico State, Pepperdine, Santa Clara, TCU (46), UC-Riverside, Utah, UTEP and host Arizona (79).
**In a great meeting of ranked teams, our indoor track and field teams (men's ranked No. 13, women's No. 12) travel to the Razorback Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25-26. The host school, University of Arkansas, is ranked 1 in the country on the men's side and No. 5 for the women. Other schools participating include Florida (M-3/W-7), Baylor (W-7), Georgia (W-16), Texas (M-11/W-13), Nebraska (W-23) and Florida State (M-21).
READY FOR THE WHITEOUT
Below Dana Kralicek and friends (all Arizona students) celebrate New Year’s with a ski trip in the snowy white mountains of the French Alps. At middle, employees from Raytheon’s office in Saudi Arabia show they are ready for Thursday’s game by wearing the official whiteout t-shirt. Thank you Jon Moody for sending in the pic. At bottom, one more photo from my trip…I ran into Wildcat fan, Tim Wallace in the Hong Kong Airport.#TheFarEastIsWildcatCountry
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