Athletics Director Greg Byrne's weekly email discussing Wildcat Athletics
June 27, 2012
It’s been a few days but it will never get old reminding you that the University of Arizona won the Men’s College World Series and our school’s 21st National Championship in Omaha. Wow! It was the culmination of a new beginning in our mid-town Hi Corbett Field ball park, an outstanding season and a tremendous postseason run of 10 straight victories. Here is a fun fact for you…since Arizona joined the conference in 1978, no other Pac-12 program has won more Men’s College World Series than the Wildcats (Arizona 3, Oregon State, Stanford and USC 2, and that school up north 1).
Congratulations to Coach Andy Lopez and staff, all the student-athletes on our team, and everyone who had a hand in re-invigorating our strong baseball heritage…especially our fans who stepped up and reconnected with our baseball program. The celebration at McKale was awesome! Thank you to everyone to everyone that attended. If you missed it you can watch a replay on ArizonaWildcats.com by clicking here.
Having spent time in Omaha with our program, its competitive fire and the classy manner with which it represented our school were more than deeply evident. I hope you were able to follow this success on ESPN. The behind-the-scenes actions and comportment of the Wildcats in such a national setting were equally as impressive. Click here for a video of a hospital visit our players made, for example. We’re enthused not only by the NCAA trophy but the broader message we seem to be getting out there. It’s a great time for University of Arizona Athletics.
I also received a nice gift today coming back to the office. We have a partnership with bat maker Louisville Slugger and they are making a commemorative bat to honor the national championship. They will be available to the public starting on July 6and I thought I’d share the site with you so you can purchase one after that. I received one of the samples and they are very nice. Here is the site: http://www.sluggergifts.com/
WEAR THE (CHAMPIONSHIP) COLORS
A variety of Arizona baseball national championship merchandise is available for purchase, including the “Wildcats Own Omaha” t-shirts. Those seem to be a real popular item! It’s going to be a lot of fun seeing people all over Tucson and the state of Arizona wearing those shirts, especially on Fridays. You can purchase National Championship gear at the UA Bookstore, the McKale Sports Stop trailer, and online atBearDownShop.com. You can also purchase commemorative photos from our online photo store by clicking here.
NATIONAL PECKING ORDER STEADY
The baseball title helped us move up a few notches in the Learfield Director’s Cup standings that measure overall programs for competitive success. We finished 19th. It’s not good enough but it’s indicative of steady progress. The Cup and recent Academic Progress Rate reports together give us cheer but we’ll continue to get better. That’s our charge.
GOOGLE+ HANGOUT FRIDAY MORNING
I’ll be host for what’s known as a Google+ Hangout this Friday at 9 a.m. Tucson time (Noon EDT). It’s a live online video chat that will feature guests Pac-121 Commissioner Larry Scott, our own Deputy AD Rocky LaRose, Wilbur the Wildcat and moderator Brian Jeffries. The technical connection is here (click). It will last approximately 30 to 40 minutes and allow us to review some recent developments and future plans as well as gain some information from Commissioner Scott. Fans were permitted to contend for the extra slots permitted by the system – and will be able to ask questions and partake in the conversation. Those not directly involved can watch the proceedings and still ask questions by responding to posts on that Google+ page (UA Athletics), our Facebook page or through Twitter by using the hashtag #ArizonaHangout. The #ArizonaHangout is just another way we hope to reach you, our supporters. If it all sounds techy to you, give it a try and we’ll see how it goes. Make sure to sign up for Google+ and follow our page so you can watch live.
THE WILDCAT MOVEMENT - LAST OPPORTUNITY TO JOIN
The WildcatMovement.com continues to spread nationally. The most recent example of the impact of "The Movement" was shown this past week in Omaha - the engagement of you, alumni and fans made a significant difference. Contribute today and continue to make an impact in the lives of our student-athletes on and off the playing surface. Visit www.WildcatMovement.com and join the Wildcat Club today for a minimum of $9 a month.
A-CLUB LETTERWINNERS UPDATE
More exciting news for a pair of our former student-athletes last week … Sue Darling, a former member of the basketball team and also served as an assistant coach for four seasons, was named head women’s basketball coach at Northern Arizona. Former softball All-American and a member of two NCAA title teams Kristie Fox was named head softball coach at UT-Arlington. Congrats to our letterwomen and best of luck in your new roles!
SUMMER BRIDGE TO HELP GET ACCLIMATED
More than 50 incoming student-athletes across several teams will participate in the C.A.T.S. Academics summer bridge program this year. This group will enroll in two general education courses, one of which is a personal and professional leadership class. Our new group of freshmen will be participating in this interactive course designed to stir critical thinking, generate thoughtful discussion, and receive exposure to such topics as learning styles, goal setting, stress management, instructional technology, personal wellness, professional development, public speaking, and the role and influence of social media in our society. Summer bridge will be a valuable opportunity for student-athletes to get acclimated to campus, become familiar with the rigors of college coursework, and get to know their fellow teammates. We look forward to welcoming them to the Wildcat family!
As an alumni, friend or donor to Arizona Athletics, you play an important role in providing student-athletes with a positive experience through donations of time and financial resources which help student-athletes succeed on and off the playing field. Please keep in mind there are NCAA and Pac-12 rules that our recruits, student-athletes and their family members must follow. They are not allowed to receive special discounts/free services or any gifts such as clothing, entertainment or holiday and birthday gifts. They also cannot accept free (or reduced rate) room, board, transportation or and other special benefit that is not available to the general public.
It is understandable to want to reach out on occasion to help a student-athlete or their family in a time of perceived need, but please remember that they (and you as a donor/) must abide by the NCAA and Pac-12 rules.
As we enter the next month or so, the Wildcat Wednesday will take a hiatus, at least the written version. We’ll still be working to make strides in everything we do but also have a one-time opportunity for recharge, and that’s mid-summer. All our ICA phones still will be manned and a great number of people find July and early August a solid time to finalize 2012-13 planning and preparation. For example, the opening of fall football, volleyball and soccer camps are just around the corner – and it all starts again. But before we completely close the books on this outstanding athletics season, we’re going to take a look back with our annual report video. This will be a special video edition of the Wildcat Wednesday which will be e-mailed to you on Friday.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you, our supporters, for all YOUR tremendous work in behalf of UA Athletics in 2011-12. We’re in this together. Bear Down!
THE SNAKE, DREAMS AND OTHER GUYS
Below, from top down, are Gloria and Dan Offret on a recent Wyoming raft trip down the Snake River, Jake and Brock Hansen in their appropriate pajamas, and Anja Ensio with her game face before heading to the stadium in Omaha. See? Wearing the colors is an every-day thing in the Wildcat Movement. Do your part!
Continue to do what you can to help Arizona Athletics and: