June 1, 2011
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
OHIO STATE SITUATION
I am sure that many of you have been following the recent developments at Ohio State with its football program. My purpose here is not to judge or be critical of one of our peer institutions. However, the situation does give us another opportunity to proactively communicate with our fan base and internally on the absolute need to pay attention to the rules everyday. We are one bad decision by a coach, employee, student-athlete and/or community member/fan from facing significant challenges that can damage our university and athletic program for many years to come.
If you ever know of a situation where a student-athlete is receiving an extra benefit (something that the rest of the student body would not receive) please contact me (520-621-4622 UofAAD@arizona.edu) or our compliance department at (520-621-5692) or email@example.com.
If you have not had an opportunity to read the Sports Illustrated article, I encourage you to do so when you have time.
CITATIONS FOR EXCELLENCE
A quartet of Wildcats earned Student-Athlete of the Month(s) honors for the key period covering March-April. Aiulua Fanene of football, Corey LeBrun of baseball, Erin Menefee of track and field, and Lacey Smyth of women's tennis were cited for their superior academic improvement and performance, and citizenship qualities. Our academic staff votes on the winners. They were among our total population of student-athletes who helped us achieve improvement in the Academic Progress Report issued by the NCAA last week. We placed all our teams above the acceptable graduation limits, but don't really accept average performance as a goal. It's nice to see that our focus in this area is strong, and we'll get better. Count on it.
TRACK & FIELD WILDCATS
Our men's and women's track & field teams each qualified eight individuals, plus the women qualified a relay, for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships to be held June 8-11 in Des Moines, Iowa. Hats off to Jean Bergman, LaTisha Holden, Hannah Moen, Maggie Callahan, Julie LaBonte, Baillie Gibson, Alyssa Hasslen, Brigetta Barrett, Christina Rodgers, Shapri Romero, Echos Blevins and Georganne Moline on the women's side; and Abdi Hassan, Lawi Lalang, Stephen Sambu, Robert Gire, Bozidar Antunovic, Tyler Johnson, Edgar Rivera-Morales and Nick Ross on our men's team. The contingent is the largest ever for the NCAA title meet under head coach Fred Harvey and his staff. All had a superb meet at the NCAA Qualifier in Eugene, Ore., last weekend. We're behind them 100 percent as they take their talents to the national finals!
NORTH END-ZONE COMPLEX
Many of you noted the anonymous $2.5 million gift we received last week toward the North End Zone project. The total funds we've raised to date -- about $30 million -- should enable us to soon seek approval from the Arizona Board of Regents to break ground on the facility. The gift came from a couple with a strong philanthropic background at the University level. They believe Arizona Athletics has value to the institution at large, notably in strengthening enthusiasm and motivating other donors to invest in University programs. I think you know that's been part of my message since my appointment as athletics director: Athletics and the university's missions travel parallel paths. We're thrilled by this gift and all those at any level.
BASEBALL OFF TO COLLEGE STATION
Andy Lopez and staff take the UA baseball team to an NCAA Championships regional in College Station, Texas, where my father, Bill, is A.D. at Texas A&M. The Cats will play Seton Hall in the opening round Friday at 10:35 a.m. MST while A&M takes on Wright State. You can catch the Cats on our flagship station 1290 the Source with the voice of the Wildcats, Brian Jeffries on the call, or you can checkout our GameTracker on arizonawildcats.com (click on the Calendar of Events tab underneath the main story photo for a link to GT). Sorry, Dad, I can root for your club in the opener but have to go with the `Cats in any possible matchup against the Aggies. The Arizona team swept Washington in its final regular-season home series to earn one of six berths landed in the tournament by Pac-10 teams. Congratulations to Kurt Heyer, Kyle Simon, Cole Frenzel, Alex Mejia, Robert Refsnyder, and Joey Rickard who were named All-Pac-10 this season. Good luck and Bear Down, Cats.
Many of our fans have been asking about the progress on our new football scoreboard. Currently, caisson holes are being drilled, rebar installed and concrete poured. We are working with the Tucson Police Department to determine the route and days for the delivery of the steel that will support the structure. The scoreboard will sit upon an independent structure and not on the end of the stadium. It is anticipated that the scoreboard itself, now being constructed in China, will be installed sometime during the last two weeks of July or first week of August. You can watch the live webcam or you can check out a short video showing the progress being made.
Last week I received a lot of great photos of service men and women wearing and/or displaying the Wildcat colors. It was hard to choose just one, but this week's winning photo came from Jon Andrew. This is his brother Michal based in Taji, Iraq as an Air Traffic Controller, part of the Arizona Air National Guard. Michal requested this UA flag which he now flies at the top of his tower. Bear Down Michal! Thank you to all the service men and women for your photos and your service to our country.
This week I want to see your favorite Wildcat memory photos. Send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will choose a winner and feature their photo in next week's Wildcat Wednesday. Be sure to submit photos as select winners will be chosen to receive a special prize. . This week I am giving away a $20 gift certificategood for tickets to an Arizona Athletics event.
Next week, each day of the week, we will be visiting local Tucson restaurants during lunch for a special Father's Day promotion. Make sure to check out our Facebook page for locations. We will be giving away special items that will make excellent Father's Day gifts; including tickets to different sporting events as well as a chance to win a pair of football season tickets for Dad. We start the week at 11 am at Famous Dave's,4565 North Oracle Road Tucson, AZ 85705. Hope to see you there!
Congratulations to the softball team for making a Super Regional. If you've paid any attention to college softball you know that our Coach, Mike Candrea, has been a major force behind the sport's growth in the past decade. Lots of teams are now competitive across the land. However, none have a stronger fan base than what we enjoy at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium. We set an NCAA record with more than 77,000 in total attendance and upped our own game average to about 2,600 fans. Many thanks to all those who wear the colors and support our teams... If you watched any of the softball regionals or Super Regionals you noticed some of the outstanding stadiums around the country. We can't let our program -- any of them -- lag in this area, and that's why so many of you are important for the support you provide. It's not a case of one-upping the next school, it's a matter of providing our student-athletes with all the tools and the environment they need to be successful at the highest level... Just two more months and we're back in action with preseason football, volleyball, soccerand cross country training... As I write this, our men's golf team is competing in Day 2 at the NCAA men's golf Championships in Stillwater, OK. Good luck to coach LaRose and the team...
WEAR RED AND MEAN IT
Eileen Gerrish of the Bursar's Office on campus sent us this photo of the unit's colorful reaction to a recent Red Shirt Contest. No doubt it came on a Friday... and how about that Cat-in-the-Hat style hat?