Athletics Director Greg Byrne's weekly email discussing Wildcat Athletics
Athletics Director Greg Byrne
July 7, 2010
Summer has a bit longer to go, but the start of fall camps for football, volleyball, soccer and cross country are right around the corner. Football camp opens four weeks from tomorrow. A couple early events include Fan Appreciation Day Aug. 21st in Arizona Stadium and the Phoenix-area Kickoff Luncheon in Scottsdale Aug. 28th. The former is free, and you can sign up for the latter here. There's good excitement building... Yesterday ESPN.com was here shooting a weight-room photo feature with former UA linebacker and all-Pro Lance Briggs of the Chicago Bears, and a very young UA counterpart in sophomore LB Jake Fischer... If you talk to Corey Edmond, our strength coach, you get stoked. He says our depth is at an all-time high... Season tickets start at just $92 for adults and $52 for youth, and can be purchased here.
SPEAKING OF TICKETS
Our ticket office staff reports that season renewals for football are going quite well, easily in line with last year at this point of the year. That's some good news, and thanks to those of you who have signed on to join us. I'm also told that membership in the Wildcat Club is up 15 percent in the past several months. Thank you, supporters... I'm really looking forward to my first game this fall, and to seeing the ZonaZoo student section in action. Of course, you'll be hearing from me about wearing the colors to games, building on what I hear is many, many fans in red. I can't wait!
Once again the Pac-10 lived up to its billing as the Conference of Champions, with league squads taking eight NCAA championships in 2009-10. The competition is fierce, indeed, and won't get easier as we transition into a 12-team league in the near future. In 10 of the last 11 years, the Pac-10 has led or tied other conferences for the most national titles. This year, UA almost got there with its runner-up finish in softball -- among 14 NCAA second-place teams in 2009-10 Pac-10 athletics. Pretty amazing that 22 league teams competed in the national finals for their sports.
WOMEN'S SPORTS LEGACY
This October, we'll be hosts for the Women's Sports Legacy event in connection with Homecoming. We're inviting all letterwomen and sportswomen who have helped the UA create a great tradition of female athletics and heritage. If you keep in contact with any former Wildcats, help us reach them to let them know of the event. We've had some mass mailings and such to spread the word, but hopefully you can help make this event more special by including everyone who belongs. More details can be found at www.arizonawildcats.com/legacy.
Former UA golfers Jim Furyk, Ricky Barnes and Rory Sabbatini are having pretty good seasons on the PGA Tour. For those of you who chase the little white ball around, it's worth noting that they've combined to win more than $5.6 million on tour this year. All rank in the Top 50 on the money list with Furyk at No. 4. Hats off to these Cats... Also, earlier this year we saw the retirement from competition by former Wildcat star Lorena Ochoa, the top women's golfer in the world, when she decided to step down and focus on personal interests.
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
Hopefully you read the story about Gayle Hopkins retiring from our department last week, ending nearly three decades of service to UA Athletics. He spent the final dozen years as a key aide to the athletics director, working in external relations with alumni and university/outside constituents. "Doc Hop" was UA's first NCAA champion, winning the long jump in 1964, and later competed in the Tokyo Olympics that year. That kick-started a long career in education and athletics. Best to you, Gayle, and thanks. Also, two development officers, Associate Athletics Director Julio Freire and Assistant Athletics Director Jay Vickers, left us for similar roles at UNLV. We wish them well and recognize their service to the Wildcat nation.
ORGANIZING THE DEPARTMENT
I informed our staff today of some changes in the organizational structure of the UA athletics department. We have reassigned some of the areas of responsibility for our administrators, without adding any new positions. I believe these and several other changes will produce a more efficient structure and more appropriately match people's strengths to their assigned duties and responsibilities. We'll need a combined front and all the resources at our disposal to keep University of Arizona Athletics prospering through the next several years, and I believe the reorganization will help. I'm also having the compliance area report directly to me. Operating under the rules is a byword for this department and will continue to be our priority.
Here's how the new Executive Committee looks: Senior Associate Athletics Directors Rocky LaRose, John Perrin, Scott Shake, James Francis, and myself.
Here's how the Senior Staff looks: Associate Athletics Directors Becky Bell, Phoebe Chalk, Randy Cohen, Steve Kozachik, Suzy Mason, Bill Morgan, Wendell Neal, Oscar Portillo, Erika Barnes, Ryan Hansen, Judi Kessler and Erick Harper as well as Assistant Athletics Directors Frankie Acosta, Lee De Leon, and Beth Megerle.