Athletics Director Greg Byrne's weekly email discussing Wildcat Athletics.
May 19, 2010
On the 26th of this month, I'm attending a reception in the Phoenix area to more or less officially present me to alumni in the area. The reception will be held at the Biltmore Hotel's Gold Ballroom beginning at 6 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Alumni Association and our Athletics Department and will also feature Head Coaches Tad Berkowitz, Frank Busch, Niya Butts, Sean Miller, Dave Rubio, Bill Ryden and Mike Stoops. Tickets may be purchased online by clicking HERE. If you have a chance, please come by and say hello. I've met so many people in the past weeks that my new collection of faces and names is jammed, but it's important work and I enjoy it.
IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME
That line was a theme in a movie about dreams and success. One of the ways we can raise the academic success of our student-athletes is to twist that a bit in terms of attendance. If You Go To Class, You Can Play. In other words, if you do the basic work, you're good; if you don't, you won't see action.
Professors are more helpful to students who put in the time, and going to class is the simplest form. We currently are exploring the possibility of establishing an attendance policy, and the best strategy to enforce it. It's amazing how influential playing time can be for a young student-athlete.
IF YOU BUILD IT, PART II
One of our readers asked about the status of the Arizona Stadium north end zone project. At this point "Vision Arizona" is proceeding on pace, with more planning, design and funding. We're essentially required to raise about half the money needed before we can break ground on a campus project of this size. That's one of my favorite aspects to this job -- working to spread the message about how each and every donation can help.
One of the things we talked about at the recent ICA (Intercollegiate Athletics) staff meeting was our mission statement and what I feel has to become second nature to our entire work force. If we pay attention to these principles and incorporate them into our daily performance, we'll be able to make good decisions. In short, the five main areas are 1) Graduate our student-athletes, 2) Follow the rules, 3) Be first-class in how we represent the university, 4) Maintain fiscal integrity while maximizing revenue opportunities and last but not least, 5) Compete for championships.
Our academic success is critical for the obvious reason that the University of Arizona is an institution of higher education. We can have no more important focus than to support our student-athletes in their scholastic endeavors and help them flourish academically. It goes without saying that following the rules -- something the UA is good at -- has to be built into our daily tasks.
Comportment and the way we present ourselves to the public is huge. We represent the University every time we step on campus, travel, compete or collaborate with anyone. It might be something as simple as the manner in which you wear a cap -- the bill points in the direction you're going, straight ahead. If you sign on to be a Wildcat or work here, you must embrace the concept of acting in a first-class manner.
As to budgetary concerns and the management of our financial resources, it's obvious that will be a challenge. We have to be as efficient as we can while also maximizing our revenue.
I want our staff to be cognizant of our mission at all times, and if we do those first four things, we can have success at the fifth -- competing for titles. We're not in the business of working for second place.
RAISING MONEY STARTS AT THE BOTTOM
A key to the success of any athletics department is orienting the staff to understand that we're all fund raisers. That starts with our daily work in customer service. If you answer a phone, you represent the department and the University, and you're thereby given an opportunity to build and strengthen relationships, or weaken them. We'll be doing the former. (On that note, I understand the phone lines were tied up Monday because of demand for softball tickets... we will be exploring ways to best rectify the issue and are sorry for any inconvenience it caused.)
Donor participation will remain critical to our mission in the next several years, and every gift counts. It goes without saying that we're indebted to our current supporters. I told the staff that one goal is to double the number of members in the Wildcat Club, the fundraising arm of Arizona Athletics. We also want to increase our football season-ticket numbers. We want to broaden our appeal locally, regionally, nationally and globally.
The UA athletics brand name is a good one, and you'll notice that we will put a lot of focus on instilling pride in ownership for each supporter.
NICE JOB, TEAMS
The Wildcat softball team returns to NCAA action for the 24th consecutive season, at home Friday through Sunday at Hillenbrand Stadium. That's an awesome streak for any program in any sport, and Mike Candrea has done a Hall of Fame job putting it together... Our women's track and field squad under Fred Harvey and staff had a terrific finish, No. 2, at the Pac-10 Championships last week and also will head to NCAA competition in about a week... I went to some games in the UA-ASU baseball series and was able to congratulate Andy Lopez on his 1,000 victory, a plateau that puts him in company with some of the great coaches in the game. The baseball squad, too, is competing for a spot in the playoffs... we could use your support this weekend at the ballpark!
Don't forget, Friday is the day you wear the Wildcat colors. Will YOU be wearing red or blue? To buy Arizona gear online, click HERE.
Director of Athletics
University of Arizona