Athletics Director Greg Byrne's weekly email discussing Wildcat Athletics
May 30, 2012
FIRST PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP
No doubt you’re aware our baseball team beat the folks to the north 2-1 in a three-game series to claim the University of Arizona’s first Pac-12 title. (Championship t-shirts are available at BearDownShop.com). We drew nearly 14,000 fans to Hi Corbett Field for the series, setting season marks, and also learned of our selection as a host venue for the NCAA Baseball Championships regional rounds, starting this Friday. Please join us in taking this home-field advantage to another level! All-session tickets went on sale Sunday and single-session tickets go on sale tonight. Tickets are still available and you can purchase right now online by clicking here, or contact the McKale ticket office tomorrow morning beginning at 9 a.m. If you’re going to go the single-session route, we strongly suggest buying online and printing your tickets at home to avoid standing in line.
The double-elimination tournament features two games Friday, two on Saturday and two on Sunday, with a single game on Monday only if necessary. Arizona plays its NCAA opener at 8 p.m. Friday against Missouri (New Mexico State and Louisville will play in the 4pm game). If you’re not in the area you can catch the game live on ESPNU and check out our Regional Central webpage on ArizonaWildcats.com to keep up with results, stats, and schedule updates.
In other exciting baseball news, head coach Andy Lopez was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year and Alex Mejia was named Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. Alex also made all-conference and was joined by Bobby Brown, Johnny Field, Kurt Heyer, Seth Mejias-Brean and Robert Refsnyder. Congratulations to the baseball team for a super season and let’s keep it going! We had our largest crowd in 32 years on Saturday and there’s no reason we can’t do it again – this week. A special thanks to our fans for making those record crowds a reality!
Speaking of the Pac-12, so far after this year’s round of competition, the league has claimed 450 NCAA team championships – with softball, baseball and track and field still to come. Commissioner Larry Scott called it an “extraordinary milestone” for one league to secure that many titles – and now 500 is the next target. This next quest will come under more national scrutiny with the launch this summer of the Pac-12 Network. One question that will arise frequently is “What channel will the Pac-12 Network be on in my area?” Well, you can find out here once the network is up and running. We’ll be pointing to this handy channel-finder tool more than once in the coming months and years, and links to it will be prevalent. We’ll share more information from the conference as we receive it.
ON TO THE NEXT ROUND
Our top-10 nationally-rankedmen’s and women’s track and field teams had a strong showing at the NCAA Preliminary Rounds in Austin, Texas last weekend. Needing a top-12 finish to make it to nationals, Arizona advanced 13 student-athletes to compete in 16 events along with four student-athletes to run the women's 4x400-meter relay. The NCAA Championships, hosted by Drake in Des Moines, Iowa, will be held June 6-9. Go Cats!
ROAD TOUR WINDING DOWN
Last week we had a fantastic time visiting the great people of Yuma on the Road Tour at Lutes Casino. The room was jam packed with Wildcat fans and alumni! We’re down to our final stop this upcoming Monday, June 4, in Pinetop. We’ll be at Charlie Clark’s from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. If you’re up north taking a break from the heat, stop by and see us. On behalf our coaches and staff, we have thoroughly enjoyed these opportunities to visit with Wildcat fans across the state and thank them for their support. I also would like to thank the Alumni Association for their partnership with the Road Tour. Hope to see you in Pinetop!
COACH MILLER TWEETS
There is a new Arizona head coach joining the wonderful world of Twitter (or Twitterverse if you will). Men’s basketball coach Sean Miller is now on Twitter. He’s just started a few days ago and is picking it up quite well. Give him a follow at @UACoachMiller.
FOOTBALL IN FOCUS
Our football squad began its voluntary summer conditioning program this week, and in 10 short weeks the full team will report for the start of fall camp.. We’ll have many working on academics as well. The team made an outstanding commitment in this regard last semester, boosting the team GPA by nearly three percentage points from the previous term. That’s commendable, and a good beginning of the Rodriguez era. Needless to say, these players will be joined by counterparts in most of our sports spending summer in Tucson with an eye to the future.
A-CLUB LETTERWINNER UPDATE
We would like to recognize Wildcat swimming letterman Robert Abernethy ’95, who will be extremely busy these next few months. Robert is the General Manager of the aquatics center in London during the 2012 Summer Olympics. He will manage over 3,000 people during the Olympics and is responsible for the daily upkeep of the facility, in addition to overseeing the swimming and diving competitions. Robert was a 1993 NCAA Champion in the 200 medley relay while at Arizona and is a member of the University of Arizona Sports Hall of Fame. We are proud of Robert’s success and we wish him the best during the 2012 Summer Olympics…BEAR DOWN!
PARADISE, BASEBALL AND CAMELS
Below, newlyweds Paul Volpe and Briana Luce put some red beside the blue waters of Bora Bora in French Polynesia. In the middle, Dave Mewhirter and his group of Wildcat fans enjoy a UA baseball game at Hi Corbett Field. At bottom, Jim Byrne shows the colors at Moraine Lake, Alberta.
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